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Top tech ways to have a Smart night in

It has long been a bugbear of mine that trying to arrange a nice night in will usually involve lots of trips out. Whether it’s to grab a film, buy some cold drinks or simply pick up a menu from the local takeaway, the effort needed for a quiet indoor date or family night actually often ruins the reason for doing it in the first place.

Luckily it doesn’t have to be that way when you’ve got some simple technology to hand.

As we know, it’s easier to surf the web than trek around the shops and the latest range of Smart TVs, iPhones, tablets and laptops mean you don’t even need to get up from the sofa.

So here’s my personal picks to get everything you could possibly need for a great night in – without going out. All you’ll need is a credit card, an internet connection and a comfy chair.

The Websites

Founded almost a decade ago, and currently boasting more than 1.5 million members, LOVEFiLM is the movie rental site that sends DVDs and Blu-rays through the post.

However, it’s now available as an app for many Smart TVs meaning you can instantly stream thousands of movies to your Samsung or Sony web-enabled telly in the living room, or if you prefer a computer or PlayStation 3.

A standalone rental costs around £3.50, but the best value is to be found in the ‘Film Lovers’ package which, for £9.99 a month, gives unlimited access to movies via post and internet. You’ll probably never go to the cinema again.

But what if you prefer music over movies? Surely to watch a gig involves leaving the house? Wrong!

Not that many people have discovered MUZU TV, but those who have, truly love it. It’s basically a huge collection of music videos, live performances and artist interviews – with a wonderful search facility and the ability to build playlists for all the family.

Best of all, the major record labels are fully signed up so you’re not breaking any laws or copyrights by using the service.

Now finally imagine if there was a website where you could type in your postcode, get a list of local takeaways, browse their menu, select the items you want, checkout and have the piping hot food delivered to your door while you sit back and select that film or gig.

Well, just go to Hungry House and place an order. It’s that simple!

The Gadgets

The ultimate piece of technology for a night in is an internet-enabled Smart TV from Samsung. They’re not cheap but with amazing high-definition, 3D capabilities, apps including those for LOVEFiLM, MUZU TV and YouTube – plus the ability to stream content from your home computer or laptop – you’ll find the only thing they can’t do is make the popcorn.

Check them out by clicking here to see Comet’s range of Smart TVs. You can find out more about Smart TV’s by reading our guide to how they work.

And if you do want a popcorn maker, there’s plenty of machines to do just that.

I’d also always recommend a nice mini-fridge to keep your drinks and snacks cold – and save that long walk to the kitchen. This Stella Artois branded mini-fridge is my favourite.

The Apps

If you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, then check out the apps for LOVEFiLM, MUZU TV and hungryhouse – and also search for ‘Samsung Remote’, which turns your handheld device into a Smart TV controller. Perfect for all those times you’ve lost the real one down the back of the sofa.

Other apps I’d recommend are Apple’s Remote to control your iTunes library without having to keep going to the laptop and Air Video, which streams the content from your home computer to a portable gadget– meaning you can enjoy it in any room in the house or even the garden.

Now what are you waiting for – stop reading and start planning that perfect night in.

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