With the popularity of streaming services like Netflix, and Amazon Prime, people are watching more movies & TV series than ever. Not only has video quality improved with 4K and now 8K, but the audio quality has improved significantly with streaming services offering full 5.1 channel surround sound! You may think that installing a surround sound system is expensive and requires extensive renovations, but new wireless home theatre systems allow you to enjoy surround sound without having to drill holes in your walls to run speaker wire! Here are some of the top wireless home theatre systems on the market today.
Before we jump in we want to clarify what we mean by a “wireless home theatre system”. For our purposes, we will be referring to home theatre systems where the rear surround speakers do not need to be physically wired into the main front speaker/soundbar/receiver. Obviously everything needs electricity, so they will still have to be plugged into the wall. The benefit to these speakers is that you do not have to cut holes in your walls and run speaker wire to enjoy surround sound, and when you aren’t watching a movie these speakers can be moved elsewhere in your home to create a wireless multi-room sound system! The front speakers will typically still be wired to a receiver, though it is infinitely easier to hide some cable at the front, than having to undertake extensive renovations to accommodate wired rear speakers.
While there are many options out there for wireless home theatre, we are going to look at three main ecosystems, HEOS by Denon, Yamaha MusicCast, and Sonos.
HEOS by Denon
HEOS is a sub-brand under the Denon umbrella. Denon of course is known for making high quality receivers for many years. With the HEOS line, they have utilized the latest wireless technology to enable multiroom functionality. What’s great about the HEOS line is you have a variety of wireless options. For simplicity, you can use the HEOS soundbar (which replaces the need for a receiver due to it having 5 hdmi inputs!) which gives you your front 3 channels (Left, Centre, Right) and pair it with two HEOS 1’s for your wireless rear speakers and the wireless HEOS Subwoofer for a space saving 5.1 surround sound system. Alternatively, if you want a slightly more traditional system, you can utilize one of Denon’s receivers, wired to any front speakers you choose, and then utilize the HEOS 5’s as rear wireless speakers with a bit more kick.
View Heos Wireless Speakers>>
Yamaha has been a staple of the hifi audio, home theatre world for decades, so it’s no surprise that they too have developed their own line of wireless speakers that utilize Wifi. There are a range of soundbars, receivers, and speakers (with some truly unique designs!) that are equipped with the MusicCast software to enable a wireless home theatre system. Typically, it’s either the Yamaha MusicCast 20, or 50 speakers that would be used as your wireless rear’s. What’s unique about the Yamaha ecosystem is that because the MusicCast 50 speaker itself has a wide stereo field, it can be used solo and handle both your rear left and right channels. This is a great option for those who have an existing Yamaha receiver equipped with MusicCast, as you can buy a single speaker to add wireless surround sound.
View Yamaha Wireless Speakers>>
Sonos has been the most popular wireless speaker brand for the past several years. They have popularized multi-room streaming, and have an array of different speaker options. With their soundbar style speakers, being the Playbar, Playbase, and Beam, you can enjoy a 5.1 channel wireless home theatre by pairing them with two rear Sonos One or Play 1 speakers. Recently Sonos also announced their improved AMP, which lets you connect your favourite bookshelf or tower speakers, while using the Sonos Wifi streaming interface. While not technically wireless, you can now have a 4.1 system using the Sonos AMP and your favourite speakers!
View Sonos Wireless Speakers>>
While each of these systems sound great, they do have some subtle differences in how they are managed through their respective apps. Find a store near you to go try out these systems, and have an expert help you find the right one for your home.