The growth of interconnected home automation and developments in wireless smart technology has led to an explosion in the range of smart home entertainment devices now available for building a truly connected viewing and listening experience.
When it comes to smart entertainment in the home, we’re really talking about those devices which traditionally have allowed us to enjoy ourselves during downtime such as audio and visual products, but which are now connected to the rest of the home (and to us) like never before.
As the growth of devices falling under the ‘Internet of Things’ category continues to connect us to the objects we interact with in our everyday lives, the way we entertain ourselves is inevitably evolving too.
In this definitive guide to smart entertainment devices, we’ve covered everything you need to know to start enjoying a fully immersive, interconnected, and even automated smart home entertainment experience.
So what are Smart Entertainment Devices?
Smart entertainment devices primarily allow the simplification of controlling your home entertainment experience by allowing you total ease of control of all of your media and devices through voice, gesture, and touch wherever you are in your home, making for an accessible and connected environment throughout your entire smart home ecosystem.
From wireless Bluetooth audio systems and smart TVs, to mood-matching lighting and voice-activated control systems like the Amazon Echo that respond to your every entertainment-related command and need, home entertainment devices are now smarter and more intelligent than ever before.
Connected entertainment devices offer more than just an easier user interface though, and with the latest smart devices looking to enhance your viewing or listening experience, implementing a smart home entertainment system in your house can transform the way you spend your downtime, whether that’s watching a movie, playing video games, listening to music or entertaining family and friends.
Whether you’re looking to find a smart device solution for audio or visual entertainment, or are aiming to increase the ambient effect of the existing entertainment kit in your home, the latest connected devices have got you covered.
Smart home entertainment devices also bring an increased level of home automation into the mix, with the ability to carry out certain tasks without any input from the user at all, for example automatically preparing the lighting and audio environment in your living room at a certain time of the day.
By bringing all of this smart entertainment technology together with a centralized smart hub, controller or bridge at the core of your device setup, and you’ll be able to integrate every element of your smart home – from lighting and security to music and video – in one seamless, intelligent and fully connected package.
Intelligent and Immersive Entertainment
The best smart home entertainment devices should work together to create an entertainment experience that is interconnected as well as smart. The result of this is an environment that helps you unwind or immerses you in whatever it is you’re doing, without you ever having to think about it.
Whether it’s smart lighting that adapts to match the scene of a movie, or a voice-controlled system for playing back your music when you’re in the mood for that specific song, a connected smart home entertainment device ecosystem can be created that fits the bill.
Smart Hubs and Device Control
When you first start equipping your home with smart devices, you’ll begin to come across the variety of wireless protocols that each device utilizes to communicate with others in your setup.
From Bluetooth and WiFi to ZigBee and Z-Wave, the chances are, that after a while, you will have devices that operate on different protocols to others.
Now, these devices can be controlled independently of each other using their individual companion apps on your smartphone or device, but after a while, this becomes impractical as the number of devices in your home environment grows, besides which, you ideally want all of the smart gear in your home communicating in the same ‘language’.
This is where the smart hub or controller comes in.
Effectively acting as a central point of contact for every wireless device in your home, smart hubs (also known as ‘bridges’ or ‘controllers’) bring together all of the different protocols in your setup and ‘translate’ them into a common shared format that can be interfaced from a single point instead of many separate ones.
In practice, this means you can control all of your disparate devices from a single interface, whether that be a physical remote control, a single app on your phone or tablet, or in the case of controllers like Google Home or the Amazon Echo, using your voice.
For smart home entertainment devices, this means for example that you can have your WiFi color-changing lighting and Bluetooth sound system connected to, and interfaced through a single point of contact that brings the whole experience together seamlessly.
The Logitech Harmony uses a free companion app to allow you to take full control of up to 8 smart home entertainment devices using your smartphone as a control interface.
At the center of your smart home entertainment setup, the Harmony Hub is capable of orchestrating all of your connected devices and brings the whole thing together.
