A wireless home theater is a system that has all the benefits of a conventional surround sound system but without the hassle of running cables to connect between devices.
Thanks to a wireless home theater system we can replace the sound of the TV with interconnected speakers that fill the entire room with high-quality sound balanced evenly from multiple directions.
A good wireless surround sound system can completely immerse the listener in the environment, giving you a cinematic atmosphere that allows you to truly enjoy the audio and visual experience as if you were in the cinema.
Today we will deepen this topic, analyzing in particular:
- What features to consider when choosing a wireless home theater
- What are the best wireless home theater systems on the market today (with pros and cons)
- The answers to the most frequently asked questions on the subject
Let’s get started right away!
Before Buying a Wireless Home Theater
Wireless surround sound systems aren’t for everyone, so before you jump into your purchase, I strongly recommend that you evaluate a few important elements.
First, wireless surround sound systems aren’t cheap, so make sure you have a budget in mind. Also, keep in mind that wireless surround sound systems are not completely cable-free. Depending on your system, you will need to plug them into a power outlet or connect the soundbar to the subwoofer.
While a wireless home theater system allows you to get rid of most of the cables from wired surround sound systems, you won’t be completely free of wires, so keep this in mind when thinking about the arrangement of the various devices in the room!
So let’s see what to consider when choosing a wireless home theater system.
Type of wireless system
Wireless audio systems are classified into two main types based on how they receive information: Bluetooth and WiFi.
Bluetooth wireless surround speakers were the first of their kind to emerge on the market. However, as Bluetooth must compress audio data before transmitting it, the sound quality offered by this technology is limited.
While not offering the best in sound quality, Bluetooth systems are easier to install, less expensive, and found in most systems, allowing the wireless home theater system to work with almost any electronic device.
WiFi home theater systems are newer on the market than Bluetooth technology, so you may encounter problems when you want to connect a device that doesn’t have WiFi compatibility. However, most Bluetooth-enabled devices will have their own app that can be accessed over WiFi. It’s a more complicated way to pair your device, but the benefits of WiFi are worth the complications.
WiFi home theater systems are more expensive than Bluetooth but are of higher quality in most ways. Sound quality is undeniably better with WiFi because data doesn’t have to be compressed before transmission and WiFi connections are much more reliable than Bluetooth. WiFi wireless surround sound systems also offer a better range than Bluetooth systems, making them ideal for large spaces.
The volume produced by wireless home theaters is measured in decibels (dB), but many audio system manufacturers use Watts (W) to indicate maximum volume capacity. Therefore, to understand the volume your wireless surround sound system is capable of outputting, you need to know what the different dB levels mean and how they correspond to power.
In short, these are some common sounds and their dB levels that you can use to get an idea of what a certain dB range sounds like:
- Refrigerator – 50 dB
- Hairdryer – 70 to 90 dB
- Motorcycle: 95 to 110 dB
- Concert at the stadium: 110 to 120 dB
With these levels in mind, here’s what they correspond to in terms of potency:
- Refrigerator – 1 W.
- Hairdryer – 1 to 2 W.
- Motorcycle: 8 to 32W
- Concert at the stadium: 512 to 600 W.
Most wireless surround sound systems have a maximum range between 100 and 120 dB (or between 64 and 600 W). However, keep in mind that most people leave a concert with their ears ringing, so you’ll probably never have to push your wireless sound system to full volume if it goes above 500W!
Ease of connection
Installing a wireless home theater system should be easier than installing a wired network, but depending on the type of system, connecting to the audio source may be the most challenging part.
Personally, I prefer products with clear setup instructions and manufacturer-supplied information indicating the platforms, devices, and systems the product is compatible with.
Ideally, you should find a system that just needs to sync with your WiFi or Bluetooth to start working. While it should have other customization options available, they shouldn’t be an immediate necessity, so you can listen to music or hook up to your TV via your new wireless home theater in seconds.
The range is an important consideration if you plan to install the Wireless Home Theater System in a large room or space. You can also break down the difference by comparing Bluetooth and WiFi technologies.
Bluetooth wireless surround sound systems are particularly suitable for medium to small rooms. On average, Bluetooth systems have a range of about a few meters.
