family on a couch watching  TV

Holiday 2021: Top tech and entertainment gifts for couch potatoes

Park yourself or your family on the sofa, get comfy and enjoy these tech gifts for lazy days in and year round.

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Suggesting gifts for the couch potato in our lives feels different in 2021, given many of us are still working from home and likely spending much more time on the sofa than normal. That said, there are still plenty of top-quality products out there to help make extended periods at home more enjoyable. There are video game consoles plus smart home entertainment devices in the form of projectors, surround sound systems, smart lighting, streaming boxes and more.

We've even included a wireless surround system, a robotic vacuum cleaner than not only cleans your floors, but also uses an embedded camera to act as a roving security bot when you're away from home.

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Enclave Audio CineHome II Wireless Home Theatre System

Enclave Audio CineHome II is a wireless surround sound system for your home theatre Enclave's CineHome II Wireless Home Theatre System comes with a hub, 6 speakers and subwoofer. GearBrain

One thing couch a potato doesn't like to do is hard work. Setting up a wired surround system for your home theatre can be challenging. Enclave has a wireless surround system called Enclave Audio CineHome II Wireless Home Theatre System. This 5.1 surround sound system works exclusively on a wireless connection, to support surround sound at a high level without any wiring. It's easy to setup and can support Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital, DTS Digital Surround and PCM. It retails for $1,099.98 but is on sale for only $999.98 on the company's website and Amazon.

Read the GearBrain review here.

Enclave CineHome II 5.1 Wireless Home Theater Surround Sound System for TV - 24 Bit Dolby Audio, DTS, WiSA Certified - CineHub Edition Bundle - Plug and Play Home Theater Audio

Xbox Series S - $299

Xbox Series X (left) and the smaller Series S Microsoft

At just $299, it is hard not to recommend the new Xbox Series S as the perfect holiday 2020 gift. Not only is it significantly cheaper than the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, despite still playing next-generation games, it is also more readily available than the sold-out alternatives.

It doesn't play games natively in 4K resolution, but till upscales content, costs $200 less than its Series X bigger brother, and is considerably more compact, too. As well as playing Xbox games new and old, the Series S can double as a fully-fledged media streamer, with access to 4K content from Netflix, Amazon and others (although Apple TV is missing from all game consoles).

If your budget can stretch further (and you can find one in stock), the more powerful Xbox Series X is also available, but costs $499. Both consoles are available to pre-order now, with deliveries commencing on November 10.

Read about the differences between the Xbox Series X and Series X here

Pre-Order Xbox Series S - Starting at $299

PlayStation 5 - $399

PlayStation 5 There are two versions of the PlayStation 5 Sony

If your loved one is in the PlayStation camp instead of Xbox, then good news – the next-generation PS5 is also available for pre-order right now. It also goes on sale in November but is more expensive than the Xbox, with the PS5 starting at $400 for the digital-only model without a disc drive. The PS5 with a disc drive is $500.

There isn't much to split the PS5 and Xbox Series X, but you can read mire about exactly how they compare here. You can also read more about what new games will be available for each console before the end of 2020 in the articles below:

All-New Roku Streaming Stick 4K

Roku Streaming Stick 4K The all new Roku Streaming Stick 4KRoku

Roku's new streaming media device is called Roku Streaming Stick 4K. It features the Roku Voice Remote Pro for users looking to upgrade their streaming experience with a rechargeable, hands-free voice remote.

This new Roku device is 30% faster than previous models and supports Dolby Vision, HDR10+ and has a redesigned long-range Wi-Fi receiver that can deliver up to 2x faster Wi-Fi speeds. It works with both Alexa and Google Assistant enabled devices. You can use Apple AirPlay 2 to stream and control content directly from your iPhone, iPad or Mac. And if you have Apple HomeKit setup, you can ask Siri to control your Roku devices.

Roku's new 4k media streaming device comes in two versions: Roku Streaming Stick 4K and 4K+. The Roku 4K costs $49.99 and 4K+ is $69.99. Note: Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ comes with the new Roku Voice Remote Pro which features TV controls, personal shortcut buttons, private listening, hands-free and push to talk Roku voice support. Either of these devices will make a great holiday gift for your couch potato friend or family member.

Roku Streaming Stick 4K 2021 | Streaming Device 4K/HDR/Dolby Vision with Roku Voice Remote and TV Controls

Philips Hue Play light bars - $79.99

Philips Hue Play Light bars behind a smart TV to help viewing experience. Hue Play creates smart lighting to match the movies Signify

Smart lighting is a great way to improve your TV and entertainment area. We have previously recommended attaching an LED light strip to the back of your TV, but a new alternative from the Philips Hue portfolio is the Play light bars.

These can stand up vertically, lay horizontally, or attach to the back of your TV. They then cast an attraction puddle of light onto the wall behind and to the side of your TV, creating the perfect atmosphere for movie nights, gaming sessions and box set binges.

