Essential Apps for your Home Theater
Our lives have been taken over by apps. It wasn’t that long ago when we worried about whether or not we had the right tool for the job. Now it is the right app. To that end, we have combed through the app stores and come up with what we think are the essential apps for your home theater.
Remote Control Apps
There are lots of things to control in your home theater and lots of ways to control them. While there are a ton of third-party apps out there, we like to stick with the ones we KNOW will work. The Logitech Harmony App (iOS, Android) is actually more powerful than you need. With a Harmony Hub system, you can control nearly everything not only in your home theater, but your HOME! Got a Nest thermostat? That works with Harmony. Got a device with Alexa or Google Assistant? You can now control your home theater with your voice! If that isn’t an essential app for your home theater, I don’t know what is.
Beyond that, you’ll want to look at your specific television, receiver, streaming box, etc. to see if they have an app for control. Yamaha, Onkyo, and Pioneer receivers all have apps as do many televisions (for a while Vizio ONLY had an app for control). While we don’t envision someone using these apps a lot, they are very handy for when you want to make fine adjustments to your device without having to go through all the menus of the Harmony or having to fish out the remote.
Apps For When You Are Using Your Home Theater
When you are using your home theater, you really shouldn’t have your phone in the room. We all know that. One of the main reasons I have a home theater is because I hate getting distracted at the movie theater by someone checking their phone. And yet, there I am, in my theater, with my phone.
I’m part of the problem.
But enough about me. When you are in the middle of an exciting movie, you may need to take a bathroom break. One of the joys of watching movies at home is the pause button. But when to press it? The last thing you want to do is hit pause just when something exciting happens!
Check out RunPee. This app lets you know the best time to take a bathroom break. Originally designed for movies that can’t be paused (watching at the theater), it works equally well at home. It is also very good about not spoiling anything. Just lets you know what line to look out for. Has a timer and everything. Pretty cool.
Who is that actor again? Where have I seen them? The IMDb app has the info you need. A long staple for those playing Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon, this essential app can help settle all those, “Weren’t they in that movie with the monkey?” arguments without you having to leave your home theater.
Apps for Home Theater Setup and Room Correction
If there is one app that is absolutely essential for a home theater, it is an SPL meter app. There are just TONS of them out there and many are free. What they do is that they approximate the volume of the test tones in your home theater. This allows you to either manually level match your speakers, or check the accuracy of your room correction system. While we would prefer you pick up an actual SPL meter, these apps can be “good enough” for a spot check. Plus, it is hard to justify the cost of an SPL meter when you are only going to use it less than a handful of times.
If you are hanging pictures or room treatments, getting them level is important. While most of us have a level somewhere in the garage, who has the time to go dig it out under all the stuff on our workbench. A quick leveling app on your phone does a reasonable job of making sure everything is square. Now, if you are hanging a bunch of things, we’d recommend getting an actual level. But for a quick check, a leveling app is just fine.
Lastly, if you have a Denon or Marantz receiver, we highly recommend you fork over the $20 for the Audyssey Editor app. This app gives you unprecedented control over the Audyssey room correction. You can change the target curve, save multiple calibrations, and even disable Audyssey at certain frequencies. It only works with newer Denon and Marantz receiver models so doublecheck compatibility before you download.
While this is not an exhaustive list of essential apps for your home theater, these are the ones we use on the regular. Do you have an app you deem essential for your home theater? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add it to our list if we agree!