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A lot of attention is given to basic home theater equipment, but there tons of cool and unusual gadgets and accessories that can enhance the home theater viewing experience. This list covers some of the most interesting ones.
Some of these items are cheap and easy to install, while others are expensive and even somewhat indulgent. But they all add to the overall joy of having a home theater.
In addition to the selections spotlighted in this guide, you can check out our recommendations for home theater seating, furniture, and TV stands.
Accentuates 2D image in video; improves depth, contrast, and texture.
Adjustable intensity to fine tune image quality.
May make faces appear harshly detailed, especially in close-ups.
Doesn't use HDMI 2.0; can't pass through HDR or 4K video.
The Darbee DVP-5000S Darbee Visual Presence is a small plug-and-play video processor that you place between an HDMI source (such as a Blu-ray Disc player, upscaling DVD player, cable/satellite box, or home theater receiver) and your TV or video projector. However, unlike other popular video processing devices, the DVP-5000S does not upscale resolution, suppress background video noise or edge artifacts, and does not smooth motion response.
Instead, the DVP-500S adds depth information to the viewed image using pixel-level real-time contrast, brightness, and sharpness manipulation (referred to as luminous modulation). This process restores the missing natural-like "3D" information that the brain is trying to see within the 2D image. As a result, the image seems to "pop" with more texture, depth, and contrast range.
If used appropriately, the Darbee DVP-5000S makes a great addition to the TV and home theater viewing experience. In fact, it has garnered quite a following from a growing number of fans and gear heads.
Installation is relatively easy.
Screen articulation includes height adjustment.
Use it in other locations, not just over mantles and fireplaces.
Wall mounting your TV around a fireplace can present problems with heat.
An expensive TV mount.
Looking for a safe way to mount your flat-panel LCD, Plasma, or OLED TV above a fireplace? Ordinarily, mounting a TV above a fireplace is not a good idea for two reasons: Heat seeping through the wall can damage or shorten the life of your TV, and mounting over a fireplace often results in the TV being too high for a natural viewing experience, resulting in a lot of sore necks.
However, MantelMount may be just the solution as it sets the TV out from the wall to limit exposure to heat, and allows the set to be articulated up-and-down and side-to-side. Now you can lower the TV in front of the fireplace for a more natural viewing level—just make sure your fireplace isn't being used at the same time!
MantelMount is not hard to install, but you should check to see if your wall can support the weight of your television, and that your fireplace chimney does not transfer an excessive amount of heat through the wall.
It's also important to point out that, although MantelMount is meant for users who want to install their TV above a fireplace, it can also be used on any wall that can support the weight of a mount and TV.
Check out the MantelMount FAQ Page, or consult a home theater installer for more information.
Eliminates the need for a subwoofer cable.
Connect up to four receivers to a transmitter.
Like any 2.4GHz wireless signal, may be susceptible to interference.
Limited to 16-bit/48kHz audio (CD quality); audiophiles may want to skip wireless.
The Sunfire Universal Wireless Subwoofer Kit allows users to make a wireless connection between any subwoofer with LFE or line inputs and any home theater receiver with subwoofer preamp outputs. By plugging the SDSWITX transmitter into your home theater receiver and the SDSWIRX wireless receiver into your subwoofer, you can get rid of that long, unsightly, subwoofer cable. An added benefit is that you have more flexibility in finding the ideal location for your subwoofer—the area with the best low-frequency response. You'll just need an electrical outlet nearby to deliver power to your subwoofer and the SDSWIRX wireless receiver.
Also, the SDSWITX transmitter can be used with up to two wireless SDSWIRX receivers, allowing the wireless connection of two subwoofers for your system. Some of the features of this kit are a 25-foot transmission range via 2.GHz band, 16-bit audio resolution, and 48hHz sampling rate capability.
Photo from Amazon
Dolby Atmos sound without installing speakers in ceilings.
Clear and crisp sound.
No midrange driver.
If you own a Dolby Atmos-enabled home theater receiver and need to get speakers to experience those overhead surround effects, you have two options: install speakers in your ceiling or add a pair of vertically firing speaker modules.
The R-14SA's are compact, vertically firing speakers that can be used to upgrade your home theater speaker system for Dolby Atmos without having to cut into your ceiling. The compact enclosure can be set on top of most main channel speakers so that it bounces sound off of the ceiling.
Each R-14SA features a 3/4-inch Aluminum Tweeter combined with a Hybrid Tractrix Horn, with a separate 4-inch Copper Cone Woofer. The speaker enclosure is also angled slightly forward on the top so that the sound bounces off the ceiling nearer to the prime listening position. The cabinet dimensions are 7.25" x 6" x 11.25" (HWD).
