Gawker's Better State of Living Conversation series is brought to you with the support of State FarmTM. Today, tech expert Vanessa Rae is live in the comments to answer your questions about choosing the right home entertainment system.
With the cold weather here and the holiday season in full force, it's the perfect time for you to enjoy the company of your friends and family. Whether you'll be spending lots of time indoors nestled up with loved ones or just catching up on some much-needed alone time, there's no better moment to soup up your home entertainment center. Here are a few of my suggestions, take a look, and then let's discuss below:
I'm looking to invest in some great speakers and since I travel a lot, I'd like to be able to take some awesome sound quality with me on the road. I'd also like to be able to listen to music that my guests have on their devices, so I'm not always reliant on my tired playlist. One great solution: These portable Bluetooth speakers that weigh less than 3 pounds. The Bose Soundlink Bluetooth Mobile II has improved sound quality from last year's model. The speaker pairs and plays wirelessly with your blue tooth devices (Apple, Android, or Blackberry phones, tablets, and laptops) and can remember up to six of them.
I believe that if you're paying for cable then you should be able to watch your programs whether your home or away. The Slingbox lets you watch and control your TV from any device (your laptop, mobile device, tablet) by streaming the programming live over the Internet. Yeah, this isn't anything groundbreaking, but the latest version has some features that make it more appealing. The Slingbox 500 can stream the programming in full HD 1080p and has built in Wi Fi so it's easy to set up. Plus, you can archive photos and videos wirelessly — which means you can do a slide show for your family over the holidays. So don't worry about missing Homeland because Granny doesn't have Showtime – the Slingbox means you can watch Claire Danes' cry face anywhere.
Laptop? Check. HDTV? Check. Sick of watching funny YouTube videos on your laptop's small screen? Yup. If your laptop has Intel Wireless Display, you can use it and the Belkin Screencast TV Adapter for Intel Wireless Display to — guess what? — wirelessly view content from your laptop on your HDTV. Using an HDMI cable to connect the adapter to your television enables you to view photos, browse the Internet, play blue ray videos, and watch tons of other content with excellent resolution and sound quality. Now if Belkin could just shorten the name so it was easier to say, then we'd really be in business.
Well, those are the top home entertainment items on my wish list. What are yours? I'm here to offer my expert advice on all your gadget needs, so let me know below and we'll discuss!
Illustration by Ramona Udvardi, Studio@Gawker