Paradoxical as this may sound, TVs aren’t just for watching TV any more. The days are long gone where you had to fiddle with a pair of insectoid antennas, waiting for a friend or family member to give you the signal to stop. These days, a television set with external antennas is a thing to be marveled at. Even internal antennas may be a thing of the past; the advent of “smart” TVs means television shows can be streamed straight from the Internet to your TV screen.
But whether you’re setting up a home cinema or just looking for a suitable screen to stream your Netflix onto, the simple act of watching television has become just as customizable as building a PC. Here are some recommendations to either transform or enhance your TV-watching experience.
Google’s revolutionary new dongle is back, in a sleek redesigned package. Compatible with any TV with a HDMI port (which is to say, every TV made in the past decade), Chromecast lets you wirelessly stream video from any compatible Android device to your TV. Want to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones with friends without the tangle of adapters and cables? Chromecast has your back.
Microsoft Xbox One/ Sony PlayStation 4/Nintendo Wii U
Perhaps this isn’t quite a “peripheral” as much as the others are. But if you’ve bought a brand-new curved 62-inch 4K plasma TV and all you do is use it to watch the news, then that’s a questionable investment. Get the most out of your TV purchase with a latest-generation console in the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, or Wii U.
Each console has a different target audience. The Wii U has a monopoly on timeless classic franchises like the Legend of Zelda or Mario series, and features other games for younger demographics. Japanese games tend to come out exclusively for the PlayStation 4, which also boasts the most powerful hardware. The Xbox One tends to feature a more action-heavy repertoire, and more importantly, recently had its price dropped significantly. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One can play Blu-Ray, although the latter requires the download of an app.
Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of them, but if you can’t decide – why not all three?
LG SH7B soundbar
Let’s be fair: integrated TV audio has come a long way. But for a true cinematic experience, in-built speakers simply aren’t going to cut it any more. Whether you’re listening for enemy footsteps in Call of Duty or want to be rocked by explosions from the latest action flick on your Blu-Ray player, you’re going to want some dedicated speakers.
But if you can’t afford a full 7.1 surround sound setup, or simply don’t have the space, the soundbar is probably your best bet. LG’s latest, the SH7B, is an astounding achievement for the price. The soundstage is massive, the quality is unparalleled, and the included subwoofer reproduces solid, accurate bass. Furthermore, if you have any other Bluetooth-capable LG speakers, like the MUSIC flow H3s, you can sync them up with the SH7B to create a truly expansive auditory experience.
ViewQwest TV 4K media box
Wanted to relive the good old days and run a Simpsons marathon, but suddenly realized that you’ll need US-exclusive streaming service Hulu for that? ViewQwest has your answer. With the home-grown company’s ViewQwest TV 4K media box, users have access to ViewQwest’s Freedom VPN, which allows access to geo-restricted content.
Better yet, ViewQwest is offering its media player as a standalone purchase. This means that users will still have to renew their subscription to the Freedom VPN, but they do not have to subscribe to any other ViewQwest services like fiber broadband.
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