We’ve covered a lot of people and things in our gadget gift guide series — the pet lovers, the kids, the men, the women. But today, we turn to the homebodies or those that are working to make their home a bit more high-tech.
We’ve got you covered with some good couch-sitting gadgets, but we’ve also got some new ways to start controlling your house with your phone or tablet.
Samsung 50-Inch LED 5300 TV
There are lots of good TV deals to be had this season — though there might be even more after the holiday season. One of the best sets out there is Samsung’s 50-inch LED 5300 Series Smart TV. It’s just about $1,000, but you get LED, 1080p display, built-in WiFi and Samsung’s Smart TV services, which includes a Web browser and streaming services like Netflix, YouTube and Hulu. ($1,060, Samsung)
TV Streaming Boxes
There are plenty of people out there this season who don’t need an entirely new HDTV and still want to get those streaming services. There are a bunch of new boxes for less than $100 that will do just that. Plug one right in to your TV via an HDMI cable, connect it to the Internet and you can watch the best of those Internet services on the big screen. We’re particularly fond of the Roku, which has Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube and more. There’s also the Apple TV, which has all the iTunes content and even Netflix. The Apple TV also lets you bring some of your favorite iPad apps to the TV via Airplay.
Speaking of Airplay, there are a few good Airplay speakers that let you stream music from your iPhone or iPad around the house. But there is also Sonos. The Sonos Play:3 is a speaker that can pair with other wireless Sonos speakers via Sonos’ Bridge. You can then stream music from the Sonos app on the iPad or iPhone. Basically, it is an easy way to trick out your house with a wireless speaker system. Right now, Sonos is offering the Play:3 with a bridge for $299. (Sonos)
What if you could adjust the temperature in your house without leaving the couch? That’s where the Nest comes in. Created by one of the inventors of the iPod, the digital thermostat works with an iPhone or Android app so you can change the temperature of the house even when you are away from home. The thermostat is also smarter than others. Its new system-match feature works with different types of home systems to make better temperature predictions so you don’t have to set it yourself. ($249, Nest)
While you’re at it, you can also turn off the lights – that is if you have Philips new Hue light bulbs twisted in. The starter kit, which starts at $199, comes with a smart bridge, a gadget that plugs into your home’s WiFi router, and three light bulbs. Once you set it up, you can download the app for your iPhone or Android phone and not only turn on and off the lights but also change the color of them. Oh yes, the bulbs support any color on the RGB spectrum, which equals 16 million different colors. The rub? Additional bulbs cost $59. ($199, Apple)