There are some great headphones out there now that have decent quality and make a fine stocking stuffer for under $15.00 if you are hinting around to your significant other or relative that you prefer that they keep their music to themselves.
For those who don't watch the big game, any of these would make for a happy holiday movie marathon. To keep the kidlets amused, there is the Blu-ray Peanuts Holiday Collection that comes with three bonus episodes.
The holidays are upon us as evidenced by early Black Friday and Cyber Monday hints. Amazon sees a hot year for electronics so if you are shopping online, you don't want to wait too long. Here are some ideas from their Best Selling List:
We would be the first to admit that funds are tight this year and hopefully our gift guide this year will simplify it for you. We found you the hottest, newest and what we consider some of the best bargains on the Net, including a section for your offspring.
Roku's HD-XR Player is not only a great gift for couch potatoes, it comes with everything they need to get their TV and browsing fixes on. With WiFi and Ethernet built in, more than 50,000 films are available on Amazon VOD and Netflix in HD.
Looking for a top of the line digital frame? The NIX N' EASY X08A has an 8" hi-res SVGA Digital Photo Frame that displays video and photos, and plays music. It comes with remote, accepts most memory cards and flash drives and can be set on auto-rotate and split screen.
For anyone who covets their Mac, Apple's Magic Mouse has laser technology that is about 20x better than that of standard optical tracking. The peripheral has both Bluetooth and touch-sensitive technology.
Go wireless this year with the Cisco-Linksys E1000 Router. Connect your PC and up to 3 other printers, smartphones and other wireless devices with a max of 300 Mbps of transfer speed.
Go for a double set of wireless peripherals for little funding with Connectland's 2.4 GHz wireless Keyboard and Optical Mouse Combo. With the keyboard at a size of 6 x 2 x 21", the mouse can adjust from 800 to 1600 dpi, works up to 10 meters away and has an on/off switch. The 2-way wireless FOFA (Find One Find All) Key Finder and Wallet Locator Set works by RF, can be used on anything you have a tendency to lose and needs no base.
Nextar's N1-517 Digital Photo Ornament has a 1.5" screen with auto/manual slide show function, supports JPEG/BMP formats and doubles as a digital clock. Anyone can become an instant rock star with WowWee's Paper Jamz. Available in different styles, the 1" thin instrument has built-in speaker, line out, volume control, 3 jamming modes and includes 3 licensed hit songs. And although it may be cardboard based, you can really rock out with the Paper Jamz Amp/Speaker.
Turn one of your rooms into something special. From the company that brought you Moon in My Room comes the Uncle Milton Rainbow in My Room. With a mere wave of your hand, the rainbow can be displayed on a wall or ceiling.
Make this the year that you invest in rechargeable batteries. The Sanyo eneloop AA 4 Pack with charger is well worth the minimal expense when you consider that you won't have to purchase as many and you are helping to save the planet.
Logitech's S120 2.0 Multimedia Speakers stand 11.5 x 20 x 7.2", has a response bandwidth of 50Hz-20KHz, a nominal Output of 2.3W and a 1.2M nylon braided cable. For the coolest dude on the block, the iCon2 Headphones have a 30mm audio driver, 3.5mm Plug and stereo adapter and a cord length of 1.2M.
Sony's Universal Remote is compatible with most major brands, can control your TV and cable box, is ergonomically correct and has easy to see/use large buttons. The Buzz Killer Card would make a great stocking stuffer for those who complain about excess noise from speakers, conference lines, baby monitors, alarm clocks, and land-line handsets caused by cellphone signals.
Jabra's inexpensive C250 Boom Headset can be a subtle way to tell someone you love that they really need to stop texting or talking on their cellie while driving. The USB PC Camera Webcam has a flexible neck for altering viewing angle, a built in mic, 5.0 MP still image capture, is plug and play and is compatible with Windows XP/Vista/7.
Know someone who has an iPhone 4G? This silicone Skin Case is thin, non-slip and durable, yet has access to all of the phone's features. The LED Book Light is perfect for any avid reader who has a Kindle 1/2/DX or Nook.
Ucreate Music is a simple mixing board that includes an online library to build tracks, and add special effects and filters. Once they finish that master track, they can share creations with friends online. Any kid would dig Toysmith's Voice Changer because nothing says let's freak out the neighbors like being able to become hundreds of different people. The 6.5" device has 10 different voice modifiers, side levers, flashing LED lights and an included 1.9V battery.
The Nintendo DSi Bundle comes with 'Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story.' Kids can browse, download games and take inward or outward pictures when they tire of the video game brothers. For the teen sport in your life, the limited edition Sony PSP 3000 Bundle comes with 'Madden 11.' The built-in mic adds voice functionality both for games and Skyping.
