The Ultimate Smart Home Theater System: How To Set It Up

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then the home theater is the brain. Your home theater is where you go to unwind at the end of a long day and binge watch your favorite shows. It’s where you sit with breathless anticipation as you watch the latest thrillers. It’s where you declare your total dominance once and for all in Mario Kart.

It’s for all of these reasons and more that nailing your home theater setup is so important. With the right combination of smart accessories, you can create a smart home theater system that will put any $12-per-ticket night out to shame – and still get popcorn with it, too.

The Projector, Or How To Stop Worrying & Love The Film

Your first thought for a home theater might be to invest in a large-screen television, and while that’s fine for smaller rooms, this is about the ultimate smart home theater. With that in mind, you’ll want a projector—preferably a 4K one at that.

The LG HU80KA is one of the best options. It can project up to 150 inches on a suitable surface in crystal-clear 4K resolution with HDR10 compatibility. It also features LG’s Smart TV streaming services, as well as screen sharing from a connected smartphone or tablet.

From Sound Bar With Love

A phenomenal picture deserves equal sound, and few sound systems do it better than the Sonos 5.1 Surround Set. It combines the best aspects of a sound bar with the best aspects of an actual surround sound system. 

The Playbar features three-channel sound powered by six mid-woofers and three tweeters, while the Sub with force-cancelling speakers give you tremendous bass with next to no rattle. 

The entire setup can be controlled through Amazon Alexa for when you just want to listen to some music, too. It doesn’t all have to be about the film score.

It’s a Wonderful Light System

Traditional theater experiences haven’t caught onto the impact a proper light setup can have on the viewing experience. While watching a bright screen in a dark room keeps you immersed in the action, it can also lead to headaches and eyestrain. 

On the other hand, the right lighting in a smart home theater system can sync its colors to those on screen and bring the entire room into the experience. Not only does this help ease the strain on your eyes, but it creates an effect that won’t soon be forgotten. 

Few smart light systems are better at this sort of work than the Nanoleaf Rhythm lighting system. Not only does it utilize Nanoleaf’s new Screen Mirror technology to blend the colors of the display to those of your movie, but it can also pulse in time with any music you play to turn your home theater into an impromptu rave. 

One Flew Over The Blu-Ray Player

Although most of your media consumption will likely come from streaming sources, you likely still have some physical media in the form of DVDs, Blu-Ray, and 4K discs. And what kind of home theater experience would it be without the ability to play this media? 

The Samsung Streaming 4K media player makes it easy to stream directly from the device, but it also upscales DVDs to 1080p for even better picture quality. Connect this media player to your sound system and projector and watch your favorite films and home movies in crystal-clear resolution.

The Power Strip Strikes Back

The number of devices involved in a home theater setup require a reliable power supply. The Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip by TP Link is one of the best options out there, with six individual ports that can each be controlled independently of one another. 

It also features three USB ports for charging other devices. Built-in energy monitoring provides you with an overview of how much energy each device is using. You can control the plug through any of the three major voice assistants, too. How’s that for useful? 

Most importantly, the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip has ETL certified surge protection. In the event of a lightning storm, this strip can protect your devices from a sudden influx of power.

The Popcorn Redemption

Finally, no home theater would be complete without a popcorn maker. While you could go for a smart device with air-frying capabilities (such as an Instant Pot), if you’ve decked out your smart home theater with the best of everything else then your popcorn maker should be no exception. 

We recommend the Great Northern Popcorn Red Matinee Movie Theater Style Popcorn Maker. Long name, good popcorn. It adds a bit of classic movie theater flair to your home theater setup with the capability to produce between two and three gallons of popcorn per batch. A built-in warming deck will keep your popcorn warm all throughout the movie so you can refill as needed.

Combine these different devices together into one room and you will have the smart home theater system you’ve always dreamed of—and the one that gets your friends to show up at your house every time a new episode of Succession airs. 

How to change the language in Chrome

Browsers, much like operating systems on desktops and mobiles, support multiple languages. Some browsers may only support a handful of common languages while others may support more. Chrome is unique in that it’s a Google product and Google also owns Android which is a mobile operating system available in lots of different languages. In fact, language support on Android is much better than it is on iOS and Google can leverage it for its desktop browser. Here’s how you can change the language in Chrome on your desktop.

Change the language in Chrome

Open Chrome and click the more options button at the top right. It’s the one that has three dots. From the menu that opens, select Settings.

On the Settings page, scroll to the very end and click ‘Advanced’ to reveal the advanced settings. Once the advanced settings have been revealed, scroll down to the languages section. Here, you will see the language that’s currently in use. Click the arrow next to it. The option will expand and reveal an ‘Add language’ button. Click it.

