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5 Home Theater Tips

Build a home theater fit for a king.

Airplayer’s Ball
To get music in every room of your house, you could hire a college a cappella group to follow you around or you could use Apple’s AirPlay. With an Apple TV set-top box, you can beam audio, pictures, and even video all over the place. Bang the new Odd Future record on your MacBook to every room simultaneously! Play a movie from your iPad on the big screen! AirPlay-enabled devices include the swanky Bowers & Wilkens Zeppelin Air speakers ($599, pictured above) and the portable iHome iW1 ($300), which has its own custom iPhone control app, the iHome Control.

Having 1,000 cable channels used to make you a baller, but with the Web now full of awesome free content, it makes you a sucker. Samsung’s Smart Hub technology uses apps to access everything from Pandora and Netflix to Twitter and a Web browser. It crammed all that wonderful nerdiness into the D8000 LED 3D HDTV ($3,600, pictured above). Its sexy metal bezel is pencil-thin, like the rims on the average IT guy’s glasses. If you want to add the Web to a dumb TV, a set-top box, like Western Digital’s TV Live Hub ($199), is a pain-free option.

Clear the Clutter
A 7.1-channel surround-sound system will give you great audio, but it’ll also leave your living room booby-trapped with tons of wires waiting to trip you or electrocute your pets. Clean it up with Polk Audio’s SurroundBar 6000 Instant Home Theater ($500). It’s just two inches thick, but four built-in speakers put out 280 watts of power and offer a convincing surround effect. To avoid blasting your neighbors, slide into a pair of Turtle Beach’s Ear Force PX5 wireless gaming headphones ($250, pictured above). They sync with your system and keep your Xbox Live shit-talking private.

Sweet Remotion
A good universal remote will set you back about $300, but you’d be a stooge to spend that much dough when there’s a perfectly good alternative in your pocket. The sandwich-size Griffin Beacon ($80, pictured above) talks to your home theater and your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch using Bluetooth, giving you total control with simple jabs of your sausage fingers. For bigger bucks, step up to a full-on Control4 system with its My Home iPad app. Your iPad will be able to control not just your home theater, but also your lights, a security system, and even the thermostat.

Wi-Di Hard
Watching videos on your laptop is great if you’re stuck on a train or at a funeral. But at home, where there’s a giant HDTV begging for your attention like a neglected Kardashian sister, it sucks. D-Link’s MainStage ($TBA) uses wi-di, which turns your HDTV into a wireless second monitor for all the content stuck on your hard drive. If your laptop isn’t compatible with the MainStage (which only works with certain processors), opt for the Warpia StreamHD ($160, pictured above). It’s slutty in that it will let any ol’ Windows-based PC stream to your USB-equipped TV on the first date.

Check out the rest of the 2011 Tech Buying Guide.