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5 Best HTPC Gift Ideas for Christmas 2016 – $200 or less

With the festive period fast approaching it is time to start making your Christmas gift lists. Whether you know a technology enthusiast and someone who owns a home theatre PC or you simply want to treat yourself then there are many products out there to entertain over the Christmas weeks. In our 5 Best HTPC Gift Ideas for Christmas 2016 list we take you through some of the best tech gifts available from the HTPC field. 

Best HTPC Gift Ideas for Christmas 2016

The 5 best tech gifts we have chosen are all different and have been selected from different areas of the HTPC world. For each idea we detail the type of gift it is and suggest who it is suitable for. All of the products are available for under $200 and provide some top HTPC ideas. So here are our best HTPC gift ideas for Christmas 2016.

1. Amazon Fire TV Stick Gen 2 – $40 (or less)

Gift TypeAll round media playing device
Who is the Amazon Fire TV Stick for?For the HTPC newbie

The Amazon Fire TV Stick is a gift that will provide hours of fun during the festive period. It is a full media center compressed into a thumb-sized stick, with the new Gen 2 Stick offering more power. Just plug into your HDMI slot, connect the power and you are ready. A Fire TV Stick will give you access to Amazon’s range of online content full of movies and TV shows. Use the Amazon Cloud to store your photographs and they will travel with you wherever you use your Fire Stick. The device is portable, affordable and extremely easy to use.

Amazon Firestick
The Amazon Firestick Gen 2 has more power and speed

The Amazon Fire TV Stick is one of the best tech gifts due to its versatility. It’s use of Android means that you can download many applications created by developers around the world. For example you can install the Kodi media center application and gain access to streaming services, live TV and gaming. See our Complete Amazon Fire TV Kodi Guide. If you have your own digital movie or music collections you can stream them from your PC directly to your Fire Stick.

This only scratches the surface of why this is one of the best tech gifts and what is possible. This is one of the top HTPC ideas that can be built upon. There are a number of additional devices available to purchase later down the line.  These include a voice controller and gaming pad. The Amazon Fire Stick is a real winner for Christmas entertainment. It is the one gift on our best HTPC gift ideas for Christmas 2016 list that is suitable for everyone.

Best Android TV Boxes

  1. NVIDIA SHIELD TV Streaming Media Player 2nd Gen - $199.99 editors pick
  2. Amazon Fire TV Box 2nd Gen - $99.99
  3. KDLINKS® A300 4K Android Quad Core 3D Media Player - $199.99
  4. Matricom G-Box Q² Android TV Streaming Media Mini PC - $97.00
  5. Henscoqi MXIII MX3 Quad Core Amlogic S802 2G/8G Smart HTPC TV Box - $49.99

2. Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra Edition – $70 (or less)

Gift TypeMedia player / 3D Blu-ray decoder for PC
Who is Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra for?For the movie buff

This is our best HTPC gift ideas for Christmas 2016 entry for the movie lovers amongst you. Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra Edition is a software application for the Windows PC that will play all sorts of media file types. One of the biggest selling points of this software is that it is one of the only PC media players with 3D Blu-ray playback capabilities. Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra Edition will turn any media center or HTPC with a Blu-ray disc drive into a full 3D Blu-ray player. Not only that but the playback quality of your Blu-ray discs will be far better than the majority of physical Blu-ray player devices.

Cyberlink Power DVD Ultra
Cyberlink Power DVD Ultra with 3D Blu-ray Playback Capabilities

PowerDVD Ultra Edition features Cyberlink’s “True Theatre” experience. This is designed to recognise certain aspects of a movie such as skin tones and optimise them to give the best possible playback quality. It also has the ability to upscale older / weaker videos, rejuvenating you digital content and bringing it up-to-date. You can play your 2D movies in 3D and the depth isn’t bad at all. You also get full lossless Dolby and DTS audio. [Read: 10 Best Windows Media Center Alternatives]

Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra Edition is one of the top HTPC ideas because it is quick to install, easy to use and full of features. The application can be used as your main HTPC software or you could integrate it as a Kodi external player. All you need is a Windows based HTPC and a Blu-ray drive and you are ready to begin.