WiFi wireless surround sound systems are the ideal choice for larger spaces. They have the same range as other WiFi systems, with an average range of about 30 meters in the open air. This range can drop up to 10 meters in a home depending on the number and type of physical obstacles (hanging lights, furniture, shelves, etc.). However, the range of Wi-Fi always remains greater than that of Bluetooth, and what’s more, you can also add Wi-Fi amplifiers to extend the range of the system.
5.1 wireless home theater vs 2.1 home theater: the differences
Wireless home theater systems are often divided into systems called 2.1 and 5.1. What is the difference?
A 2.1 soundbar includes two speakers, usually a left and right channel and a subwoofer. A 5.1 soundbar includes five speakers, usually, front left, front right, front center, surround left, surround right, and a subwoofer.
The front channels are generally all built into the soundbar, while the surround speakers are usually separate speakers. But the answer is also a bit more complicated. A large number of speakers not only adds more volume but enhances the surround experience by creating a more immersive sound quality.
This does not mean that a 5.1 soundbar system is the best solution in all cases, quite the contrary.
A 2.1ch soundbar includes at least 2 speakers (sometimes more) grouped into 2 channels, left and right, and also includes a separate subwoofer. As stated above, the purpose of extra speakers isn’t just higher volume.
With a 2.1 soundbar, those two or more speakers will give you clear left and right audio channels. This is a great building block for your sound system, but it’s pretty standard and won’t improve the listening experience significantly.
Additionally, in some cases, the Soundbar takes advantage of Dolby Atmos technology, with upward speakers offering a three-dimensional soundstage.
A 5.1 soundbar system, with its three speakers or extra channels, will create a richer listening experience. This usually includes a front left, front right, front center, surround (back) right, surround (back) left, and a separate subwoofer.
The three speakers or front channels are usually built into the soundbar itself and while the surrounds are separate. However, sometimes the five channels are integrated into the soundbar. The additional 2 channels act as “surround” channels, even if they are located in the soundbar itself.
For this reason, when we see a wireless Home Theater system composed “only” of soundbar + subwoofer system, let’s not consider it too inferior to others. However, the sound quality is often very high.
Wireless Home Theater: RANKING
Sonos is one of the leaders in the wireless audio industry. It is one of the first companies that came up with the idea of wireless (wi-fi) audio equipment and brought it into reality.
Sono has long been known for creating Wi-Fi smart speakers and wireless multiroom speakers but decided to expand a bit and start making wireless home theater systems. As we will see, Sonos allows the combination of the various products, allowing the creation of a customized Home Theater system.
This system has advantages and disadvantages. You can start with the Sonos soundbar, which is the main unit and the one that connects wirelessly to the other speakers, and then perform upgrades as we want deeper sound.
If we are looking for a really powerful wireless home theater system, my advice is to pair it with the soundbar, the Sonos Subwoofer subwoofer. This will give you an incredibly powerful and clear sound.
Note of merit should be made to the simplicity of use. You can stream music and podcasts from your phone to the system via the Sonos app. The Sonos app includes several streaming apps like Deezer, Spotify, Google Play integrated.
There are two other additional features you can activate through the Sonos app: Speech Enhancement and Night Mode. You can use speech enhancement if you are hard of hearing or if you want to hear the voice better. This thing really improves intelligibility by making voices louder and clearer and background sounds and music quieter. Night mode is something you can use if you are watching late-night TV or movies. If you don’t want to wake everyone up, you just have to activate the night mode and it will adjust the sound making the bass sounds a little bit deeper and the treble sounds lower.
You will hardly find a wireless surround sound system that is so easy to use and install, that works flawlessly and delivers such immersive sound. The soundbar plus Sub subwoofer combination is a combination capable of delivering a sound that few others can achieve.
The breadth, depth, and three-dimensionality of the sound of the Soundbar Beam enriched by the Sub Sonos subwoofer sound box make the combination among the most complete that you can wish for today.
Too bad for the price.
- Deep, user-controllable bass
- Attractive design
- Sub can sit upright or lie flat
- Excellent ease of use of the Sonos ecosystem
- Impressive three-dimensional sound
- Streaming and multi-room compatibility
- The Sub only works with Sonos Soundbar
- Overall expensive
Sonos – Wireless Sub Subwoofer – Price: $999
Sonos – Beam Soundbar – Price: $587
The JBL 5.1 Wireless Home Theater System is a 5.1 wireless surround sound system, but it can also be considered a ready-made wireless home theater, as it has a lot of inputs and doesn’t require an AV receiver.
