Great-sounding home theater is becoming increasingly rare, as consumers move toward space-saving solutions like soundbars and tiny home-theater-in-a-box systems (HTIBs). If you still care about sound, have a budget around $1,000, and want the convenience of an all-in-one package, the choice largely comes down to two systems: the Onkyo HT-S9100THX ($1,100 list price) and the Yamaha YHT-791BL ($800, the subject of this review).
The two systems are very similar: you get a component-grade AV receiver with four HDMI inputs, plus a big, boxy 7.1 speaker system that delivers better sonics than the rest of the HTIBs on the market. Working against the Yamaha is that its receiver can't assign inputs and the subwoofer isn't quite as musical as we'd like. On the other hand, the Yamaha costs about $150 less and we did really appreciate the included iPod dock; Onkyo charges an extra $140 for its DS-A3.
While we can't make a definitive statement about which of the two systems is better for you, we can say the Yamaha YHT-791BL delivers almost all of the performance of the higher-priced Onkyo system and includes an iPod dock for $150 less, making it a smart choice for audiophiles on a budget.