2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Mills was an annual guest on the Siskel & Ebert Holiday Gift Guide program.  Watch our very own Fred Thomas discussing home theater technology with the legendary Roger Ebert.  As a throwback to those days, we offer our own holiday gift guide. Our top picks:


Music for any budget: Sonos: A Sonos music system is a great gift for the music lovers in your life. The new Sonos One with Amazon Alexa follows the growing trend of voice activated devices, as Alexa meets one of the best wireless speakers for hands free control of your music and more. If voice activation isn’t your thing, there’s the wireless Play:1, Play:3 and Play:5.  All are simple to setup and use. You can also upgrade existing wired speakers and stereo systems into easy-to-use music streaming systems with a CONNECT or CONNECT:AMP.  For home theater sound quality and streaming music, the Playbase or Playbar.


Love Sonos but hate launching an app?  The iPort xPress is an audio kepad for Sonos that allows you to play Sonos instantly without having to take your phone out of your pocket.  Install and use anywhere around the house in convenient locations like the entry into a room, or on the coffee table. Play, skip tracks and adjust volume, all with the simplicity of flicking on the lights.


If you’re interested in a  Sonos One, Play:1, Play:3, Playbar or Playbase, we will be running a special holiday promotion November 23-27.  Promotion details will posted on our Facebook page on November 23.


The cool music gift: Marantz Turntable: The vinyl record craze is not just a passing trend. When music listeners started purchasing single songs in a compressed digital format, it was only natural that many music lovers would push back by consuming entire albums on warm, uncompressed vinyl.   Many popular albums have never been issued in digital format and newer artists are also releasing music on vinyl.  Because many of today’s AV receivers and integrated amplifiers lack a phono input, Marantz offers a special version of their standard TT42 turntable that has a built-in phono preamp. It can be plugged in to any line level audio input (such as a Sonos system!).

The ultimate gift for the music lover: Meridian Speakers:
For 40 years, Meridian has been in the business of providing high performance audio solutions.  Their award winning DSP loudspeakers provide knock-your-socks-off high fidelity sound. The floorstanding speakers are available in a few different sizes so you can choose as appropriate to room size and application. More compact speakers are available for placement on bookshelves, hung on a wall or placed on Meridian floor stands. Each speaker is built by hand in the UK. They not only sound amazing, they are elegant looking.  Standard finishes are available in piano lacquered white or black, and also available in 270 custom color finishes.


For the “I like TV but I don’t like to see a TV” shopper: The Frame by Samsung: “The most beautiful TV you’ve never seen.”  The Frame from Samsung is a 4K Ultra High Definition TV.  When it’s not in use, it turns into a work of art on your wall.  Several frame styles, paintings, prints and photo options are available, making it customizable to suit any decor.  See how it works here.

The Frame (middle) , when not in use, turns into a beautiful piece of artwork.


The Frame on the studio stand and placed away from the wall.









For the TV and/or movie enthusiast: Sony 4K Projectors:

Perhaps your media room/home theater needs an upgrade before holiday entertaining.  Prices of projectors that support the new 4K Ultra HD format have fallen dramatically, and Sony has a number of options new to the market. Starting around $5,000, you get high dynamic range, 4K resolution and high brightness. Next up, at around $15,000, a more professional model offers even brighter and better contrast. Want a 100″+ screen but don’t have the space (or the $60k for a TV this large)?  For $24,000, Sony offers a short throw laser projector that can sit on a credenza or table close to the screen. The laser light source needs almost zero maintenance and provides spectacular brightness for the most vibrant images. Here is a more detailed comparison of the three.

A short throw projector can be placed on a credenza or table very close to the screen. No need to hang it from or recess it into a ceiling.