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Best Home Theater Add-ons and Accessories

Check out some great add-ons that can enhance the home theater experience.

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Home Theater Add-ons and Accessories - A lot of attention is placed on the basic equipment needed to experience home theater, however, there are many unusual accessories that can enhance your home theater enjoyment. Check out my list of suggestions that can add both to the functionality and aesthetic enjoyment of your home theater experience. Some suggestions are very inexpensive and practical to implement, while others are expensive and indulgent, but all add to the variety and what can be attained in the home theater experience.

1. Darblet Model DVP 5000 Video Processor

Darbee Visual Presence - Darblet Model DVP 5000 - Package Contents
Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

The Darblet, from Darbee Visual Presence is a small plug-and-play video processor that you place between an HDMI source (such as a Blu-ray Disc player, upscaling DVD player, cable/satellite box, or home theater receiver) and your TV or video projector.

However, unlike other popular video processing devices, the Darblet does not upscale resolution, suppress background video noise or edge artifacts, and does not smooth motion response.

Instead, the Darblet adds depth information in the image using pixel level real-time contrast, brightness, and sharpness manipulation (referred to as luminous modulation). This process restores the missing natural-like "3D" information that the brain is trying to see within the 2D image. As a result, the image seems to "pops" with more texture, depth, and contrast range.

If used appropriately, the Darblet makes a great addition to the TV and home theater viewing experience. In fact, it has garnered quite a following amongst a growing number of consumers and professionals.
Compare Prices - Review - Product Photos and Processing Examples.

2. DVDO Edge Video Scaler and Processor

DVDO Edge Video Scaler By Anchor Bay - Front View With Accessories
Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
The DVDO Edge is a feature-packed, affordable, standalone video scaler and processor that delivers what it promises. Anchor Bay VRS technology enables the DVDO Edge to deliver the best possible image on an HDTV from Composite, S-Video, Component, PC, or HDMI sources. In addition, other features, such as 6 HDMI inputs (including one on the front panel), a complete array of NTSC, PAL, and HD output resolutions, variable zoom adjustment, mosquito noise reduction, and audio synch give the DVDO Edge a great deal of flexibility.
Compare Prices - Short Review - Full Review - Photo Profile - Video Performance Test Results - Official Product Page

3. Panamax M5400-PM Home Theater Power Management System

Panamax M5400-PM Home Theater Power Management System - Front View with Included Accessories
Photos © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
You've spent a lot of money and collected a lot home theater components over the years. With each upgrade or addition you have another power cord to plug in. After the number of wall outlet options run out, you add a surge protector, then another one, and then you still run out. One solution to this mess is to get a centralized power management system, such as the Panamax M5400-PM that not only provides all the outlets you need, but also includes additional connectivity organizes coax and ethernet cable connections, provides a practical way to both monitor and regulate your voltage level, and aids in clearing up power interference.
Short Review - Full Review - Photo Gallery - Compare Prices

4. Logitech Harmony One Advanced Universal Remote Control

Logitech Harmony One Universal Remote Control - Close-up
Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
Home theater has certainly given us more and better options for enjoying home entertainment. However, it has also given us the clutter of remote controls. Many of us have a half-dozen, or more, remotes on the coffee table. The quest for a remote control that can do it all is the true "Holy Grail" of home theater. There are many "universal remotes" that can than replace some of the functions of your remote control collection, but the Logitech Harmony One Advanced Universal Remote Control can just about do it all and is not any larger than most single component remotes.
Product Review - Photo Profile - Compare Prices.

 

Also available, the Logitech Harmony 900, which has both IR and RF transmission capability - Comes with RF receiver and additional IR blasters.
Compare Prices - Official Product Page.

Also available, the Logitech Harmony Touch. This control unit builds on the features of the Harmony One with the incorporation of a 2.4-inch color swipe-touch-screen in combination with a very stylish ergonomic design.
More Info - Compare Prices.

5. Accell UltraCat HD - HDMI Over Cat5e/6 Extenders

Accell UltraCat HD - HDMI Over Cat5e/6 Extender
Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
The Accell UltraCat HD - HDMI Over Cat5e/6 Extender provides a practical way to send several types of signals over long distances via a single Cat5e/6 cable. HDMI audio/video, Ethernet, as well as IR and RS-232 control can be sent simultaneously in parallel, or individually, to distances up to 328 feet.
Photo Illustrated Review - Official Product Page

6. Sunfire Universal Wireless Subwoofer Kit

Sunfire Universal Wireless Subwoofer Kit - Transmitter and Receiver
Photo © 2011 - Sunfire
The Sunfire Universal Wireless Subwoofer Kit allows consumers to make a wireless connection between any subwoofer with LFE or line inputs and any home theater receiver with subwoofer preamp outputs. By plugging the SDSWITX transmitter to your home theater receiver and SDSWIRX wireless receiver to your subwoofer, you can eliminate the long, and unsightly, subwoofer audio cable that is usually required. An added benefit is that you have more freedom in placing your subwoofer in spot you need to place it in for best low frequency response - as long as you have an AC outlet nearby to access power for your subwoofer and the SDSWIRX wireless receiver.
Official Product Page

 

Also, the SDSWITX transmitter can be used with up to two wireless SDSWIRX receivers, allowing the wireless connection of two subwoofers for your system, if you so desire. Some of the features of this kit are: 25 foot transmission range via 2.GHz band, 16 bit audio resolution, and 48hHz sampling rate capability. The price for the SDSWITX transmitter and one SDSWIRX receiver is about $160. Priced separately, both the transmitter and receiver are priced at about $80 a piece.
Compare Prices for the SDSWITX universal wireless subwoofer transmitter.
Compare Prices for the SDSWIRX universal wireless subwoofer receiver.

7. Panamax MX5102 Power Management System with Battery Backup

Panamax MX5102 - Front View With Accessories
Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
You've spent a lot of money and collected a lot home theater components over the years. With each component upgrade or addition you have another power cord to plug in. After the number of wall outlet options run out, you add a surge protector, then another one, and then you still run out. One solution is to get a centralized power management system that provides all the outlets you need, monitors your voltage level, and also provides battery backup. One product that might do the job for you is the Panamax MX5102.
Review - Photo Gallery - Compare Prices

8. CineCurve Video Projection Screen by Stewart Filmscreen

Stewart Filmscreen has elevated the home theater experience further with the release of its CineCurve line of video projection screens. What makes a CineCurve different is that it is curved on the sides, just like a the screen in many local cinemas. The curved nature of the screen reduces shape distortion on the edges of the screen that can occur when watching cinemascope and other widescreen image formats on a typical flat projection screen.
Official Product Page

9. Panamax MR5100 Home Theater Power Management System

Panamax MR5100 Home Theater Power Management System
Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
The Panamax MR5100 functions as a convenient, centralized, power management system that provides all the power outlets you need for your home theater gadgets, as well as your coax and ethernet cable connections. The MR5100 features a front panel display that shows the incoming voltage and also aids in clearing up power interference, and provides surge protection (including automatic shut down).
Review and Photos - Compare Prices

10. Super 8mm Film To Digital Video Converter

Super 8mm Film To Digital Video Converter
Photo provided by Hammacher Schlemmer
If you have a box of old Super-8 films and you want to preserve those precious memories in a more future-proof medium, then check out the Super 8mm Film To Digital Video Converter offered by Hammacher Schlemmer. Although it looks like a video projector, it is actually a device that can capture each frame of a Super 8 film roll and digitize it so that you can transfer it to a PC or MAC (USB cable and software included), clean it up, edit it, and then either save to a hard drive, flash drive, or burn onto a DVD for TV viewing and safe keeping.
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