It’s cliché but true: Home is usually where the heart is. But it’s also where old tech (like that 720p TV set) goes to die.
Lots of older people like to stick with what they know. For example, that T9 flip phone your grandpa has had for 15 years that can send texts, but he doesn’t ever do that. That Luddite impulse comes for us all eventually, so I’m not hating. But it does mean that your parents’ living room might be a bit behind the times technologically, leaving you stranded with DVDs instead of
Is it a little selfish to lavish your parents in gifts that make watching TV and movies better for you? Sure! But ultimately, it benefits everyone involved, so here are some of the easiest ways to spruce up your parents’ TV room.
Need on-demand entertainment? Get a Roku or Chromecast.
As a long-time cord cutter (going on six years now), I know I find the old-fashioned channel-surfing technique to be insufficient when it comes to entertainment. I don’t want to catch a TV episode or movie halfway through with commercials. I want to watch it from the start with zero interruptions.
Whether your folks have stuck to cable or are using streaming apps that come with a smart TV (something
More importantly, they’re both easy to use. I got my parents a
Tired of 1080p? Get a 4K TV.
Credit: Zlata Ivleva / Mashable
Remember how I said both the Roku Express and Chromecast support 4K streaming? Well, that’s not very useful without a
A lot of people aren’t very diligent about upgrading their TV because it’s expensive and, frankly, there are diminishing returns
It doesn’t even have to cost you an arm and a leg to make this particular upgrade.
Sick of babysitting the volume buttons? Get a soundbar.
Stop me if you’ve been here before: You’re watching a movie with the audio coming out of a TV’s built-in speakers, and you have to nurse the volume buttons on the remote because dialogue is frequently much quieter than the sound effects, especially in action sequences.
Modern TV speakers, to put it mildly, suck. TVs are too thin for the built-in speakers to be any good, which leads to weird audio balance issues like the one I described above. While a full surround-sound system is always going to deliver the best results, they can be expensive and not every living room can accommodate that.
This is why
Done with WiFi interruptions? Upgrade the router.
Maybe your parents have all of the above, but the dang WiFi keeps cutting out. Sometimes the router is just too far from the living room, so signal drops are frequent and stream quality is lower than you’d like. This is where
In case you aren’t in the know about mesh WiFi, it typically involves plugging in a special new router that’s built to beam its signal out to one (or more) auxiliary units placed elsewhere in the house, thus extending the signal further than one router could on its own. This can quickly get expensive if you need more than one auxiliary router, but if you don’t live in a mansion, one main router and one extender should be enough.
Again, all of this is intended to make your time with the ‘rents as painless as possible. If you gotta be stuck at home without all your usual gear and activities, you might as well make the best of it with the nicest tech you can provide.