We are talking about one of the best-known and most appreciated systems in the world. Simple and elegant, it includes a soundbar with a subwoofer and MultiBeam sound technology. The power is 550 Watts capable of offering a multidirectional panoramic sound, thanks also to the impressive subwoofer.
You can use the TV remote control to adjust the volume or mute the system sound (works with most LG, Samsung, Sony, and VIZIO TV remote controls). But, if you want to make some advanced adjustments, you will have to use the JBL remote.
The JBL remote allows you to control the master volume or control the volume of each channel separately.
You can also choose between different EQ modes depending on what you are watching at the moment (EQ modes available: standard, movie, music, voice, sport). The remote also has audio sync buttons (+ and -). You can use it to improve synchronization 1f audio and video are out of sync.
The system enters Standby mode after 10 minutes of inactivity and will automatically turn on when the TV is turned on or when some other sound source sends the audio signal.
JBL 5.1 also features night mode which works by turning down all loud sounds and enhancing dialogue and bass sounds. Night mode only works with DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1.
DTS 5.1. Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Audio, and Prologic are all supported formats.
The system supports Bluetooth and the main unit itself packs numerous ports: three HDMI inputs and one output, USB, optical audio, and a 3.5mm audio jack.
All in all, we are talking about a really powerful wireless home theater system capable of offering clear and enveloping sounds. Among the many on the market, I consider it one of the best ever without a doubt.
- Excellent bass depth
- High maximum power
- Impressive “virtual” surround sound
- Not super easy to set up
JBL – 5.1 Surround Bar – Price: $599
With five speakers, divided between soundbar, subwoofer, and 2 column speakers, this 600 Watt TV speaker system remains one of the most interesting systems for value for money.
The Sony HT-RT4 system is a 5.1 home theater system, with front speakers compacted into a bar, two wired rear high speakers, and a subwoofer with a control unit inside. All speakers except the woofer are made of plastic, hence the lower-than-average price. However, they feel very solid. The subwoofer is instead made of wood.
The system is shipped already with the cables for installation. The connection is made via HDMI to the TV, but it is also possible to pair this 5.1 home theater system via Bluetooth to any mobile device.
If we use it as a Home Cinema system, one piece of advice I can give is to set up the communication between the soundbar and the TV via HDMI Pass-Through. The sound acquires depth and balance.
The bass depth offered by the subwoofer is good, although inferior to other competitors. The volume of the sound effects is well balanced in the dialogues, and the special effects thanks to the side columns really feel like around you.
The first few times you will literally have the feeling of being in the center of the action and you will have to get used to it a bit!
I really appreciate the fact that this Home Cinema system, once paired with a TV, turns on and off automatically, completely avoiding having to use the special remote control to turn it on or off (no, it’s not obvious).
In short, adding everything together, I consider this 5.1 Home Theater System to be a good product as it is designed by Sony: a Home Cinema system with the lowest possible price.
In fact, without the vertical speakers, the soundbar and subwoofer combination offers a lower result than several other competitive soundbars.
But precisely, considering the final result, I consider it a truly top solution for the price range. It will hardly be better for a lower figure.
- Excellent value for money
- Clear and detailed sound
- Agile functionality and connectivity
- The subwoofer has below average bass
- The soundbar is inferior to many competitors
Sony – HT-RT4 Home Cinema 5.1 – Price: 389.00 euro
The Samsung HW-T650 Soundbar is a 3.1 configuration of Samsung’s Wireless Home Theater range.
This is a good value, mid-range wireless home cinema system. It has a neutral and well-balanced sound profile suitable for a variety of musical and film genres. In addition, it has a dedicated center channel, which helps to make voices and dialogues clearer and more precise.
On the flip side, it doesn’t have the most immersive surround performance and doesn’t support Atmos, which might be disappointing for movie buffs. However, this soundbar can get quite loud without creating distortion, which is rare in this price range. It also features the ability to customize the sound at will, thanks to its five equalization presets.
To reinforce audio engagement, the Samsung T650 uses Dolby Audio and DTS Virtual: X. Powerful 3D surround sound and a center channel for dialogue make speech deeply clearer.
It is a wireless Home Theater and in fact, it can be connected via Bluetooth to switch to wireless mode. Furthermore, thanks to the multiple connections you can switch without problems from one device to another.
