You agonized on the LCD versus plasma issue, dropped four digits on a receiver that will likely be in your will someday, and compromised with the Missus on speakers guaranteed to rattle your teeth without ruining the tasteful décor of your living room. Nonetheless, you feel like your home theater is still … missing something. Time to fill in the gaps. From high-definition DVRs and universal remotes to black-out curtains and smart lighting, these home theater accessories will help make the most of your core components by adding convenience, more features, and a drink to match.
This article was originally published on May 11, 2011, and updated on June 18, 2015, to include the TiVo Roamio Plus, Ray Super Remote, and other recent offerings.
TiVo Roamio Plus — $400 + service fees
TiVo basically invented the digital video recorder, so its not surprising that the company’s Roamio Plus rethinks the modern approach to cable. The jet-black device is outfitted with a solid metallic casing and a gorgeous user interface, the latter of which allows quick access to popular streaming apps such as Netflix and Hulu while providing you with unified search that sifts through both cable TV and a wealth of streaming content. Moreover, it’s capable of recording up to six shows at once and sports a 1TB hard drive, letting you store up to 150 hours of HD programming or 1,000 hours of SD content. The fact the device allows you to stream live and recorded media directly to your Android and iOS device renders it an even more valuable device, despite the necessary subscription.
Ray Super Remote — $200
Life is hard, but finding the right remote to turn on your HDTV shouldn’t be. The forthcoming Ray Super Remote aims to make the process easier, though, conveniently packing in a dual-core ARM processor with 8GB of Flash storage and 1GB of RAM. Once connected with your Wi-Fi network, the touchscreen device gives you the means to control everything from your TV set and cable box to various game consoles and streaming boxes (i.e. your Roku and Apple TV). The aluminum gadget also monitors your watching habits and learns what you like over time based on your ratings, and in turn, recommends similar programming and content that might be of interest to you. A robust search utility and quick access to your favorite channels come standard.
Logitech Harmony Home Control — $150
The Logitech Harmony Home Control isn’t as flashy as the Ray Super Remote, but it is $50 cheaper and allows you to utilize your smartphone as a companion piece. The streamlined system lets you control nearly all facets of your home — be it your Roku, Nest Thermostat, Philips Hue lights, or the more than 3,000 other “smart” devices you might utilize — while granting you the option to use either the bundled remote or your Android or iOS device. The system also operates using RF, meaning it can control devices hidden in cabinets and around corners, and the included remote offers a slew of activity-based buttons for performing common tasks such as bringing up Netflix or watching TV. Catch-all controls are rarely as simple.
Deconovo black-out curtains — $20+
The right kind of curtains can work small miracles in a home theater space. Curtains like Deconovo’s noise reducing black-out curtains provide a number of different benefits all sorts of home theater spaces. By shutting out light from any windows, the polyester curtains not only achieve a more theater-like mood, but dramatically improve picture quality from projectors. By helping to control sonic reflections, they’ll also clean up your audio a bit. Even better, they help abate environmental noise like barking dogs and traffic. Moroever, they come in a melange of different sizes and colos options. The whole machine washable thing is an added plus, too.
Takat C-Table — $100
A table is a pretty fundamental piece of furniture. Nonetheless, it’s important to pick the right table when it comes to your home theater setup in order to maximize both space and convenience. The Takat C-Table is a perfect example of a piece of furniture built with both in mind, offering a basic platform on which to place a remote or drink while watching or listening to your favorite content. The tabletop is built of mango wood and measures a mere 18 x 14 inches, while the iron legs provide just enough height for you to tuck the table’s foot under a chair or beneath the side of the couch for instant access. The table’s open construction is specifically made to be as versatile as your viewing style, thus making it perfect for the living room, bedroom, or anywhere you want to put it.
Furman M-8X2 Power Conditioner — $55
Home theater systems, understandably, require quite a bit of power to function. Thankfully, Furman’s M-8X2 is designed as both a power conditioner and a surge protector, ensuring your high-cost equipment stays safe and power stays clean regardless of what you’re doing. The bar-like device provides nine total outlets — eight on the rear and one on the front — with a 15-amp rating and a basic indicator light to let you know when your equipment is being protected. The company’s noise-filtering technology also reduces RFI and EMI interference, helping it ensure a cleaner sound void of pops and cackles. It may not be sexy, but it will keep your gear from blowing out during the next spike.
Monsieur Robotic Bartender — $4,000
Butlers are overrated, especially when Monsieur’s latest line of machines function as your own personal Jeeves. The box-like bartender unit comes equipped with eight airtight containers you can quickly fill with your favorite cocktail ingredients, along with four bottle closures for sourcing liquors of your own choosing. Each of the company’s themes touts 30 distinct drink recipes as well, giving you the option to create lesser-known concoctions like the Victoria Secret or mainstays such as the Tequila Sunrise. The competent machine does all the mixing and matching on your behalf, too, whether you choose to place your order via the touchscreen interface located on the front of the box or using the companion mobile app for Android and iOS devices.
Frosty Fridge Recliner — $500
What we deem “necessary” is really in the eye of the beholder. While the Frosty Fridge Recliner might not be seem like an absolute must for most people, for instance, there’s no denying its plush appeal if you can swing the price. A mixture of polyurethane and polyester gives it ample durability and comfort, while a built-in USB port allows you to charge your gadgets without you ever having to get up. The recliner also boasts an integrated back massager with three varied massaging modes, and more importantly, a refrigerated storage area beneath the armrest for stowing your favorite lager or artisan cola. Sitting all day certainly won’t help your posture, but then again, a steady pulse to your lower back may help work out some of the kinks. Go figure.
Movie Posters — $1+
Movies and music are the linchpin of a home theater — after all, what good is having a stellar setup if you don’t have stellar content to go along with it? That said, lining your home theater walls with the proper set of theatrical prints is the perfect way to tie the room together and pay homage to the best (or worst) films in cinema history. AllPosters offers the best selection of movies posters on the Web, too, whether you’re looking to decorate your walls with old-school images of Steve McQueen or would rather pay tribute to one of the most iconic sci-fi sagas of any galaxy far, far away. Best of all, you can purchase most posters on the site for less than $10, with select offerings starting as low as 98 cents. A cardboard cutout of Austin Powers will cost you a bit more.
Le Mans Double-Lift Coffee Table — $485
The Le Mans Double-Lift Coffee Table is designed to elevate both your style and your level of storage. The modest table measures 48 inches wide x 28 inches deep, and moreover, sports a Mozambique veneer that’s both rich in appearance and durable in construction. The modern piece of furniture also features a lift-top design that rises up for extended storage, along with multiple drawers for stowing remotes, magazines, and anything else that might prove useful in your home theater room. The table’s contemporary, sleek design owes much to its clean lines and smooth surfaces, too, both of which help render it more attractive than anything you might pick up off of Craigslist. It’s a simple accent piece, one that also won’t completely break the bank.
Philips Hue Starter Kit — $200
Anyone who’s been forced to watch a film under the unnatural glow of iridescent light knows just how big an impact it can have on the viewing experience. Fortunately, Philips’ line of Wi-Fi-equipped light bulbs put the lighting conditions at your fingertips, allowing you to adjust their color and brightness using a compatible mobile app for Android and iOS devices. The bulbs and coupled bridge also tout terrific range and responsiveness, not to mention extensive third-party support and a host of features designed to better all facets of your home. You can even create lighting scenes based on a particular photo, or if you’re the forgetful type, set the bulbs to remind you when your favorite TV show is about to air. The full color spectrum is in your hands.
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