Home Entertainment Buying Guide

Home entertainment has quite a broad scope in the smart home context. There are many different ways to interact with systems in a smart manner. Some are stand alone, and some make use of your phone or other mobile device to do the hard work and merely stream digital content around hour house.

The biggest industry is in sound, but video streaming is also popular on a smaller scale. If you’re wanting to stream digital video you will either need a Smart TV, or other media streaming device which supports the service you require. Streaming options include online services like Netflix and Amazon Video, or streaming from a device within your home. Audio has many more options with iTunes, Spotify and Amazon Music being just some of the options.

Leviton HiFi2 media manager

To figure out the products you need, you must decide what you want your system to do:

  • Video – First you need a TV. Is it a smart TV? What system does it run, android, proprietary? How does it connect, does it have Wi-Fi, does it need ethernet? Can the TV stream itself, or do you need an in-between device like a ChromeCast, AppleTV or FireTV? What quality are you wanting to view, is 1080p sufficient, or are you looking towards the future and 4k?
  • Audio – do you have a sound system already that you want to be able to connect? Do you want to have speakers in multipole rooms and control them all from one interface? Do you want different rooms to be able to play different music. Must the speakers interact with your TV? How do you want to provide sound to the system, must it stream from the internet, must it connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to your phone?
  • Connecting – Are you happy to have hundreds of wires littering your house, cause that’s a likely outcome depending on the extent of your smart entertainment system. This can usually be hidden away quite nicely, but can be tedious, especially if doing a self-installation. Wireless systems are also available to an extent, but when it comes to sound, often the best is a wired connection.
  • Control – Are you happy to control everything with your phone? Do you want a separate remote or interactive device? Maybe you’re happy to chat with Alexa?

There’s a heck of a lot to think about when purchasing a home entertainment system, and trying to find products that interact with each other can be very difficult, never mind trying to add systems on at a later stage. As such, write down or draw a digram detailing exactly what you want, then try find products to meet your requirements.

Don’t just buy  a nice looking media system, and figure you’ll find devices to work with it, it could end up being an expensive mistake, leaving you unhappy.