Gift Guide 2013 – Part 2

Gift Guide 2013 – Part 2

This series of gift selections is selected for people who live with technology. This is not a list of obvious technology items – those items people feel they have to live with – but items most people don’t know they need and whose lives would be enriched possessing such things.

Because it’s the Christmas season, I’m going to try to make as many of these options available with Amazon Prime shipping (free 2-day shipping).

VIZIO S4251w-B4 5.1 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer and Satellite Speakers – $298
I have said it again and again – call me an evangelist – TV speakers suck! This speaker bar system is so easy to set up and use – and at just the right price – that it’s a no-brainer. Just plug the TV audio output into the input of the speakerbar, turn off the built-in speakers on the TV, and you’re ready to go. (It has multiple audio inputs if that’s your thing.) Bluetooth connectivity is even included. The wireless sub and rear speakers connect automatically for a true 5.1 surround sound system. Each speaker has wall mounting kit included to make it even easier. While the price may fool you, this system actually sounds relatively good (as far as HTIBs are concerned). The price is for a 42″ speaker bar, which gives the widest front sound stage, but there are 40- and 38- models for cheaper if using a smaller TV.

Roku LT Streaming Media Player – $49
The Chromecast is awesome, but it’s not for everyone. If your grandma doesn’t have a smartphone, why should she be denied the benefit of watching old episodes of The Sopranos on her HDTV? (Disclaimer: The Roku isn’t just for old people, it’s awesome for anyone.) Roku offers more sources for music and video than any other standalone media player, and at under $50 it’s a hugely affordable too. Netflix, Pandora, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Crackle, and more than 1,000 other sources. Just plug it into the TV, sign into the various accounts, and you’re on your way.

DarbeeVision Darblet High-Defintion Image Enhancer – $319
The Darblet is a bit of an esoteric product for the person who has already bought into good quality video and audio. If it’s a great system, why not make it better?

Adding a DarbeeVision Darblet to a home theater will provide increased picture depth and clarity. Don’t ask me how it works, but it must be magic. It’s described as taking a layer cellophane off the TV.

More handpicked gift ideas are forthcoming.

About Steven Kippel

Steven Kippel has worked as a systems designer for a leading high-end audio/video custom integrator in Southern California since 2003. He is responsible for researching new technologies and integrating them into existing systems and new construction projects. He has designed several high-profile systems for discriminating clients on the cutting-edge of technology. When he is not hard at work, Steven is spending time with his wife, playing with his band or promoting concerts and bands in the Inland Empire. His favorite bands include The Cure, U2, Eisley, Living Sacrifice and DragonForce.

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