Home Theater Gift Guide The HT Newbie

The HT Newbie


Logitech Harmony One Advanced Universal Remote Control ($250)
We’ve recommended this one before and probably will again. Harmony is the perfect descriptor here, as that’s the word that will describe your domestic situation once you subtract the ten remotes your house members have to wrestle with just to watch some SpongeBob and add just one Harmony remote. It’s not expensive to begin with but streets for under $200. The return on investment is, as they say, priceless.—SCB


Monster Vision Max 3D Shutter Glasses ($250)
According to Monster, these are the world’s first universal 3D shutter glasses. They communicate via RF transmitter and are claimed to work with all brands of 3DTVs. The lightweight shutter system has a stylish gloss-black finish and can be worn over prescription glasses. Additional pairs are $170 each.—CCC


Apocalypse Now Full Disclosure Blu-ray Disc ($60)
I’m pretty sure Napalm in the morning wouldn’t work for me, but this three-disc Blu-ray box set of Francis Ford Coppola’s anti-war epic contains both the original theatrical and 2001 Redux releases, as well as the award-winning Heart of Darkness documentary. Sure smells sweet.—FM


Sanus Foundations Accurate Series AV Furniture ($50 to $200)
Our audio editor uses the AFA TV/AV Stand for his reference system. The basic kit comes with four black MDF shelves held together by sturdy tubular aluminum columns. It’s easy to assemble, and you can add shelves to the modular design. If you’d prefer a horizontal configuration, check out the AFV48 Widescreen TV/AV Stand.—MF


Spears & Munsil Blu-ray Disc ($25)
So you just dropped a month’s salary (or more) on a new flat screen, Blu-ray player, and surround sound and can’t afford a full ISF calibration? Here’s your next best option for getting the most out of your display with state-of-the-art test patterns to set contrast, brightness, color, tint, and more.—DV


ClearStream Micron Indoor Long-Range Digital TV Antenna ($42)
You can never have too much money—or too many channels. This small DTV antenna can be used on a tabletop/shelf or wall-mounted to help bring in distant TV stations that lesser antennas can’t. Extra gain for really weak signals can be achieved with optional reflector.—DW


Crutchfield Audio/Video CableLabels ($5)
If there’s one thing all A/V enthusiasts can use, it’s a way to label their connections to keep everything straight. The newbie needs this most of all. While HDMI has cleaned up the tangled mess dramatically, we still need to know where every link came from and where it has to go. At this price, you can include two or three of these for use now and for those inevitable changes down the road.—TJN


Practical Home Theater by Mark Fleischmann ($20)
Getting a start in the world of home theater can be daunting. Terminology can be confusing, opinions can differ vastly, and the task of setting it all up is enough to send anyone to the liqour cabinet. Luckily, HT’s own Mark Fleischmann is there to help out. His annually updated book is a must for everyone’s bookshelf, newbie and grizzled veteran alike.—JH


Stargate Cinema Movie Poster Frame ($99)
No home theater is complete without this front-load poster frame. Two plastic overlays protect your posters. It’s lightweight for hanging, and you can load a poster in seconds. Imagine your guests’ surprise when you display a poster for that night’s feature. The frame (black or gold) holds a standard 27-by-40-/ 41-inch poster, although custom sizes are available.—KW


Studio Six iPhone App SPL Meter ($0.99)
Dowloadable virtual digital version of Radio- Shack’s iconic SPL meter for iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. Costs 99 cents. Give your HT newbie friend a buck and show him or her how to use the meter to correctly set speaker levels. Then buy them a real present, you cheapskate.—MFr