Favorite Things 2010Looking for some great last-minute gift ideas? Here’s a few things we love and wouldn’t mind finding in our stockings.

(So, you know, if you’re shopping for us, this is what’s known as a SUBTLE HINT.)

Connected Blu-ray PlayerToshiba BDX2500Blu-ray is awesome and all, but with a Blu-ray player that can stream content there is never nothing on. And for the triple negative score: Nope, never nothing on.

Geoff’s a fan of the Toshiba BDX2500, as it’s cheap, fast, and has some of the best scaling out there.

Gary’s fond of the Panasonics, like this DMP-BDT100, which also happens to be 3D.

You can also check out a bunch of BD players under $100 here, and our feature on connected BD players here.

Apple TV

Seriously, you don’t have one of these yet? For $100 it’s fantastic. Geoff’s favorite product of the year, it streams all your music, lets you rent movies and TV via iTunes, and even has Netflix. You can download shows and movies to your computer, and it will stream them from there too. You can even control it with your iPhone/touch/iPad. It doesn’t do a lot, but what it does, it does well.

Harmony Remote

Harmony RemoteGeoff’s content with a knee-high stack of remotes in his house. Gary (and his wife)… not so much. For him, there’s nothing better than one of the Harmony remotes from Logitech. Easy to program (which is the key feature in any universal remote) and easy to use.

It’s not worth it buying one of the pre-programmed universal remotes that you see in stores for $20. They’re never going to work as well as a programmed Harmony.

There’s a basic one for under $40, or one with a color touchscreen for $170.

UPS/Power Conditioner

Geoff just talked about these in his Beware the End of Sale article. Most power conditioners are snake oil, but some, with a decent battery backup, are worth it. They give you a few extra minutes to turn off your gear, most of which wouldn’t take kindly to hard losses of power. Check out this APC H10 for $180 as a good place to start.

Sony MDR-NC500DNoise Canceling Headphones

Gary travels a lot, and he never leaves home without his Sony MDR-NC500D noise canceling headphones. They’re digital (nearly all others are analog), and after testing a bunch, he’s found these are the best. They’re not cheap, at $300, but what is silence worth on a long flight (or a long commute)?

TiVo Premiere

Hands down the best DVR on the market. THX Certified, streams Netflix, and you can buy TV shows and movies from Amazon Video on Demand and Blockbuster on Demand. The base model stores 45 hours of programming, the bigger one, 150. With most cable companies it’s a easy swap to use TiVo Premiere instead of the crappy cable box that you “rent” from the cable company. Some fantastic deals going right now too, with the small box going for around $90 and the big box for around $270.

(Note: Amazon prices may change; please keep checking our links. Amazon free returns, price protection and bundles only apply to Amazon direct sales not to affiliated vendors.)

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