The system features intelligent sound control which means that whether you are watching a loud sporting event or a low volume yellow, the wireless home theater will automatically optimize the sound settings. Gamers will also appreciate the optimized directional sound of the dedicated “Game Mode”.
Overall, the Samsung HW-T650 soundbar has excellent performance for the price. It offers well-balanced and accurate sound reproduction making it suitable for a variety of uses.
Configuration 3.1 has a center channel that makes dialogue and voices clear and precise. On the flip side, it has to downmix the surround content to stereo, which doesn’t provide the most immersive viewing experience possible.
Wireless Home Cinema enthusiasts might also be disappointed that it doesn’t support Atmos content. However, in my opinion, it remains a reliable and quality solution for those looking for a mid-range product at an affordable price.
- Well balanced sound profile
- Five equalization presets
- High maximum volume
- Well built
- It does not support Atmos
- A little bit of sub-bass is missing
Samsung – Soundbar HW-T650 – Price: $239
The Philip 3.1 Bluetooth wireless home theater has been around for a couple of years and has become famous for its robust performance.
It is a 3.1 wireless home theater, consisting of a soundbar flanked by a wireless subwoofer. In the package, we also find the remote control, an HDMI cable, an AUX cable, and brackets for wall mounting. While the soundbar has an optical port, it doesn’t come with one in the box, but the HDMI cable is already a very welcome giveaway.
What makes the Philips 3.1 soundbar one of the most interesting devices is the ability to offer excellent audio output for all kinds of situations at a reasonable price.
It manages to give the best in the case of films in Dolby Atmos. While surround sound is absent from the soundbar, channel separation is great, and the subwoofer complements the bass sound effect in an immersive way. The dialogue is also much clearer than average, with a clear and audible effect even at relatively low volumes.
This 3.1 wireless home theater system packs 320W of audio output, and while they may not seem like a lot, it can comfortably envelop an average-sized living room. To enjoy an action-packed thriller, you don’t need to reach even 70% of the soundbar volume.
It has 2 HDMI pass-through ports, but they don’t support HDR pass-through and that might be a downside for some. It has a simple and easy-to-use remote control. What is missing, for some, is the absence of app support and internet connectivity.
It can decode Dolby Atmos, but of course, we don’t expect sound as immersive as a Home Theater.
The soundbar has only 3 presets: News, movies, and music along with surround on and surround off. For every situation, the preset it represents works well. If you like watching documentaries that don’t have a lot of background music, you can also consider the News preset as this greatly reduces the bass.
As I see it, it remains a complete wireless home theater system, easy to use, and with an excellent quality/price ratio for the proposed result. If we are looking for a quality Soundbar, with powerful bass and compatible with Dolby Atmos audio, this certainly remains one of the best choices ever.
- Excellent overall sound performance
- Support for Dolby Atmos encoding
- Good overall power
- Simple and easy to use remote control
- No internet connectivity or app support
Philips – TV speaker PB603 – Price: $251
6. Sony – HT-S350 Surround
The HT-S350 with 2.1 channels, is a wireless home theater system that offers a rather important sound thanks to a declared power of 320 watts. While this system has good horsepower at its disposal, it has some issues competing with other systems when it comes to balancing the finer details.
Let’s start with the design, simple and linear, rather elegant. The chocolate bar-shaped remote is studded with buttons, with keys for volume, subwoofer level, and multiple sound modes including Music, Games, News, Cinema, Sport, and Standard. There is also an Auto Sound button designed to adjust the system for the best sound depending on what is being played, a Voice button to reinforce dialogue, and a Night Mode button to allow for better balance when you need to reduce the volume. Unfortunately, there is apparently no way to adjust the highs or lows, but that’s not surprising at this price point.
On the back of the bar is an IR repeater in case it blocks your TV’s IR sensor and a compartment for the connection ports. The HT-S350 only accommodates two hardline connections, although they are the ones you’ll need most, including digital ports for HDMI ARC and the optical connection. This is the first soundbar we can remember encountering with zero analog inputs, meaning you won’t be able to hook up a turntable or TV without an adapter.
The stage is also quite square for such a long bar, which tends to condense both television programming and music. Good audio details in the mid and bass range, while leaving the treble range to be desired.
Overall this wireless home theater is a product that we think is great for this price. However, it plays an important flaw: the Bluetooth connection occurs only with Sony TVs. To connect it to other brands, we will have to use the HDMI ARC connection.
