12 Gift ideas for the sofa spud
12 Guys of Christmas: The Mediaphile
We’ve all got one. Maybe it’s you: The mediaphile in the family who’s impossible to shop for because he has it all and he’s seen it all — twice. His TV? Projected. His surround sound? 9.2. His wardrobe? Needs work. His love of movies and music has been fueled in the past by those enabling extended family members, much to the tinnitus-suffering chagrin of spouses and children.
Regardless, it’s time to let idiosyncratic bygones be idiosyncratic bygones — get him something worthy of his passions. If you’re confused about HDMI and speaker alignment, or you thought a sound bar served alcohol, you’re in luck; after the jump we’ve compiled a list of the very best gift options for the lovable mediaphile in your life.
Proceed with caution.
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1. Hulu Plus Subscription
Brick and mortar video stores (you know who you are) have what we’ll call a “Milli-Vanilli” problem. They’re screwed. Hulu Plus Subscriptions, however, are not. At $8 per month, this service gives you access to an impressive catalogue of movies and TV shows. Available for HD streaming on most gaming platforms, smartphones, tablets and your connected television, there are no limits to where you can watch your favorites. With both current and full series shows available, it’s time to retire that archaic TiVO.
Buy Now: $8 Monthly
2. Game Fly Subscription
Just because you’ve moved on from Halo all-nighters doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good noob-stompin romp. Whether it’s for you or a loved one, a Game Fly Subscription (starting at $8 a month) is a great excuse to relive the Goldeneye glory days or catch up on this new Black Ops business. A subscription gets you full access to their library of games with no late fees and little hassle. For those who aren’t members yet, this should be enough to make your “ga-dar” (game radar) go gaga.
Buy Now: $8 monthly
3. Spotify Premium
Video may have indeed killed the radio star, but Video forgot to factor in Radio’s pissed-off European cousin, Spotify. A $10 per month subscription to this jammin’ service allows you the privilege of accessing hundreds of thousands of albums on demand. From Booker T. & the MG’s to Ke$ha, the music maven in your life will croon over Spotify’s exhaustive (and growing) music library.
Buy Now: $10 Monthly
4. Bond 50: The Complete 22 Film Collection Blu-ray
Some items need no introduction; but if the name Lazenby rings a bell, you can name the submarine used in Moonraker, or you’re currently clicking “send” on an email reminding us that no submarine was used in Moonraker, we’ve got just the gift for you. Bond 50: The Complete 22 Film Collection is now available in Blu-ray and includes all 22 of the major Bond films except Never Say Never (because of its independent production) and Skyfall (because it just came out). This exclusive collection also includes more than 130 hours of bonus features, such as never-before-seen content from the Bond archives and insight into what each actor brought to a character too big for one man to portray. If making the jump to Blu-ray has you skeptical, shame on you. What would Q say?
Buy Now: $181
5. Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection (Limited Edition Blu-ray)
The camera king of suspense and pioneer of psychological story lines, Hitchcock still remains a household name for moviegoers and sacred inspiration to directors over three decades since his death. Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection (Limited Edition Blu-ray) is quite the testament to this Brit’s legacy — and to his fans. The 15-movie set comes complete with all of Hitchcock’s blockbusters, some lesser known titles and a book full of exclusive photos and movie trivia. In this case, dial M for majestic media that any film lover would die for.
Buy Now: $159
6. Nintendo Wii U
Despite the incessant heckling you may receive for playing with your “Wii” (come on guys, grow up), the largess of Nintendo’s newest gaming system is sure to impress. The Nintendo Wii U has several additions from previous Wiis, including the GamePad, styled after a touch-tablet, which happens to be the console’s remote controller. Around 40 compatible games are available now for the newest show-horse in the Wii stable, but the system is also compatible with previous model’s games, so all is not lost. You’re in the wrong place if you’re looking for this review to delve into the wonky minutiae of the Wii vs. other platforms. Suffice it to say: this thing is cool.
Buy Now: $300
7. Logitech Harmony Touch
Helming your entertainment center without the right controller is like trying to drive without a steering wheel. Sure, you’ll get somewhere, but it ain’t gonna be pretty. Time to wrangle in all of those devices with the super ergonomic Logitech Harmony Touch. This do-it-all wonder wand allows the discerning user to access whatever they want to hear or play with a simple tap of the touch screen. Logitech will try and seduce you with oxymorons like “simple, yet advanced,” but we don’t need fancy mumbo-jumbo to realize the perks of having this around the house. This is One Remote to Rule Them All — you’ll want to keep it far from the fires of Mount Doom, tucked gently next to your couch-draped form.
Buy Now: $250
8. Panasonic TC-P65ST50
If your mediaphile is the type who starts to get testy over input lag during FPS Xbox games (as he well should), this TV might calm his nerves. Boasting “flagship quality at mid-level price”, the Panasonic TC-P65ST50 line of plasma televisions are Progressive Full HD, 3D and 1080P, with Viera Connect wi-fi and a built-in web browser. Their 3D Real Sound with 8-Train Speaker system delivers wide-range, high-quality audio with robust bass. Just 22mm thick, this shiny wall art pairs nicely with, well, every other item mentioned on this list.
Buy Now: $1,000+
9. Boxee TV
We can’t decide if this is the most brilliant or ridiculous name for a product, ever. Regardless, Boxee TV ($100) is, essentially, what it sounds like. It’s a box (follow closely now), that connects to your TV. “And just what exactly does this box do?” you ask. Great question. This little-boxee-that-could becomes the cheese in your tech sandwich, positioning itself nicely between your favorite internet Apps and that dern expensive connected television set. Upon launch, these Apps include Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, Vimeo, Spotify, Pandora and MLB. It even has support for local media. Also announced is Boxee’s “No Limits DVR,” which uses the cloud for unlimited (yes, unlimited) recording space for those steamy daytime soaps.
Buy Now: $100
10. Sony STR-DA5800ES 4K Receiver
Our quest for the holy grail of receivrs led us to the Sony STR-DA5800ES 4k Receiver. This holy home cinema receiver pumps out an impressive 9.2 channels of surround sound and has enough connectivity for three zones of components. Oh yea, and let’s not forget 4K resolution. In true Sony fashion, other incredible features include being able to mimic the acoustics of famous concert halls and integrated support to give you control over lights, blinds and other connected systems. For the media obsessed, few things in life could be sweeter.
Buy Now: $2,100
11. Fall Gaming Hits
Smorgasbord services like Game Fly certainly have an appeal, but like a comped buffet at Vegas, there’s an implied lack of… “refinement”… that comes with gaming gluttony. Instead, prove you know how to be influenced by the giant promo shelves at your local Game Stop (or read Gear Patrol) by picking up the season’s top mind-mushing titles. Instant hits like Halo 4 are no-brainers for controller-gropers with itchy trigger fingers, but newcomers like Dishonored are just as likely to impress.
12. Phil’s Vintage Restored 8mm Projectors
It’s easy to fall in love with the magic of cinema while watching a small, furry-footed man flee from a CGI-ed kleptomaniac in the bowels of Mount Doom. Appreciating the history and the development of the art form is what separates the plebs from the sophisticates. Phil’s Vintage restored 8mm projectors are sure to wow the black turtleneck off of any film buff in your life — especially since they’re fully functional and meant to be played. If you couldn’t stay conscious through the The Artist though, declining the invitation to the inaugural viewing of Douglas Fairbanks’ The Mark of Zorro is strongly advised.
Buy Now: $449+