20 Tech Toys to Supercharge Your TV/Movies/Music/More
Oculus Rift ($350)
Though us civilians can't buy one just yet, the totally immersive 3-D virtual reality headset for games and movies will soon whisk us away to snow-capped mountain ranges and fiery otherworldly lairs filled with demons. Considering its potential in nearly every dimension of entertainment—from first-person shooters to feature-length films to interactive, educational documentaries—the effects Oculus will have on media will be massive.
Sony 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector ($50,000)
This unprecedented, 147'' cinematic portal to life-sized NFL games offers four times the clarity of HD—and a hundred times the punt-and-tackle action as a television. Sitting just seven inches from the wall and with a refined aluminum finish, it could also double as an art piece, provided you're watching Planet Earth or Bob Ross.
Apple iPhone 6 Plus ($300)
With pupil-pleasing Retina HD display, the latest Apple mobile is its largest at 5.5''. Bigger, but not unwieldy, either (it's a slim 7.1 millimeters). LTE wireless is faster, and the camera sports 8 megapixels.
Clearview Audio Clio ''Invisible'' Speaker ($350)
Made of clear, acrylic glass, the razor-thin Clio is the ninja of speakers, effectively disappearing while still pumping out 360-degree sound. It's wire-free, and can stream audio from any Bluetooth-outfitted device you could throw at it. Always practical, always great to listen to, never an eyesore.
Samsung 4K HU9000 78'' TV ($9,000)
A luxury set that makes your HD flat-screen look like a rabbit-eared clunker, this TV brings you a more immersive viewing experience with its huge, curved screen and full web browser. As a smart TV, you've also got access to tons of live TV, movies, social media, apps, and more. Lots to do, so good thing there's the options to have four pictures-in-picture to juggle all those screens.
GoPro Hero4 ($400-500)
The company touts it as the most advanced camera it's produced—and with Hollywood-rivaling powers that capture 4K video at 30 frames per second, we're not arguing. The $500 Black edition captures multiplex-worthy 4K footage at 30 frames per second, and the cheaper Silver version ($400) has a touch display for extra user-friendliness.
Parrot Zik 2.0 Headphones ($400)
Simply tap the sides of these 'phones (which eliminate 98 percent of ambient background noise) to adjust volume or skip tracks. The noise reduction is thanks to the clever placement of four microphones: Two are placed inside for capturing outside noise, and two are inside to analyze that low-frequency miscellanea that could gob up your listening experience.
Nvidia Shield (from $360)
This 8'' Android tablet grants gamers the ability to stream non-mobile games from their computer with a separately sold controller. It's also great for apps like Netflix or Pandora, streaming to Twitch, and plugging it into your TV for console-style gaming.
Bem Wireless Kickstand WR1 Projector ($700)
Since the urge to screen Avengers before an audience can strike at any time, toss this portable wireless projector in your pocketbook or briefcase, then kick it open for impromptu movie nights (it can fill a 100'' screen!).
HTC RE Camera ($200)
This one-button, handheld camera with a 146-degree lens is groundbreaking selfie technology, and is compatible with both iOS and Android phones. It'll stream pics and videos straight to your device for easy Instagram access.
Naim Mu-so wireless speaker system ($1,500)
This sleek soundbar features six custom-designed speakers that blast 450 watts of music from Spotify Connect, smart devices, or thousands of Internet radio stations. Its beautiful form also serves function—the wooden speaker cabinet is encased in anodized aluminum that makes the sound smoother and void of hiccups.
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge (from $400)
No more running into a parking meter while fumbling through apps—this phone's curved screen makes it a cinch to flick through programs, even when the case is closed. Speaking of the screen, it's a 5.6'' beauty with hi-res, Quad HD that really takes phone visuals to the next level.
Vizio P-Series 4K 50'' TV ($1,000)
This set's our pick for the best value out there, with four times the clarity of 1080p HD, lightning-quick Wi-Fi capability, and an LED screen that automatically tweaks the picture to really wow you with that starship explosion. Stream content and play with apps—the V6 six-core processor makes for powerful processing and fast connections.
Sonos Wireless Home Theater System ($2,000)
In one of the slickest, most discreet, best-sounding home theaters around, it provides intense gaming and Netflixing that is likely to make at least a couple neighbors' walls tremble. You've got the $700 subwoofer, speakers for $200 each, and the Playbar at $700, which looks great either on the wall or on the TV stand. Running on your home's Wi-Fi rather than Bluetooth, you'll never be interrupted by a phone call again.
HP Sprout ($1,900)
A futuristic-feeling game-changer, Sprout is an all-in-one workstation equipped with a 23'' touch screen, scanner and touchpad workstation, letting you scan and edit anything with the touch of a finger—from Internet photos to household knickknacks. Photograph 3-D objects and turn them into digital creations.
Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display 27'' ($2,500)
At 27'' and packing in 14.7 million pixels, the latest iMac's got visuals that nearly put real life to shame. The 5K display brings the visual wow factor—those 14.7 million pixels are four times the amount a plain ol' 27'' iMac offers.
Bowers & Wilkins T7 Bluetooth speaker ($350)
Hi-res streaming and thumping bass is the name of this speaker's game, the honeycomb design of which cuts those annoying vibration noises. For such a small package, it unleashes some serious bass, thanks to twin bass radiators. Plus, no need for Wi-Fi, so long as your music-filled device is Bluetooth-ready.
Amazon Kindle Voyage ($200)
The thinnest Kindle yet (7.6 millimeters), the hi-res reader (with six-week battery life) allows you to turn pages with a simple tap along the bezel. The display is hi-res at 300ppi, and has an adaptive light that auto-adjusts based on your environment.
Amazon Fire TV Stick ($40)
Turn any TV into a smart TV by plugging this tiny device in to your TV's HDMI port to quickly and easily stream content. Consider it the final nail in the coffins of DVDs, CDs, and other plastic bric-a-brac clogging up your entertainment center. It packs a dual-core processor and one gig of memory. Finally, play games from Tetris to Sonic to Life to Flappy Bird.
Audi A8 Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System ($6,300)
Audi owners will love these 19 loudspeakers that offer movie-friendly Dolby Digital surround sound, all with minimal vibrations and sounds heard from outside the car.