Blah to Awe: 7 Accessories that Elevate the Home Theater Experience


When you hear the term “home theater accessory,” it’s natural to think of the usual suspects: universal remote controls, high-speed HDMI cables, maybe an advanced surge protector or articulating wall mount. Those accessory options are perfectly fine and, depending on your setup, that item may just be what your gear needs to take its performance to new dimensions. After all, that’s what we’re after, aren’t we? Who doesn’t want their equipment operating at its peak? If maximizing your equipment’s potential sounds appealing, we’ve rounded up five accessories that should be on your A/V short list. In no particular order, let’s get to it.

Kanto TTS100

At first glance, you may be thinking to yourself, “a TV stand, really?” Hear me out—there’s much more than meets the eye here. Consider the placement of your TV for a moment. How is your viewing environment laid out? Are you sitting in your TV’s sweet spot? If you aren’t, off-axis viewing can negatively impact picture quality, especially when it comes to LCD TVs, because color and contrast tend to take a hit when viewing from an angle. If you have an articulating wall mount, you can remedy this situation, but if you’re not power-drill-inclined, the Kanto TTS100 offers an intriguing alternative.

Kanto Living TTS100 Tabletop Stand for 37 to 60" Displays

This accessory offers straightforward design and it doesn’t plug into a wall or need batteries. Simply, it replaces your TV’s existing base while offering several enhancements along the way. The TTS100 features a sturdy frame that can support TVs up to 60" and allows you to tilt, swivel, and adjust the height of your TV. If you’re sitting off-center, no problem, just swivel your TV by hand and aim it at your seating location. It’s time to say goodbye to HD-zapping, washed-out screens. The TTS100 even incorporates a generous wire-management slot, which helps to hide unsightly wires. That HDMI cable we mentioned earlier? You don’t need to see it for it to do its job, even if it has a fancy mesh jacket. Let it operate in the shadows. This is a great solution if you don’t want to run wires through walls or take other covert measures to manage your cabling. If you want as few wires as possible, the next accessory on our list is right up your alley.

IOGEAR Wireless HD Digital Kit

Wireless connectivity isn’t something home theater purists embrace easily, especially when we’re talking about transmitting high-resolution video streams. To that crowd’s defense, wireless connectivity can be spotty; wired connections tend to be more reliable and easier to troubleshoot if things go awry. This kit from IOGEAR may be the competent, wireless connection for which your system has been waiting. For starters, this kit includes a transmitter and receiver that support up to 1080p video and 5.1-channel surround sound. You also don’t have to sweat placement. The transmitter and receiver don’t require a clear line-of-sight to communicate with each other, and they can be placed up to 100' feet apart—that’s enough to accommodate even the grandest of home-entertainment spaces.

IOGEAR Wireless HD Digital Kit

Running wires from your components to your TV isn’t always easy. I was faced with this challenge when I had to mount a TV on a brick wall. Snaking the wires wasn’t an option without calling a general contractor. Using this kit will also allow you to place a component on the other side of the room, far away from your TV, while still maintaining a reliable connection. Wireless connectivity has come a long way in the A/V world, and this kit makes embracing it a little easier. Go ahead, untether your gear.

Sennheiser Flex 5000

Connecting headphones to your display isn’t exactly a new concept. In fact, Sennheiser has been at it for quite a while, making several TV-friendly wireless headphone systems. The Sennheiser Flex 5000, however, offers a fresh take on this age-old approach. The transceiver is compact enough to travel with you around any room and offers the convenience of connecting your own wired headphones. BYOH or “bring your own headphones”—until it catches on, remember where you heard it first. If you like, you can continue using the headphones to which you’ve grown accustomed. You can use them on the subway, you can use them in office (discreetly), and now you can use them in your home theater. Sennheiser also includes a pair of its MX 475 in-ear headphones if you prefer to separate your audio world.

Sennheiser Flex 5000 Digital Wireless TV Listening System

We pay so much attention to the video side of things that we often forget how important a role audio plays in our A/V enjoyment. While I love a good multi-channel audio experience, I also love not waking my kids at night and, because of this, sometimes headphones are downright necessary. Other notable features found on the Flex 5000 are a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts up to 12 hours and up to 98' feet of wireless range. Additionally, the Flex 5000 offers volume tailoring and speech intelligibility features, the latter being great for dialogue-heavy soundtracks.

Sonos Playbar/Playbase

OK. This comprises two products, one being a speaker that doubles as a base on which you can place your TV, and the other operates as a traditional soundbar—both with a twist. I realize these play a larger role in your A/V setup than traditional accessories do, but because of the way they integrate into your home theater and potentially your whole home music network, they fall perfectly within the “Blah to Awe” mold. Let’s just call them large accessories. In my opinion, what sets these systems apart from other soundbars is their expandability. If you’ve shopped for a music system in the past decade or so, you’ve probably seen the SONOS brand and are familiar with the “whole home” music concept.

Sonos PLAYBAR Wireless Soundbar

Using a device like your smartphone to control all the music in your home is quite appealing to music lovers. Having a whole home music system that also can play audio from your home entertainment system is even sweeter. It’s not uncommon to have multiple audio systems in your home to handle your A/V and music needs independently, but with these speakers from SONOS, you don’t have to. Thanks to Internet connectivity, these speakers support popular music streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora.

Sonos PLAYBASE Wireless Soundbase for Home Theater and Streaming Music

Google Home

It seems that every tech-related list these days contains a virtual assistant (guilty as charged). For good reason, though—these smart products have changed the way we interact with the other devices in our home, even our A/V equipment. There’s no better example of that than the Google Home. If you have a Chromecast connected to your TV, which many people do, using the Google Home will allow you to explore select content simply by talking to the virtual assistant. Want to watch something on Netflix or YouTube? Just ask. If “select” content sounds limiting, there are other options. The Google Home also supports Harmony’s top-tier remote controls like the Elite. When paired, you can tune to a specific channel. With the Google Home, you’ll be sitting so long you’re going to have to set “move” reminders on your fitness tracker. Stand up, jog in place, sit down, resume popcorn—those sound healthy.

Google Home

Like the SONOS systems, the Google Home is also ecosystem friendly, allowing you to connect multiple Google Homes to your system for a true multi-room audio experience.

Harmony/Logitech Harmony Elite Universal Remote System

Elevate Your Experience

A new component is usually the best way to take your system to new plateaus, but thanks to a healthy number of accessory choices on the market, big and small, there is no shortage of ways to enhance your audio and video experience these days. Sometimes you just need to change your viewing angle, have the flexibility to move a component across the room, or consolidate your audio devices to jump-start your home entertainment setup. If you want to know how to maximize your A/V experience, contact us, we’re here to help.

Looking for an accessory to take your system to the next level? Did I miss an item on your shortlist? Tell us about it, below.