Edmonton winters are long and cold enough that you probably don’t need to look for reasons to stay inside – but here are a few anyway.
If you’re doing the winter recluse thing right, then you’re probably also seeing a spike in your power bill. Belkin’s Conserve Smart AV ($29.99) can help. This genius power bar detects if your TV is actually on. If it’s not, then the Conserve Smart AV will cut power to up to five other devices, most likely the things connected to your TV. This will virtually eliminate power consumption in standby mode when you aren’t actually watching and hopefully save you enough cash to buy even more power-hungry stuff. belkin.com
There are countless ways to improve your home-theatre experience – high-def, 3D, Internet streaming, casual gaming, 7.1 audio, etc. The Samsung BD-C6900 ($399.99) offers all of this. At its core, it’s a Blu-Ray player. But it also offers 3D Full HD – something so advanced, it can’t even really explain it on its website – access to online content from places like Netflix, downloadable applications and top-of-the-line high-def audio and video. You may never leave your house again. samsung.com
STAY IN TOUCH
Between your networked Blu-Ray player, your gaming console, your office desktop, your laptop, your iPad and everything else, one thing is clear – you need good wireless. Unless you don’t mind running 9,000 feet of cable through your home, that is. Cisco’s Valet Plus wireless router ($129.99) can make it happen. One of the best-rated home routers on the market, it has wireless-N (that’s the fastest), extended range and, best of all, it’s easy for non-techies to set up. home. cisco.com
STORE UP FOR WINTER
I won’t judge you for being the sort of person who gets TV and movies through some of the Internet’s not-strictly-legal places. I will judge you if you aren’t storing that content on a minimum 1TB hard drive with HD output and built-in networking. The Western Digital WD TV Live Hub has all this, plus it streams from YouTube, can distribute video to any networked device in your home and costs just US$199.99. wdc.com
If the Nintendo Wii proved anything, it’s that people don’t mind looking ridiculous when they play video games. Microsoft is taking the idea to the extreme with Kinect ($149.99), an Xbox 360 add-on that turns your entire body into a controller. There is no way you can use this without looking stupid, but that’s kind of the fun. Also, if you’re prone to spending winter on the couch, this will at least get you moving around a bit. xbox.com