As well as allowing control over your audio and visual experience, the Harmony is also designed to interface perfectly with other devices within the home including smart lighting and thermostats to ensure you can create the truly perfect all-round experience.
Learn More Here
The latest iteration of smart hubs by Wink is faster and easier to use than its predecessor and is designed to bring all of your devices together and make them speak the same language, allowing you to control everything directly from the free Wink app.
The Wink Hub 2 really is designed to bring a lot of different devices together, supporting both dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy wireless networking as well as ZigBee, Z-Wave, Lutron Clear Connect, and Kidde wireless protocols. If you’re looking to totally future-proof your setup, the Wink Hub 2 is also Thread enabled meaning you’re rig is covered when the new low-powered mesh protocol becomes commonplace.
Learn More Here
The Echo from Amazon is a stylish and super-efficient smart device controller designed with voice control of your smart home entertainment and connected devices in mind.
Simple to set up and easy to get going, the Echo is built for hands-free operation and utilizes Alexa, Amazon’s inbuilt AI who’s always ready to respond to your next question or command.
The Echo allows you to not only play music directly through the hub itself (thanks to a speaker offering 360-degree omnidirectional audio) but also to control a host of other compatible devices throughout your home including lighting and smart switches.
Whether you’re looking to control the temperature in your home through a connected smart thermostat or simply want to listen to your favorite track, just ask Alexa and she’ll make it happen.
With the Echo itself representing the flagship device in the Alexa-powered family, other options are also available including the Echo Dot (a reduced size version of the Echo with many of the same features) and the Echo Show which also incorporates a display and camera for visualization, video playback and voice calls between other Echo Show devices.
Learn More Here
The SmartThings Hub from Samsung connects effortlessly (and wirelessly) to your smart home devices from heating and lighting to you guessed it – home entertainment devices.
Contained within a sleek outer shell, the SmartThings Hub is controlled using the free companion app from either your smartphone or tablet as well as offering the option to pair with Amazon Alexa for voice control.
Simple to install, easy to use and the perfect way to bring together your smart home entertainment and automation needs.
Whatever smart device in your setup you’re looking to unify, the SmartThings Hub looks to bring them together and allows you to ‘teach’ your home how to react by letting the system know what to do when you’re home, sleeping or at work.
Learn More Here
Allowing you to turn your mobile device into a universal smart remote, don’t let the size of the Blumoo fool you.
Acting as a central link between the control interface (your smartphone or tablet) and your interconnected devices, the Blumoo gives you direct control over your smart home environment.
Control your entertainment from multiple sources from the convenience of an intuitive partner app on your mobile device.
Learn More Here
The Singlecue takes a (cue?) from some of the more familiar touch-free, gesture controllers that you may have used in the past such as the Kinect, and the premise is a simple but appealing one – device control at the wave of a hand.
A universal controller that works for both your media devices and smart thermostat and lighting solutions, the Singlecue uses motion capture to detect your gestures, allowing for touch-free control of your entertainment devices.
Singlecue Gesture Control
Smart Home Entertainment Audio Devices
Nine amplified speakers make up the foundation for this powerful wireless audio solution.
Connectivity through WiFi and controlled through a free app on either a smartphone or tablet, the Sonos Playbar is the perfect sound solution for your smart entertainment setup.
Oh, we nearly forgot to mention, the Playbar also looks as awesome as it sounds.
Learn More Here
Stream directly from connected music services such as Amazon Prime Music, Spotify or Pandora with the HEOS and it’s partner app.
The HEOS 1 is both small and powerful and with Bluetooth connectivity, this wireless speaker solution is an incredible edition to your smart home audio arsenal.
Learn More Here
The R400 uses a Bluetooth connection to play audio from any nearby device with Bluetooth compatibility.
With the inclusion of a built-in microphone, the R400 also allows you to make hands-free calls when paired with a phone.
If you’re looking for a standalone Bluetooth speaker that can be connected to a device such as Amazon’s Echo Dotfor music playback, the R400 is an excellent choice here too.
