Home entertainment always makes a great gift for both individuals and families. Here, we round up some great gift ideas in the home entertainment space.
JBL Bar 5.1 Surround
The JBL Bar 5.1 Surround is the perfect addition to a home theatre, den, or games room. Boasting JBL MultiBeam technology, it features built-in Wi-Fi and is compatible with Chromecast and Airplay 2 so you can stream content from mobile devices. With true HDMI 4K pass-through, you’ll enjoy the best possible sound. The speaker features 550 watts of power and comes paired with a 10-inch subwoofer for powerful bass. It sells for about $850.
Amazon Fire Cube TV
As the third-generation of this product, the latest version has a 2GHz octa-core processor that makes it 20% more powerful, says Amazon. Control it hands-free using Alexa (of course) and enjoy support for 4K Ultra HD, Dolby Vision, HDR, and immersive Dolby Atmos audio. New features include an HDMI input port, Wi-Fi 6E support, and Super Resolution Upscaling. It’s $45 and you can buy the Voice Remote Pro separately.
Also for streaming, the Roku Ultra streaming stick is the company’s most popular to date. It offers hands-free voice controls, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, Apple AirPlay, and Bluetooth connectivity; and comes with a rechargeable remote. It’s also equipped with Roku OS 11.5, which offers improvements in search, discover, private listening, and support for French Canadian voice searches. The Roku Voice Remote Pro features hands-free voice controls, a rechargeable battery, a lost remote finder feature, and more (you can also use the app). Owners can expect a smooth UI with fast channel launch, along with a sharp 4K picture supporting Dolby Vision and HDR10+ (with compatible TVs.) You can also enjoy Dolby Atmos immersive audio and private listening via Bluetooth: simply plug the included headphones into the remote and turn up the volume without bothering others. The improved Wi-Fi connection ensures a steady connection for streaming; alternatively, choose to wire via Ethernet. The Roku OS 11.5 software update includes the addition of a featured free tab on the home screen that highlights free, unlocked content from local and global partners; and a save list for saving movies and TV shows from across the platform. With TSN recently added to the channel line-up, it’ll be especially appreciated by sports fans. MSRP $130
Samsung NEO QLED 8K Smart TV
Go big or go home, as they say. This TV, which was first revealed at CES 2022 in January, has been upgraded with Quantum Matrix Technology Pro, which allows for ultra-fine contrast in 8K that reveals hidden detail in both dark and bright areas. The Neo Quantum Processor 8K, meanwhile, features 8K artificial intelligence (AI) upscaling, completed by 20 multi-model neural networks. The Infinity One Design boasts an ultra-slim profile while the new top channel speakers deliver an immersive Dolby Atmos experience and multi-dimensional sound. Get the QN900B or QN800B in 65-, 75-, or 85-inch sizes.
Next-Gen Apple TV 4K
The next-gen Apple TV 4K is driven by the A15 Bionic chip for faster performance and more fluid game play. It offers HDR10+ support in addition to Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital 7.1, and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. Running tvOS, it comes with the Siri Remote that features a touch-enabled clickpad and seamlessly integrates with other Apple devices and services to function as a smart home hub. Access movies and TV shows for rent or purchase, stream from Apple TV+, and stream music as well from Apple Music, both with the appropriate subscription. You can also access Apple Arcade for playing games through Apple TV 4K, along with Apple Fitness+. Updates in tvOS 16 make it easier for you to use your voice and Siri to control Apple TV and interact with the results. Siri on Apple TV can recognize each user’s voice, so every family member can easily access their own selection of movies, shows, music, games, and apps, and pick up where they left off. With iCloud Shared Photo Library on Apple TV, everyone in the family can enjoy everyone’s photos together on the big screen. Also enjoy SharePlay by starting a FaceTime session on iPhone or iPad and watching a TV show or movie on Apple TV to stay in sync. With shared playback controls, including using the Siri Remote, anyone in the SharePlay session can play, pause, or jump ahead. Starting price is $179, while the Siri Remote is $79.
Arcade1Up Infinity Game Table
Amp up family game night with the Arcade1Up Infinity Game Table which consists of a touchscreen board game table with digital versions of family games like Risk, Scrabble, Monopoly, Chutes & Ladders, Sorry, and more. Starting at $700, it features built-in Wi-Fi for playing online with family and friends in another household as well. It’s much neater than taking out tons of game pieces, and it’s easy to move around so you can play virtually anywhere.
