As the cold winter nights draw in, you might want to warm up your house with a real fire. But don’t despair if you don’t have one – a few household bits of technology will have you sitting cosily in front of some burning logs in no time.
If you have a smart TV or a set-top box connected to your television, then you can quickly fire up one of the many fireplace that are online, and pretend that you’re watching a burning fire rather than a video of one.
The best way to instantly give your living room a log fire is to use Netflix’s ‘Fireplace For Your Home’. The series shows a burning fire from its beginning as logs into a full-blown and cosy hearth.
Since 2015, Netflix has uploaded new episodes of Fireplace For Your Home in 4K, making them extra realistic. The fires are much the same, but can be seen in much more detail – and the company has also added a birchwood edition, for a little more variety.
YouTube has a huge range of other fireplaces, if you’re looking for a free option. The best one is probably PBS Newshour’s, which was the first ever in 4K when it was uploaded in 2014.
Finding a fireplace on YouTube is much riskier, since lots of the ones uploaded there tend to have little watermarks in their corners to say who they were made by, spoiling the realism. PBS Newshour’s does feature a Christmas greeting at the start, but is otherwise believable – though it is perhaps let down a little by not showing the fire from the very beginning, as Fireplace In Your Home does, and starting in media res.
None of the videos promise any heat, though the experience of watching them can induce a feeling of cosiness and warmth.
Another option for increasing the realism of your virtual fireplace is to install Philips Hue lightbulbs. They are smart and wi-fi controlled, so you can do what you want with them, and they can show a range of colou
Downloading the app OnSwitch and using it with smart lights means that you can create the feel of a candlelit room with none of the danger or bother. OnSwitch is free to download but makes you pay for some purposes – but that doesn’t include the candlelight option.