The switchover to digital TV broadcast and Internet services such as iTunes, Hulu and NetFlix have dramatically changed how we watch TV and enjoy movies. We now watch free live HDTV on our computer, catch up on shows via Hulu, and stream movies at any time directly from NetFlix. Not only does this mean that we no longer have to record the shows we want to watch, but that access is so fast and the selection is sufficiently broad that we find we no longer physically need to own content. It also means that we no longer need a cable TV subscription.
So for this year’s Entertainment GiftGuide, we have decide to forego the usual DVD recommendations. Instead, we are going suggest some accessories which will make the watching of off-the-air HD broadcasts and the streaming of internet content to the TV easier:
- Elgato TV Tuner (EyeTV, HomeRun) – This stick will turn any Mac into a TV
- Mohu Leaf – Paper thin indoor digital TV antenna
- Antenna Direct Micro XG – 35 mile range, free standing, comes in color
- BearExtender – USB WiFi antenna that will pull in a weak signal
- Digital Innovations ScreenDr – The perfect cleaning system for LCD screens
If anyone on your list has a computer, they already have a screen. Give them an Elgato EyeTV module and they will be able to watch, record, and freeze live HDTV signals right out of the air. Want to watch it on more than one computer or tablet? Then get them the HD HomeRun unit and they will be able to stream the signal via WiFi all over the house.
Help them cut the cord to monthly satellite and cableTV bills with an Antenna Direct Micro XG (which now comes in different colors) or Mohu Leaf digital antenna (perfect for laptops). Having trouble pulling a WiFi signal from certain parts of the house? No problem. Grab a strong WiFi signal from anywhere in the house with the BearExtender USB WiFi antenna. It was what finally enabled us to permanently fix our Mac mini WiFi issue (it was disconnecting all the time).
Need a stocking stuffer idea? How about the ScreenDr from Digital Innovations. The ScreenDr uses Digital Innovations’ patent-pending StorDry™ technology to ensure that the microfiber cloth stays with the bottle for clean, safe, mildew-free storage. Its ammonia- and alcohol-free formula safely and thoroughly removes dust, dirt and fingerprints from any screen with no streaking.
Of course, one can’t watch TV ALL the time. OK, maybe one can, but it is probably best not to. When we are not watching TV, we like to entertain ourselves with books. While we like reading, we have found that we like listening to them even more. Good audiobooks are more than just are story, they are a performance. A good audiobook draws you in and holds your attention with the voices of the characters. They can be so engrossing that you may look for excuses to go for a long drive just so you could listen uninterrupted. Here is a list of some which we think are worth a listen.
- His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman – Fantasy
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – Fantasy
- The Dark Legacy of Shannara – Wards of Faerie by Terry Brooks -Fantasy
- Bride of New France by Suzanne Desrochers – Historical Fiction
- The Malice of Fortune by Michael Ennis – Fiction
- The Black Count by Tom Reiss – History
- Flesh & Blood So Cheap by Albert Marrin – History
Our favorite? That’s easy. The three part series by Philip Pullman is so enjoyable that we have listened to it about six or seven times now on trips to and from Boston to New York City. Every time we re-listen to the telling, we hear more bits which add to the enjoyment of the tales. If you don’t know what to give, give that.
This issue is the last in the 2012 RainyDayMagazine Holiday GiftGuides series. We hope we have given you plenty of helpful ideas and suggestions. Tomorrow, we will post a summary page which will make it easier for you to navigate amongst the various recommendations. Have fun shopping this weekend! [Permalink] –