Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Modern Dad

News, reviews & trends for fathers – a contemporary parent’s perspective.

Dozens of great gift ideas are available for Father’s Day 2014: It’s picking the best ones from all those choices that’s the tricky part! Happily, with the help of some of our friends at several leading firms, we’ve had a chance to sit down and hash out a number of promising new picks that are guaranteed to make Dad’s entire summer. Whatever his interests, whether they lean towards movies, music, or high-tech gadgets, the following five choices are sure to get his attention – and go over about 800X better than a tie or singing greeting card.

For starters, if you want to put a smile on Dad’s face (and keep it happy and healthy), check out the Oral-B Black 7000 power brush. It has a sleek design which removes up to 100 percent more plaque than a regular toothbrush. Oral-B also has a great Power of Dad campaign going on right now at PowerofDad.com – you can share all your favorite photos and moments with dad using hash tag power of dad.  

Now whether he loves listening to music or sports, or watching videos on the go, your father will also dig the LG GRUVE headphones. In addition to delivering awesome HD sound quality, they are super comfortable and block out unwanted noise. The headphones can also be used wirelessly with any Bluetooth-enabled device or wired with an auxiliary cable. You can answer calls and hear texts in between listening to your favorite songs, a feature Dad will definitely dig.

If your father plans to enjoy some summer travel this season, he’ll also want to stay in touch with family and friends, and magicJack is a great way for him to stay plugged in for less than $3 a month. The new magicjack GO uses any broadband connection for improved call quality and free international calls to the U.S. so it’s perfect for summer travel. He’ll also dig the free magicApp for smartphones and tablets which lets him take his home or office number wherever he goes.

And while on-the-go, you can help Dad stay connected with his favorite electronics at home. With the D-Link wi-fi smart plug you can easily control your home devices, wherever you are. With the mydlink Wifi Smart Plug app, you can create on/off schedules for your electronics and keep an eye on power consumption at home. Also no need to worry about overheating appliances – with the built-in thermal sensor, the smart plug will automatically turn them off it they get too hot.

Of course, every dad loves a good laugh as well.  Johnny Knoxville has an all-new movie called Bad Grandpa .5, which is a follow-up to the hit comedy Bad Grandpa. It’s available to download NOW and is loaded with never-before-seen pranks and hilarious behind-the-scenes footage and interviews. It’s pretty hilarious, and something your dad (and your grandpa) will really enjoy.

As you can see, there are plenty of great gifts available for Father’s Day 2014 – we wish you and your family a wonderful time!

Should You Buy a New HDTV?

14 November, 2012 Play No comments
Should You Buy a New HDTV?

So you were an early HDTV adopter  back in 2006, and now you’re beginning to feel a little bit of—dare we say it—TV envy. With so many seemingly bigger and brighter high-definition televisions on the market, it’s hard not to picture the market’s best shedding its light in your living room. Step back and think sensibly, though: Is it a necessary purchase? When should you get a new HDTV? 

Unsurprisingly, the decision comes down to your personal preferences and needs, though it helps to break down your reasoning before you take the plunge. Here are five things you should consider before you get a new HDTV: 

Are you unhappy with your current picture quality? – Are you looking to replace your HDTV simply because it’s “old,” and you think whatever’s out there will provide you with better picture quality? CNet writer Geoffrey Morrison has a simple piece of advice for HDTV shoppers: “As a general rule, if you bought a decent TV in the last few years, the new models will only look a little better. More than five years, and it gets harder to say.” 

Morrison goes on to state that measuring picture quality between HDTVs with numbers alone can be tricky, as manufacturers’ “contrast ratio” specs tend to be fabrications, and even measurements from one review site to another can vary. Make things easy on yourself: Go into an electronics store and take a look at what’s on display. Does the picture look sharper? Are you looking to update from 720p to 1080p? Then by all means, grab that new set. 

Do you want 3D? – Many movie-goers will argue that 3D has worn out its welcome (again), but the “fad” doesn’t seem to want to go away. 3D movies and video games (which are primarily supported through the PlayStation 3 console) can actually be a lot of fun for kids, so it might not be a bad idea to update your family entertainment center. 

