15 High-Tech Gadgets You Need in Your Living Room
A couple weeks ago, we told you exactly what high-tech gadgets you need for your bedroom. And it seems like you really liked that, so now we’re making our way around the house and figuring out how you can trick out each and every room. The next stop on this tech pad tour is what might be the very heart and soul of your apartment or house — your living room.
1. Welcome: Moms and Dads, tell us if this sounds familiar: You always tell the kids to text you as soon as they get home from school…. then you panic like crazy when you don’t get their text by 3:30 sharp. Welcome is here to ease your nerves. It’s a home surveillance device that uses facial recognition technology and sends you a notification when familiar faces arrive home. Not only that — it also notifies you when an unfamiliar face appears… but let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
2. SPIN Remote ($92): The average household has at least three remotes that control three different devices. SPIN is about giving you the ability to control multiple devices with just a single remote. So kick those feet up on the coffee table; switching on the ceiling fan while flipping through TV channels is now possible.
3. DIY Thirsty Plant Kit ($32): This solar-powered device lets you know when your plants need H2O. If you’re having trouble putting it together, we got you. Here are some easy step-by-step instructions to follow.
4. Point ($79): If the Welcome facial recognition device wasn’t really your type of home security, perhaps Point is. Point looks like a smoke detector, but besides detecting smoke it can also detect shattering windows, unusually high noise levels and potential mold growth on your walls. So if someone is smoking in the bathroom or someone broke a window, Point will notify you via the mobile app.
5. Prizm ($119): Context is everything — especially when it comes to music. Prizm is like that cool friend who always knows just the right tunes to play at the right time. When you wake up, Prizm can play your chill Pandora station. When you get home from work, it’ll play your Rihanna Spotify. To further calibrate it, hit the heart button to tell it that you like a song so it can find other stations that you love. If you put one of these babies in your living room, the mood will always be set.
6. Organic LED Lights ($9,000): Alright, so unless you recently got a super generous tax return, you’re likely not going to spring for OLEDs. But Phillips is planning on getting the price down by 2017. Here’s why we’re willing to wait: These thin, flexible lights use half the energy that a standard fluorescent light fixture does. So in the long run, you’ll be saving lots on your PG&E bills and better yet, you’ll be helping the planet.
7. Relay ($300): Instantly turn your smart home into a genius home by adding this phablet-looking device to your living room’s light switch. Relay brings all your smart home gadgets together in a single hub where you can control everything.
8. RoomAlive ($1,000): Why sit down and in front of a TV screen when you can bring a game to life? Yup, it’s time to put away the controller and start running around yourself! Fight bad guys by slapping them on your walls or punching them off the living room couch. Microsoft’s RoomAlive is not yet available, but we’re hoping when it does make its debut that the price will go down.
9. Echo ($199): As your personal home assistant, Echo blows Siri out of the talking-tech waters. Created by Amazon, Echo can play all your favorite playlists, add groceries to a list on your tablet and even answer all the kids’ homework questions. To activate your Echo, simply say the wake word, “Alexa,” and ask or command away.
10. NEO + NEO PRO ($35-$40): Made by Ankuoo, NEO is the perfect smart outlet to have, not just in your living room, but everywhere in the house. Once you plug your devices into the NEO outlet, you have total control of those gadgets. So if you forgot to turn off a light downstairs but you’re already comfy in bed, you can turn it off via the NEO app (free on iOS and Android). As for the NEO PRO, you’ll get the calculations of how much electricity you’ve been using from a single outlet so that you can better conserve.
11. EcoSmart Fire (prices vary): A high-tech living room is not complete without a sleek fireplace, amirite? EcoSmart Fire has bioethanol fireplace inserts that are quick and easy to install and don’t require gas or electricity connections. You don’t need to do any clearance work because all the fireplaces will automatically fit in any existing fireplace cavity. The coolest part is that you won’t need a chimney, because bioethanol doesn’t produce any smoke.
12. Sling TV ($20): This might be the cheapest addition to your living room, and it might end up being the most used. Provided by Dish Network, Sling TV gives you access to live shows from 12 popular television channels for $20 per month. You’re not held to any contracts and you don’t need any extra devices or any extra remotes (not that remotes would be an issue with SPIN). You can even pause and rewind live shows on top of recording up to eight shows at once. Take. Our. Money. Dish.
13. Notti Smart Light ($80): Does it always feel like your phone is on silent at all the wrong times? With the Notti Smart Light, not only can you decorate your living room with Kryptonite-looking lamps, but they will light up to notify you of incoming calls, texts, emails, Twitter updates, WhatsApp alerts and any other IFTTT activity. You’ll be able to distinguish between the notifications by setting different colored lights for each one. Now your friends will finally stop nagging you to answer your phone.
14. Muji Air Purifier ($310): Who says charcoal can only purify your water? This little air filter sucks up dust, pollen, dander and even mites. Then, it filters out the bad air through three layers of activated charcoal and shoots out the clean air through the top. The coolest feature is the jet air setting that recognizes you’re vacuuming around the house and then bumps the fan’s speed up to it max for 30 minutes to give you air that’s as clean as your carpets afterwards. (Photo via Design Milk)
15. Scout DIY Home Security ($29-$169): So you’ve got littleBits doing their thang around the house and Nest is keeping it all together, but do you feel like your smart house is missing something? How about a home alarm system that you customize? From motion sensors to door panels, Scout has a variety of sensors that are all monitored via the Scout hub and app. So not only can you monitor your front door and windows, but you can also keep track of cabinets and closet doors.
What do you want to add to your high tech living room? Which device would be most useful for you? Let’s talk tech in the comments!