Smart Home Entertainment Visual Devices
From the best smart TVs and projector systems delivering a jaw-dropping, theater-quality visual experience in your living room, through to connected playback devices and streaming services making everything online available instantly, the era of smart home entertainment tech is transforming the way we’re able to view content at home.
If you’re looking for a 4K smart TV that will deliver the ultimate entertainment experience, check out this offering from LG.
Providing more clarity than ever before, the LG OLED TV is designed to combine big screen audio and HDR visuals with smart technology, meaning you can queue up shows, movies and online content from your favorite providers such as Amazon and Netflix.Learn More Here
Developments in Smart TV technology has been progressing rapidly in recent years and the level of integration with other smart devices around the home has continued to increase.
Utilizing built-in WiFi, the latest offering from the Japanese powerhouse of visual entertainment allows you to run apps such as Youtube, Netflix, and others directly from the box (no need for a separate unit here) while crystal clear 1080p clarity will have you really experiencing every show, movie or game on this beauty.
Learn More Here
LG 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV
With a 120Hz refresh rate, screen mirroring and built-in WiFi, this visual offering from LG is the definitive way to watch in 4k super high definition clarity.
Once the device is connected, you can navigate LG’s content store and browse the web, all from the contents of your couch. Perfect.
Learn More Here
This small box contains enough tech to keep you entertained for a seriously long time.
Not only does the BDPS3700 allow you to stream over 300 apps and entertainment services through your TV, but it also enables you to view smartphone content on your display using Mira cast screen mirroring technology.
Oh yeah, and it’s also a lightning fast, Full HD 1080p Blu-ray disc player.
Learn More Here
LG have brought the surround sound, home theater concept into the smart entertainment era with the LHB655 system.
Combining 5.1 surround with a Blu-Ray player (within the receiver itself), the LG Smart Blu-Ray Home Theater provides direct access to online apps such as Spotify, Hulu, Netflix and Youtube making it the perfect entry to a fully-featured smart entertainment system for your home.
Learn More Here
Whether you’re settling in to watch a movie, throwing a party, or simply want to set the scene with reactive mood lighting when you listen to music, the latest range of smart lighting represents a real game changer in the world of smart home entertainment and connected relaxation.
From color-changing light bulbs with millions of options to lighting that adapts to every scene in the movie or shows you’re watching, incorporating a smart light system into your home entertainment repertoire will transform the way you enjoy your leisure time.
Smart lighting allows you to control the illumination in your home directly from your smartphone or by issuing a voice command through a system like Google Home or Amazon Alexa, effectively giving you total control over the visual atmosphere within a room like never before.
Whether we’re talking about a couple of strategically positioned bulbs that react to your voice or smartphone app input, or a fully integrated home lighting overhaul, the ability to have your lighting react at the tap of a screen or utterance of a command is incredible.
How about having your smart lighting react when your favorite team scores a touchdown? Well, by connecting your smart lighting to the relevant IFTTT applet, you can make it happen. So awesome.
If you plan on doing little else to your home entertainment, seriously consider investing in smart lighting and some form of controller to transform your viewing, listening and relaxing experience.
When it comes to connected lighting solutions, the Hue range of white and color changing smart bulbs are among the best on the market and represent an awesome choice if you’re looking to get started with a smart light element to your home entertainment setup.
Controllable by voice using systems like Amazon Alexa, the Philips Hue range offers 16 million color variations and can be synced with movies, music, and games for an immersive home entertainment effect.
The entire Philips Hue range is designed to work seamlessly with each other when connected to a central ‘bridge’ unit (included in the Starter Kit) meaning you can scale your intelligent lighting system up with the addition of components to expand the capabilities of your illumination.
Offering everything from white and color changing bulbs through to smart feature lamps and lighting strips, a fully realized Hue setup allows you to achieve some pretty awesome ambient and home entertainment effects when an interconnected system is in place.Learn more here
When it comes to the latest smart home entertainment devices, the latest audio and visual smart devices will ensure you never view (or listen) home entertainment in the same way again