The Best Gear for the Ultimate Home Cinema

By Tom Pritchard on at

When a ticket for the cinema can cost as much as £15 per person (plus snacks), it makes sense that you might want to stay at home. Still, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a cinema-like experience in comfortable and familiar surroundings. Better still, the stuff you need to make it happen doesn't have to cost more than the family car. Here are our top picks.

BenQ W1070+ Projector, £639

The TV might be the most obvious film-viewing device, but there's much more out there. Grab yourself a projector and you can a much, much bigger screen for a fraction of the cost. Relatively speaking, that is. This one by BenQ offers 1080p resolution on a screen up to 200-inches in size, is 3D-capable (if you still watch 3D at home), and is bright enough to watch during the day. It also has built-in speakers, in case you don't own a speaker system.

Obviously you'll need something to project it onto, so try this 120-inch screen (£94), with an electronic motor. Or, if you don't want to install a screen, try coating a wall in this special projector-capable paint (£57). [Buy it here]

Panasonic TX-40CX680B4K 40-inch LED TV, £489

As advantageous as a projector may be, if you want 4K you're going to end up paying a shed-load of money. Thankfully 4K TVs aren't as pricey as they used to be. If you're looking for a decent budget one, try this one from Panasonic. It's got a 40-inch LED screen (for those extra fancy colours), built-in Freeview and on-demand from the four basic TV channels, a Firefox-based OS, and 'local dimming'  which enhances blacks and brightness without compromising screen quality. [Buy it here]

Sony BDP-S6500 4K Upscaling Blu-ray Player, £100

Stream all you want, we still have physical media lying around that needs playing every once in a while. So grab yourself one of these, a Blu-ray player that upscales your discs close to 4K (if you're using a 4K TV, that is). It also has built-in Wi-Fi, smartphone control, and 3D support if you're still looking for that. It's not the best if you want something with streaming apps, but all the big names are there. [Buy it here]

Amazon Fire TV Stick, from £35

If you want something simple for streaming media, you can't go wrong with Amazon's Fire TV Stick. It's filled with damn near all the popular on-demand streaming apps, and a bunch of different apps to add extra functionality. Amongst them are apps that let you stream content from your devices via Google Cast and Apple Airplay, so there's something for everyone.

It's also worth pointing out that you can always go a bit more advanced, and use clients like Kodi or Plex to put together your own home cinema libraries. [Buy it here]

JBL CINEMA 510 Surround Sound System, £233

Sound systems can cost a bloody fortune if you're not careful, but unless you're a majorly pedantic audiophile then you don't need to spend a fortune. Try this one out for size. It's got five wall-mounted satellite speakers, one central 60W subwoofer, and the relevant wall-mounted brackets. That's all you really need. No fancy stuff here, but it should do you.

If that's a bit much fr you, you can always go small with a speaker bar. This one from Phillips (£197.10) has a separate wireless subwoofer, Bluetooth, and virtual surround sound.

It might also be worth investing in some wireless headphones (£159), so you can have everything nice and loud without pissing off any of your neighbours. [Buy it here]

Black Out Curtains

You don't want that pesky light from the sun/street lights coming in through your windows and spoiling everything do you? Of course not. So get some black-out curtains block it all out. You can either buy some brand new curtains for the job, a lining that attaches to the back of the curtains you already have up, or some easily-removable material that sticks to your windows with suction cups.

Logitech Harmony Companion, £118

This one little box can help you ditch all your remotes, and control all of your home cinema gadgetry (and some smart home devices) using your smartphone. Essentially it turns your phone into a universal remote, meaning you don't need to fret about where you left the others (or if they have any batteries). [Buy it here]

Phillips Hue Starter Kit, £60

Get the perfect cinema ambiance, with smart bulbs that you control from your phone. You don't want to have to get up to switch off/dim the lights before your films starts do you? Or wander in the dark to turn them back on? Of course not. You'll need the starter kit if you want to be able to do that, and with it you can control up to 50 smart bulbs in your home. [Buy it here]


As pricey as the concessions at cinemas generally are, trying not to eat all your popcorn before the film starts is a time-honoured tradition. Thankfully all the stuff you can buy is easy to sort out at home, provided you have the gear. At the very least you should invest in a popcorn maker (and raw corn), but it might also be worth buying a slushie machine, nachos, and Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Plus, if you want some extra authenticity, you might want this miniature pick and mix dispenser.