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.