Best home entertainment device 2011: nominees for the 8th Pocket-lint Awards

Home entertainment can mean a few different things as our nominees for the best home entertainment device 2011 reveal. We’re talking audio, video, radio; amp, dock, set-top box and even games console too - and that makes for an incredibly competitive field.

With plenty to choose from, we’ve narrowed the field down to a final five but which one is worth of your vote for the 8th Pocket-lint Awards? Get your say in before 29 Novemember. Here’s a run down of the nominees to help you make up your mind.

Bose SoundLink Wireless Mobile Speaker

Price
£250
Released
September 2011
PL review score
Preview


The SoundLink is a Bluetooth speaker that has your smartphone or tablet in its sights. It's diddy, measuring in at 13 x 24.4 x 4.8cm and weighing 1.3kg. So it's easily small enough to fit in your suitcase or overnight bag when you're off on your travels. It also looks seriously good and comes off rather like an expensive piece of luggage.



Obviously it needs to sound good too but there's no issues in that department. In fact, it sounds superb. And that's because it's packing some serious audio tech in its little chassis with four low-profile, neodymium transducers; dual-opposing passive radiators and with a patented waffle-shaped surround. There's also Bose's digital signal processing algorithms to back it all up. The result is a mini speaker with a sound that's anything but mini.

Sonos Play:3

Price
£220
Released
July 2011
PL review score
4.5 stars


The Sonos Play:3 sounds great, is easy to setup, and will happily sit in you kitchen or on your bedside table replacing that digital radio that doesn't do anything apart from play what's being broadcast now. With the option to kit out your mansion with up to 42 of these (or variations of) all controlled from a single controller, this is also a system that will grow with you.



Where Sonos has hit it on the head with this is the way it works using Spotify's premium service giving you access to millions of songs at the press of a button. Grumbles? We're surprised it's not £199 but then we always want things cheaper. If you were thinking of getting a DAB radio and have a smartphone, don't. You should buy this instead.

Onkyo TX-NR609

Price
£500
Released
September 2011
PL review score
5 stars


Onkyo hasn’t become the grand poo-bah of AV receivers for nothing. Each generation grows in stature, performance and feature-set too, with sometimes jaw-dropping additions getting crammed into increasingly powerful boxes.



This year’s stand-out feature, Spotify and internet music streaming, ups the ante perfectly. At the same time, it still delivers its core purposes with much aplomb - to hit you with wholesome, fault-free soundtracks for a wide range of different sources and maintain a consistent video image throughout.

Philips Fidelio AS851

Price
£200
Released
November 2011
PL review score
4.5 stars


With so many iPhone speaker docks on the market that don’t cater for Android, it's really good that someone is waving the flag for the the huge number of devices that aren't made by Apple. The Philips Fidelio AS851 isn’t a rush job either. It looks good, sounds good, and more importantly easy to use.



It’s slightly odd that the music is sent over Bluetooth rather than via the micro USB connector but there’s little choice given that audio won’t pass over said port. Despite that, it still delivers great quality and convenience. Plus it also has a quite ingenious dock solution to a non-standard USB problem.

Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo

Price
£199
Released
March 2011
PL review score
4.5 stars


The Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo box isn’t just an upgrade for your telly but for your whole viewing habits. At £199, the activation fee is steep - especially when combined with the £40 installation cost and £3 per month extra on the bill - but it’s a remarkably powerful slice of technology.



TiVo’s recommendation algorithms manage to provide some very decent recorded program suggestions for the user after once it learns your habits. Admittedly, that does require some effort on your part giving things the thumbs up and down for a while and it would be nice to be able to have individual profiles but it’s certainly a big step up from the norm.

Remember to get your vote in for the 8th Pocket-lint Awards before 29 November.

- Best TV 2011 nominees



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