In the 1940s, radio ruled.
In the ’50s, a telly in the living room had your whole neighbourhood enthralled.
The ’60s and ’70s embraced vinyl—both in records and in fashion.
The ’80s and ’90s saw the upswing of home cinema, the boom in hi-fi systems and the nascence of video consoles.
But now we’re well into the 2010s, so what should a stand-out living room entertainment system include? Every Australian living room since the 1950s has seemed incomplete without a TV and some kind of music player, but what other gadgets are available? This article looks at five hot electronics that will make your living room the best place in town.
A 3D Blu-Ray Video Player
Who needs the cinema anymore? With 3D technology right in your own living room, you’re better off staying in with your mates, popping a couple of cold ones and renting 3d Blu Ray movies.The latest 3D video players allow Internet streaming, Wi-Fi capability, and HDMI and USB cables to make sure you can connect all of your devices to your flat-screen TV (you’ve got one of those already, right?). With more and more films being released in 3D format, there will be a steady stream of thrilling visuals for you to watch, and re-watch, at home.
A Robot-Enabled Vacuum Cleaner
Wish you could afford a housekeeper? How about a robot housekeeper? Well, a robot-enabled vacuum cleaner won’t bring you a beer in the arvo or iron your britches, but it will keep your living room floor tidy while you kick back on the sofa watching a 3D flick, or even after you’ve left for work in the morning. Today’s robo-vacs can hoover up sand and even pet hair, leaving your floors smooth and spotless. They’re not as tall as older generations of automated cleaners, either, so they’ll be able to fit under most of your living room furniture without needing to be rescued.
A Smartphone/iPod Docking System
This year about 80 percent of all Australians will use a smartphone, estimates the Australian Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index, in their findings published in 2012. Now that pretty much all of us are packing smartphones in our pockets, we should maximise their use at home. The latest generation of sophisticated docking systems features better sound quality and the ability to connect to several of your devices simultaneously. Smartphone docks charge your phone while you’re at home and act as a hands-free device so you can chat to your mates and channel surf at the same time without cramping your neck. Another plus is Bluetooth hook-up to speakers, so you can listen to your favourite tunes while watching the cat chase your robotic vacuum cleaner.
After you’ve purchased your 3D television and accompanying sound system, and docked your mobile in anticipation of an incoming video call with the rellies, it might seem anticlimactic to invest in a comfortable set of wireless headphones. Why not just use the speakers you’ve paid so much to install? Well, unless you’re the only one living in your home, not everyone wants to hear whatyour gransaid about Cousin Steve. And all the household residents might not want to watch “Avatar”—again. Especially useful in households where members are known to hook up a game console now and then, wireless headphones can be the key to household harmony in this gadget-filled century.
A Universal Remote
At first glance not the sexiest item on the list, universal remotes have matured a lot since their inception in the 1980s. Now supporting literally thousands of brands and hundreds of thousands of devices, universal remotes will streamline your at-home routine. No more hunting through menus to find the right settings, and no more 10-minute tutorials for any uninitiated guests who simply want to watch the footy. These new multi-taskers range fromfamiliar hold-in-hand bricks to tablet-style touchscreens easy enough for your grandparents to use.
About the Author:Sammi Bates has the best living room in Australia, or so she’s told. A technology wonk who writes for websites and magazines around the world, she’s happiest in front of a glowing screen.