As a home theatre enthusiast, I’ve set up a fair share of my family’s and friends’ HDTVs, receivers and speakers. As a fan of tech in general, I’ve noticed that an increasing number of iPhone apps target the home theatre market. (The Red Building Group’s apps are no exception – see HTCables below.)
Home Theatre Setup
HTCables – $0.99
Most home theatre enthusiasts know their composites from their components, but do you know when to use a hi-speed HDMI cable vs. a standard HDMI cable? Or what length a Displayport cable should be to deliver the best quality? HTCables offers a thorough a/v cable reference guide, complete with cable descriptions, recommendations on device connections and links to purchase low-cost cables on Amazon.com.
Videocalc – $2.99
If you’re thinking about setting up a projector, having a few calculations handy can help you determine how far back you need to set up your projector and how big a screen you need. Enter a few projector specs (e.g., min/max throw ratio, seating distance and aspect ratio), and Videocalc will determine the size of your screen as well as min/max viewing distance.
SPL Meter – $0.99
While you have a number of App Store options for calibrating your home theatre audio, the SPL Meter is polished and provides value. Rather than purchase an SPL Meter from RadioShack for $50, pick up this app for less than a buck, and you’ll have a nice relative measuring tool to ensure the sound levels from each speaker are accurate.
Remote – Free
If you’re the proud owner of an Apple TV (or your Mac Mini runs your home theatre), and you have a WiFi network, then you absolutely must install Remote by Apple Inc. Not only does this app give you a graphical remote for your iTunes content, it also makes typing search terms easier (try typing with a regular remote – painful), and it displays album art and playlists. Of course, freeness helps, too.
Boxee – Free
Another free graphical remote that requires a WiFi network is the Boxee remote app. This is probably a niche product, as you do have to have a modicum of tech know-how to set up Boxee on your Apple TV in the first place, but if you have a home theatre PC or Mac Mini, this provides an elegant and simple way to control the content you view in Boxee.