- Good value for money
- Easy setup
- Great bass response
- The sound is mediocre in the highs
- Bluetooth connection for Sony Smart TVs only
Sony – HT-S350 Surround – Price: 198.00 euro
YAS-209 was one of the first wireless home theater systems capable of supporting DTS: X surround soundtracks based on the sound bounce. This is one of the cheapest systems on this list and probably because it’s not true 5.1 but simulates surround sound and also simulates DTS: X surround sound.
This is a beautifully designed wireless home theater system. The soundbar is slim and will not block your TV if you decide to place it on the TV stand. The subwoofer isn’t too big and won’t take up too much space if you have a small room.
The installation process is very simple and only takes a few minutes (if you don’t want to mount it). All LED indicators should be facing the viewing position. This soundbar does not have up-firing drivers like other DTS: X-enabled soundbars.
Controlling the unit is very simple and easy. You can do it all with the soundbar remote or you can use the TV remote to turn the system on / off, choose the input, adjust the volume and change the audio output device (choose between TV and unit). You can only do this if you use the HDMI ARC connection and if the HDMI control function on your TV is enabled. Also, you can install the Home Theater Controller app for Android or iOS and control the system with this app.
The system supports Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 surround sound as well as PCM. This unit can also pass through 4K video and has support for HDR and HDCP 2.2.
DTS: X 3D surround simulation is supported, but the firmware update must be installed. Pressing the surround button on the remote will switch between the different surround modes. When the surround sound LED (the one labeled DD / DTS) lights green, you are receiving a normal surround, blue is a 3D surround (or DTS: X) when there is no light, you are in stereo. DPL LED with light when stereo sound is played in surround mode (Dolby Pro Logic is activated).
As for Virtual: X surround sound, let’s not expect too much. It doesn’t offer a perfect audio experience, but it’s the best you can get from any soundbar that mimics (simulates) object-based surround sound.
This system has some nice additional features like bass extension, clear voice, and dimmer.
The auto power on (standby) function is disabled by default (for the US market). When this feature is enabled, the system will shut down after 8 hours of inactivity or after 20 minutes with no input signal.
For the price at which it is offered, the YAS 209 is no surprise that it has become a world-best-selling wireless home theater system. It is probably more appropriate for small to medium-sized rooms. The subwoofer isn’t too big but it’s powerful and responsive. Compared to other systems in the same price range, it offers a slightly wider soundstage (not like some true 5.1 systems but still acceptable).
Yamaha – YAS-209 Home Theater – Price: $199
➤ How does a wireless home theater system work?
Wireless surround sound systems have a set of speakers that plug into a center hub, which is usually the soundbar or center speaker that comes with the system. The speaker connection is often wireless, but with some systems, only the subwoofer is truly wireless and any other speakers must be wired to the hub. The signals travel through the center hub to speakers and subwoofers, so that the listener perceives the audio from different corners of the room.
➤ Is a wireless home theater system worse than a wired one?
Wireless surround sound systems maintain the sound quality of wired models and offer the freedom to place speakers without reconnecting them to the main system. However, if you invest in a low-quality wireless home theater system, there is a possibility that smartphones, microwaves, and other appliances may cause interference (due to too weak a signal) and degrade the sound quality.
➤ How do I connect a wireless home theater system to the TV?
Wireless Home Theater Systems must be connected to compatible audio outputs on the TV. Most systems must be connected via HDMI Audio Return Channel (HDMI ARC). There are also Soundbars capable of communicating wirelessly to the TV (like Sony’s), but it depends from case to case. The remaining speakers, including the subwoofer, communicate with the hub (typically the soundbar) via Bluetooth.
➤ What are Dolby Atmos Home Theater Systems?
Some systems offer Dolby Atmos technology, designed to offer more immersive sound (sound waves bounce from the ceiling towards the viewer) and to simulate a surround sound effect. They usually cost significantly more than the others, but the overall audio quality is significantly better.
➤ How and where is the wireless home theater system positioned?
The location of the implant is very important. The perfect place for the soundbar is centered below or above your TV. The external subwoofer makes its own story and usually sits next to the soundbar or in a corner of the room on either side of the listener.
AS ALWAYS, IN CASE OF DOUBTS OR QUESTIONS, YOU CAN FIND ME AVAILABLE IN THE COMMENTS!