From TVs to streaming boxes, these are our favorites of 2019
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From 4K TVs to fancy new streaming devices, your home theater is smarter than ever before. But with all that new technology there are more questions than ever. What TVs are best? What's the best streaming box for watching Netflix?
Can I still watch my favorite shows if I cancel cable? Reviewed covered it all this year and more, putting our favorite products into the Reviewed 100, our collection of the products we'd recommend to our friends and family. Here you'll find all our picks from the Home Theater category from the best OLED and QLED sets, to the best streaming boxes, to some incredible (yet affordable!) TVs.
Despite being in a category with true heavyweights like Apple, Google, and Amazon, Roku continues to dominate the streaming market. That's incredible, but using the company's new flagship box—the 2019 Roku Ultra—it's clear why Roku is winning. The Roku Ultra costs just $99 but it delivers everything you could want in a streaming box.
It's fast, easy to use, supports every major streaming service, and it has a best-in-class remote that supports voice search and has a headphone jack to listen to your shows wirelessly. Roku has added significantly more ads to its platform in the last few years, but it's also added the free, ad-supported Roku Channel which has a ton of movies and shows to stream for free.
Roku even recently added support for Apple's TV app, giving you access to your iTunes purchases right on your Roku device. It's a tacit admission from Apple what Roku die-hards already know: this is the best streaming device you can buy, period.
For years, we've loved Vizio's M-Series as a budget-friendly TV series that trims some of the more extraneous features from premium TVs while still giving most people the only thing they really care about: great picture quality. The 2019 M-Series Quantum sweetens the pot by maintaining that line of value while also adding quantum dot tech.
That means you're getting a modestly-priced TV that utilizes one of the best TV screen technologies around right now. The M-Series Quantum provides a robust 4K picture boosted by the extra brightness and color made possible via quantum dot technology, but it maintains the traditionally simple design and minimalist feature set that make it affordable. The end result is something that's great if you want a fancy-looking TV without a four-figure price tag.
TCL first brought the 6 Series to market a few years back, and it quickly earned the effusive praise of TV reviewers, AV nerds, and gamers everywhere. The 2019 6 Series is the best version yet, and best of all, you can definitely still afford it.
Much like some of Vizio's best TVs, the 6 Series TVs deliver great picture quality—wide color, high brightness, 4K resolution, and solid contrast—at prices that tend to feel like a steal when compared to some of the more well-established brands. With the 6 Series, you're getting HDR compatibility, and the beloved Roku smart platform built right in. The 2019 model is also the first to deliver quantum dot technology, putting the 6 Series' value at almost unprecedented levels.
There's one approach to buying a TV we can all get behind: getting the best picture at the lowest price possible. And when it comes to securing a good-looking TV for very little money, we'd be remiss not to direct folks towards the TCL 4-Series.
TCL's been producing some seriously great TVs for the last couple years, and the 2019 4 Series gives you an awful lot of value for what you're paying. Starting at less than $300 online, all of the 4-Series TVs deliver 4K resolution, HDR compatibility, a built-in Roku smart platform, and commendable picture quality. They aren't going to drop any jaws, but for what you're paying, these TVs definitely punch above their price tags.
As long as OLED TVs have been on the market, we've been telling TV lovers to buy them, and that's no different this year. LG's C9 series is one of the more affordable OLEDs on the market, but it's still the best TV we've tested this year.
What makes OLED stand apart from traditional LED TVs is that it's an entirely different technology. Each OLED cell creates its own light and color, which allows it to shut off when it isn't being used. Combine that flexibility with a 4K resolution screen, and you're getting a TV with color gradation and contrast that regular LED TVs can't come close to. The C9 delivers a sensible design and LG's intuitive webOS smart platform, too, but you'd be well justified for buying it for its incredible picture quality alone.
What do you get when a company takes its best-ever TV—the 2018 P-Series Quantum—and ups the ante? New for 2019, the P-Series Quantum X has every reason to be the best TV that Vizio's ever made, and after taking it on a tour through our testing labs, we're inclined to agree.
With this TV, you're getting a ton of top TV tech, including 4K resolution, a trim metallic design, built-in Chromecast functionality, and the ability to play both High Dynamic Range and Dolby Vision content. With pre-set Calibrated picture modes and HDMI 2.1 ports, it's easy to get great-looking movies and lag-free games. Just make sure you bring your sunglasses: this is the brightest TV we've ever tested.
Samsung released an 8K TV this year, and if you can afford it, you probably don't need to research the year's best products. For everyone else, we'd like to direct you to the Samsung Q90R: the next step down in Samsung's 2019 lineup, this is the premium Samsung TV you should actually buy this year.
From its quantum dot-enhanced picture and meticulously regulated backlight, to a sweeping design aesthetic that emphasizes minimalism and invisible cables, the Q90R checks off every box on the list of things we'd want in an LED TV. While there might be some TVs that can match this one in brightness and color, they can't hold a candle to its zippy software, clean hardware designs, and ability to interface with all your other Samsung smart devices.
The Sonos Beam is one of the most popular soundbars around (with good reason). At $400, the Beam isn't cheap, but it's made with Sonos' signature attention to detail, dead-simple user experience, and beautiful minimalist design.
Though it lacks some of the extras of competitors (such as Bluetooth connectivity), everything is in the name of sound quality. Much like Apple products, you're surrendering some flexibility in the name of making sure the experience is exactly what it should be, every time. Whether you're watching a movie or listening to music, the Beam just sounds great, delivering good frequency presence from bass to treble. It's easy to adjust for various musical genres, and despite that there's no external subwoofer, there's plenty of bass presence for such a compact bar.
The latest iteration in Anker's portable speaker line, dubbed SoundCore, the SoundCore 2 is basic, straightforward, and useful. It features a sturdy rectangular design with big, easy-to-push buttons and a very tightly sealed set of inputs for USB charging and a 3.5 input.
The first thing I noticed about the SoundCore 2 was its sound quality. For being small, portable, and fairly lightweight, it has less tinniness in its trebles than a lot of portable Bluetooth speakers and more bass presence. Between the low price point and the wide array of colors, it's a very clear value pick as far as portable speakers go. It doesn't get majorly loud, but it gets about as loud as most people will probably need it to, and all without a touch of distortion.
Last but definitely not least, the Anker SoundCore 2 is, of course, rated IPX7 waterproof, meaning it's capable of at least partial submersion without being rendered useless—exactly what you want here.
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