You haven’t experienced Major League Baseball at home until you’ve mounted a big-screen television to your wall and rocked your room with a loud sound bar.
Now toss in a smart remote that illuminates when you pick it up off the beer fridge, a near-photorealistic MLB video game to play between broadcasted playoff games and a massaging recliner, and it’s easy to see how technology can supersize America’s national sport.
Here’s a look at a few premium tech toys worth considering.
The next best thing to being at the game? Catching all the action on a huge curved TV.
Starting at $4,499.00 for the 65-inch model, Samsung’s 4K SUHD JS9500 Series Curved Smart TV is a stunningly slim television with enough bells and whistles to make a sports fan drool uncontrollably.
The first thing you’ll notice is the bright picture with exceptional contrast and wide range of colors, and with support for Ultra HD content – with four times the resolution of 1080p HD – plus it upscales regular HD video, like a baseball game, to near 4K quality.
As a Smart TV, the JS9500 delivers fast performance and support for many hundreds of apps – including MLB.TV for on-demand baseball.
If you believe bigger is better, and have deep pockets, the JS9500 goes up to 88 inches for $19,999.
Those with a more modest budget might opt for Sony’s stellar 55-inch X850C (from $1,499.99), a 4K Ultra HD television with Android-based Smart TV features and support for 3D content.
If you don’t have the budget, space or technical know-how to set up a surround sound system for your home theater – which usually consists of a multi-channel audio-video (AV) receiver and at least six speakers spread through the room (including a subwoofer for low-frequency bass) – at least consider one of the newer sound bars to add some boom to your room.
Sitting just below or above your television, sound bars house multiple speakers in a horizontal enclosure, and deliver multichannel sound from your movies, TV shows, sports and games (or in some cases, simulated surround sound).
Ranging in price from $50 to $2,000, many sound bars include a wireless subwoofer to place somewhere else in the room and some let you stream music from your smartphone, tablet or computer using Bluetooth connectivity.
Recommended sound bars include the Bose CineMate 15 Home Theatre Speaker System ($599.99; includes Acoustimass module for deep bass), the SONOS PlayBar Soundbar Wireless Speaker ($699.99; compatible with other SONOS speakers), or the Vizio 5.1-channel Soundbar System (including a wireless subwoofer and rear satellite speakers) for $349.99.
In case you haven’t yet tried one of the amazing Harmony universal remotes from Logitech, they’re super easy to program and use; simply plug the Harmony (from $49.99) into a computer’s USB port and download codes from the Internet to the device and then press one of the activity-based commands on the remote, such as “Watch TV” or “Play a Blu-ray,” and the Harmony does the rest by turning on only the devices you need to begin watching and switching to the right settings (such as Video 1 on your television).
The flagship model, Harmony Elite ($349.99) replaces up to 15 remotes, houses a 2.4-inch touch screen (and support for an optional app), and through its hub (included), it can also control other smart home devices including Philips Hue lights, the Nest learning thermostat, August smart locks, and more.
The tenth edition of the franchise, MLB 15 The Show ($39.99) is the latest in the best-selling Major League Baseball video game for PlayStation 4 and older PlayStation platforms.
Along with upgraded graphics, multiple solo and multiplayer modes, and a bat bag full of improvements over last year’s title, MLB 15 The Show hits a home run for its year-to-year saves (those who purchased last year’s game can continue their Franchise and Road to the Show progress); officially licensed equipment (including bats, gloves, and more), which can be purchased with in-game rewards called Stubs; the reintroduction of MLB legends including 30 iconic players; and a tweaked Diamond Dynasty mode, among other additions.
Xbox One and Windows or Mac gamers can download R.B.I. Baseball 15 ($19.99), though don’t expect the same caliber of gameplay and graphics as MLB 15 The Show.
Sit on this
Finally, what family room or man cave would be complete without a comfy chair to recline in?
The La-Z-Boy Spectator Home Theater collection (as shown in leather; $5,999) is a comfortable power recliner with lumbar support, articulating headrests, a flip-top storage console, and a must for your mid-game beverages: lighted cup holders. Choose from multiple designs and materials to match your taste and room décor.
For a little high-tech pampering, La-Z-Boy’s Easton Power-Recline-XR Reclina-Rocker ($1,169.99), on the other hand, adds a massage and heat feature.
Alternatively, the XZipit Home Theater Recliners ($949.99, including one logo) from DreamSeat were designed for the sports nut as these recliners let you show your team spirit with an interchangeable embroidered logo system based on your favorite MLB franchise — as well as support for other leagues like NHL, NBA, MLS and NASCAR. Additional team logos are $54 apiece if ordered with the recliner or $79 on its own.
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