November 12, 2007

Networking Audio Video 2007 Holiday Gift Guide


Well it is that time of year again. You need to buy gifts for your friends and family and invariably you get stuck trying to think of a gift for that one techie family member that seems to have everything. We have taken it upon ourselves to try and help you out and give you some ideas for the coming holidays. This gift guide will be focused on media streaming devices. We will add another guide later for the peripherals like hard drives, routers, etc. We thought we would break this guide up into categories. Hopefully we can help someone out and give them a great idea for a friend of family member. OK, onto the ideas:

Music Streamers
Media streamers come in all shapes and sizes and price points. First up is the Transporter from Slimdevices[Amazon]. This is a high end audio streamer that would be a perfect gift for that audiophile in your family. This is an expensive gift, but with some help from the rest of your siblings this would bring a huge smile to any music fans face. If that is too expensive for you there are a bunch of cheaper options that will fit anyones budget.
The Squeezebox from Slimdevices is possibly the best pure audio streamer on the market for the money. We've had one in our house for awhile now and we can't imagine a world without it. It is so simple to use and yet so powerful in what it can do that it has become an integral part of our daily lives. We have reviewed it a few times here and here. If you have someone in your family that is a music fan this could be the ultimate gift for them. At $300 it isn't to expensive and an option for that 'great' gift for someone.
If, instead of streaming music from a PC you would like to give a gift that allowed someone to stream music from their iPod look no further then the DLO HomeDock. This is so much more then just a way to stream your music from your iPod to your stereo. There are plenty of devices that do that, what separates this from the rest is that it comes with a remote that will give you some information of what is playing on the iPod as well as what else is on it. This is a much better option then most of the other iPod streamers on the market that don't give you the freedom to interact and control the iPod from anywhere in your house.

The last audio streamer on our list breaks the budget slightly, but is such an amazing music streamer that we had to add it. The Sonos Digital Music System is such a great music streamer that we can't, in good conscience, not add it too this list. The only complaint people have with the system is the price, but we suspect the people that complain about the price haven't actually used it. We had the pleasure of reviewing the system bundle awhile back and we were blown away with every aspect of the product. You can read our hands on review here.

The Mvix 760HD video and audio streaming wonder.

Video Streaming
Next we will share with you are thoughts on great gifts for the person looking for a solution for streaming video in their house. We'll start with our favorite video streamer available today, the Mvix 760HD. The 760HD can do it all, video, audio and photo, but it really shines with the video streaming. We have been using on for awhile now and the thing is nothing short of amazing. Not only is it a great streamer in its own right, it also has a very active community that is constantly modifying the open source firmware and producing very cool new options. We have reviewed the 760 a couple of times you can read them here and here.

Another option is Apple's AppleTV. This is a full media streaming device that has all the polish that one would expect from an Apple product. It integrates perfectly with iTunes and the rest of the offerings from Apple. You can not only stream all your iTunes videos from your local network, but you can tap into the Apple network to view movie previews and samples from the top downloaded movies of the week. They have done an amazing job of making this device extremely simple to use and it easy to setup. We have our gripes with it sure, you can read our review here, but for the majority of people out there this is a great system that provides a very easy way to stream your media from your computers to your TV.

Slingbox products can be found here and here

Place Shifting
If the person you are buying for already has a video streamer and audio streamer well what is left? Place shifting baby. We have reviewed a bunch of these and we have some good recommendations for you. The biggest player in this space is definitely Sling Media with their Slingbox products. [Amazon] We have reviewed a bunch of the Slingbox products here and here, and they are basically the de-facto standard in place shifting devices and they rarely disappoint. We have said a bunch of times that we at first didn't get the allure of the whole place shifting thing, but after playing with it we are totally sold. The Slingbox products all perform above average and anyone unwrapping one of these this holiday season will be extremely excited.

The other major player in this space is Monsoon that has come out with a bunch of great products that compete very nicely against Sling and is helping to keep them honest and not let them sit on their laurels. They have come out with a lot of innovative products and their latest one, the Titanium HD is a large step forward in the place shifting universe in that they have setup their latest device to be able to grow with future technological advances. The Titanium HD has a bunch of USB ports on it that will allow you to plug in new add ons that can allow the device to never get out of date.

Well we hope our guide has been able to help someone get a good idea for a holiday gift. We know how hard it is to come up with just the right gift and anything we can do to make that easier for you is our mission.

Good luck and stay tuned for our other gift guides.

Looking for more amazing gift ideas? Check out our extensive set of holiday shopping guides on electronics, fashion, cooking, and more.

Read More in: Holiday Gift Guide | Mvix | Squeezebox

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Posted by David Ficocello at November 12, 2007 11:59 PM

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