6 Home Entertainment Center Companion Apps

Weekly Smartphone App Roundup

The ideal home theater setup is a harmonious fusion between audio, video, and hopefully an element of design. Although increasing amounts of people watch content on smaller smartphones, tablets and laptop screens, nothing besides a movie theater compares to a dedicated large screen setup with 5.1+ audio. For those with home theater setups, we've rounded up 6 apps that complement and extend the utility of your system...

iOS

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Left: Audiocalc - Right: i.TV
Audiocalc
It takes more than just having the right tech to get amazing sound; those 5 (or more) speakers need to be in the right places to deliver optimal balance. Audiocalc is designed to help find the right spots with several tools, such as the frequency, period and wavelength converter for loudspeakers. The delay tool finds the best distances between each unit while the volume tool discovers the correct amplifier power level. This app is perfect for home theater enthusiasts and those in the business of installing or setting up sound systems for customers. $3

i.TV
The i.TV app is like a Swiss Army knife for home entertainment. First and foremost, it's an interactive TV guide for US and Canadian channels where you can bookmark favorite shows and networks. Beyond that, you can organize your Netflix queue, schedule your TiVo DVR, and even find shows on iTunes, Hulu or Netflix in case you miss an episode. If that wasn't enough, it also doubles as a remote for your TiVo or Roku box. Free
Also available for Android

Android

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Left: iMediashare - Right: Sound Meter Pro
iMediashare
Cables and piles of physical media detract and distract. Let your media come to you with iMediaShare, which allows you to stream videos, music and photos from your phone or computer straight to your TV. Think of it as an Apple TV or Roku box in the palm of your hand. A wide variety of channels, networks and internet services can be streamed to your wifi enabled TV, PS3, Xbox 360 or network media player from your Android device. $5
Also available for iOS

Sound Meter Pro
Nobody wants to be marked as the discourteous and loud neighbour, but it can be all too easy to cross the boundary without realizing it when pushing a home theater system's audio capabilities beyond minimal. Cue in Sound Meter app. Test reasonable volume limits with the sound pressure level meter to find how loud surround sound can be and how far it travels from room to room. We suggest the pro version, since it includes the vibration function to keep control over the subwoofers' bass. $1

Windows Phone 7

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Left: Media Buddy - Right: Cinequeue

Media Buddy
Media Buddy is true to its name offering a helpful hand by allowing users to connect to home media centers on the PC to browse videos and set recording times for listed shows, all viewable on the television via a network media player. See what's on with the built-in TV guide displayed in the classic Windows Phone interface and follow when your favorite shows will be on. Additionally, you can even view your music, videos and photos right on your phone wherever you go, making it the ultimate media player for your Windows Phone. $4

Cinequeue
When you sit down after a hard day's work, get straight to the shows and movies you want to watch with a well organized Netflix queue. With Cinequeue you can add media from the popular video streaming (and DVD rental) service to sort through their massive library wherever you are. The slick interface makes searching a breeze, and additional information on cast members is fun for good reading or finding more movies based on their work. Free

(Images: 1. Jason Rodway, all others: as credited above)