The NHL lockout is finally over, but you haven’t thoroughly experienced hockey at home this season until you’ve mounted a big-screen TV to your wall and rocked your room with surround sound speakers louder than Don Cherry’s wardrobe.
Now toss in a smart remote that illuminates when you pick it up off the beer fridge and you’ve got the ultimate sports lover’s haven.
Cue the ear-to-ear grin.
The latest tech toys can give your hockey games some serious umph – and thanks to falling prices you don’t need to break the bank to create this dream setup.
Here’s a look at a few home theater items worth considering.
For about $1,200 you can pick up a 60-inch Samsung N60EH6000, a massive LED-backlit 1080p HDTV with a Clear Motion Rate of 120 (Hz) to help smooth out fast-paced hockey games and Wide Color Enhancer Plus technology to deliver vibrant images.
Other features include a USB port (to connect a thumbdrive packed with photos, videos a
If 3D and Internet access are important to you, also consider Sony’s 55-inch HX750 ($1,499). This 1080p HDTV offers fast and smooth 2D and 3D performance (including 240Hz processing for sports, movies and video games), plus built-in Wi-Fi and access to a number of apps.nd music), a 20-watt speaker system with Dolby Digital Plus/Dolby Pulse audio processing and SRS TheaterSound HD (for virtual surround sound) and multiple HDMI ports.
It’s the hub of your home theater. Your audio-video (AV) receiver manages your sound by bringing in audio from multiple sources, decoding and amplifying it, and pushing it through to your surround sound speakers – and in some cases, taking in video from various components, too, and routing it all to your TV.
Averaging a review score of 4.6 out of 5 among Best Buy customers, Yamaha’s RX-V473BL ($299.99) is a 575-watt, 5.1-channel AV receiver -- and includes enhanced audio decoders, such as Cinema DSP 3D and Dolby Digital, DTS and Dolby Pro Logic, for an immersive home theater experience.
Additional features include AirPlay support (to wirelessly connect your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch); 4K video pass-through- and switching-ready; and four HDMI inputs.
In case you haven’t yet tried one of the amazing Harmony universal remotes from Logitech, they’re super easy to program and use; simply plug the Harmony into a computer’s USB port and download codes from the Internet to the device and then press one of the activity-based commands on the remote, such as "Set up for Sports" or “Play a Movie,” and the Harmony does the rest by turning on and adjusting only the devices you need to begin watching.
While prices typically start at $50 for the entry-level Harmony Remote line-up, the granddaddy of all universal remotes, the Harmony Touch ($209.99), is a rechargeable and illuminated touchscreen remote that can control up to 15 devices in your home theater.
Hit the ice, virtually speaking, with EA Sports' NHL 13 (about $60) for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. As with past years, this hard-hitting video game lets you play as or against your favorite team and lead them to the coveted Stanley Cup. Alternatively, you can create a player from scratch and master everything from skating, passing and shooting to deking, hitting and fighting.
Along with playing regular matches in solo or multiplayer modes, you can also rewrite history by replaying some of the NHL's biggest moments, with the biggest stars, while a new GM Connected mode has you play manage, play or coach in a 30-team league within the game or via a mobile companion app. meant to recreate the speed, skill and drama of professional hockey, plus this year's version has ramped up the overall presentation and intensity of the action with more than 1,000 new gameplay animations, authentic physics and improved on-ice A.I. (artificial intelligence).
One sweet seat
And what man cave would be complete without a comfy chair to recline in?
The XZipit by La-Z-Boy (from $699.99) was designed for the sports nut in mind as these recliners let you show your team spirit with an interchangeable embroidered logo system based on your favorite NHL franchise. These recliners let you glide smoothly up or down and even spin 360 degrees to find that perfect spot while watching the big game.