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Yamaha YHT-S400 Home Theater System

While we still prefer a full 7.1 system when the room — and budget — allow, the new Yamaha YHT-S400 Home Theater System ($600) is a fine choice for cramped spaces. The S400 combines a 31.5-inch sound bar with an advanced receiver that features an integrated subwoofer, three 1080p-compatible HDMI inputs with CEC functionality, linear PCM audio input handling, Yamaha's UniVolume feature for keeping the volume at a consistent level no matter the source, Air Sound Extreme to deliver sound around the listener better than most other virtual surround systems, and more.

  • Sony Altus

    Wiring your entire home for sound can be a huge pain — especially if you're working on a historic or otherwise pre-existing residence — which is why we're intrigued by the Sony Altus ($50-$700) system. Utilizing 2.4GHz wireless technology, the Altus system can push audio from the source of your choice, be it a stereo, TV, or iPod, to a maximum of eight separate speakers around your house, letting you "Party in the USA" no matter where you are. If that sounds a bit rich for your blood, there's always the Rocketfish system, which also uses a 2.4GHz wireless audio standard but runs from $60-$200. [Thanks, Todd]

  • Sonos ZonePlayer S5

    Access your home music library wirelessly -- as well as a host of Internet music sources -- from the Sonos ZonePlayer S5 ($400). Unlike the company's prior solutions, which required an extra speaker setup, the S5 is an all-in-one, packing two tweeters, two mid-range drivers, and an integrated subwoofer, as well as the ability to control everything right from your iPhone or iPod touch. Unfortunately, you have to hardwire the unit to your router to access the Internet tunes, but if you buy more than one, all the rest will be wireless — just plug it in and play. [Thanks, Matthew]