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.

CNET has this to say about HTIBs:

“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.

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The Best Space Heaters

Maybe your home’s heating system just isn’t cutting it, and wearing your coat indoors for the next six months is just stupid. If you rent your home, or can’t afford to install new insulation or upgrade your central heating system, then the best way to stay warm short of piling on extra layers of clothing is to buy a space heater.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive portable heater to help keep your home warm this winter, Delonghi’s $80 TRH0715T Safeheat 1500W portable oil-filled radiator is the way to go. After 20 hours of research and hands-on testing of 11 different space heaters, it was the offered the best combination of price, energy efficiency and features that I could find.

But, if you’ve got money to burn, Dyson’s $400 AM04 Hot fan-forced ceramic heater is a great option too. It’s packed with features, safer than anything else I tested and  heated up my test space so much faster than everything else I pitted against it.

But before we talk about what you should buy, there’s a few other things we need to talk about.

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The Best Cable Modem

If I were in the market for a cable modem so I could forgo those pesky rental fees, I’d pick up Motorola’s SB6141 Surfboard DOCSIS 3.0 Cable modem at $120.