Organizing Home Entertainment Central
Make Over The Media Room; Been putting off organising home entertainment central? Maybe it’s time!
TECH EQUIPMENT gets cheaper by the year. Take Blu-ray players – they give razor-sharp movie images and super sound and can now be bought for under $150. And the humble DVD player? Why, you can pick one up for 20 bucks! Other items become more and more feature-packed while increasing in quality but reducing in price. 3D televisions, for instance. Two years ago you’d have been mad to buy one, but the latest models have significantly improved 3D picture quality and can be very affordable.
Many TVs now also let you stream content (like pictures and video) wirelessly from equipment such as computers and movie cameras, and access web content, such as Skype and YouTube. You can even record shows from some TVs by simply inserting a USB stick. And some makers (LG, Samsung) have teamed up with providers such as Telstra BigPond and Yahoo to deliver on-demand movies, etc.
The kids and Dad want a surround-sound home-theatre system to go with the new telly, but you don’t want those towering rear speakers – of which there could be as many as four – cluttering the open-plan area behind the couch. The solution? A front surround sound bar. This Yamaha one (positioned under the TV) creates a convincing surround-sound effect in the one compact unit, and its receiver-subwoofer combo supplies plenty of bass. The entertainment units (illustrated) have drawers at the bottom and flip-down panels at the top. Behind the flip-down panels live the Blu-ray/DVD players and Foxtel or Austar boxes.
If you have a room available as a gaming HQ for the kids, lucky them and lucky you! They can play to their hearts’ content and you can watch your shows in peace in the living room. Here, the TV cabinet, which can be locked, hides gaming consoles (PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Wii), DVD player, movies and games. Leave plenty of space around the TV so there’s room to swing consoles when playing virtual tennis, 10-pin bowling or baseball.
A more traditional entertainment unit like the one shown here is good for families who watch TV and movies a lot, and also like a bit of gaming. Since everything is out in the open, you can just click and go without having to open doors to operate your equipment. The drawers and cupboards can store the movie collection and gaming controllers.
Some families are born with music in their veins. If so, a dedicated music area – preferably with soundproofing – can be a wonderful thing. A mix of high-tech digital items and good old-fashioned basics should s Drum kit ee all bases covered.
This is Dad’s special place, set up for his – according to some family members – exasperating addiction to sport. A cabinetmaker made the TV cupboard. The centre door under the TV flips down to reveal the Foxtel IQ box – it can record two sports programs at once! Drawers on either side hold his DVD collection, which increases in size every birthday, Father’s Day and Christmas. Titles include Legends Of Wrestling 1 & 2, The Essential NRL Collection and Cristiano Ronaldo, The Boy Who Had A Dream.
A home WiFi network means that householders can access the internet anywhere in the house on their laptops, Smartphones and tablets. But, unless you use a wireless internet provider, you need to connect the modem and router to the telephone line, and this is the place where you should also set up a desktop computer. It’s a home office, homework centre, a place to chill out and go blog surfing