For the first time, Home Theater Review com's editors have picked a select list of the best gear from many of our AV equipment categories. The winners are picked subjectively by our staff. In today's economy, value matters - this factors into the decision-making process of many editors. At the same time, when you are speaking of "the best," often that accolade comes with a hefty price tag. If you would like to share your vote, please feel free to post your comments below.
AV Preamp Winner: Classe SSP-800
This category was a very tough decision, as the Anthem D2v has more features and the kind of stability that dealers rave about. The Classe's audiophile sound, stunningly beautiful industrial design and easy-to-use interface got it the editors' nod.
• Runner-up: Anthem D2v
AV Receiver: Marantz SR-6004
Forget the clunky iPod doc. Beyond having all of the latest surround codex and a laundry list of other features, the Marantz SR-6004 wows with Bluetooth connectivity for sources like Apple iPhones or an iPod Touch.
• Runner-up: NAD T747
Blu-ray Player: Oppo Digital DP-83
This is the player that the dealers don't want to talk about. For $500, you get it all, including SACD, DVD-Audio, Blu-ray, CD and more. Other players ask $2,000 and higher for players that only play Blu-ray and CDs. Crazy audiophiles send their Oppo players out for DAC upgrades from Modwright.
• Runner-up: Sony BDP-S5000ES
Video Projector: SIM2 Lumis Host
This pricey three-chip DLP is one serious bad-ass projector. Color fidelity is topnotch. Blacks are dark as night and the industrial design is sexy and Italian. If you have the cash, it's hard to lose with the SIM2 Lumis Host.
• Runner-up: Anthem LTX LCOS projector
LED HDTV: Toshiba REGZA 46SV670U
The LED-backlit LCD HDTV is the hottest item in the AV business right now. Its brightness is what gets the attention of the consumer. However, the Toshiba has the best full-panel color uniformity, as many other LED HDTVs just light the edges of the panel. Not this Toshiba. It's bright, accurate and beautiful.
• Runner-up: LG 55LH90
Plasma HDTV: Panasonic TC-P46G10
Contrary to some reports, plasma is far from dead. In fact, plasma HDTV still offers the best black levels money can buy in today's market. Panasonic's blacks are deep and rich, while their color fidelity is stunningly good. Add in Vieracast goodies and you have a true winner.
• Runner-up: Pioneer KURO Pro-151FD
Video Screens: Stewart Filmscreen Starglas
Not everyone knows what Stewart Filmscreen's Starglas material is and that's a shame. This reflective, glass-like material allows you to use a video projector to create larger-than-plasma installations for a fraction of the price, which can be installed locations outdoors, in-walls and beyond.
• Runner-up: SI Black Diamond Screen Material