For those who prefer more involvement, the Xbox 360 Kinect Bundle comes with console, 250GB hard drive, sensor, controller and 'Adventures' game. Designed for younger gamers, Fisher Price's iXL gives them six ways to play while learning to read, write, and create music and art.
Social Networking Cams
Camcorders are so affordable these days, anyone can make themselves a viral hit on YouTube. Give a gift of fame to your favorite artiste. Flip Video's UltraHD has 8 GB memory and can record up to 2 hours. The Toshiba Camileo S20 records in full HD, and has 4x digital zoom and video stabilization.
Wax nostalgia with the 40th anniversary of the remastered 'Sound of Music' and the 10 part Emmy winning HBO series 'The Pacific' has just been released with 6 discs.
Ultimate Wish List - Over $100
This will be one hot seller this year. Logitech's Google TV combines your HDTV, cable or satellite system with TV programming, Android apps and Net access. It searches with an intuitive keyboard controller with built-in touch pad.
Western Digital's My Book Live comes in 1TB or 2TB models, can centralize your media and stream it to your home theater or media system, has automatic backup and is compatible with Apple's Time Capsule.
Who wouldn't want an iPad? Maybe this year you can get one for yourself and claim it is for the whole family. Then again, you can treat them all with a Onkyo 7.1 Channel Home Theater Speaker System with 130 watts total output on 2-way bass reflex front, center, and surround speakers, bass reflex powered subwoofer with 230 watts output, front and center 2-way speakers with 5" diaphragm woofers and 1" balanced floating tweeter.
Finally, how about downloading our new, free app that is now (or will be soon) for Droid phones, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch?
It's that time again. Drag out that dusty wallet/purse and feed our economy. And while others freak out after losing their car at the mall or wait for Black Friday deals, we are shopping online which, in our opinion, can be just as inexpensive as the real world, especially when you consider gas, tax, obnoxious salespeople on commission and the fear factor when someone beats you to that last copy of Band Hero at Wally World. We have found audio and video goodies, gifts for kids, as well as gifts to fit every budget, even if yours is small. So without further ado...
Over $100.00 Ultimate Wish List
Yoostar literally lets you perform with their Entertainment System. Act in a movie, TV episode or NBA game by replacing an actor or adding yourself to a screen. It comes with webcam, greenscreen, stand, remote and software. Yoostar will only work with PC although a Mac version is on the way.
HP's DreamScreen 100 puts every other digital frame to shame. Simplified remote, buttons and screens makes for easy access to music, photos and videos. Built-in WiFi connects you to your existing network for content on your PC or through the Interweb to access radio, weather, news and more.
The Zune 120 GB Video MP3 Player with 3.2" color LCD is as ultimate as it gets. Not only does it hold 30,000 songs, 25,000 photos, or 375 hours of video, it has the unique distinction of being able to tag songs you hear on FM radio that you might want to purchase. Play games, share with other Zunes and thumb your nose at those Apple folks.
To be fair, Apple fanatics would love a new iPod classic 160 GB that has up to 36 hours of music or 6 hrs. of video playback and a 2.5" color LCD with LED backlight.
How kewl is the Nikon Coolpix S60 10MP Digital Camera with touchscreen? Even more so when it comes with an accessory kit with a 4GB memory card, carrying case, cleaning kit, screen protectors, tripod, spare battery and free prints with a promo code # on your invoice.
The Next Generation Remote Control Extender not only looks unique, it turns any IR remote into RF by simply installing its battery transmitter and works up to 100 ft. away. No company knows film like Polaroid and their PoGo Instant Digital Mobile
Printer lives up to their reputation. You get 2 x 3" borderless images from your camera or cell phone that are dry to the touch, water and smudge resistant.
We know someone who signed up for a checking account so that he could get a free portable DVD player. Technology is so advanced now that almost anyone can afford one, like the Philips Portable DVD Player with 7" LCD display and 2 hour playback. AC and car adapters, and AV cables are included as is the built-in rechargeable battery. Nothing says you are the life of the party like this Memorex's portable Karaoke Home Entertainment System. It includes a CD player, echo control for those off key and a 2 digit LED display. Practice enough and you may be Oprah's next $250,000 winner.
Speck's ToughSkin Rubberized Case is compatible with 80/120/160 GB iPod classic 6G and is built for those that are on the clumsy side. It also comes with a belt clip. Sony's RM-VL 600 Universal Learning Remote can handle up to 8 different inputs, is pre-programmed for most brands and has an easy one-touch control.
If you know somebody with a Flip Camcorder, we can't say enough about how grateful they would be if you got them a Tripod. Adjustable, it comes with interchangeable rubber feet.
