The best hi-tech gifts on the market
Dan Ackerman, senior editor, CNET
Amy Hunter, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - If Dad loves high-tech gadgets, hold off on the cologne and tie this year and go with an electronic device he can watch, listen to or eat with.
Dan Ackerman, senior editor at CNET, says now might be a good time to get a high- end plasma TV at a low cost. His suggestion: the Panasonic P55GT50.
"For a plasma, they're fantastic. They're about $2,500 for the really good ones," Ackerman says. "If you want to get Dad a TV now, you certainly can't go wrong with one of these last generation of really good plasmas."
Later this year, a new TV technology will be available on the market called OLED, which will "blow [plasma TVs] away," Ackerman says.
"That is a TV that is going to be as thin as literally a stack of three credit cards put together," he says. "Man, they are insane looking."
The new technology will run $7,000 to $8,000, and is said to be brighter, thinner and more efficient than the current plasmas. But, Ackerman says, smart shoppers will wait to purchase one for the prices to go down.
"It will take a few years. But eventually all TVs are literally going to be about 5 millimeters thick."
If a new TV is a little out of your price range, a new tablet is a good gift idea, Ackerman says. The best on the market right now is the Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight or the Kindle Fire. Both cost about $200 and have a lot of the same features as the iPad.
"I think the best overall deal is the new Barnes & Noble Touch with the glowlight," he says. "They're about a $140, but they're the best of the e-book readers right now."
If Dad's already got an e-reader, Ackerman says Brookstone has an interesting idea, if it's perhaps a tad kitschy. It's called the Grill Alert, and it's a tiny meat thermometer that communicates with a wireless clip-on and informs grillers when their meat is done.
"You tell it whether you're cooking chicken or fish or whether you want it well- done, and it says to you out loud, 'Your entree is almost ready,'" Ackerman says.
The wireless device clips onto your belt, so you're sure to hear it calling.
And finally, if music is Dad's forte, the new Eco Terra boombox might be the perfect summer gift for him. It's a waterproof speaker box that protects an MP3 player while it floats in a pool. It retails for about $150.
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