Home Theater Gift Guide

Give a Little Bit

Looking for the perfect gift for the techie in your life? Home Theater’s writers and editors are here to help spread the holiday season cheer.


We do get quite a bit of tunnel vision here at Home Theater. Our focus month in and month out is the technology and gear that goes into your dedicated theater spaces for watching movies, listening to music, and consuming media of all types. But each year our holiday gift guide offers the oportunity for us to spread out a little bit and get all gadgety. So here’s a whole pile of techie gifts to stuff your stockings with.

The Budget-Conscious Consumer


Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Blu-ray Disc ($9.99)
Since we usually nerd you up with all the test discs you could ever want, how about 40 minutes of pure hilarity, on Blu-ray Disc, for just ten bucks? From the amazing mind of Joss Whedon, starring Neil Patrick Harris of Doogie Howser/How I Met Your Mother fame and Nathan Fillion of Firefly/Serenity. It really is a blog. It really is a musical. Don’t you want to know more? Say yes.—SCB


Ikea Benno TV Bench ($80)
If you’ve graduated past the boards and bricks stage, chances are you need something a little more stylish to hold your home theater gear. But most of those designer racks are pretty pricey. The Benno is rated to hold only 66 pounds, so you’ll need a wall-mount for an HDTV of any size. Otherwise, it has enough room for a modest, budget system. Just be sure the components will fit, with room for ventilation.—TJN


Belkin Conserve Smart AV ($29.99)
This surge protector senses when you turn off your HDTV and turns off the power to five of the strip’s eight outlets—eliminating the standby power usage of the components connected to them (saving as much as $76 per year). Two outlets are always on for DVRs and devices that need continuous power.—DW


Apple TV ($99)
If your household is happy with its existing HDTVs and Blu-ray players, upgrading to get video streaming may not be convenient. The second-generation palm-sized Apple TV may be the non-intrusive solution you seek. It streams $3.99 movies and 99-cent TV shows via Wi-Fi at 720p (not 1080p) from Netflix, YouTube, and more.—MF


Flip Video Ultra HD 8-GB Camera ($200)
The original was great, except you couldn’t watch your HD videos on an HDTV. Duh. Now you can, thanks to a mini-HDMI port. This versatile, fun device is about the size of a pack of cig- arettes and records two hours of 720-by-1280, 60-fps HD. Easy editing and posting on Facebook or YouTube.—MFr


SRS MyVolume Leveling Adaptor ($130)
Commercials bite. Don’t you hate it when you’re watching a good program and then a commercial comes on that’s so loud you spill your chips and dips grabbing the remote to turn the volume down? MyVolume solves that problem. Simply put this cute little box between your cable box and your HDTV and level it out. —JH

Crosley Radio CR6002A Portable Turntable ($150 to $180)
Check out the handle—the Crosley Radio CR6002A is a portable belt-drive turntable with stereo speakers, an FM transmitter, and analog stereo output; and it’s ready to rip with a USB port and software. Found in black ($149) or a host of custom colors ($179) at Urban Outfitters where you already go to get your cool on.—FM


Sonos ZonePlayer S5 ($399)
This Sonos all-in-one wireless music system enables instant music anywhere in your home. Two tweeters, two midrange drivers, and one subwoofer are individually powered by five dedicated digital amplifiers, in a 8.5-by-14.4-by-4.8-inch enclosure. Supports most compressed and uncompressed formats and imports playlists from programs such as iTunes, Rhapsody, Windows Media Player, and MusicMatch. Available in Black or White.—KW

Netflix Subscription With Unlimited Streaming ($11/month with Blu-ray Disc)
With the major video chains shuttering stores around the country, Netflix has become the best choice for delivering DVDs and Blu-ray Discs to your mailbox, and it’s hard to beat its instant streaming. For $11, you can enjoy one disc at home and instantly watch TV episodes and movies from your PC, Mac, iPad, or other Netflix-ready device.—DV


ZAGG smartbuds ($50)
These great little earbuds help you get the most out of your iPhone and make the perfect budget-friendly gift or stocking stuffer. They have a built-in noise-cancelling microphone, multiple sliders to help you manage the cords, and in-line volume control and switching between phone calls and music.—CCC