Summer 2020 is already in tatters if you're a movie fan. Potential blockbusters like Black Widow, Wonder Woman 1984, F9, Mulan, Top Gun: Maverick, Ghostbusters: Afterlife and the latest James Bond thriller No Time to Die have all been shunted off the release schedule. No matter what happens with our current health epidemic, the cineplex is guaranteed to be stone-cold quiet until fall — at the earliest.
Thankfully, the world has been slowly turning your home theater into a true home theater for years. Between rapidly growing screens, HD streaming, premium sound and more, it's tough to see where the movie palace begins and your living room couch ends.
However…there's always room for upgrades. We've assembled a dozen cool deals on TVs, antennas and other options so the only difference you'll see between your house and the cinema house is that addictive movie theater popcorn butter.
For the junior home theater
Not too long ago, a 50-inch TV screen in your home was practically a movie screen. Now, it's almost quaint. But for many shoppers facing space limitations or who just don't want to turn an entire wall into a video screen, 50-inchers like the VIZIO E-Series Class 4K HDR Smart TV ($429.95; originally $469.99) pack more than enough viewing punch. With Google Chromecast built-in, the E-Series also boasts SmartCast, the app-based system featuring voice control to run your TV through Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa-enabled devices.
Meanwhile, the VIZIO D-Series 50" Ultra HD Full-Array LED Smart TV ($429.95; originally $499.99) includes those features, plus advanced virtual surround sound audio and VIZIO's Spatial Scaling Engine, which automatically upscales HD and Full HD content to 4K UHD 3840 x 2160 resolution.
Screens get bigger
But for those who think 50 inches are cute, but just a start, 65 inches of 4K HD can be found with the SHARP 65-Inch 4K UHD Q7000 Smart TV with HDR ($999.95; originally $1,326.99). Equipped with the latest wireless connectivity and vibrant sound from the onboard speaker system, this unit also features HDR (high dynamic range), one of the newest uber-techy high-end TV additions that extend rich color and deep black contrasts well past the point of old broadcast television or even DVDs.
Intense color and perfect blacks are also a selling point of the LG C9 65" 4K Smart OLED TV with AI ThinQ + NVIDIA G-Sync ($2,129.95; originally $2,599.99). With its α9 Gen Intelligent Processor and revolutionary self-lit pixels, you get all the smart features premium TV buyers expect as well as a vibrant viewing experience that's tough to top, especially for fast, fluid motion that is sure to impress the gamers in your house.
But if you're trying to replicate the full home theater experience, you absolutely have to go all the way — to an almost monolithic 86-inch screen. The LG 86" 4K HDR Smart LED UHD TV with AI ThinQ ($2149.99; originally $2,999.99) is a true behemoth, not just in size, but in performance. Sporting Nanocell technology which optimizes the LCD experience up to OLED levels, this model also includes localized dimming areas for deeper blacks, fast app selection, smart home integration, and voice interaction with its AI ThinQ along with the 4K Ultra HD and HDR-enabled picture. It really does pack in everything — at $750 off the regular price.
Where are the rabbit ears?
With more and more people joining the ranks of the cord-cutters every month, viewers now joining a cable-free world are turning back to antennas to watch local programming. Thankfully, they're advanced since the old weather-vane-on-top-of-your-house days.
In fact, the ANTOP 30-Mile AT-105 Indoor HDTV Antenna ($14.99; originally $34.99) is actually paper-thin, less than .02 inches thick. Mount it easily on a wall or window over your set, plug it in and you'll get free HD and 4K Ultra HD quality broadcast signals from your local ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and Fox stations at a range of up to 30 miles.
The Rveal Digital Indoor HDTV Antenna ($19.99; originally $29) extends that range up to 50 miles; while the AT-133 Paper Thin Indoor TV Antenna with Table Stand ($19.99; originally $42.99) includes a convenient table stand to better integrate our antenna into your TV setup.
While digital signals can occasionally get a little wonky in bad weather, the AT-400V 70-Mile Range Outdoor/Indoor HDTV Antenna ($109.99; originally $239.99) helps strengthen your signal with positioning either inside or mounted on your home exterior for an improved feed. Stretching for signals up to 70 miles away, the Big Boy also includes VHF enhancer rods to help boost the weaker signals of your area's VHF stations.
No, these don't play Super 8
While you're stuck inside now, the day will return when you'll want to see friends and engage with the world again. In those cases, carting your 86-inch TV to someone else's house just isn't practical. But by using a portable projector like the AAXA S1 Mini Projector for Nintendo Switch ($289.99; originally $312.99), you can turn the 6-inch screen of the Switch into an enormous 120-inch multi-player image you can beam on to a wall so everyone can join in the fun. It's even got twin speakers to deliver room-filling sound and a battery life that allows for up to 3 hours of continuous gameplay.
If 120 inches isn't big enough, maybe the 130 inches capable from the Vivitek Q38-BK Ultra-Portable Smart Projector (Certified Refurbished) ($279; originally $499.99) will do the trick. Obviously, those 10 inches don't hurt, but the Vivitek's true superpower is its ability to project in full 1080p HD resolution.
Finally, when nothing short of an image the size of a garage door will do, the Prima 1080p HD Pocket Projector ($279.99; originally $799) comes over the top on everybody, casting an enormous cinema-quality image of up to 200 inches on any surface. That's a picture over 16 feet across with a bulb pumping out 200 lumens, four times the brightness of other portable projectors, from a frame less than 6 inches high. At more than 60 percent off its retail price, it's a discount that rivals the size of its picture.