Holiday Gift Ideas 2009

The leaves are changing, the temperature is dropping, and the holiday shopping season is upon us. For the better part of the next month you will no doubt be racking your brain out trying to find that “cool” gadget for the “techy” person in your life. Or maybe you ARE the techy person and need to drop some hints to your friends and loved ones. You have that laptop, that big screen TV, that iPod. What else do you need? Here are a couple interesting gadget ideas for the holidays.

Blu-Ray player

A few years ago, there was a battle going on between Blu-ray and HD-DVD. That war is over and Blu-ray reigns victorious. Blu-ray discs are capable of holding A LOT of High Definition data. The name Blu-ray comes from the blue-violet laser that is used to read the Blu-ray disc.  Whether you prefer a blockbuster action movie or Discovery Channel’s “Planet Earth”, your jaw will drop at the picture quality of Blu-ray. Plus, all Blu-ray players can play DVD’s and will actually improve the video quality of a DVD! Prices of Blu-ray players have dropped nearly in half. Sony’s PlayStation 3 is a very good Blu-ray player.

LG BD390 ($299 – Best Buy)

Sony PlayStation 3 ($279 – Best Buy)

HD Radio

By now, everyone has heard of XM Radio – the “commercial-less” paid radio service that connects to satellites orbiting in space and sounds better than FM radio. Did you know that there is better sounding FREE radio available across the country? HD is quietly making its name known as many stations broadcast FM and HD radio to their listeners – for free. You simply need to purchase an HD Radio receiver for your automobile, home, or person. HD receivers can be professionally and cleanly installed in your vehicle by a car-audio shop. You can also opt for a more portable unit that does not require installation. The JVC KT-HDP1 receiver grabs the HD audio transmission and sends it, via a built-in FM transmitter, to your cars stereo. No wires involved.

Example: JVC KT-HDP1 Portable HD Radio ($149 – Sears)

DSLR Camera

Camera manufactures are seeing the demand by amateurs for high quality photographs – photos that have “that look” that you just can’t capture with your typical “point-and-shoot” camera. It’s easy to get into high quality photography with an entry-level DSLR camera. Second to the photographer, lenses are the key to a good photograph. DSLR cameras use detachable and interchangeable lenses. There are lenses for close up shots, portraits, regular shots, and long distance shots. Most entry-level DSLRs will come bundled with a standard lens, most likely an 18-55mm lens, which will be sufficient for beginners. Photography is a great way to enjoy the world and capture memories of people, places, and things.

Example: Nikon D3000 ($550 – Best Buy)

HD Camcorder

Isn’t it great to watch your favorite TV shows, sporting events, and movies in High Definition? Wouldn’t it be even better if you could capture memories of your family in High Def? These days you can! The price of HD camcorders has dropped to a reasonable level making it possible for the average user to start capturing their own HD moments. There are different mediums that camcorders record to (DVD, flash memory, hard drives). Also, there is no “standard” format that all HD camcorders use, so you will need to do some research on the medium and format that is best for you.

Example: Canon VIXIA HF200 HD ($700 – Best Buy)

 

There is a wealth of information about electronics on the internet. Be sure to read reviews from reputable sources and shop around before you buy!

Good sources of information to visit: CNET.com, Amazon.com, MaximumPC.com, gdgt.com