The Motorola H350 Headset works with any Bluetooth-equipped phone up to 30 ft. away. Considering cell phone usage while driving is a no-no these days, this would be a simple hint in the guise of a gift. No gift list is complete without at least one I-Dog and our pick is the inexpensive Dance. Plug him into your iPod or MP3 player and he plays your music through his speakers and does a doggy dance. He obeys certain verbal commands and his lights move to the beat.
The Iluv i203PUR Lightweight Earphones for iPod come in various colors but we kind of lean towards the purple ones. Lightweight earclips are included for those on the go and inline volume control makes them easy to adjust.
iFrogz Luxe Case in blue and black fits iPhone 3G and 3GS, is soft to the touch and allows full access to all controls and functions. The Universal iPod USB Charger Kit works with most iPods and includes a car charger and a retractable 31.5" coil cable.
INSTEN's Folding Stereo Speaker supports all iPods and other musical devices with a 3.5mm plug. The aluminum speaker folds up when not in use and are great for traveling. Nothing says portable as well as this Kinamax USB 3D Optical Scroll Wheel Mouse. With an ergonomic design, it has a retractable cable and comes with its own mouse pad.
It's difficult to compete with the top of the line SanDisk Sansa Fuze. The player holds 4GB of media (expandable with SD slot,) which translates into up to 1,000 tunes. It also has FM radio with 40 presets and built in microphone.
Sony fans will appreciate their latest Walkman Video that holds over 1,800 songs or 30 hrs. of video on its 8GB. Its 2" TFT color display is LED backlit and the player supports most audio formats. Coby's MP305-4G combines an MP3 player, FM radio, and USB flash drive with the company's usual affordable price.
One of the most creative MP3 players we have found is the Jada Interactive Playaz . The little guy has built-in speakers, and audio output for additional speakers and gets down to whatever tune is playing.
This is not to say that you can't share, for we have found that any time we buy something for our own kids, we dig them as much as they do. Nintendo's DS Lite Limited Edition Bundle comes with Super Mario. With advanced touchscreen, mic port and WiFi connection, watch them clean their rooms for the next month at least. The Scene It? Twilight Deluxe Edition will probably sell out quickly now that the movie is out.
We had to include something from Sesame Street as they recently celebrated their 40th birthday. The Silly Sounds Remote resembles Cookie Monster but press any of the number buttons and Elmo speaks or it makes a silly sound. The light flashes as well and when your kidlet wants to quit, he issues a time out phrase to keep her/him playing.
Vtech's V.Smile TV Learning System is one of the hottest toys this season. Connect to your TV, pop in a Smartridge and your child can play games as well as learn. The included joystick works for left and right-handed users and games can be found for various age groups.
We personally recommend anything by Leapfrog, one of the best series of learning tools we purchased for our own kids. The Tag Reading System is almost a juvenile version of the Smartpen. With over 20 books available, touching with it makes the words speak and the pictures sing. Parents can connect to keep tabs on their kids.
And if you want a toy for yourself, give the Mindflex Game to your kids and, when they tire of it, take custody. The device features a cushion of air that a ball rests on and brain waves literally can be trained to move it up and down or through hurdles, hoops and other obstacles.
Ucreate Music allows kids of any age to become a DJ. An online library holds tracks special effects and filters and finished compositions can be shared online. Ucreate also comes in a Games & Artimation version for those who lean in another direction.
It's easy to get carried away when money isn't a major factor, but for most of us, that's the way it is. We hope we have made it a bit simpler. NAV hopes you have a great holiday this year no matter how you celebrate it!
Description: If you or someone on your list has a Neflix subscription then a Netflix Player is definitely the ticket. At $99, the player lets you stream all of the "Watch Instantly" titles on Netflix. The device is also wirless and extremely easy to set-up. Did we mention it's only $99? Heck, it's so cheap you could make it a stocking stuffer. The Roku Netflix Player makes our list of one of the best gift ideas this year.
Feature Details from Roku:
Over 12,000 movies and TV episodes instantly
No change in monthly Netflix costs and you continue to get your DVDs by mail
Easily connects directly to your TV
Pause, rewind or play anytime - just like a DVD
Guaranteed to work with your TV or your money back
Description: Liquid TV by Nero is a simple but exciting product that turns a Windows PC into a TiVo based TV recorder. If someone on your list is itching to build their own media system or simply likes to watch TV on a PC, the Liquid TV package is a must-have item this holiday season.
Feature Details from Amazon:
Enjoy the unique and easy-to-use TiVo interface; all the great TiVo features like Season Pass and WishList included
Watch and record shows in HD and Standard formats on your TV or on your PC
Export your favorite programs to portable media players; burn shows to DVD or save them to your hard drive
Schedule TV recordings online (US and Canada only); Pause Live TV on your PC
Includes a 12-month subscription to the TiVo service
Description: Blu-Ray Players Rock! Netflix Players Rock! What happens when you put the two together? Since Rock-Rock sounds silly, we'll just say super-duper cool! If you're looking for a high-end device for your awesome home-theater system that comes in at under $350, you'll want to be sure to look at the LG BD300.
