2016 Top Picks Of the Year

Peek back two years and read my intro for the 2014 Top Picks of the Year feature, and you’ll find me commenting on the advancement of LCD TVs and the growth of OLED; new competitors chasing after Sonos in the wireless multiroom arena; hi-res audio and vinyl continuing to surge; Atmos making its mark in the home theater market; and soundbars just getting generally better.

Fast-forward to 2016, and my speech is about the same. But that hardly means we’ve stood still. OLED has indeed grown but gotten better and less expensive, while the best LCD sets compete favorably thanks to impressive new backlight advances; both were supported this year by the launch of Ultra HD Blu-ray and HDR content. Vinyl and hi-res audio keep picking up steam and enjoying support in a wider range of products. More (and more) manufacturers are still chasing after Sonos, and immersive audio has now proven itself a must-have for serious theaterphiles. And, yes, the soundbars keep getting better.

That said, here’s this year’s list of Top Pick products that, on second glance (and in most cases, with the benefit of hindsight) deserve an extra special mention. Eligible products were reviewed in the 2016 calendar year, and we list MSRPs as originally cited, so check for current pricing and discounts.—Rob Sabin

Louis Gombos's picture

Where is GoldenEar among your Top Picks for speakers? This omission casts doubt on your choices in general.