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It’s that time of year again! We’re back with the WiFi HiFi Holiday Gift Guides! Not sure what to get that special someone on your list? It has been a particularly tough year, and we all deserve some joy. There are lots of tech gift to suit an enduring passion, new hobby, personality, or style. Here, we’ll look at great gift ideas for an individual or family who loves binge-watching TV.
New Streaming Subscription
The best gift for a home entertainment enthusiast is a subscription to a streaming service, particularly one that they don’t already have. While everyone subscribes to Netflix these days, and even Amazon Prime Video via Amazon Prime, other services TV lovers might not yet subscribe to include Crave, Paramount+ (formerly CBS), or Disney+. Sign up for a year for in and around $100 for access to premium content, from original to library title series. If they’re into reality TV, consider a service like Hayu, which offers tons of reality TV content and is easily accessible through a multitude of platforms, including Xbox consoles, Samsung TVs, and even via the Bell Fibe TV menu. Alternatively, a gift card for a service like Netflix would allow those who already subscribe to use the money towards upgrading their plan to the 4K tier to go along a new 4K TV.
Roku Streaming Stick 4K
Ideal for the cottage, a room of the home without a smart TV, or even for enjoying the intuitive Roku interface in any room, Roku’s new Streaming Stick 4K ($70) offers up to 30% faster 4K streaming in a new, more portable form factor. With support for 4K as well as Dolby Vision and HDR10+, the new streaming stick also has a redesigned, long-range Wi-Fi receiver that offers twice the Wi-Fi speed. It is designed to hide neatly behind the TV with easy set-up and the ability to use your voice to control it via the included remote. Fast streaming and navigation is possible thanks to the new quad-core processor combined with the new Wi-Fi receiver, providing quicker, easier, and more seamless navigation. In addition to using your voice, the remote also has buttons for powering up the TV, adjusting volume, and controlling the stick. You can use audible commands via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to search for content, initiate playback, and more. With AirPlay 2, you can control and share content directly from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. The new Roku Streaming Stick 4K also supports HomeKit for easily and securely controlling Roku devices using Siri or the Home app on a compatible Apple device.
LG OLED TV
While LED TVs are great, there’s no beating an OLED TV when it comes to getting the blackest blacks, brightest colours, beautiful contrast, and pictures that jump out at you. I’ve had an LG OLED in my living room for a few years now, and the picture is absolutely stunning. If you want to upgrade your family’s living room to a new OLED and move the old TV to the basement or bedroom, or even up to the cottage or with your child who’s off to college, one of the newest models in LG’s line is the QNED99. It’s powered by LG’s Alpha 9 Gen 4 AI that boosts upscaling performance so you get even sharper and clearer images, even when you aren’t watching a source in 4K. AI Sound Pro, meanwhile, up-mixes two-channel audio to virtual 5.1.2 surround. One feature that could be a game-changer for those who love watching TV late at night is Auto Volume Leveling, which will keep the volume consistent when channel surfing or using streaming apps. Of course, it features the latest version of LG’s intuitive webOS 6.0 smart TV platform along with LG ThinQ for controlling compatible smart devices from the TV. LG’s new line of OLED TVs start at $2,000.
Totem Sky Tower Floorstanding Speakers
What’s a new smart TV without a good pair of speakers to create a more immersive audio experience while you watch movies, TV shows, play video games, or even just kick up your feet and listen to music? Totem is not only a brand that develops speakers with amazing sound quality, it’s also a Canadian company. And the speakers focus just as much on style as they do sound. The Sky Tower speakers, which sell for about US$2,600/pr., feature a customized 5.75_ woofer that allows it to go sown to 36Hz along with a 1.3″ soft dome tweeter that can extend to 30kHz. A high-density Claw control resonance, tightens bass, and heightens the soundstage, says Totem. Grab a pair in black veneer, satin white, or elegant mahogancy veneer.
Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12 Smart Streaming Laser Projector
Enjoy movie night with the family or sporting events with friends in a bigger and better way with a projector like the EpiqVision Mini EF12 from Epson ($1,300), which features built-in Android TV, audio by Yamaha, and wireless connectivity. You can easily access content from popular streaming services right out of the box, and power it up instantly. Project an image up to 150″ in size on a blank wall, side of the house, or onto a dedicated screen.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max
Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K Max ($75) is 40% more powerful than the Fire TV Stick 4K, says Amazon, with faster app starts and more fluid navigation, making it both a good option for someone who has never used one as well as an upgrade for someone who has a previous-generation model. With support for Wi-Fi 6 devices, it also supports Dolby Vision, HDR, HDR10+, and Dolby Atmos for audio. Using the included Alexa Voice Remote, you can easily search for and launch content from a variety of streaming services. You can also use preset buttons to go directly to favourite apps and use the same remote to control a compatible TV’s power and volume. Access content from a variety of streaming services in Canada (with the appropriate subscription, where required) including Netflix, Disney+, and, of course, Amazon Prime Video, as well as networks like CTV and more. You can also watch live TV, news, and sports with subscriptions to Bell Fibe TV, Sportsnet, CBC Gem, Red Bull TV, and more; and stream content free (but ad-supported) from apps like YouTube, CBC Gem, and Tubi. It also includes features like live view picture-in-picture, which allows you to view a compatible front door camera without having to stop the show. Plus, you can use Alexa to do things like check the weather and dim lights once you’re ready to immerse yourself in a new series. While gaming, the device also provides fast rendering of graphics thanks to the 750Mhz GPU. Naturally, a 4K TV and relevant 4K service subscription is required in order to view content in 4K resolution.
