Your Guide to Creating an Easy-to-Use Entertainment Center

Our entertainment centers are out of control. From the tangle of wires behind the TV to the pile of remote controls on the coffee table, keeping it all straight is a nightmare. And heaven forbid you have to explain how to use it to someone else. You’d need an engineering to draw up a diagram explaining it all.

It’s time to simplify our setups. Let’s start from scratch and build an easy-to-use entertainment center that’s pared down to the basics, but still offers plenty of ways to have fun.

Smart TV

Vizio 55-inch TV

Source: Amazon

Thanks to the dawn of smart TVs, you no longer need a set-top box to access services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, or Spotify. You can do it all right from your TV. That is, assuming you buy a TV like this one from Vizio. This 55-inch beauty won’t break the bank compared to its competition, but it still offers an ultra high definition screen, with four times the resolution of normal HD sets. Buy one here.

TV stand

Furniture of America TV Stand

Source: Amazon

Between cable boxes, game consoles, games, Blu-rays, and speakers — not to mention that glorious TV — you’re going to need a piece of furniture to keep it all organized. This entertainment stand has room for everything, and it looks fantastic to boot. With four open shelves and two sizable drawers, it has room all that stuff and more, including decorations. And thanks to its stylish modern design, it will make your room look even better than it did before. Buy one here.

Sound bar

LG Sound bar

Source: Amazon

Unless you want to blow out your eardrums from all directions at once and nail things to  your walls, you probably don’t need a complicated surround sound system. But you’ll need something more than TV speakers if you want the proper amount of bass and clarity for your shows, movies, and games. The simplest solution is also an affordable one. It’s a sound bar, like this one from LG. All you have to do is put the speaker bar at the base of your TV, and set the wireless subwoofer next to it. Plug it in, and viola: instant full, clear sound. Buy one here.

Universal remote

Logitech Harmony Home Control

Source: Amazon

A key component — if not the key component — to an easy-to-use entertainment system is the One Remote to Rule Them All. The best one on the market, according to CNET and others, is the Logitech Harmony Home Control. It works with 270,000 devices, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility. And thanks to the hub that comes with it, you can even control devices hidden behind cabinet doors. And if that’s not enough, it has an app you can use to control everything from your phone or tablet. Buy one here.

PlayStation 4

PS4 Console

Source: Amazon

Life is full of work and stress, so you need some way to unwind at the end of the day. And what better way to de-stress than planting yourself on the couch and firing up a game that will look fantastic on your 4K television? Not only do the games on PlayStation 4 look better than anything else in history, but they generally sound better, control better, and feature more modern game design. It doesn’t hurt that the PS4 is a fully capable Blu-ray player, which means you can save even more space on your TV stand. Buy one here.

Cable management

Cable Raceway

Source: Amazon

With all of these electronics placed in one general area, you’re going to have a snake’s nest of cables, cords, and wires going this way and that, making the whole setup look like a mess. To alleviate the pain, use a cable raceway like this. You can attach it to the back of the entertainment stand or set it on the floor, but wherever you put it, it keeps all of your cables together, so they don’t go running off and getting tangled up in knots. Buy a couple of them here.

Follow Chris on Twitter @CheatSheetChris
Check out Tech Cheat Sheet on Facebook!

More from The Cheat Sheet

Want more great content like this? Sign up here to receive the best of Cheat Sheet delivered daily. No spam; just tailored content straight to your inbox