Bluesound Pulse M Speaker
The Bluesound Pulse M wireless multi-room streaming speaker features an Omni-Hybrid design that consists of an angled, up-firing 5 ¼-inch woofer and two ¾-inch tweeters mounted and offset at 45 degrees from each other. The Pulse M offers built-in access to over 20 natively integrated music services and thousands of internet radio stations directly from the BluOS Controller app. Quick-access playback, including volume controls and five programmable presets are available on the top of the player with a proximity-sensing touch panel display, or through voice control assistants like Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant. Alternatively, music can be played over Wi-Fi, Ethernet, AirPlay 2, two-way aptX HD Bluetooth, USB-A, 3.5mm dual analog/digital input, or the 3.5mm headphone jack. The Pulse M fits into smart homes, with drivers for popular home control systems. Pair them to create a true two-channel listening experience with an ultra-wide soundstage, even at off-axis listening angles, or use Pulse Ms as rear surrounds in a Bluesound home theatre group to create an immersive experience. The speaker can be grouped with other players in a Bluesound ecosystem to deliver hi-res, multi-room audio to one or many rooms, simultaneously. Get it for $599 in a satin black or white finish and features an acoustically transparent fabric “grille” that blends in seamlessly with modern home aesthetics and other Bluesound players.
Thorens TD 1500 Turntable
In his review, WiFi HiFi’s John Thomson called the Thorens TD 1500 “a worthy upgrade to the iconic 150.” Like its predecessors, it features a sub-chassis of three conical springs that separate the tonearm and turntable from the frame and motor. The manual player has a cast aluminum platter and features a Delrin trust bearing. The newly developed TP 150 Tonearm has an effective mass of 14 grams and is adjustable in azimuth and height. With XLR outputs along with RCA jacks, the TD 1500 comes in a beautiful piano gloss back finish and will fit perfectly as part of your home entertainment set-up. It’s a hefty investment at $3,699, but your ears will thank you when you lie back with a glass of red and your fav playlist.
Treat the family to a variety of entertainment content in the form of streaming TV content. While there are a number of streaming services from which to choose, Disney+ has a nice mix of high-profile series. This includes ones that adults will love from the Star Wars and Marvel universes, from Andor to She-Hulk, as well as great TV shows and movies for kids, like The Mysterious Benedict Society and Hocus Pocus 2. There is a ton of National Geographic content on the service along with plenty of classic shows and movies from the Disney vault. As a supplement to other streaming services, whether that be Netflix, Crave, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, or something else, a one-year subscription to Disney+ would be a great gift. It’ll cost $120 for the year, or pay month-to-month for $12/mo.
Meta Quest 2 Virtual Reality Headset
A virtual reality headset can really make home entertainment experiences a lot more fun. Gather with the family for video game night or invite your buds over for some interactive game play with this virtual reality headset. It boasts 1,832 x 1,920-pixel resolution per eye and comes with the VR headset, two touch controllers with AA batteries, glasses spacer, charging cable, power adapter, and the Beat Saber game. All you need to add is a smartphone with app or gaming computer to access Rift titles from a Meta account. You can get it for a killer deal right now as well, at $610 for the set.
Solo Stove Ranger
A great alternative to a firepit, especially for those who might live where local regulations do not allow open fire in your backyard, the Solo Stove gets great reviews. The Solo Stove Ranger ($245) is the mid-size model that is suitable for use at home, on campsites, and wherever you feel the need to relax around some warm heat while enjoying the great outdoors. It uses a Signature 360° Airflow Design to create a secondary burn that does not emit any smoke. Everything inside burns to fine ash as well so it’s super-easy to clean as well. Measuring 15 inches wide and 12.5 inches tall (there are other sized models if preferred), it comes ready to use: just add wood. Don’t worry if it’s a windy night: since it’s smokeless, annoying smoke won’t get in anyone’s eyes, no matter which way the wind is blowing and where you’re sitting. You can enjoy the heat or even roast some hot dogs or marshmallows for smores on it.
House of Marley Get Together 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
The latest in House of Marley’s portable Bluetooth speaker line, the Get Together 2 offers Bluetooth 5.0, USB charge out, and USB-C fast charging. The new multi-pair function enables any two speakers to pair for enhanced sound and any three to pair for party mode. As expected, House of Marley has incorporated its signature eco-friendly design elements like solid bamboo details and REWIND fabric accents. Multiple EQ modes include Marley Signature Sound, Bass Boost, and Acoustic. The Get Together 2 speaker is IP65 water and dust resistant and comes with a 65W Global AC adapter and REWIND USB-C cable. Charging in under two hours, it boasts 20+ hours of playtime when connected to Bluetooth or AUX input, and packs 40 watts of power into its enclosure. Measuring 13.15 x 4.6 x 4.1 inches and weighing 4.85 lbs., the speaker is crafted from bamboo, premium REWIND fabric and silicone, and aluminum. Get it for $350 for someone who loves to have outdoor backyard parties, camping, RVing, or might use it in their home office or bedroom.