Sonos Beam Gen 2 Soundbar
Choose either black or white for this soundbar ($559), which is ready for Dolby Atmos, with compatible TV and subscription, along with TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby Digital. With sypport for Apple AirPlay 2, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant, it’s a versatile and multi-connected audio experience to add to a living room TV or music room. This second-generation model has a centre tweeter for high-frequency response, four elliptical mid woofers and three passive radiators for low bass, along with a far-field microphone array for multi-channel echo cancellation. The new non-cloth polycarbonate grill is also easier to clean and looks cooler. With NFC technology, you can simply tap a compatible phone for instant connection.
Denon AVR-X1700H AV Receiver
Is it time to upgrade your AV receiver? Denon’s 7.2-channel AVR-X1700H AV Receiver features three 8K HDMI inputs for advanced gaming and entertainment experiences and offers the latest immersive 3D surround formats, an advanced 4K and 8K video section, and Denon’s built-in HEOS multi-room music streaming technology. With seven channels of amplification at 80W per channel (8 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, THD: 0.08%, 2ch driven). The Denon AVR-X1700H enables an immersive 3D audio experience with support for the latest surround sound formats, including Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology, DTS:X and DTS Virtual:X. The six input/one output HDMI board includes three 8K inputs supporting 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz video pass-through up to 40Gbps. All HDMI inputs boast 4:4:4 Pure Color sub sampling, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), Dynamic HDR and BT.2020 pass-through support. Enjoy 8K upscaling on all inputs and HDCP 2.3, the latest copy protection standard for effortless playback. The AVR-X1700H is easily connected via eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) to deliver uncompressed and object-based audio from the TV to the receiver via a single HDMI cable. Gamers also have a host of technologies available for a smoother and quicker gaming experience, including: 4K/120Hz pass-through, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Quick Frame Transport (QFT), and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM). The Denon AVR-X1700H is compatible with Apple AirPlay 2 for iPhone users while the front-panel USB port offers audio playback of other high-resolution audio formats (WAV, FLAC, ALAC and DSD 2.8/5.6 MHz files) from a variety of players. Wireless connectivity to popular streaming music services like Spotify, Pandora, Tidal and more are also easily accessed via Bluetooth or HEOS built-in technology. With HEOS Built-in, the AVR-X1700H can stream music wirelessly across compatible HEOS built-in products like Denon Home 150/250/350 wireless speakers from anywhere in the home. Listeners can play the same song in every room or select a different song for each connected room from the HEOS app. The new AVR also works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri and Josh.ai for voice control of AVR functions. It also supports major third-party command protocols like Control 4 SDDP (Simple Device Discovery Protocol). HDMI diagnostics mode and a smart remote management via Domotz or OvrC are also supported. US$699
Kanto SX Series Speaker Stands
If you know someone who has speakers that could use with some elevation or be placed somewhere better than on a desk or bookshelf, the Kanto SX Series speaker stands might be a good gift. They measure 22″ and 26″ high and offer vibration isolation, easy cable management, and accessories that can accommodate a variety of stand0mounted speakers. Available in black or white, the exclusive isolation system effectively decouples the stands from the floor and enable the loudspeakers to deliver maximum clarity, says Kanto. Two top plates are included to accommodate a range of speaker sizes, and foam damping padding for the plates can be installed if desired. The heavy-duty base plates are fitted with Kanto’s custom-designed isolation system, and the spikes can be adjusted from the top of the base, making it easy to level the stands. A bullseye level is included. The heavy base plates ensure stability, while also lowering the resonance of the stands for improved sound quality, Kanto explains. Kanto SX Series stands feature a cable-management channel to conceal the speaker cables – even multiple thick cables can be accommodated. The stands can accommodate speakers of up to 40 pounds (18.1 kg) and are supplied with bags that can be filled with material of the user’s choice to provide added stability. Grab a 22″ pair for US$350 or 26″ for US$400.
Focal On Wall 300 Speakers
Designed to either be installed on the wall or placed on a stand, the Focal On Wall 300 speakers, including the On Wall 301 and On Wall 302, are intended for use around your television to provide a stereo listening experience. The accessories required for mounting the loudspeakers in the wall are included but stands specially designed for the loudspeakers are also available as an optional extra. Focal says the speakers are easy to install and adjust, enabling you to create a configuration comprising two or three loudspeakers around your screen. These new speakers incorporate the brand’s exclusive technologies, such as its Flax speaker drivers, with their cone made from French flax, and an aluminum/magnesium tweeter, offering well-defined treble, says Focal. With an ‘angled’ silhouette, the On Wall 300 speakers come in Black Satin or White High Gloss finishes. The On Wall 301 is available in Canada for $1,290 ea., the On Wall 302 for $1,890 ea. and the optional stand for $590/pr.