How to create the perfect family movie night
Watching a good film with the family at Christmas is a tradition we all look forward to. Here’s how you can make it extra special with the latest tech…
Once you’ve pulled your last cracker and polished off all the turkey you can manage, it’s tough to beat a good film with the family at Christmas.
But with the latest TV, audio and smart tech, you can turn this tradition into something you’ll all remember until the next time Santa comes to call.
Prep the house
You’re asked to switch off your phone at the cinema and it should be the same for your Christmas movie too. After all, when you’re engrossed in a film, the last thing you want to hear is an annoying ringtone.
Something else you’ll have to sort out is the temperature. Too cold and Grandma’s likely to start complaining – too hot and you’ll all be asleep before the final credits start rolling.
Turn your heating up or down from your smartphone, tablet or laptop without having to risk sacrificing your sofa spot with the Nest Learning Thermostat.
It’ll learn your preferences too and turn itself down when you’re away, helping you to save energy. And it’s easy on the eye too, with a sleek design and sharp display that also shows the time.
You can perfect the lighting in your front room as well with smart lighting like Philips Hue
As the film begins, you can fade the light to black using the app on your smartphone. And then increase it slightly when people want to pour drinks and eat – without having to move from the sofa. Super cosy.
Set the scene with the right TV
Your choice of TV can add an extra dash of magic to your family Christmas movie night. And if you want to go all out, then it has to be a large screen 4K Ultra HD set. With up to 4 times the detail of Full HD, 4K TVs help you to really bring the magic of the movies to your own front room. It offers you a super-sharp picture with incredibly rich and detailed colour. There’s a whole range of other benefits too:
- A sharper, more realistic image than your Full HD TV
- See much more detail in every scene – for example characters’ facial expressions
- Vibrant, rich colour in landscapes and scenery shots
- Sit closer to the screen without noticing any flaws in the picture – perfect for gathering everyone round the telly
You need content mastered or recorded in 4K to get the best from your 4K UHD TV. But regular content is improved to near-4K quality too.
Find out what you can watch in 4K
Samsung KS9000 4K HDR TV
This TV uses special quantum-dot technology to bring you more than one billion colours. With its High Dynamic Range, you’ll also get brighter pictures and greater levels of detail.
Even standard TV, films and games are upscaled to the highest quality possible. The 55-inch screen will make you feel as though you’re right there as all the action unfolds. And you can control content from several different sources using the Smart Hub feature.
Put together a movie playlist
Decide what you’re going to watch in advance - an argument over the remote is a real mood killer. Choose movies that appeal to everyone in the audience – whether that’s the latest from Disney or an old-school classic. With a streaming device you can also watch movies from your laptop or tablet on your TV.
The Roku 3 is one of our favourite streaming boxes. Use it to:
- Stream Full HD movies and shows from more than 1,400 channels
- Connect to services such as BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Amazon Prime and more
- Turn your smartphone into a remote to allow you to pause the action from the palm of your hand
Don’t want a separate box on your TV cabinet? Or want to spend a bit less? You can stream Netflix to your TV with the much smaller Google Chromecast. It plugs into your TV’s HDMI port, so there’s no box taking up space. Instead of having a separate remote, you control what you’re watching using your smartphone or tablet.
Simply find what you want to watch in the Netflix or iPlayer app, and hit the ‘Cast’ button to send it to your TV. Learn how to make you dumb tech smart with Google Chromecast.
Don’t forget: Streaming services work over your home Wi-Fi, so a reliable broadband connection is essential.
Create more cinematic sound
What’s the point in having a richly detailed picture on a large screen with only small sound? Feel every crash and bang, and hear crisp, clear dialogue with a soundbar. A soundbar is the easiest way to boost your TV’s sound. It’s a slim, oblong-shaped box that contains speakers placed next to one another. You then mount it to the wall beneath your TV, or lay it flat on your cabinet in front of the TV.
Samsung K651 soundbar
This soundbar comes with six built-in speakers and its own subwoofer. Each one enhances a different part of your TV’s sound, allowing you to enjoy music and dialogue in crystal-clear quality. And with built-in Bluetooth, you can connect it up to Samsung smart sound speakers and TVs without cluttering up your front room with wires.
Not sure which option to go for? Check out our guide: Home cinema or soundbar - which is right for me?
Have plenty of supplies to munch on
It’s not a movie night without some tasty treats to munch on – even if you are stuffed from your Christmas dinner. Pile bowls high with sweet and salted popcorn, serve homemade guacamole and hummus to plunge warm pita and tortilla chips into.
Have soft drinks, juices and other beverages chilling in the fridge. Crack open a tin of chocolates. Lay it all out on your coffee table – just make sure you cover it with a wipe-clean tablecloth.