[Guide] CocoonTech's 2008 Holiday Gift Guide


CocoonTech's 2008 Holiday Gift Guide

It's the time of year where people will be looking for gift ideas for the home automation, security, and theater enthusiast. Here is a list of possible gift ideas that will make you the envy of all Cocooners!

1. SageTV plus Extenders:

SageTV is an industry-leading software technology that allows users to create and operate complete media centers from an existing PC. Building on the concept of personal video recorders (PVRs) such as TiVo®, the SageTV Media Center adds complete control of home media such as TV, movies, music and photos through an easy-to-use interface. Users can pause live TV, record their favorite shows, access their music collection and play DVDs all from one application. By delivering such an integrated media solution, SageTV is helping to define the media center market and taking the concept of personalized home media entertainment to the next level.

SageTV is a great addition to your home theater system. If you use CQC there is even a plugin to control it. I like the capability to distribute live TV and media recordings around the house using just Cat5e cable (i.e. home network). You can easily view the media on your PC via PlaceShifter as well. High Def versions of the media extenders are also available.

If you are not familiar with SageTV, check out their site or ask some questions here!

2. HomeTroller2

HomeSeer has a fanless, diskless computer that comes bundled with their HomeSeer software. Designed for the ultimate in reliability the HomeTroller offers features including:
  • HSProtect™ guards the embedded operating system from virus, spyware and malware attacks.
  • HSSentry™ continuously monitors the unit to ensure extremely reliable operation.
  • Ultra low 12-watt power consumption conserves energy and lowers utility bills.
  • Includes true ‘trigger-based’ automation with advanced conditional options.
  • Built-in power failure recovery feature runs events missed during outages when power is restored.
  • Includes multiple serial and USB ports for integration with the most commonly used technology interfaces.

3. Roomba/Scooba from iRobot

Let a robot handle your floor vacuuming and scrubing chores. iRobot has many models of cleaning robots to choose from to help with those weekly mundane tasks.

4. iPhone 3G

The iPhone emergence will take the home automation mobile applications by storm. Its sleek friendly interface and 3g speed will be a great item to add to any stocking this year!

Introducing iPhone 3G. With fast 3G wireless technology, GPS mapping, support for enterprise features like Microsoft Exchange, and the new App Store, iPhone 3G puts even more features at your fingertips. And like the original iPhone, it combines three products in one — a revolutionary phone, a widescreen iPod, and a breakthrough Internet device with rich HTML email and a desktop-class web browser. iPhone 3G. It redefines what a mobile phone can do — again

5. Seagate Free Agent Extreme (External Hard Drive) Coupled with Acronis TrueImage Home 2009 Backup Software

Your backups couldn't be easier to deploy or restore with this combination. Portability means you can easily backup multiple machines at different locations. You can also schedule backups as well (nice feature with the Acronis software). Remember, your hard drive disaster recovery is only as good at the last time it was backed up! :p

6. SlingBox Pro HD

The SlingBox is a versatile unit to have in ones repertoire of hardware. You can stream high def images to your PC or mobile phone. I use an older one to also stream my security cameras to my phone (via the S-Video inputs and an external IR controlled switch box).

The Slingbox PRO-HD is the first ever HD-streaming Slingbox. With the Slingbox PRO-HD, you can watch and control multiple devices – including your standard- or high-definition DVR, digital cable, satellite receiver, or DVD player – from anywhere in the world on your computer or mobile phone. Your high definition programming streams in HD quality for an amazing picture.

7. Blu-ray Player

We have all done this. Stopped by the Blu-ray display at Best Buy and drooled over the quality of the image. Well, t'is the season to grab some Blu-ray goodness! CNN recently produced an article describing some of the more popular players to choose from.

8. Samsung T260HD 26" HDTV Widescreen Monitor

How many times do you need more screen room from your monitor? You have a zillion Internet Explorer tabs opened, you have at least one remote desktop window opened to your automation PC, you need to look up some help files, your connected to your security system console, and the list keeps growing. Now you can have the sized display to match all of your viewing needs with this Samsung 26" monitor. You can also watch HD movies with it as well when your done with all the other PC related work! Treat yourself to the ultimate monitor this season.

9. Fluke "80 Series" Digital Multimeter

No holiday gift suggestion guide would be complete without listing at least one cool tool! None can be cooler than a Fluke 80 Series Multimeter. When your serious about troubleshooting your system and want a multimeter to last you a lifetime, invest in a Fluke brand! I have had my Fluke 77 for over 20 years and it has withstood hot, cold, dusty enironments as well as dropped off ladders, stepped on, draged around in the dirt, both on the job and for my home use and it has never missed a beat. This is a true professional tool that you will be proud to own!

10. Gift Certificate from your Favorite Home Automation Store
Nothing says "I Love You" more than your wife or GF giving you a (large) gift certificate to your favorite home automation/theater store. Plus it's always "exactly what you want & need"!

The staff of CocoonTech wishes all of our members a Merry Christmas and hopes your stockings get filled with all sorts of home automation/security/theater goodies!!
Some more thoughts:

1) Hauppauge HD-PVR (works great with SageTV too :) )
2) Ergonomic and easy to use remote (ie, my MX850 is the simplest remote in my house)
3) DirecTV-HD subscription
4) A Marc Jacobs purse. (the wife will probably appreciate that one the most)
BSR I have put in for one of each......told the good lady wife that these were BSR top recommendations and all her indoors could say was who the %&#$@ is BSR! :D :D :D No sense of humour! :blink: Nice selection thou.


BSR I have put in for one of each......told the good lady wife that these were BSR top recommendations and all her indoors could say was who the %&#$@ is BSR! :D :D :D No sense of humour! :blink: Nice selection thou.


LOL, you should take IVB's number four suggestion on his list and include that as your number one item next time! :D
I'll take one of each as well (except for SageTV, I am already a 'user'). Great list!
I need 2 of those 26" Samsung for my home office...

At work i have 2 22" screening and working from the 15" laptop screen at home is a real drag....
I'm hoping IVB buys a few of each of them then decides they won't work and gives them out to us. :blink:
Heh, generally speaking that would be a good plan.

I gotta admit - I think it's entirely humorous that folks are seriously contemplating the iPhone as an HA controller for inside the house. I spent hours refining my PPC templates, and after, oh, 15 minutes of usage the wife & I decided that a 3" screen is way too small for serious usage.

Methinks this is all a passing fad, and once folks realize how freakin small that is and how good your eyes need to be, it won't be as widespread as one thinks. I own a few websites, and 50% of visitors still use 800x600 mode. Of course, there's not many other options in the price range, which is the only reason this might have some niche following in the "i'm too damn lazy to use a PC or a laptop to do the same, but better".
I personally want it more as an external HA controller. It's just nice to have access to your entire house, on a nice looking device. It's far from a fad too, check out the "20+ apps" list I posted, some of these companies put some serious money into the development of these apps, which they wouldn't do if it was just a fad.
An external HA controller is fine, I like that for my house too.

But, methinks that at $10-$40/pop, 95% of those companies will not be offering HA software for an iPod in 12 months as there'll be little ROI. They be putting serious $$ into it, but that's because they don't know whether it'll take off or not, and are afraid of being left behind.

Once upon a time, petstore.com called my consulting company, and I charged them 7 figures for building out their site. Who knew that ordering 50lbs of dogfood online was also going to be a fad...
I can't wait until the iPhone is available on the Verison network. I'll have one of the iPhones in a heart beat. The HomeTroller is on my list as well along with the affordable Memorex blueray player. I hope I've been this good. :)