Column: expecting home-theater gifts? Streamline that system!

The Logitech Harmony Home Control is a physical remote and hub that can control home theater devices as well as home automation switches, lightbulbs and outlets. It’s available for about $130-$150. Credit: Logitech

This week's Digital Savant column, in Tuesday's print edition of the Statesman and on, is all about streamlining that old living room home theater.

Thinking of getting a 4K HDTV in the new year? Expecting a Roku or Apple TV under the tree? Things may be crazy-busy right now but it’s a good time to get rid of old components you no longer need (I have not used my CD player in years. Seriously) or at least try to cut down some of the wires that may be forming a rat’s nest behind your TV.

Here’s an excerpt from the column:

Jeff Webb, owner of Austin's A&B TV, said that many customers still want the full home theater experience and many are excited about Dolby Atmos, a surround sound experience that uses a subwoofer and at least eight speakers, including some in the ceiling, "like you're in a true movie theater."

But many others, he says, are perfectly fine with soundbars, typically a single wide speaker that sits above or below an HDTV. At A&B, they run anywhere from about $170 to $1,500 and often include a wireless subwoofer.

You won't get the full theater experience, Webb says, but soundbars are popular for several reasons, mostly simplicity and ease-of-use.

"You can hook it up to your TV with a single cable and call it a day," Webb said. "It's good front channel sound for someone that wants to plug and play."

You can read the full column here. Got comments or questions about home theater consolidation (or that awesome Harmony remote)? Fire away in the comments.