Now that we are spending more and more time indoors, the time spent watching TV has considerably increased. As per the Broadcast Audience Research Council India, India has seen a growth of 30-40 percent in TV viewership during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic compared to pre-COVID times. So now that we are watching TV more, why not get a more immersive experience? Here are a few accessories that you should invest in to improve your TV viewing experience.
1. Improve the Audio – Lackluster audio is one of the most common complaints by flat-screen TV users. The race to make the TVs slim in design is the primary reason for your TV sound not living up to the expectation in the majority of the TV options available today.
The simple solution to solve this problem and make the most significant difference in TV viewing is to add better quality speakers. Depending on the space and budget range, we recommend investing in a good Soundbar. The soundbar has the advantage of being sleeker, and you can get it with a wired/wireless subwoofer to improve the bass output.
For budget-conscious users, the Mi Soundbar (Rs 4999) or the Boat Avante Soundbar (Rs 7,999) with wired subwoofer is a great option. If you can increase the budget, then you can go for one with a wireless subwoofer such as the Sony HT-S350 (Rs 17,990) or the Edifier B7 CineSound (Rs 21,990). In case you fancy a multi-speaker surround sound setup, then you can look at the Sony HT-RT40 (Rs 21,990) or the Yamaha YHT-1840 (Rs 27,990).
2. Smart 4K Media Streamer Device – Almost all TVs today are smart TV and come with built-in apps for most popular streaming services. However, not all TV brands offer all the apps, and then the other issue is that sometimes the TVs don’t support streaming in 4k for one app or the other, which can ruin your experience.
To ensure a smooth 4k experience, it’s best to invest in a dedicated 4k media streamer device – we recommend the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4k (Rs 5,999) and the Apple TV 4k (Rs 15,999). Both of them offer support for almost all streaming services in India along with 4k video stream.
Moreover, the interface is faster than what you would get on a budget and mid-range TVs, plus you get voice-enabled remotes for smooth operation.
3. LED Backlight strip – This handy yet straightforward accessory will completely change your TV viewing experience. Having a multi-colour LED strip backlight for your TV might sound weird, but it has several advantages.
First, it reduces the eyestrain caused by differences in the on-screen brightness for different videos. Secondly, it makes the on-screen content look better by making it seem like the overall contrast is improved. You can get a strip of RGB LEDs for TV backlighting starting Rs 599 that can plug into any 5V USB outlet for power.
The LED strip also comes with a remote to change colours as well as try different flashing modes. Keep in mind that you should check the length of the strip you need as per your TV size – a 2-meter strip is good enough for 32-49-inch TV size whereas for a 50-inch TV for above, you would need a 4-meter strip.
4. Universal Remote – How many devices do you have connected to your TV? The answer to this question will tell you the number of remotes you have with you at a given time. Most of us will have one remote for the TV, another for the set-top box, a third one if you have a separate streaming device, the fourth one for your audio system and so on.
A universal remote takes away the pain of juggling through multiple remotes by giving you control of all your devices on a single remote. The Logitech Harmony range of universal remotes is our recommendation, but considering their steep price, it’s not something that everyone will be comfortable to invest in them.
The next best alternative is to opt for remote from the brand One For All. If you find both of them to be too expensive, then you should look for budget remotes such as the Earthma remotes, which come with a learning feature – it lets you program your existing remote controls to one remote for use as a universal remote control.
5. Wireless Headphones – If your smart TV has built-in Bluetooth, then you can use any existing Bluetooth headphones with it to watch content without disturbing others late in the night. In case you don’t own a pair of Bluetooth headphones, we would recommend opting for one with the over the year design for comfort and sound quality – the Sony WH-C510 and the Sennheiser HD 350BT are good options to consider in the mid-range.
In case your TV does not have Bluetooth, then the only option you have is to get a pair of RF headphones. The RF headphones come with a base that connects to your TV for audio output and broadcasts the signal to the headphones. While some independent brands are offering RF headphones in India on e-commerce websites, for the best experience, we recommend getting one from Sennheiser’s RF range of headphones.
Karan Bajaj is a senior technology journalist based in Delhi.