The best living room gadgets to give on Father's Day
Make Dad's couch time even better by giving him one of these excellent living room gadgets for Father's Day.
It's hard to think of a better Father's Day gift than the Roku 3. It's the best streaming-video box out there, with a superfast processor and a neat remote that has a headphone jack, so you can listen to anything you stream in private. Roku's platform supports over 1,500 apps, including Neflix, Amazon Instant, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Pandora, MLB.TV, Spotify, Vudu, and Showtime Anytime, and cross-platform search makes it easy to find what you're looking for no matter what services it's on. And its $100 price tag makes it eminently giftable.
For Dads that love music, but have been finding it difficult to find a simple way to listen to their digital music around the home, the Sonos Play:1 is the perfect gift. It's a stylish, wireless speaker that works with just about every streaming music service, including Pandora and Spotify. Sonos is by far the most reliable wireless audio platform, beating out newcomers like Samsung and Bose by making dropouts and buffering rare. The best part is Dad can continue to expand Sonos by adding more speakers later -- and the more speakers you have, the better the whole system works.
For a dad that already has a full suite of Apple devices, the Apple TV is a hard gift to beat. While Apple's living room box was once limited to just a few streaming services, that's no longer the case, as recent updates has increased its offerings to include iTunes, Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, PBS, History Channel, Watch ESPN, and MLB.TV. The Apple TV also supports AirPlay, an excellent feature that let's you stream audio or video from nearly any app on your iPhone or iPad to your TV.
If you've heard Dad complaining about having too many remotes on the coffee table, get him the Logitech Harmony Smart Control. It's an innovate universal remote system, that uses a small hub to distribute remote commands, which you can send from either a smartphone app or the included simple remote. Even better, it simple remote uses RF, rather than IR, so you don't need line-of-sight from the remote to the hub to control your gear.
If Dad already loves his Kindle and Kindle Fire, the Amazon Fire TV may be the living room box to buy him. It's not just another "me too" living room box, as the Fire TV has some great features, like superfast loading speed on Amazon Instant content and voice search (that works well) built into the remote. Amazon has already announced plans to add some significant features, so the Fire TV is only going to get better over time.
Give Dad an easy way to listen to some tunes on the deck or on-the-go. The Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker III combines excellent sound (for its size) with true portability, thanks to a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts up to 14 hours. And Bluetooth works with pretty much any smartphone or tablet, letting you play audio from any app you'd like, including Pandora, Spotify and NPR.
If you're on a tight budget, the Google Chromecast is an excellent gift for that tech-loving Dad that only costs $35. It's the best device for watching and listening to Google-purchased movies, TV shows and music on your TV and its tiny size makes it virtually invisible stashed behind the TV. The Chromecast's app library also continues to improve, as it now supports Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, HBO Go and Rdio.
If you have a bigger budget for a streaming stick gift, the Roku Streaming Stick is a nice step-up over the Chromecast. You get even more apps -- over 1,500 of them -- including Netflix, Amazon Instant, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Pandora, MLB.TV, Spotify, Vudu, and Showtime Anytime. The Roku Streaming Stick also comes with a traditional remote, so you don't always have a smartphone handy to browse content. And on the Streaming Stick,Roku's cross-platform search also works on the mobile app, so you don't need to use a tedious onscreen keyboard.