Feature Details from LG:
Blu-Ray Disc player with BD Live and BonusView
Netflix instant streaming ready with Netflix subscription
Full HD 1080p output via HDMI with Cinema mode at 24 or 60 frames per second
Superior audio performance with 7.1 channels with Dolby Digital Plus & TrueHD & dts-HD
LG Simplink connectivity of other LG products using HDMI connection
Description: While the MvixUSA 760-HD Wireless Media Center isn't one of the newest media streamers on the market, it's still one of our favorites. While it's not the most powerful streaming device out there, it still packs a punch and is one of the easiest media streamers to set up. Be sure to check out our review link above for more information.
Feature Details from Mvix:
Mind-blowing viewing experience: A digital file player that offers true brilliance in hi-definition video output with vivid views and colors. The embedded processor (Sigma EM8621) decodes high resolution video so you can enjoy movie theater quality video on the big HD screen. It supports resolution of 1920 x 1080 Progressive Scan video output to produce crisp and clear picture quality.
Movie Library at your Fingertips: Mvix™ technology allows you store your home videos and movies all in one place. Simply install a Hard Disk drive (not included) in the Mvix MX-760HD Media Center and you have hundreds gigabytes of video content - all within one compact unit. You can fast-forward, rewind or pause at any time, just like using a regular video or DVD player. And... as they say, the possibilities are endless.
Flexibility, Scalability and Portability: For movies, TV shows, camcorder footage and more, the MX-760HD is capable of decoding dozens of digital media files and formats including DivX® (3/4/5), Xvid, MPEG 1/2/4, WMV-9, ASF(WMV9), DAT, DVD(IFO, VOB), ISO, HD-level TP, TS, TRP, MP3, WMA, AAC, OGG, PCM, AC3, DTS decoding including down-mixing, DTS pass through, BMP, JPEG/JPG, PNG etc. The Media Center is completely Scalable - you decide what HDD-size suits you!
360-degree Access Capability: The Mvix Media Center is fully equipped with almost all possibilities of Input-Output options. It allows PC connectivity via USB2.0, Wireless (802.11G or MIMO), LAN (10/100 Mbps) and even USB-Host ports. For output, Display Devices can be connected via DVI, Component, Composite and even the traditional 3-pin RCA ports. Oh! and did we mention that the MX-760HD offers Digital Optical-Audio port for our audiophiles.
As usual, Christmas is coming upon us way too fast! If you haven't started shopping yet, you better get going. We here at Networking Audio and Video have put together a short list of our favorite products to get you going. What's great about the products on this list is that most of them are devices to get the most out of your home entertainment system, thus saving you a bunch of money since there's no reason to go out of the house. So not only are you giving gifts that only cost a few hundred dollars, you going to help that special someone save some entertainment money. Talking about doing your part during these rough economic times!
So what's the must have give this year? For us here at NAV, it has to be the Roku Netflix Player. Where else are you going to get so much entertainment value for $99 bucks. Be sure to check out our information on the Roku Netflix Player at the end of this list.
Here's our list starting at $400 and going down from there. Please note these prices are the MSRP, so you should get a better deal just by clicking on the "Purchase" links below. Enjoy!
Description: There's a lot of DivX nuts out there that swear DivX is the only way to watch a movie (We won't go that far!). If you've got one of those types around the house you'll want to check out the D-Link DSM-330 DivX Connected HD Mediaplayer. Quite simply, the DSM-330 allows you to stream HD DivX content from your PC to your HDTV. How sweet is that?
Feature Details from DivX:
High Definition DivX Video
DivX Connected™ finally makes HD on your TV a reality with high-quality DivX video playback at up to HD 720p. Use HDMI (included) for the best quality or S-video, component or composite cables for your standard definition TV or HDTV
Power to the PC
Leverage your PC power and enjoy fast, smooth, stutter-free video, music and photo playback in a rich, remote-controlled TV interface1, and add new functionality with a quick update to the DivX Connected server software. The DSM-330's only function is to stream media to your TV, making it infinitely scalable with add-on services3 and plug-ins.
The installation wizard helps you connect the DSM-330 to your network and TV, as well as set up and scan your media. It comes with all necessary cables and DivX Converter--a simple software program4 to convert videos to the DivX format on your PC.
Foundation of Your Digital Home
Add the DSM-330 to your wired or wireless home network and access media from all your PCs, hard drives and the Internet. Stream music, photos and video using wireless 802.11g or an Ethernet connection and enjoy the high-quality media experience in your home theater.