The best accessories to upgrade your TV and entertainment center
If you watch a lot of TV, you might as well make the experience as great as possible.
With the current climate, staying the heck at home is the best thing you can be doing with yourself. That means you’ll need entertainment, which usually shakes down to what’s going to be played on the TV.
The thing is, now you’ll be spending more time using it, isn’t it about time you upgraded some of your TV accessories? For a start, the speakers on your TV are probably passable, but are they actually any good? Adding a soundbar or surround system is one of the best upgrades you can make and will last through several TV sets.
Then there’s a whole world of other accessories to make your viewing pleasure, well, pleasurable. Oh, and if you don’t already have a 4K TV? Check out our guide for the best TVs under $500.
Choose The Best TV
First and foremost, before you even consider investing in a whole host of different television accessories, you need to take the time to choose the best TV for your family’s unique needs.
READ MORE: Why you shouldn’t mount your TV over a fireplace
There are so many types of TVs available on the market today, from dramatic cinema-style screens to eco-friendly low-energy televisions that don’t use too much power, so it’s up to you to decide which TV will entertain and excite your household as you had initially hoped for.
One of the main influencing factors that can affect the type of TV you buy is price, as some models are far more expensive than others. Just because television is expensive, though, this does not mean it’s going to be the most amazing device you have ever used.
Sometimes the most reliable devices are those which don’t cost a fortune, so do your research to get the best TV before investing in some of the amazing accessories below.
Audio equipment with ZVOX AccuVoice technology
The first upgrade that anyone should look at when expanding their home theater setup is doing something about the audio quality of what they’re watching. The reason is simple, those flat-panel TVs don’t have much space for even the best speakers to move air around. Without going into multiple-speaker surround systems, adding a soundbar makes a world of difference to your viewing enjoyment.
We really like ZVOX’s range of soundbars, which have all the power you’d need for most rooms, and a nifty trick called AccuVoice which tweaks the sound signature to bring the vocal range out of the rest of the soundtrack. Think of it as a hearing aid that the whole family can enjoy. It’s great for kids to clearly hear what’s going on with their educational programs, watching movies with actors that have heavy accents, and following along with game shows.
If you prefer to do all your viewing using headphones, the ZVOX AV50 has all the same AccuVoice technology, in a Bluetooth-equipped set of noise-canceling headphones. Perfect for late-night viewing without disturbing the rest of the house.
ZVOX SB380 Soundbar
ZVOX AV50 Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones
Austere V Series Collection
Now it’s time to talk protection. All that lovely hardware needs quality surge protection, and Austere has some of the best around. Their power strips have EMI/RFI filtration, fire and power spike safety so surges won’t set your electronics on fire, LEDs that tell you when your circuit is grounded, when the protection on the surge protector is about to run out, and tightly woven sheathing on the cable for extra protection. Oh, and there are two USB-A and three USB-C charging ports that can provide up to 2.4A of charging power.
That design language filters down to their HDMI cables, which are either rated for 4K, 18 Gbps for 4K60; or 48 Gbps which can carry resolutions up to 10K and 8K60, or 4K120. They’re also Kevlar-reinforced, have gold-plated contacts, oxygen-free copper and silver-plated conductors, which all adds up to protected digital signals.
Wrap up the triumvirate of protection with Clean & Protect, Austere’s specially-formulated cleaning solution to clean not just dirt, but also germs. It also removes static build-up, protecting your electronics and leaving them relatively dust-free. Nifty.
Hue HDMI Sync Box and Play Bars
Nothing helps with immersion than having a bias light behind your TV, but many are either static or lag way behind the action on the screen. That’s no longer the case with the Hue HDMI Sync Box, which perfectly syncs all the Hue lights in your room to the explosions, crashes, and other content you are watching. It’s got four HDMI inputs, can work with 4K60 HDR signals, and now has voice assistant control. What’s not to like?
Pick up a couple or so of the Hue Play lights, and maybe a Hue strip, and you’ve got a light show you won’t easily forget.
Hue HDMI Sync Box
Made for Amazon USB Power Cable for Amazon Fire TV Stick
If you’ve already got an Amazon Fire TV Stick or similar USB-powered streaming box, you need this little gadget. Basically, it makes your TV’s USB ports powerful enough to power your streaming devices from, by storing power and releasing it when your streamer needs more power than the anemic USB ports on your TV can provide. Which to be honest, is quite often, especially when watching 4K content. Just buy one, you’ll thank us later.
ECHOGEAR Full Tilt TV Wall Mount
Get enough space on your TV unit to actually put a big soundbar or surround speakers by hanging your TV up on the wall. We like Echogear’s stuff here at KnowTechie, from their solid monitor arms to this hefty wall-mount that can mount TVs from 40-inch to 85-inch wide.
Worried about glare? You can tilt it up to 15 degrees to get the optimal zone for no glare, swivel it up to 10 degrees either side for more adjustment, and you can also extend it from the wall up to almost six inches so you can easily reach all those connectors on the back of the TV.
DataComm Electronics Flat Panel TV Cable Organizer Kit
If you’re planning on hanging your TV on the wall, you might be worrying about all those unsightly cables. Worry no more, with this handy kit that lets you snake all those cables behind your drywall while moving a power socket to the height of your TV.
Even better, get the kit with surge protection, and then your precious TV is protected. I mean, you’re going to all that trouble to mount it, it’d be a shame if you had a power surge and had to take it back off the wall to get it repaired…
SiliconDust HDHomeRun TV tuner
If you’re cutting the cord completely, you might want to watch some over-the-air TV. The best way to do so is with one of SiliconDust’s digital tuners, like this HDHomeRun Duo. It takes the digital signals from the ether, encodes them, and then pipes it out over your home network, so anything connected to your router can see all the shows.
This model has dual tuners, so two devices on your network can watch TV at the same time. Oh, and you’ll probably want a digital antenna, so you can pick up all those TV channels.
Shield TV streaming box
There’s one clear reason to grab the Nvidia Shield Android TV to add to your TV setup, and that’s compatibility with GeForce NOW game streaming. Sure, you have to add a controller for $60, but then you have one of the most feature-packed streaming solutions on the market.
Play all your existing PC games, stream video from Google Play Video, VUDU, Netflix, or any of the streaming services you subscribe to. It’s even got inbuilt Chromecast 4K so you can cast anything off your mobile devices, works with Steam Link, and has access to Android’s catalog of games.
Logitech Harmony Smart Control
Now that you’ve got multiple smart devices and even more electronics clustered around your TV, you need a remote that can declutter your coffee table. Logitech has a lock on the problem, with its fantastic Harmony remotes that let you link all your gadgets to one remote, and one smartphone app, so you never have to play “find the remote down the couch cushions” ever again. Well… unless you lose the Logitech remote, and all your smartphones, but what’s the chances of that?
You also get the Harmony Hub, which lets you control all those devices even if they’re hidden inside cupboards. Now that’s what I call being in control, er…
Echo Dot (3rd Gen)
Of course, the best remote that’s not really a remote is your voice, and Amazon’s Alexa is one of the best. Grab a cheap Echo Dot and connect it to all your electronics, and that’s that. You’ll be barking out orders for your digital assistant in no time, and wondering how you ever managed to do anything before now.
Bonus points for the Nvidia Shield TV from earlier having Alexa integration, so you don’t have to search for the remote ever again.
There you have it, some of our favorite accessories to help improve the TV watching experience. Sure, you’re going to have to spend some money, but let’s be honest here, we all spend too much time watching TV, might as well make the experience as good as possible.
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