Indulging the Indulgent
Need to come up with holiday solutions for that guy whose entire world revolves around his couch? Dragging him outside might be your idea of a good time, but the gifts he'll appreciate most are those that indulge his couch-potato tendencies. This holiday season, make his life even more comfy with a robot that takes care of chores, a game console he can talk to, a personal beer dispenser, and so much more.
Fair warning though: He might never leave the sofa again.
-- Produced by Alex Davies
Xbox 360 and Kinect
Couch potatoes are usually too busy killing zombies to worry about anything else. To make life a little easier, Xbox 360's voice capabilities, powered by Microsoft Tellme cloud speech recognition, let you bark commands at the console.
If you're watching a movie, just tell it to play, pause, fast-forward, or rewind. If you're looking for entertainment, let the Xbox know, and it'll use Bing to search for your favorite movies, albums, or games on Xbox Live. Plus, a number of games make it easy to experience the world lying down. Don't just watch football, play it on "Kinect Sports." Or drive through the Alps with "Forza Motorsports." Ready to boogie? Start a dance off on "Dance Central 2."
(Xbox 360 and Kinect, $299.99 -- $399.99)
Laser Pico Projector
Forget about getting your potato to the movies, he wants to stay in. But the next movie night at home can still have that theater experience -- minus the lines, overpriced tickets, and new releases. Microvision's SHOWWX+ is a hand-held laser pico projector that can display on practically any surface up to 100 inches. The SHOWWX+ works on TV-out capable electronics, but it's made specifically for iOS devices.
The best way to watch movies at home? A pico projector connected to the iPhone paired with a Bluetooth speaker and streaming Netflix. Bam -- movie on your ceiling. If only microwaved popcorn could compare to the buttery goodness at AMC...
(Microvision SHOWWX+, $319)
5-Liter Beer Tender
Just because your friend prefers to lounge around at home instead of the bar doesn't mean he doesn't like beer. Seriously, who doesn't like beer? Skip the overpriced drinks and small talk with strangers with the Krups BeerTender from Best Buy. It fits 5-liter kegs of Heineken and Newcastle, keeping beer fresh for up to 30 days at the ideal serving temperature of exactly 37.4 degrees. Bottoms up.
(Krups BeerTender, $149.99)
Whether playing "Battlefield 3" or watching the latest "Harry Potter" movie, you want good -- wait, no, amazing -- sound. Throw all consideration for neighbors out the window because once you hook up these Pioneer S-DJ05 speakers, TV speakers are never going to be good enough again.
These five-inch two-way powered speakers are workhorses. Their dynamically curved waveguide enclosures direct sound in a wider pattern, and the bass-reflex enclosure extends the low frequency range, providing more mid-bass and bass output. These are sturdy speakers, especially great for audiophiles. One small complaint: The extremely sleek volume knob is tied to a cord that can be too short for some living rooms. Hope your slacker doesn't mind a short walk.
(Pioneer S-DJ05, $899)
Mint Plus Floor Cleaning Robot
Minus the fear inspired by Cylons, having a robot is great. When you're bored, there's someone to talk to. And if you make a mess, someone -- er, something -- can take care of that for you.
Mint Plus, which Evolution Robotics debuted in September, is that something. The machine sweeps and mops on hardwood, tile, and laminate floors, guided by NorthStar 2.0, which acts like an indoor GPS. In addition to using microfiber cleaning cloths, the Mint is also compatible with Swiffer cloths. The included cradle charges the machine in two hours, but the robot can't dock to it without human help -- hopefully, this won't be too much work for your giftee.
(Mint Plus, $299.99)
PlayStation 3D TV
For the last couple of years, 3D TVs seemed like a gimmick. With displays costing thousands of dollars, it was no wonder 3D technology wasn't taking off in homes like it was in the theaters.
At $499, the Sony's PlayStation 3D TV is a relatively cheap option, and ideal for gamers. It's only 24 inches, but it's great for multiplayer games. If two players are in the same room, they see different views on the same TV. Overall, this is a cutting-edge technology, though many people are asking: Where's the remote? If your couch potato doesn't mind turning on the TV the old-fashioned way, this is a great addition to his gaming collection.
(PlayStation 3D TV, $499)
Beacon Universal Remote App
A tricked-out entertainment system comes with many remotes: one for the TV, game console, speakers, set-top box, Blu-ray player, stereo receiver, cable box, VCR — you name it. If you think a universal remote is the solution, you’re on the right track. But don’t just pick up any old thing in the electronics section of Target. Beacon by Griffin transforms your smartphone into the ultimate remote, no wires or networking required.
Using Bluetooth, the Beacon connects with Android and iOS devices, which use the free app Dijit to control all elements of your entertainment system via an infrared blaster. Whoever gets this can say goodbye to remotes for good.
(Beacon Universal Remote App, $69.99)