The Klipsch R-14SA makes a great home theater add-on for those that already have a traditional 5.1 or 7.1 channel surround sound system but want to take advantage of the full capabilities of Dolby Atmos receivers. The R-14SA is sold and priced in pairs.
Ultimate power management system and connection organizer.
Control voltage levels.
Protects components from power fluctuations and surges.
A pricey power management solution.
Extremely bright LEDs.
You've spent a lot of money and collected a lot of home theater components over the years. With each upgrade or addition, you have another power cord to plug in. After the number of wall outlet options run out, you add a surge protector, then another one, and still you seem to run out.
One solution to this mess is to get a centralized power management system, such as the Panamax M5400-PM. It not only provides all the outlets you need, but also includes additional connectivity, with coax and ethernet cable connections, a way to monitor and regulate voltage levels, and a system for clearing up power interference.
More affordable than the MR5400.
Easy to set up.
No voltage regulation functionality.
Doesn't automatically turn on when power is restored after an outage.
The Panamax MR5100 functions as a convenient, centralized, power management system that provides all the power outlets you need for your home theater gadgets, as well as your coax and ethernet cable connections. The MR5100 features a front panel display that shows incoming voltage, while also clearing up power interference and providing surge protection (including automatic shut-down).
Although the MR5100 provides power monitoring it does not provide voltage regulation.
Programmable to include most home theater devices and remotes.
Compatible with Amazon's Alexa assistant.
Provides great control and programability using smartphone.
IR module cord is very short, making it less useful than it should be.
Home theater has certainly given us more and better options for enjoying home entertainment. However, it has also given us the clutter of remote controls. Many of us have a half-dozen or more remotes on our coffee table. The quest for a remote control that can do it all is the true "Holy Grail" of home theater.
There are many universal remotes that can replace some of the functions of your remote control collection, but the Logitech Elite and Pro Remote Control Systems can do it all. Use either the provided remote control or a smartphone app to unify your system. As an added bonus, either system is compatible with Alexa via Amazon Echo devices.
Voice control for many home theater devices, including smart TVs.
Logitech universal remote hubs make more devices accessible with Alexa.
Smart home assistants have come under scrutiny for user privacy concerns.
Tinny sound quality.
The Amazon Echo Dot is a great home theater add-on as it can bring voice control to your home theater setup. By taking advantage of several Alexa Skills, such as those from Logitech, Denon/Marantz HEOS, Dish, and Samsung Smart Things, you can control many functions of your home theater setup, as well as thermostats and lighting. With an Echo Dot, Alexa can also control a Fire TV media streamer stick or box.
An added bonus is that you can connect the Echo Dot to any stereo or home theater receiver and listen to music streamed via Bluetooth or from select internet streaming services.
Echo Dot also allows you to make hands-free phone calls, order take-out and delivery, shop for more home theater gear (or anything else, for that matter), receive weather and traffic info, and more.
Boosts cellular signal to your home theater room.
Useful inside apartments or basement rooms that block signals.
May not work as well with Sprint network.
Can become quite hot during extended use.
Here is an interesting twist on a home theater add-on: the Wilson Electronics SignalBoost DT Desktop Cellular Signal Booster. If your home theater setup is in a basement or a location with weak signal reception, it can be a hassle to always leave the room just to make a phone call. The SignalBoost DT from Wilson Electronics solves this problem by providing a strong signal to your cell phone in your home theater room.
Soft drink dispenser that is the real deal.
Uses standard soda syrup boxes.
Setup requires more effort than simply plugging in an appliance.
If you have a dedicated home theater room, you need to outfit it with more than just AV gadgets, comfortable seating, and decor. You also need to provide some refreshments for your friends and family.
Instead of trudging back out to the kitchen to grab a beverage and miss that crucial action scene, why not bring your refreshment access right into your home theater room with your own soda machine? Check out the Soda Bar System as one such option.
A true movie theater experience.
Easy to use.
Leaves many unpopped kernals.
Unclear setup instructions.
Nothing makes a movie more enjoyable than a hot, fresh bag of buttered popcorn. But you don't have to settle for dull microwave popcorn. Add the true aroma and crunch of tasty popcorn to your home theater viewing with this professional-style popcorn machine.
Lonely Planet / Getty Images
Great selection of movie posters.
Posters are high quality.
Website is dated in appearance.
No options for free shipping.
So you have a home theater room and great equipment, but the walls are a little bare. Add some genuine movie theater atmosphere by hanging some vintage and modern movie posters. Now you have a true home movie theater.
Movieposters.com offers a huge selection.