The Best Analog Video Converter
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After 20 hours of research and testing we found the Cingk Mini Video Converter to be the best inexpensive choice for most people wanting to connect older video gear to new TVs. The Cingk takes the composite video signal (the single yellow cable) from, say, a VCR or Nintendo Wii, and converts it to HDMI so you can connect the older gear to your new TV. We like the Cingk because it’s small and easy to set up. Just plug the composite cables into the inputs, an HDMI cable into the output and your TV, choose either 1080p or 720p (depending on your TV’s resolution), and tuck it somewhere it won’t be seen. However, you should get this only if your TV doesn’t have a composite input already. In our tests, our TV’s internal converter/scaler provided slightly better performance. If the Cingk isn’t available or jumps in price, the Musou and the Teorderconverters are perfectly acceptable alternatives to the Cingk. In fact, save for the branding on the case, they seem to be identical. We found that both of these units performed almost exactly the same as our top pick, though at the time we tested both cost a bit more than the Cingk for what appears…

The Best Small TV
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The best small TV for most people is the 32-inch TCL Roku. Since most 32-inch TVs are meant for a secondary room or to be very price conscious, this TCL set stands apart with its affordable price tag and integrated Roku functionality. As a result, it has the best smart features of any small TV and saves you the $50-plus that an external Roku box would cost. It even offers three HDMI ports, while most TVs in this size have two. The picture quality is good, and the value can’t be beat. TCL also offers three other variants on this set, the 3700, 3800, and the 3850. If you’re okay with the styling, go for whichever one is available at the lowest price. Most publications don’t take the time to evaluate small TVs, instead focusing all their efforts on high-end ones even though small TVs are what most people actually buy. For anyone seeking a 32-inch TV, out-of-the-box performance and value will be the most important components. While some TVs offer the controls for a professional calibrator like myself to get the best performance out of them, no one is going to spend $250 on a TV and then spend $350 on calibration. It has to perform well…

The Best Wireless TV Headphones
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If I wanted to buy wireless RF “home theater” headphones to use while listening to television and music in my home, I’d choose the Power Acoustik Farenheit HP-902 RFT set. Why? After spending dozens of hours researching every RF headphone system we could find, and considering 32 of them, we then read what few professional reviews we could dig up. Next we tested 14 pairs total between our original guide published in March 2014 and this update (including a direct back-to-back listening comparison of the best-reviewed and newest RF headphones with our expert panel). After all of that, we concluded that the HP-902 RFT headphones sound decent, offer useful features such as a mute switch and the ability to switch between sources, and give you the best value for your money of anything that’s currently available. We preferred the sound of the Sennheiser RS 165 (the update to last year’s pick, the now-discontinued Sennheiser RS 160)—but for less than the price of the RS 165, you get two pairs of headphones in the HP-902 RFT set. The HP-902 RFT package (which you can find under both the Power Acoustik and Farenheit brands) gives you an RF transmitter, two pairs of headphones, zippered cases for those…

The Best 4K Blu-ray Player
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After researching every currently available 4K Blu-ray player, and spending more than 20 hours testing the features and performance of six contenders, we’re sure that the Sony UBP-X800 is the best for most people. All the players we tested had indistinguishable 4K disc performance, but the Sony’s disc-loading speed, snappy menus, and superior 4K upscaling of DVDs and non-4K Blu-rays set it apart from the pack. The superior image scaling of the Sony UBP-X800 was especially impressive, which is important because most people will use this player to watch far more DVDs and regular high-definition Blu-ray discs than 4K Blu-rays. When converting SD and HD images to 4K, the Sony introduced fewer scaling artifacts and did a better job interpolating curves and other shapes—the only player that did better costs twice as much as of this writing. And while most people don’t need yet another streaming device, the Sony supports the major services and has a customizable interface. It also has some convenient features, like the ability to send audio directly to your Bluetooth headphones. Finally, its metal chassis makes it sturdier than other players in its price category, so it feels like a premium home theater component that should stand up better over…

The Best Wireless HDMI Video Transmitter
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After spending 25 hours flipping channels and swapping video sources, we’ve decided that the Iogear GW3DHDKIT Wireless HDMI Digital Kit is the best wireless HDMI transmitter. Though other models on our list boast the same 100-foot transmission, this was the least expensive model that also combines two HDMI inputs and the option for USB power. It’s the best choice for people who can’t or don’t want to run cables across the room to a projector or TV. The Iogear GW3DHDKIT Wireless HDMI Digital Kit is an inexpensive, simple-to-use option for wirelessly sending HDMI video and audio signals in 1080p and 5.1 across the room or around the house without losing quality. The base unit has two HDMI inputs and one HDMI output, so you can leave multiple sources plugged in, and it can conveniently draw power from a USB 3.0 port (more on this below). If you’re looking to fill the room with additional audio, the Nyrius Aries Home+features support for 7.1 sound. Like our top pick, this model can support two HDMI sources, can be powered from a USB port, and performs reliably. However, additional cost kept it from taking the top spot. The Monoprice Blackbird Pro 16049 doesn’t work as well through walls as our…

