Home entertainment systems just aren't what they used to be. Which is a good thing because it means technology has only been advancing, thus getting better and better; but when you've been kind of a Luddite for years like I have, returning to the home entertainment world is almost like learning a new language.
What do all these terms mean? How many various ways can I watch television, and on how many different devices? A long farewell to VCRs and televisions with manual dials. Hello new home entertainment system with state-of-the-art features and pitch-perfect sound. I think I'm going to like it here.
Home Theater + Bonus (99 cents)
The Home Theater + Bonus iPhone app is essentially an eBook that teaches you the secrets of creating your own home movie theater, "like the rich and famous!" First, learn why you should have your own theater system - going out to the movies is expensive, and the food's better at home! Then read about the evolution of the home theater system, how to choose a system that works for you, and what the home theaters "in-a-box" option is all about. (I am now completely sold on this one, as it's easy to understand and, literally, comes in one box.) But after all this, we're still just getting started. Keep reading to find out how to create an affordable solution to purchasing a HES, various options of what kind to get, step-by-step instructions on how to assemble whatever you get, tips of installation and setup and even more. This app is a bargain at 99 cents.
Home Theater Glossary (99 cents)
At first overwhelmed by all the hugely unfamiliar terms, I quickly remembered the point of the Home Theater Glossary app - to help guide you through the alien territory that is home theater language. Cruise through the alphabet unleashing piles and heaps of unknown terminology for each letter. An MP3, I can handle, but TDS, an abbreviation for time delay spectrometry; and Hz also referred to as Hertz, meaning cycles per second (cps) or pitch, I could never have navigated without this helpful glossary.
DVD Previews (99 cents)
Trying to decide what DVDs you would like to own, and which ones you'd rather save for Netflix? Even if you'd just like help deciding what to see in the theater, and what to wait to see until it's out on DVD, DVD Previews is your app. Scan (via your iPhone camera) or manually enter in the UPC code for the DVD in question. (There are Web sites where you can access DVD UPC codes, or try hanging around a video store.) Once the app locates your movie, it connects you to trailers and previews almost instantly. If you would like to purchase your film of choice, click "where to buy," and the app takes you shopping via the Internet.
LocateTV is a straight-forward iPhone app. First, type in your country and ZIP code, and up comes a list of television service providers. Then, a list of seasons starting soon. Curb Your Enthusiasm starts soon, as does The Rachel Zoe Project; and if I want to watch something right now, I can see Curious George on PBS and HealthBeat Brooklyn on BCAT. You can also search for shows via network and day of the week (within the current week). Plus, if there's a particular channel you dislike, or you would like to narrow down your search, you can adjust your settings.
Media Mate (99 cents)
Media Mate is so current - it's "your guide to the latest media releases" - that the first thing this app does when you open it is load this week's new products. There are release calendars for books, DVDs, games and music that start a few weeks back and go through about a month away. The downside is the app only announces very well-known releases, so if your best friend just published a book or came out with a new video game, you probably won't read about it here.