Home Entertainment Devices

Learning Objectives

  • to understand the different types of Home Entertainment available and how these devices work in order to offer different types of entertainment to the user.

Learning Outcomes

Must – be able to identify the different types of Home Entertainment Devices which are available.

Should – be able to discuss how each device work and can be connected together with other Home Entertainment Devices.

Could – recommend a system to a person looking to purchase a complete Home Entertainment system with justified reasons.


Televisions are the most common and most popular types of home entertainment devices.  Since its first release in the 1950s, Television has become a common part of popular culture.  Television sets have evolved so much in the past 60+ years that owners and viewers demand the smallest footprint sets and the largest resolution screens.

Television sets are measured in inches, from corner to corner.  A 55-inch set is represented by 55″.  Modern TV sets are available in LED and OLED format (Light Emitting Diode and Organic Light Emitting Diode).  A large majority of TV Sets are Internet-enabled through WiFi and Ethernet connections, these are called Smart TVs.  Smart TVs allow a viewer to access and browse the Internet and to also access on-demand services such as YouTube, Facebook and Pay TV applications.

In the May 2017 ICT exam there was a question about 4K TVs.  This link here explains what a 4K TV is.

Some TV sets have the capability for 3D viewing.  These are called 3D TV sets.  3DTV for whatever various reason was universally disliked and these sets were not as popular as the traditional 2D versions.  Samsung, the biggest manufacturer of 3D TVs has announced in 2016, that none of its 2017 TV models will have 3D capabilities.  With the popularity of the Oculus Rift and various other Virtual Reality headsets, it looks a long time before 3D TV may make a relaunch on future TV sets.

Games Consoles

Games Consoles are very popular devices in homes nowadays.  In the past 30 years, since Games Consoles have become part of mainstream culture, consoles are much more than just devices to play games on.  Consoles are devices which allow players to check and update their social media statuses, watch the latest film on Netflix or play Blu-Ray disk Movies using the player.

Consoles such as the Xbox One or PlayStation 4, connect to a TV or Display using an HDMI cable and are operated using Bluetooth Controllers.  Devices such as the Nintendo DS series are examples or Handheld games consoles, and these are operated using a keypad and directional buttons.

Control Methods for consoles include Control Pads or Joy Pads and Joy Sticks.  Some consoles have motion sensors for games control such as PlayStation Move and Xbox Kinect.

Blu Ray Players

A Blu-Ray player is a device that is used to play Blu-Ray content disks.  Blu-Ray players are connected via an HDMI cable to an HDMI enabled display and these allow the display to output the content in HD (High Definition).  Attached speakers could be set up in order to benefit from the HD quality sound.


Projectors are output devices used to “project” a display from a TV or Computer source to a wall or board.  Modern projectors have built-in HD functionality and are useful as they can display a small screen to a wider audience.  They are particularly popular and essential in schools, colleges and universities.  Projectors use a bulb to display the image onto a wall/board.  The main issues with projectors are that the bulbs are expensive to replace and on occasion, it is cheaper to buy a new projector with a new bulb than replacing the old one in an existing projector.

STBs (Set Top Boxes)

Since the 24th October 2012, the analogue terrestrial television signal has been switched off and replaced by a digital terrestrial television signal.  In order to still receive TV through an aerial, users require either a TV with a built-in digital tuner or an STB (Set Top Box).  An STB offers the user the chance to continue to watch TV through an aerial but in digital format, not analogue.  An STB contains the basic functions of digital TV such as Guide and access to Freeview, free to view UK digital TV.  It does not offer the ability to record programmes or in most cases access a wider range of channels available on services such as Sky or Virgin Media.

PVRs (Personal Video Recorders)

A Personal Video Recorder, or PVR for short, is a device that allows a user to record TV-based content to its Hard Drive.  PVRs come equipped with a weekly TV guide which a user can browse and select the programmes which they would like to record.  Modern PVR boxes have multiple Tuner which allows a user to watch a different channel whilst recording another at the same time.  Virgin Media’s TiVo box and Sky Q are examples of modern PVR boxes.  These PVR boxes are connected to the Internet to access On-Demand services and also have access to other premium services such as NetFlix or LoveFilm.

Virgin Media has recently announced a new box to replace the current TiVo system called Virgin TV V6.  This device will allow a user to record 6 different channels at once whilst watching a 7th.  The V6 also boasts a 1TB Hard Drive storage for recordings.

Media Stations/Sound Systems

Media Stations and Sound Systems are used to offer access to music libraries from Online and /or of a person’s device such as a Smartphone or Media Player.  Apple TV is an example of a media station.

Soundbars and Speakers can be configured to home entertainment systems to offer the viewer access to better quality sound.  Most of these devices are paired with home entertainment devices using “cable free” options such as Bluetooth or WiFi.  Bose and Bang and Olufsen are premium brands of speakers and sound system set ups.

Task 1 – You have been given the job to plan and purchase a range of Home Entertainment Devices for the show home in a new build set of apartments in Nottingham.  You will need to purchase:

  • A 4K Smart TV
  • A PVR
  • A set of speakers/sound bar
  • A games console
  • A Blu-Ray player

Your aim is to spend the least amount of money as possible.  Wiring and cabling should be kept to an absolute minimum.  The apartments are a premium so the quality of the devices should reflect in this.

Draw up your plan with images, pricings and discuss the reasons for your purchase.