The Best OLED TV
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We researched all the latest OLED TVs and tested the top competitors to determine that the LG C7 is the best high-end TV. Although pricey compared to even the best LCD TVs, the C7 has the same OLED panel found in even more expensive models from LG and Sony, and saves you money by leaving out extra features that won’t noticeably improve image quality. Like all OLED TVs, the C7 gives you darker blacks and truer colors than LCD displays, making it a great option for videophiles looking for image quality above all else. The LG C7 supports all the most important current HDR standards, includes a user-friendly webOS video streaming platform, and has a comprehensive menu that allows for detailed calibration. Physically, the C7 has a thin form factor that you can mount right up against a wall and a black bezel that‘s less noticeable than the silver bezels found on other LG models. Paying more for a higher-end model from LG doesn’t improve the image quality at all, and OLED TVs from other companies don’t offer enough performance improvement to make them worth the extra money. Aside from the black bezel, the LG C7 is actually almost identical to the LG B7Aand the LG B7P (Costco-only),…

The Best Blu-ray Player
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After spending almost 25 hours with the best new Blu-ray players in 2015, we recommend the Sony BDP-S3500 for most people. The Sony offers integrated Wi-Fi and has the most popular streaming apps, plus the user interface has been improved this year, making it easier to access apps you want than on the other players we tested. It also leaves off features that most people don’t really need or care about, such as 4K upconversion and 3D playback. Sony also offers an updated version of this Blu-ray player, the Sony BDP-S3700. It can now usually be found at a better price than the S3500. Although we haven’t formally tested the S3700, we think getting the newer model is worth it for most people. Our most recent tests have focused on 4K Blu-Ray players, and we think anyone looking to upgrade their home theater setup should look into our recommendations for higher resolution players as well. If 3D playback is important to you, the Sony BDP-S5500 adds the capability and is usually a little more expensive. Since everything else is the same and most people don’t need 3D, the BDP-S3500 is a better pick for most if it’s available more cheaply. Universally recognized as the best Blu-ray player available, the Oppo’s superior video…

The Best TV Wall Mount
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Getting your TV up on the wall not only looks nice, but it frees up valuable floor space as well. We researched TV wall mounts for 30 hours and built a wall to test seven of them, and we feel the best for most people is the Sanus VMPL50A-B1 Tilting Wall Mount. The Sanus’s solid steel construction, easy tilting mechanism, post-install leveling, and ample supply of included hardware makes it easy to install and safe to use. The Sanus VMPL50A-B1 fits TVs ranging in size from 32 to 70 inches and holds a TV less than two inches from the wall. It can be tilted up or down to reduce screen glare and give a little extra working room behind the TV when plugging in cables. Installation is easy, and we like how the monitor brackets make an audible click when the TV is properly hung on the wall plate. The mount also has adjustment screws in case it’s installed a little bit out of level. The knobs that control the tension of the tilt can be adjusted by hand, but if there’s not enough room, they can also be adjusted with the supplied hex wrench. If the Sanus isn’t available, we also…

The Best Media Streaming Devices
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Having tested more than 20 streaming devices over the past four years, we think the Roku Streaming Stick+ (with 4K and HDR support) is the best value. It supports the widest selection of apps and services and has a true universal search function that makes it easy to find what you’re looking for. We also like that Roku’s customizable interface doesn’t prioritize content from any particular service over another.Roku Streaming Stick+ costs more than the similar Streaming Stick, but it’s worth the slight premium because it’s more future-proof. It supports the latest 4K, HDR10, and WCG video formats and Dolby Atmos for audio. Its redesigned antenna also improves its Wi-Fi reception. Otherwise, it’s pretty much the same as the cheaper model, which is a good thing. You get the user-friendly Roku OS; an RF remote works through walls and lets you search with voice and control your TV’s volume and turn the TV on and off; and the iOS or Android app lets you watch shows and movies with headphones to avoid disturbing others. Finally, it’s super-easy to set up and gets all the power it needs from your TV’s USB service port. It’s a fantastic update to what was already an excellent streaming device. The Streaming…

Cutting the Cord: Alternatives to Cable and Satellite TV
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Cutting the cord—canceling your cable or satellite TV service in favor of streaming or other options—is a hot topic. Whether because of the rising costs of TV service, declining interest in traditional cable programming, or other reasons, more and more people are dropping cable. As recently as 2010, more than 88 percent of households were paying for TV from a cable, satellite, or other provider, but by the middle of 2015 that number had fallen to 80 percent. And by the second quarter of 2016, it was reported that more people quit paying for TV service in the those three months than in any previous quarter. But is cutting the cord for you? You have more options these days than even just a few years ago, but the answer depends on what you want to watch, how much you watch, and a number of other factors. You might be able to quit cable completely, moving to a mixture of streaming services and paid downloads. Or you might be able to reduce your monthly fees by replacing expensive rental equipment with a streaming box and free apps. Alternatively, you could stick with cable or satellite but spend less by figuring out what you…