Cut the Cord (already)

Over the last year, more people cut the cord from their cable providers than ever before, and why not? Between the multiple streaming services, the move by networks to place content online – even original, exclusive content – and the different devices we can now use to watch said content (pretty much all home theater devices are “smart” at this point), there’s really no excuse unless you like paying all that money for channels you’ll never watch…or if you really do use most of those channels, go for it. I know a little about this because my wife and I were a little ahead of the curve when we cut the cord back in 2011. Home theater is one of my hobbies so after recently upgrading our set up, I thought it was time to write another post about how we continually enjoy our home theater without the “aid” of cable television.

Six years is an eternity in the tech fields, and home theater is no exception. Since 2011, we’ve been able to slowly streamline our setup from the one based on a Mac Mini and PlayStation to one centered around an Apple TV. You can check out the above link to see what our initial post-cable setup was compared to what it is now.

What remains from our 2011 home theater is the speaker system, CD player, and power center. So, for all you home theater nerds out there:

1. LG OLED 65″ 4K television (OLED65BP7). Through the magic of Black Friday and the Naval Exchange at Bethesda, we’re thoroughly enjoying watching movies and sports on this outstanding display. Deep blacks, vivid colors, and a refresh rate that makes fast action smooth; a really great display.

2. Sony 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player (UBP-X800). Once we started down the 4K path with the TV (and 4K Blu-ray Discs), we decided to take advantage of the holiday deals to upgrade other components so we could maximize our TV. The Sony had really good reviews but was a little expensive for us; then we found it for half the MSRP at Best Buy and did a price match at the Post Exchange. Sweet! It was worth it:

3. Marantz NR1608 AV Receiver. Marantz makes great receivers, and this one from its slim line is no exception. It’s 4K compatible, 7.1, and is built for future use as it is capable of supporting Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, and DTS:X. It also supports AirPlay and multi-room use. A breeze to set up, I couldn’t be happier with its performance so far.

4. Apple TV. As an Apple family, it was only a matter of time. This is our second Apple TV. We also have an Amazon Fire TV but with the introduction of the Amazon app, we don’t plan on setting it up yet; we’ll see how it goes with just the app. From the Apple TV, we watch Netflix and sports through various apps. Overall, it works really well for us.

5. NAD CD Player.

6. Monster Power Center.

7. Orb Audio Speakers. We bought these speakers back in 2011 because the larger speakers we had didn’t fit with the condo we were renting. What I like about these is that they are modular. You can link two or four together to get a bigger sound based on the space. We have doubles across the front and singles for surround (along with the subwoofer); works really well and produces a really good, balanced sound stage, especially considering its size.

8. Harmony Hub. In place of a universal remote, we use this Hub, which is controlled through an app. It’s a pretty good value considering the price and that it’s capable of controlling your whole home. It’s also compatible with just about everything, which I can’t say for some other smart home solutions.

So there it is. At this point, there’s little excuse. Analyze your viewing habits, check out the options, then make a decision; but stop going down the path of least resistance without at least looking at the alternatives. Unshackle your home theater!

PS: I know I need to write about my first few months at the Field Band. It’s coming…

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