Use the search bar to look for the language that you want to add.

Chrome can support multiple languages so you’re free to add as many as you like however, the browser doesn’t offer full support for all languages. To prioritize one language over the other, click the more options next to a language and select the Move up option.

For some languages, though admittedly not all of them, you will also see an option ‘Display Google Chrome in this language’. When you select this option, the UI of the browser will change so that it is displayed in this language. For languages that the option is greyed out for, it means that Chrome doesn’t support the UI in that language. There isn’t anything you can do about this. Google will have to add support for this language. The GUI language is basically which language the various buttons and labels appear in, in the browser.

It is odd that Chrome on the desktop does not have as vast language support as Android does. Android’s entire interface can switch over to some of the languages we tested this out with but Chrome does not have that same level of support.

Languages are respected by various websites that you visit e.g., if you select a language and a certain website supports it, you will be able to see the website in that language.

Read How to change the language in Chrome by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to schedule tasks on macOS

Task scheduling on macOS is clumsy. The only built-in tool that lets you schedule when a script or app or file should open/run is the Calendar app. The shortcoming with this app is that it’s a Calendar and event management app and not a scheduling tool. To that end, it lacks the features that a task scheduler has. On macOS, you can use Lanchd to get the job done but it’s a bit complicated for end users. A GUI tool is much easier to use. Task Till Dawn is perfect if you want to schedule tasks on macOS.

Task Till Dawn is free and its UI is will remind you of Automator. It has an entire library of actions that you can use, a myriad of scheduling methods, and a set of ‘events’ that can trigger a task to run.

Schedule tasks on macOS

Download and install Task Till Dawn. Run the app. We’re going to show you how you can use it to run an app or a script or to open a file. Apps have their own category while scripts are treated under files.

Open the app and click the New button to add a new task. Go to the Metadata tab and enter the name of the task, and enable it there. Next, go to the Actions tab. Here you will find two columns and one pane. In the left-most column, look for Files and Folders if you want to open a file or run a script at a specific time. If you want to open an app, select the Applications item in the left-most column. Select the ‘Specify’ action under the item that you selected, and drag and drop it on to the pane on the right. Next, click the add button under this action to add the file, script, or app to this action. You can add multiple items if you need to.

Look for and add the ‘Open applications, files, and folders’ action. If you need to change the options that this action has, go ahead and do so. Next, go to the Schedule tab.

The Schedule tab is where you’ll set when and how often this task will run. You can set a time, date, and a range within which the task should run as well as how often it should repeat. There’s no scheduling option that’s missing.

Last, go to the Events tab and select an event, if any that should trigger the task. The list of events that Task till dawn supports is modest and likely a result of it being a third-party app. Select an event if you want, or skip this step. Click Save and Close.

The task will run at its scheduled time however, if you want to test the task, you can select it on the app’s interface and click the Execute button to run it immediately.

Read How to schedule tasks on macOS by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to add multiple clocks on Windows 10

The system tray can show one clock and by default, it shows the time for your current time zone. The time zone is set when you set Window 10 up but you can always change it if you need to. If you need more than one clock on Windows 10 though, you can add it. The only limitation is that you will still only see one clock in the system tray. You will have to expand the date and time shown in the system tray to view your second, or third clock.

Multiple clocks on Windows 10

You can add multiple clocks on Windows 10 from the Control Panel. Go ahead and open it and go to the Clock and Region group of settings. Click ‘Add clocks for different time zones’.

In the window that opens, go to the Additional Clocks section. You can enter two more clocks that will appear in addition to the default clock for your current time zone. Enable the ‘Show this clock’ option and open the dropdown under it. Select the time zone you want to add the clock for, and for your own convenience, give the clock a name. This name is what the clock will show up with when you access the time and calendar panel. Add a third clock if you need to.

Once you’re done, click Apply, and then OK. On the task bar, click the clock/date in the system tray and the date/calendar panel will open. The second clock will appear under the first, primary clock and it will be noticeably smaller.

As far as supporting clocks for multiple time zones go, this is the extent of it. The Alarms & Clock app on Windows 10 has nothing to do with the new clock(s) that you add. The alarms will all still target the primary time zone that is set on your PC. If you want to set an alarm clock for a different time zone, your options aren’t good. The stock alarms app won’t do the job and the many third-party clock/alarm apps available for Windows don’t seem to have anything like it either.

You only have two choices; change the time zone for the primary clock, or manually factor in the time difference between the time zones and create an alarm accordingly. The problem with this approach is that there is going to be room for error every single time you create an alarm. Time zones go both ways; a country can be ahead or behind your current location.

