2014 Top Picks Of the Year Extras


Astell & Kern AK240 High-Resolution Music Player
(July/August) You could purchase a quite respectable home playback system for the price of this portable, but the AK240 is a seriously impressive piece of great-sounding hardware and about the best you can get today in its category. $2,500, astellnkern.com

TiVo Roamio Pro DVR
(April) You’d think they’d have given up by now in this age of service-provider DVRs, but TiVo keeps upping the game with more capacity, more streaming options, and what is still the best graphic user interface for watching TV. $599, tivo.com

Vicoustic Room Treatments (assorted)
(October) Vicoustic’s unique mix of affordable (and surprisingly attractive) acoustic room treatments and their excellent room analysis service makes for a strong recommendation, $85 to $360 each, vicousticusa.com

SmartThings Home Automation Hub
(October) The SmartThings automation system distinguished itself with its affordable hub, wide device support, and powerful but still-friendly app. $99, smartthings.com

Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home Universal Remote
(soundandvision.com, December) The Harmony activity-based remotes are legendary for their affordability and powerful audio/video system control, so adding home automation functionality and support of a wide range of third-party automation devices creates a winning combination. $350, logitech.com

Dolby Atmos Object-Based Surround Sound.
(December) Yeah, yeah, we know—it’s a technology, not a product. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the tremendous advance made for home theater in bringing this object-based cinema sound system to the home market in 2014. It was among the most impressive things heard all year by Dan Kumin and Mark Fleischmann, who got to play with our first review systems in their home studios, and by everyone else on our staff who heard the trade demos. We’ll only know the full impact of Atmos as more Blu-ray movies and hardware become available in the coming months and years, but kudos to Dolby for so loftily raising the home theater bar, virtually overnight.

javanp's picture

Gets 4/5 rating on 'value'. Is one of the top picks of the year for Value.