Lots of dads love technology, living rooms and TVs. And unlike a grill, a weed whacker or a set of golf clubs, the right home entertainment gift doesn't mean he has to do more work or experience more frustration. Here are our picks for the best video- and TV-based gifts your dad will love.
Roku 2 (2015)
Why Dad will love it: Our favorite streamer of 2015 so far is the new Roku 2. Not to be confused with the slower old Roku 2, the new one is lightning quick with all the benefits of Roku's great ecosystem, search and more than 2,000 apps. If Dad is annoyed by any aspect of his current streaming device -- be it a smart TV, Blu-ray player or older streamer -- the Roku 2 is the perfect cure.
Why Dad will love it: Does your dad like the sound of his own voice? If you really want to show him care, spend the extra $30 and get him a new Roku 3. It one-ups the new Roku 2 with voice search on the point-anywhere remote, as well as a headphone jack for private listening so he doesn't disturb Mom or the kids during those late-night "Daredevil" binges. It's the best streamer on the market at any price.
Why Dad will love it: If Dad is an Apple guy, this is the streamer he needs. It can pipe all of his iTunes music, TV and movie purchases through his entertainment system with minimal hassle, delivers a truckload of apps and works beautifully with his iPhone, iPad and/or Mac computer.
Why Dad will love it: If he spends a lot of time in hotel rooms, bemoaning the lack of entertainment options, your dad deserves a new stick. It's the perfect travel companion thanks to its tiny size and unique ability to connect to tricky "captive portal" hotel Wi-Fi systems with minimum hassle. The only downside is he'll need a Prime membership to take full advantage.
Why Dad will love it: The Fire TV Stick's daddy is almost as portable and even more versatile for hotel Internet connections, thanks its wired Ethernet connection. It delivers the same captive portal feature as the stick, but adds voice search via the remote and the ability to connect Bluetooth headphones for marriage saving, er, private listening.
Why Dad will love it: If dad is still juggling multiple remotes or cursing at his balky old universal clicker, it's time to bring Harmony to his home theater. The Home Control is the best universal remote for the money, incorporating control of multiple brands and devices seamlessly into one clicker -- or into his phone or tablet, for when the clicker goes missing. It'll change his life, and make the system easier for the whole family to use.
Why Dad will love it: Dad likes him some bargains, but he also wants new technology and great picture quality. Behold, the M series. It's one of the least expensive 4K TVs available, and judging from its specifications and our review of the 2014 version, the 2015 M should offer stellar picture quality for the buck. If you prefer something we have reviewed, the still-current P series from 2014 has similar pricing to the M and is a great bargain in its own right.
Why Dad will love it: It's the best TV CNET has ever reviewed. It's OLED, thin and exceedingly slick and futuristic-looking. Sure it's expensive as all get-out, but then, Dad deserves the best. If you're feeling generous enough, and 55 inches is big enough for his purposes, there's no better TV to give or receive.
Why Dad will love it: We haven't reviewed the JS8500 series yet, but we have a feeling it's going to be very good. It combines Samsung's passel of SUHD technology extras -- namely nanocrystal color and local dimming -- with a flat form factor. On paper it looks like a souped-up version of our highest-rated 4K TV from last year, the HU8550 series.
Too rich for your blood, but you still want a Samsung 4K TV? We suggest either that HU8550 or its 2015 doppleganger, the JU7100. Looking for something even better/more expensive? How about the JS9500.
Why Dad will love it: Do we even have to spell it out? OK, fine. At 100-plus inches the glorious detail of 4K finally becomes obvious, imparting to the best content a level of realism no TV can match. Sure it costs more than a used car, but the VW350ES is still the cheapest true 4K projector on the market. It's the kind of gift he'll be thanking you for forever.