The best televisions, home theatre gadgets, and streaming devices of 2021 in India cover a wide range of brands, price categories, and technologies. The premium television segment saw some impressive launches this year from brands such as Samsung, LG, and Sony, while the home entertainment segment continued to see growth of the popular soundbar category, particularly for budget and mid-range buyers. Standalone streaming devices, too, have seen some impressive launches in 2021 in India, from brands such as Amazon and Realme.
While there hasn't been any major shakeup in the technologies that go into our home entertainment devices, with the exception of maybe Mini-LED televisions finally becoming a reality, we have seen constant improvements in existing technologies, including QLED and OLED TVs, soundbars, and streaming devices that can now double up as smart speakers. Read on for our list of the best television, home entertainment, and streaming gadgets of 2021.
Samsung is among the leading TV manufacturers in the world, and the Neo QLED Ultra-HD Smart TV 55QN90A is a testament to just how good its televisions can be. Although expensive at Rs. 1,75,990, this is among the best premium Ultra-HD televisions you can buy right now. With excellent picture quality, good software and features, and a unique solar-powered remote, this is the kind of premium viewing experience that sets itself apart from the competition in its segment.
It misses out on Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support, and there are some small drawbacks in the interface. On the other hand, the beautiful, slim design is an added bonus, particularly if you want to place the TV on its stand.
Xiaomi has always been focused on offering value to its customers, and the Mi TV 5X 55 sticks to that mandate. This is our top pick among 55-inch televisions priced at under Rs. 50,000 in 2021 for a number of reasons, including Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support, consistent performance across resolutions and content, decent sound quality, and the familiar and reliable Android TV and PatchWall software experience.
We did face some bugs and usage glitches during our time with the Mi TV 5X 55, and it continues to bother us that Xiaomi doesn't include batteries for the remote in the sales package. However, on the whole, this television made for a largely positive experience that not many can match under Rs. 50,000. The Mi TV 5X is also available in smaller sizes which are priced more affordably, making this a good TV to consider if you're on a tighter budget.
The Sony HT-S40R is pitched as a soundbar, but is actually a full-fledged 5.1-channel home theatre system. Priced at Rs. 29,990, it offers a lot including a separate subwoofer, wireless rear-channel speakers, and good connectivity options. Although there is no Dolby Atmos support and the wiring can be quite complicated to set up, this is a worthwhile option with good sound quality and tuning.
The Sony HT-S40R isn't ideal for listening to music, but that's mainly because it was designed as a sound system for watching movies on your television or projector. While the excessive wiring might be a drawback given that many people choose soundbar-based home theatre systems for convenience, the sound quality and seamless functionality of the Sony HT-S40R makes it our top pick in the mid-range home entertainment segment for 2021.
A full-fledged soundbar with a subwoofer priced under Rs. 10,000 might be hard to imagine, but the Realme 100W Soundbar is exactly that. Priced at Rs. 6,999, this soundbar has a rated output of 100W, as the name suggests. It has a wired subwoofer and offers decent connectivity options. It's also very easy to set up and use, and has its own remote, making it quite an impressive purchase for the price.
Some elements of the design and functioning of the Realme 100W Soundbar were a bit bothersome, particularly the glaring LED lights, flimsy buttons, and annoying voice prompts that can't be switched off. However, it delivers where it counts, offering decent sound and tuning, and very good bass performance. It's definitely worth considering if you're looking for an affordable boost to your TV's sound.
The most powerful streaming device in Amazon's range, the Fire TV Cube (2nd Gen) is unique since it acts as a great crossover between the Fire TV and Echo product ranges. With hands-free Alexa capabilities, Ultra-HD, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos support, plus responsive and lag-free performance, this is the best streaming device we've used this year.
Although it's a bit expensive at Rs. 12,999, and you can get the same core streaming capabilities from the more affordable Fire TV Stick 4K, the Fire TV Cube is a competent high-end device that is great if you rely on Alexa. It's also quite powerful and responsive, bringing your content to you quickly and reliably.
Webcams are plentiful in the market, but the Xiaomi Mi TV Webcam is unique in that it's designed to work well with a television. It works with Google Duo on an Android TV-powered smart TV, so you can just plug it in, position it, and take advantage of the big screen for video calls. Apart from this, it works well as a standard plug-in webcam with computers too.
It's well equipped for the price of Rs. 1,999, with full-HD video output, good audio pickup, and a handy privacy shutter that you can slide shut when the camera is not in use. Although a niche product with limited use cases, this could be very useful for video calls with the whole family, and is included in our top picks of 2021 for its unique utility and beautiful design.
Buy: Xiaomi Mi TV Webcam