The Gift of Giving HT Newbie

The HT Newbie

Panasonic DMP-BD70V Blu-ray Player ($400)
You can ease your stubborn family members and friends into Blu-ray with a player that accommodates the VHS format, along with DVD and Blu-ray. The Panasonic DMP-BD70V features Pixel Precision Progressive Processing and Digital Noise Reduction for crisp video quality. It also supports BD-Live and Bonus View. The bad news: You’ll have to put up with old family vacation footage for many more years to come.—DS


Apple TV ($229)
Add this compact, 160-GB Mac/PC-compatible hard- drive-based white (what else?) square to your wired or wireless network. Then you connect to a surround processor or A/V receiver via HDMI or component video, and you can play your iTunes music collection through your home theater system, stream HD movies and TV shows from the iTunes store and, access YouTube, slice, dice, chop, grind, peel.—MFr


1209gift.htmag150.jpgHome Theater Magazine Subscription ($12.97 per Year)
What would a gift guide be without a gratuitous plug for the home team? This is an easy call and the best way for Newbies to become the Person Who Has Everything. —SCB

1209gift.discsox150.jpgDiscSox Media Storage Sleeves ($20 for 25)
What’s a home theater without a large collection of movies to watch? Unfortunately, all those DVD and Blu-ray cases can fill a shelf rather quickly. No room for new furniture? DiscSox storage sleeves will save considerable space. Unlike media binders, they also let you keep the original cover art with each movie for a more attractive display.—JZ

Salamander Designs Madrid 7022 Equipment Rack ($1,499)
Back in the day, most of us simply plunked our A/V toys down on the nearest flat surface or even the floor! But you can’t beat a real place to put your stuff. This slick lowboy can hold up to five components, support the weight of almost any new HDTV, and keep you from tripping over your cables.—TJN


1209gift.soundalign150.jpgSound Alignment Systems SAS-1500 Basic Home Theater Kit ($299)
If you think your HT Newbie might possibly become an enthusiast (as it’s known in corporate-speak), then this kit comes with two tools that’ll be just as fun to use the last time as it was the first. It has a laser tool for speaker alignment, and a sound pressure level meter for setting proper audio levels. The carrying case is an added bonus.—DW

Sherwood R-904N NetBoxx A/V Receiver ($650)
Your HT newbie will get twice the fun with this 7.1- channel A/V receiver that pulls double duty as an Inter- net media portal. Via its Ethernet connection, the Net- Boxx can pull material from Hulu, Netflix, CinemaNow, Amazon, YouTube, and more. It also includes a USB port and support for Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Volume. The 700-watt box is a compact 2.5 inches tall.—CL


1209gift.klein150.jpgKlein 1011 Wire Stripper ($14)
Bad ways to strip the insulation off speaker cables: with a steak knife, a razor blade, or your teeth. What you need is a stripping tool. It looks like a pair of pliers with different-sized notches for various cable diameters. The Klein 1011 handles cables between 10 and 20 gauge. Your local hardware store will have something similar for about five bucks.—MF

1209gift.practicalguide150.jpgPractical Home Theater ($20)
Delving into the home theater world can be a daunting prospect, even for the bravest among us. Our very own Home Theater audio editor, Mark Fleischmann, has made the journey an enjoyable one with the ninth edition of his annually updated book. If you’re a newbie taking the plunge or a grizzled veteran getting caught up on new technologies, this book is for you.—JH

Internet Apps
Flat-panel HDTVs are thinner and cheaper, and they now provide Web-based content and services. You can share your favorite YouTube videos, place bids on eBay, download a movie from Amazon, stream music from Rhapsody, update your Facebook status, or just Tweet away on the latest cutting-edge products from manufacturers like Panasonic, Sharp, and VIZIO. —KW