What can’t an iPad do? As a mobile device, you can check email, communicate with friends, play games, and catch up on work. But what about using it to turn your living room into a multimedia home theater? Turning your iPad into a home theater may sound like a tricky, over-technical chore that would be better left to hiring a professional to do, but it’s actually a very simple process, and can be done relatively cheaply.
There are products such as Belkin’s Thunderstorm Handheld Home Theater.
The system is designed to enhance games, movies, and music for the iPad. This allows for great sound, but any videos are still seen on the iPad screen, and it costs about $200.
The sleeker and more economical way to integrate the iPad into a real home theater is more work-intensive, but well worth the effort.
1) Purchase a dock – A dock will allow you to have a stable location for your iPad while allowing for the connections to be made more easily. There is the simple Apple’s iPad Dock, which goes for around $30, and will allow you to charge the iPad while docked. there are also more expensive docks, such as Cambridge Audio’s iD100 iPad Dock ($236), which adds audio and video connectivity, or Just Mobile’s Xtand Encore ($59.95) or Twelve South’s BookArc ($29.99).
Wire Connections – Depending on the dock you buy, you may need to connect your iPad to your home system directly, particularly if it has a USB port and supports the dock interface. However, these docks are sometimes limited to audio only. If you want video connected as well, get a digital AV adapter. For this option, your iPad will need to be tethered to your system. Alternately, if you have Apple TV, this can control your content without the need to keep your iPad connected while using your system.
iPad as Remote Control – If you can connect your iPad with your system remotely, why not have the option to use your iPad as a giant remote control, giving you access and control over all of the other aspects of your home theater system? A lot of manufacturers have remote apps that allow for control over the other devices — TV, DVD plaver, etc. If you have AT&T’s U-verse, for example, you can remotely control your cable box over Wi-Fi. But for more control, look into products such as Gear4′s Unity, Logitech’s Harmony Link or Griffin’s Beacon. All three will enable your iPad to remotely control most if not all of the home theater components you have on hand.
iTunes – Aside from controlling your TV and DVDs, what about watching and listening your video and audio content that you have stored on iTunes? For this, you need to enable Home Sharing. This is available on iTunes 9 or higher. Movies, music videos, and TV shows are all now playable on any machine in your network you authorize via Home Sharing. Authorization is simple, but requires you to have an iTunes account, and to have authorized the computer in question to play media associated with that account. Once that’s done, your Home Share libraries should appear in your source list. And if you have an Apple TV, you can use Apple’s own Remote App to access your iTunes music library.
Home Projector – What about turning your living room into a personal movie theater? If you want to create a theatrical ambiance, there is always the ability to purchase a projector. On the high-end, there is the sleek Epson Megaplex MG-850HD Easy Home Theater. At $699, this comes with a device dock, 2 10-watt speakers, and ultra bright, HD quality. It’s also portable, so it can be used for business, parties, or whatever you may need it for.