Read How to add multiple clocks on Windows 10 by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to upgrade to Ubuntu 19.10

Ubuntu 19.10 has recently been released. It’s an amazing release, filled with the latest Gnome Shell, newer drivers, and even some excellent features such as ZFS on root, easy media sharing, screen sharing and more. In this guide, we’ll go over how to upgrade your Ubuntu PC to the new release!

Upgrade from the command-line – 18.04 LTS

If you’re using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, plan to upgrade to 19.10 and would like to use the command-line to do it, follow these instructions. Please back up any important files (pictures, videos, and other personal data) to an external flash drive, USB stick, or cloud service. A backup will prevent data loss if anything goes wrong.

Once everything is backed up, the upgrading process can begin. To start, open up a terminal window on the desktop. To launch a terminal press Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, follow the step-by-step instructions below to upgrade Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to 19.10.

Step 1: Install any pending upgrades to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. To install any updates, you must run the update and upgrade commands.

sudo apt update

sudo apt upgrade -y

Let the upgrades download and install it on your Ubuntu PC. Then, move to the next step.

Step 2: Following installing the pending software patches for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, you must run a distribution upgrade with the dist-upgrade command. This will install more upgrades that have been kept back.

sudo apt dist-upgrade -y

Step 3: With the distribution upgrade taken care of, it is time to change Ubuntu 18.04 LTS’s software sources so that they reflect the new 19.10 release. To do this, use the sed command.

sudo sed -i 's/bionic/eoan/g' /etc/apt/sources.list

Step 4: Following the change of software sources for 18.04, the update command must be re-run. This will complete the software source modification done with sed.

sudo apt update

Step 5: When the update command finishes, your Ubuntu 18.04 LTS PC will be using Ubuntu 19.10 software sources. This also means that new software upgrades will become available. To install them, use the upgrade and dist-upgrade commands.

sudo apt upgrade -y
sudo apt dist-upgrade -y

The upgrading process will take a long time. Sit back, monitor your terminal and allow Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to transition to 19.10.

Step 6: The upgrading process is almost complete. The last step of the process is to reboot. To do this, run the reboot command.

sudo reboot

When you log back in after the reboot, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS will be Ubuntu 19.10!

Upgrade from the command-line – 19.04

Are you using Ubuntu 19.04, and looking to transition to the new 19.10 release of the operating system. Prefer to do it with the command-line? Follow along below to learn how to upgrade!

Before we begin, please back up any personal files (videos, pictures, and other sensitive data) to an external hard drive, USB stick, or cloud service to prevent data loss in case the upgrade breaks.

To start the upgrading process on Ubuntu 19.04, launch a terminal by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard, and follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: It is imperative to install any pending software patches for Ubuntu 19.04 before transitioning the system to 19.10. To do this, use the update and upgrade commands below.

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade -y

Step 2: Following installing software updates for 19.04, you must run a distribution upgrade. This command will install patches that the upgrade command cannot.

sudo apt dist-upgrade -y

Step 3: With all the 19.10 software patches out of the way, it’s time to change Ubuntu 19.04’s software sources over to 19.10’s. To do this, use the following sed command.

sudo sed -i 's/disco/eoan/g' /etc/apt/sources.list

Step 4: Now that Ubuntu 19.04’s software sources have been switched over to the new Ubuntu 19.10, it’s time to re-run the update command. This will refresh all software sources, and download the latest version of Ubuntu to your PC.

sudo apt update

Step 5: Following the update command, you must re-run the upgrade and dist-upgrade commands to install the latest Ubuntu 19.10 packages onto Ubuntu 19.04. It will take quite a bit of time. Be patient.

Step 6: Once the upgrades are installed to your PC, it is time to reboot the PC. To reboot, use the following reboot command.

sudo reboot

Upon logging back in, you will be using Ubuntu 19.10!

Upgrade with the graphical user interface

It is possible to upgrade to 19.10 from the graphical user interface in Ubuntu. To do it, ensure your important files are backed up to an external hard drive, USB stick, or cloud service. Then, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Open up your app menu, search for “Software & Updates” and launch it to open up Ubuntu’s update settings.

Step 2: Find the “Updates” tab and click on it to access Ubuntu’s upgrade settings.

Step 3: Change “notify me of a new Ubuntu version” to “For any new version” and close “Software & Updates.”

Step 4: Open up your app menu, search for “Software Updater” and open it.

Step 5: Allow the updater app to check for updates. It should then detect a new version of Ubuntu. Click “Upgrade” and follow along with the prompts to upgrade to 19.10!

Read How to upgrade to Ubuntu 19.10 by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter