The Best Home Theater in a Box (Does Not Exist)
The audio world is shifting rapidly, and soundbars are usurping the once mighty category of HTIBs. So what are we to do, when fewer are being made, and fewer still are being reviewed?
Well, that’s easy–we’re going to recommend something else.
“HTIBs used to be the go-to budget option for home audio, but [we’re] reluctant to recommend an HTIB these days. You get all the downsides of multiple speakers and tangles of wires, yet you often don’t get dramatically better sound than a good sound bar. And unlike AV receivers and speakers, an HTIB typically isn’t upgradable, so you’re stuck with the AV receiver, speakers, and built-in Blu-ray player your HTIB features. While there are some scenarios in which an HTIB is the best option, in most cases you’re better off saving up for a full-size system or settling for a good-enough sound bar.”
There was a time HTIBs made sense. They were convenient, and often offered a discount compared to buying the pieces on their own. While this is still sort of the case, the lower price now often means worse performance.