Do you want built-in internet streaming? – Even if your HDTV is only a couple of years old, it might be lacking the technology necessary to stream movies and other content directly to your set. If you’re looking for a TV with built-in Internet technology and Wi-Fi support, you might consider upgrading—though it’s not very hard to set up media streaming via your computer and/or game consoles

Do you just want a bigger TV? – All right, just go ahead and admit it. You want that new 80-inch screen hanging on your living room wall. Congratulations: Admission is the first step to solving a problem. Now complete your treatment with some retail therapy. In fact, you can move your smaller set to a bedroom, or bequeath it on a child deserving of a reward. 

Wait for holidays/other major sales – HDTVs can be fun impulse buys (at least until the credit card bill comes in), but reining in your compulsion and sitting tight isn’t the worst idea. Major sales come and go, especially since HDTV technology is evolving briskly. Holding off for a mere month can net you hundreds of dollars in savings. 

For more HDTV buying advice, visit: 

When Should I Upgrade my HDTV? at CNET  

You Bought a New HDTV—Now What? at About.com

Should You Buy a New HDTV Now, Or Wait? at Practical Home Theater Guide

Home Theater Buying Guide

30 October, 2012 Life No comments
Home Theater Buying Guide

According to high-tech research firm Parks Associates and the Consumer Design & Installation Association, more than 28% of households now have  home theater system, with the number continuing to grow.

If you’re looking to join those ranks and set up your own personal media-viewing mecca, check out our home theater buying guide below for the basic information you’ll need to know.

Devices

It’s the devices that help make a home into a home theater, and you’ve got any number of choices to make up front when deciding on your set up.  There are really two options you can choose when setting up – selecting an “all-in-one” component system, or buying each piece individually.

Component Systems – Component Systems Offer DVD, Blu-Ray, streaming devices, receivers and speakers all in one convenient package that are built to work together. The advantages of component systems are that you can easily set up and control all your devices at once, but a drawback is that you may not be able to find one with all the exact features you want.

Individual Devices – Instead of going the all-in-one route, you can choose to select each media player, audio system, game console and speakers separately. Going with this option assures you can the choices and functionality you want, but you may run into problems with creating optimal connections and control systems. This can also be more expensive, especially if you’re one who likes to choose “top-of-the-line” equipment.

The Room & Seating

As you look at the size and dimensions of your room, you must also consider the configuration.  Where will everything be situated? Will you be able to run wires to all the components and speakers you need?  Think about not only how you’ll be wiring everything behind the TV, but also how you’ll be reaching the rear and surround speakers.  There are many wireless options which make this easier.

Careful thought should also be put into the type of seating you want.  What types of chairs, couches or customized theater seating are you going to have.  If it’s your standard living room, you may want to get sectional with a chaise for additional lounging. If it’s a dedicated room, you can get  posh, comfortable rows of two, three and even four leather recliners with plenty of spots for drink holders and more.

Display

All this talk about the home theater, and we’re only just now getting to the display, the visual centerpiece of your home theater system.  With HDTVs getting larger and thinner, and more affordable, choosing the display that’s right for your room, and where to put it, can be one of the most important decisions you can make. 

For starters, you’ll need to figure out if you’re going to get a 3D HDTV or not.  There are many 3D options today, some that require glasses, and some that don’t.  Will you be playing a lot of video games in your home theater, or watching many of the latest blockbusters?  Chances are, you’ll want to consider 3D.

You’ll also want to measure the distance between your seating and your TV to get the optimum size HDTV. Most retailers, such as Amazon, will provide a nice chart that give you a range of TV sizes depending on your viewing distance.  For example, if you’re going to be sitting 10 feet away, consider TVs between 40” and 80”.

Or, you could eschew the HDTV entirely and can an HD projector to project an image at whatever size you desire against a blank surface. Smart TVs (Internet connected models) also make a great option, letting you stream audio or video on-demand, or access photos, the Internet, social networking and more through downloadable apps.

Home Audio

When we think of home theater systems, we think of surround sound.  But there are different options . Do you want 5.1, or 7.1.  The first number indicates the number of speakers, and the one after the decimal point is for the subwoofer.  They’re all designed to create an immersive movie, sports or video game experience.  Don’t forget to set all your devices to the appropriate audio setting to make sure you’re taking advantage of whatever audio set up you choose.

Remotes

Now that you’ve got your home theater, you need to control the simplest and best way possible.  From all-in-one remotes, to control panels (LINKS), figure out how you want to control everything.  You can program the remote that comes with your TV or cable box to control devices, or you may want to consider a top-of-the line touch screen remote that can simply control everything.  Many components even have options to allow Apps on your tablet to work as a remote, as well.