A guide to home entertainment systems

The latest high resolution TV screens, wireless music systems and app technologies are here to stay – and they are revolutionising our homes.

As hi-spec TVs and music systems become more design-led and instinctive to use, they get easier to integrate into our homes. Here’s what they can do for you. 

Switch on to the latest TVs…

Sony tv 100 inch ZD9 in a modern apartment

Image: Sony

These days TVs are smart. Exceptional picture quality and online streaming to BBC iPlayer, Netflix and Amazon Prime come as standard.

If you are looking to upgrade your set, go for one with built-in Wi-Fi and so you won’t have to run a cable between the set and your router.

…or upgrade an older TV

bose soundtouch vastly improves the quality of your TV’s audio

Image: Bose Soundtouch

If your TV isn’t smart, upgrade with an Amazon Fire Stick, Google Chromecast or Apple TV. These affordable devices allow you to access smart features without having to buy a new TV.

Go large

Samsung ultra hd mu9000 tv

Image: Samsung

Choose a screen with at least full HD (1080x1920 pixels). The latest offering is 4K, also known as 4K Ultra HD or Ultra HD Premium and will give you incredible detail.

If you want to create a cinema experience and have the budget, why not go for a 100” screen? Be careful that you room is big enough, though. Your viewing distance needs to be 1.5 times the size of your screen…

Get set to record

Panasonic UB700 06 1 4K recording bluray player

Image: Panasonic

Blu-ray is still the Rolls Royce of recording and players start from as little as £50. But the more you spend, the more features you can enjoy, including online content.

If you have a 4K TV it makes sense to buy a 4K Blu-ray player. While the choice of compatible movies is small at the moment, it is growing and, in the meantime, a 4K player is able to boost the quality of any format it plays.

Suss out the sound

Bang&Olufsen BSo1 16XX Lo02 audio speaker

Image: Bang & Olufsen

Consider a surround sound system of multiple speakers that can compensate for the smaller speakers in slimline TVs.

A soundbar can be an easier solution as it just sits infront of the TV. Go for a model with Bluetooth and you will be able to play music through it as well.

Tune in to music

Ruark hi-fi system with CD player, bluetooth and speakers

Image: Ruark 

The latest hi-fi systems can stream music wirelessly from a smartphone, allowing music lovers to free up all that space taken up by DVDs.

Keep your favourites, though, as the sound quality of a DVD is still considered superior. Look for products that combine CD, Bluetooth and DAB radio. Try Roberts and Ruark.

Go hi-fi

Onkyo hifi speakers

Image: Onkyo

For the best sound quality combine a separate amplifier with CD player and speakers. This option will take up the most space but will be worth it. Try Cambridge Audio, Naim or Onkyo

Back Bluetooth

vifa soundbar stockholm ocean blue 37673 300dpi wireless speakers audio

Image: Vifa

For convenience, you can’t beat Bluetooth speakers. There is an impressive range available, from the ease of simple portable models to eye-catching sculptural designs. Bear in mind that unless your speakers are also Wi-Fi compatible they will only have a 10m range. 

Turn to turntables

crosley usb vinyl turntable on vinyl shelving

Image: Crosley, Urban Outfitters

Turntables with built-in speakers are the least expensive option for playing vinyl. But a model with Bluetooth will have much better sound quality. Try Audio Technica or Crosley. 


Get more home entertainment inspiration at Grand Designs Live

Words: Chris Haslam, from original article on Grand Designs Magazine.

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