Whether you’re getting back under $150 or a few grand from your tax return, we’re here to help you get the best bang for your buck. For tax refunds of any size, if you’ve got some spare cash to spend, check out this list of our essential home-theater items.
Your return is under $150 — Get a universal remote with proprietary app that turns your smartphone into a controller
Logitech’s Harmony Smart Control (915-000194) is a simple universal remote that works with more than five major home-entertainment and gaming brands and over 225 devices—and the list is always growing. This remote comes bundled with a Harmony hub and is compatible with a dedicated Logitech app that turns your phone into a remote control. The included Harmony hub allows you to control devices behind closed cabinet doors, making this remote truly wireless.
If you’re getting $250 back — upgrade to a soundbar and subwoofer with an affordable pairing
Incredible sound for a bargain price, the Polk Signa 1 (model S1 AM9214-A) is sure to outperform your TV’s built-in speakers, upgrading everything you watch. The bar connects quickly with its included optical cable. Its Dolby Digital 5.1 decoding and customizable levels produce a room-filling sound and clear dialog. The included wireless subwoofer adds deep bass, giving the sound added depth and impact. This soundbar system is Bluetooth compatible so it’s easy to connect your mobile device or home computer and stream music.
Under $350? Invest in a better command central
The Sony STR-DH770 7.2-channel AV receiver has four HDMI inputs and one HDMI output, all supporting HDCP2.2, 4K resolution, 60p, HDR, and 4:4:4 color subsampling. Conveying full native 4K video content to capable devices, the receiver connects easily to the latest home-theater components. It supports Bluetooth and NFC, plus is Apple AirPlay compatible. The audio capabilities also shine, with a power rating of 145 watts per channel and quick speaker setup with automatic calibration. There’s also USB connectivity with an auxiliary port on the receiver’s face, as well as a headphone jack.
Fill your home with sound for under $750
These compact bookshelf speakers produce crisp, powerful sound. AVS Forum’s Mark Henninger called the self-powered pair “audiophile quality” in his review. The Klipsch R-15PM active 2-way speakers have five inputs, making them ready for a turntable, PC and TV—no receiver necessary. They also support wireless via Bluetooth connectivity and are a great standalone set. Each monitor features a 1″ aluminum-dome tweeter mated to a 90-by-90-degree square Tractrix Horn, and a 5.25″ copper-spun color, magnetically shielded IMG woofer.
You cashed in; now turn your room into one with a view
Samsung’s The Frame 4K UHD TV offers not just a cinematic UHD movie experience, but also an art mode that lets you select works from Samsung’s Gallery Collection or display your own. You can even customize the matting and frame, with walnut, oak, and white interchangeable options sold separately to match the decor of any room. This 55″ wall-mount model (UN55LS003AF) hangs flush with no gap between it and the wall. And the picture quality? 4K/UHD delivers impressive detail while HDR shows extreme contrasts in light. Meanwhile, Active Crystal Color produces a wider color gamut, making images look more lifelike. Plus, this Smart TV lets you access connected devices from your remote or smartphone.
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