Watching television has come a long way since my childhood days. I can remember sitting in front of our small (maybe 27”) box TV with a very basic remote in hand. I wasn’t allowed to watch much TV growing up, but I clearly remember sitting down with my dad and watching Star Trek and Walker Texas Ranger. Actually, I keep hoping Walker will come out on Netflix because I know my boys would get a kick out of it.
It wasn’t until I was a teenager that we splurged and got some surround sound to create a home theatre. Since then there have been many advances in technology and that means there are nearly endless options available now for creating a home theatre.
When my husband and I first moved into our own place we were so excited when we bought our Sony Vega TV. This TV was the one to have at the time and now 14 years later it’s basically a dinosaur. We actually still have it. I think my hubby is having a hard time lettting it go, but it is huge and weighs about 300 pounds. The very idea that no one will want it offends him, so for now it is gathering dust in our spare room.
Since then we have purchased a 52” Sharp for our family room and recently our first smart TV for Mom and Dad. Of course with all the methods for watching TV nowadays, there are a lot of home theater accessories to make it easier and more streamlined such as a universal remote, surround sound for family movie night, a great streaming device, and if you don’t have the perfect nook built in for your TV then a wall mount is a must.
Universal remotes are the way to go
Growing up I seem to remember the remote being very basic; it just had the number buttons, channel up and down, and volume controls. Of course you had a totally seperate remote for your VCR. Since then we’ve gone on to DVDs and Blueray, and instead of basic cable we have digital boxes, Netflix and so many other viewing options.
All those options mean a universal remote is so much more convenient than having multiple remotes. This Logitech Harmony 650 Universal Remote Control has it all and it has great star ratings and reviews from Best Buy customers.
It has been repeatedly praised for its ease of use and it’s fantastic for someone looking to downsize their home theatre clutter. I currently have three remotes on the go in my family room, and it can get very annoying shuffling between them. I love that the Logitech Harmony also has a colour screen to give you visual cues for the task at hand, like watching TV, or selecting a DVD. This remote seems very tech forward and I’m definitely interested in checking it out to simplify and organize our home theatre.
Great sound takes home theatre up a notch
I can remember how excited my husband was when we purchased our first surround sound system for our first house. I’m not sure if it’s just a boy thing, but when we have movie night at my house, the movies must be at full volume so the entire neighbourhood can hear it too. Our original surround sound system, just like our ancient Sony, is also collecting dust somewhere.
Today, surround sound systems are very sleak and streamlined so they are more discreet and don’t take up as much space as our old model did, and they can more easily fit in with your decor. This LG 120W Bluetooth Sound Bar with Wired Subwoofer offers a lot for a great price. It has a sound bar with two speakers and a seperate 70W subwoofer. The 3D sound processor is where you really get the surround sound experience. I think the best feature of this system is the bluetooth capability. You can easily sync your smart phone or tablet to listen to your music as well. I’m all about products that are two-in-one and have more to offer than just the basics.
A streaming device will expand your world
Earlier this year we decided to cancel our cable. The bill every month just seemed crazy to me and there were so many channels we were paying for that no one watched, so we decided to stick with Netflix. Over the past few months I’ve been hearing more and more about streaming devices, so I decided to do my homework to see what they are all about. I had to read a few blogs and make a phone call to learn all about them, but let me tell you I am impressed and am looking into getting one for our family room.
Most streaming devices easily connect to your TV and allow you to stream services like Netflix and YouTube, just to name the two most popular. Tom wrote about the Roku Streaming Stick on the Plug-In blog, and this little streaming device looks really cool. It is simple to use (it just plugs into your HDMI input) and allows you access to over 700 apps and channels. It also comes with its own remote, but you can control it with your smartphone too. I can’t remember the last time I was this interested in a new tech device, but this Roku has me hooked, and I think my kids will love having more TV watching options.
Wall mount is a must-have accessory
Now that you have your devices and accessories you have to think about the esthetic appeal of your home theatre. My husband and I just bought a Smart TV for our upstairs and decided to use a wall mount, as it would look much nicer on the wall and it would be out of the way. It took us far longer to install then necessary, but once we got it up there we were laughing at how simple it was. It was really just finding the right adjustment for the TV size you have and making sure you have it centered correctly on your wall. Once you install one, the next will be a breeze.
If you are looking to amp up your home theatre for some great movie nights in with the family, game day with your friends, or if you have boys like mine who like their video game time, then there are some great accessories to make your home theatre more functional.
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