If you have a larger budget, add in the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box (Read the GearBrain review here) to have the lights change color to match whatever is on the TV.

Buy - $79.99

Philips Hue Play Gradient Lightstrips

Philips Hue Play Gradient Lightstrip Philips Hue Play Gradient Lightstrip GearBrain

If you have a larger budget, then the Hue range also offers the new Play Gradient Lightstrip. This is designed specifically to fit to the back of a television, then hook up to the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box and adjust to match the colors on-screen. This is the first Hue light strip capable of showing several colors at once, instead of just one at a time, creating a far more immersive experience.

It isn't cheap though, as the strip retails from $230 (for a 55-inch TV)and requires the $230 Sync Box to function. You can read the GearBrain review here.

Skullcandy Crusher ANC

Skullcandy Crusher ANC wireless headphones in a case Skullcandy Crusher ANC fold nearly into a hard case GearBrain

Skullcandy's latest pair of wireless headphones is their Crusher ANC which feature a personal system that an make your music sound noticeably different. They come with their own case, noise cancelling feature, a sound profile tool to improve your sound quality and are wireless. They are the perfect gift for sitting around on a couch listening to music.

Skullcandy Crusher ANC wireless headphones retail for $319.99 but are available for less on Amazon, Best Buy and other consumer electronics stores.

Read the full GearBrain review here

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K - $50

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Amazon Fire TV Stick 4KAmazon

There are a lot of options when it comes to streaming sticks and set-top boxes. At $50, the Fire TV Stick 4K by Amazon is great value as it has 4K resolution, Dolby Vision, and Alexa built into the remote. That way, you can press a button and ask Alexa to find something to watch, then control you TV with voice commands.

The Fire Stick gives access to Amazon Prime Video, plus HBO, Hulu, Netflix, Sling, ESPN, YouTube, Disney+, Apple TV and more. Amazon claims there are 500,000 movies and TV episodes to watch in all. Having Alexa means you can also use the remote to control any compatible smart home devices, and ask the assistant to show video feeds from security cameras on your TV.

Apple TV 4K (2nd Gen) - $179

2021 Apple TV 4K 2nd Gen The Apple TV 4K (2nd Gen) works with Dolby Vision Apple

Another great streaming option is the Apple TV 4K (2nd Gen). It's more expensive than most, at $179, but is one of very few to offer both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, ensuring you get access to the most quality movies and TV. money can buy. The Apple TV also plays games downloaded from the AppStore and acts as a hub for the company's HomeKit smart home system.

For the holiday season, we are starting to see deals on the original Apple TV 4K. We found Best Buy selling Apple TV 4K (1st Gen) 32GB for $129.99 and $179.99 for 64GB. The biggest difference between 1st Gen and 2nd Gen is the remotes and wireless connections. The 2nd Gen comes with the new Siri Remote and works on Wi-Fi 6 connection and Bluetooth 5.0 connections. Something to think about. (You can learn more about the differences between Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K here.)

Apple TV 4K (2nd Gen) - $179.99 at Best Buy

Apple TV 4K (1st Gen) - $129.99 at Best Buy

Google Nest Mini - $49

The Nest Mini smart speaker with Google Assistant Google confirms Home speakers got premium feature upgrade for free by mistake Google

If your couch potato pal is yet to invest in a smart home, then the Google Nest Mini smart speaker is the perfect place to get started. It retails for $49 but on sales now for just $49. This mini smart speaker gives you full access to the Google Assistant, which can be spoken to to place music or the radio, read out news headlines and weather forecasts, look up directions and local businesses, and ask Google just about anything.

The Nest Mini also taps into the Google Home ecosystem, so can be used to control a huge range of smart home devices by other manufacturers, including smart plugs, lights, thermostats, locks, cameras and much more besides. You can even ask it to order you takeout, but we're afraid collecting food from the front door isn't yet possible.

On sales Best Buy - $24.99

Trifo Max Home Surveillance Robot Vacuum - $400

Trifo Max Home Surveillance Robot Vacuum The Trifo Max has an integrated home security cameraTrifo

A bit of a left-field suggestion, but one we think fits the bill well. This robotic vacuum cleaner works like most others, diligently driving itself around your home, plotting a route around the furniture and cleaning the floors. But, unlike most others, it also has an integrated security camera.

That way, when you do finally leave the sofa and head out for more Netflix binge supplies, the Trifo can be set to clean up the chip crumbs and act as a roving security guard. It will alert you via a smartphone app is motion (such as an intruder) is detected, and there's a microphone and speaker for two-way audio.

Read the GearBrain review here

Buy on Walmart - $399.99

Check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility checker to see the other compatible products that work with, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa enabled devices.

How to Find Products in The GearBrain, Our Compatibility Find Engine for Smart Devices

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