The Internet of Things (IoT) is here, and it’s going to change everything. Your appliances and your habits. Solutions to everything you never knew you wanted solved. But when it comes right down to it, though, most of us prioritize technological solutions and improvements to our recreational pursuits. Sure, a smart refrigerator could be a good thing, but wouldn’t you rather upgrade your sound system for that theater-quality film experience? Yeah, a video doorbell would be cool, but why not upgrade to new gaming gear? Light switches controlled by your mobile device? Great – it’ll go right along with that new OLED screen. But whether you’re a film aficionado, a music devotee, or a hardcore gamer, chances are you’re going to appreciate and get the most value out of investments in sight and sound technology.
Upgrading your audio system can involve anything from a one-and-done purchase to a detailed, multifaceted undertaking involving structural modifications to your home. Consider your environment and habits before settling on a path forward.
If you’re sharing your space and don’t have the luxury of installing a fully soundproofed music room, gaming den, or home theater, you may want to consider investing in a quality set of wireless headphones. Sure, you can pop in some minimalist earbuds for on-the-go tunes, but top quality over-ear headphones are necessary to enjoy full fidelity audio, and can provide comparable surround-sound style coverage without the frustration of trying to account for room acoustics and having to pacify angry neighbors.
If you’re looking for a simple solution, soundbars or smart speakers are a good way to get in the game. Offering a definite upgrade on built-in television units, these audio solutions come with a range of audio qualities and price points. Generally, with a single bar, you’ll want to place it near the television at the front of the room for best results. An older model may require a separate remote or wired hookup to the TV, while newer models often come with more convenient options like mobile remote apps or voice controls.
Wireless speakers in general are a convenient way to upgrade your sound quality. They’re low impact, since they don’t require hardwired connections, and can be moved easily if you reconfigure a room layout. You’ll likely come across various options on order in daily life, maybe via commercials or programs. The BooTouch wireless speaker is one that often comes up. You can start with a single unit, or splurge for a theater-style surround-sound configuration that may include a front-positioned soundbar, side speakers, subwoofer, and speakers positioned behind seating. Music fans will enjoy the ability to place smart speakers around the house, so that tunes can follow them through different zones, or be divided by location. The As Seen on TV Store carries a number of solutions that are worth consideration.
At the highest end of the scale, fully integrated sound systems provide excellent audio quality, the least visual obstruction, and generally come with some level of remote interfacing via app or audio command. As with wireless smart speakers, a built-in sound system can be placed throughout a home or its grounds and be zoned for separate or integrated playback. Since installation is significantly more demanding for these systems, technicians often also offer acoustic assessments and can recommend how to optimize your space to get the most out of the system.
There are a few advances in screen technology to consider when it comes time to upgrade. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are gaining traction as entertainment options, and a VR headset is a fun, future-forward purchase for many, but a full-size screen is still the most popular choice for film, television, and most gamers.
Screen sizes continue to grow, but bigger isn’t always better; it’s important to consider room size and the distance between screen and seating. Still, if you’re looking for that immersive experience without strapping on a VR headset, you can find enormous screens, or go all-out with a home projection system for wall-height media viewing.
Once you’ve identified the right dimensions for your needs, there are a few other aspects to consider. At-home 3D viewing is an option, and subtly curved screens are another high-end feature that lend that immersive feel. Outside of these specialist features, you’ll want to look at light, color, and pixel density. OLED is a rising star in high definition screens because it allows for crisper color with less light bleeding through, while plasma still gives the best blacks, but can struggle with glare issues if your space doesn’t have excellent light control.
When you’re looking to upgrade your sight and sound technology, first consider your preferred uses and space to identify the best new or emerging solutions for your needs.