3. XBOX 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver – $25 (or less)

Gift TypeGaming Add-on
Who is this gift suitable for?For the gamer

An XBOX 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver is one of the best tech gifts for the gamer. Plugin to a Windows based media center or HTPC and connect up to 4 wireless XBOX 360 controllers and 4 wireless headsets. The XBOX 360 controller is one of the best gaming devices compatible with a Windows PC. The build quality and responsiveness is unrivaled and it will bring you the ultimate HTPC gaming experience. The device is available in both black and white and will sit nicely with the majority of HTPC case designs.

XBOX 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver
XBOX 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver

The XBOX 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver operates over 2.4GHz wireless which provides a great range of up to 30 feet. With many PC game controllers on the market the reception tends to be weak and loss of connectivity is a common problem. With this device the connection is seamless and with it’s huge range it is suitable for any sized room. If you are streaming media content from a HTPC or desktop in another room the device can be used as a long range remote to select your movies or music. [Read: How to build a Raspberry Pi Retro Console?]

The XBOX 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver is plug and play and requires a Windows 7 or above operating system. This is one of the Best HTPC Gift Ideas for Christmas as it will bring HTPC gaming to the festive period. If this device is one of your top HTPC ideas you will also need an XBOX 360 controller. Wireless Controllers are sold separately.

4. Raspberry Pi 3 – $35 (or less)

Gift TypeMicro computer
Who is this gift suitable for?For the tech enthusiast

The Pi 3 model B is the latest Raspberry Pi micro computer and is the entry in our best HTPC gift ideas for Christmas list 2016 for the techies! If you are looking for top HTPC ideas then with this device you can’t go wrong. The original Raspberry Pi was developed for teaching computer science in schools but has since then taken off into a main stream product especially amongst the HTPC enthusiasts. The device comes with a 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU and 1 GB of RAM. This is impressive for such a small device and opens up the door to many opportunities. It also features a HDMI port, 4 USB ports and Ethernet connectivity. Version 3 of the Raspberry Pi also comes with integrated 802.11n wireless and Bluetooth.

 Raspberry Pi 3
Raspberry Pi 3

A Raspberry Pi 3 gives the tech enthusiast the chance to create their own HTPC build. Using the OpenELEC embedded operating system or similar software solution the Raspberry Pi can be transformed into a powerful media player capable of playing all major file types. As the device is small and compact it will sit nicely next to a living room TV and can be used to stream content from your Desktop computer. The Raspberry Pi 3 will give the tech enthusiast an ongoing project and will be continually built upon. Note that if a Raspberry Pi is on your best tech gifts list you must also select a suitable case for it such as the Raspberry Pi Kodi Case.

5. Sonos Play 1 – $200 (or less)

Gift TypeWireless Speaker System
Who is this gift suitable for?Anyone into music and high quality sound

The Sonos Play 1 is a wireless speaker solution and is one of the best tech gifts as it will transform any HTPC into a full-fledged juke box for any room in the house. The device is compact in design but packs quite a punch. It features two Class-D digital amplifiers hooked up to two speak speaker drivers. The mid-woofer provides excellent playback of instruments / vocals and also provides decent base.

So why is the Sonos Play 1 one of the top HTPC ideas? Sonos as a brand is now one of the world leaders in digital audio. Their HTPC and surround sound kits are simply unrivaled. With a Sonos Play 1 hooked up to your media center you can enjoy your album collections as they were meant to be heard. Try our How to Install Kodi Soundcloud Addon guide and stream new music to the Play 1 Speaker. With its wireless capabilities the speaker can travel with you to any room in the house. Your HTPC and album collections will remain under your TV and streamed straight to your speaker.

Sonos Play 1
Sonos Play 1 Wireless Speaker

The Sonos Play 1 can also be used for your movie playback. If your TV comes with poor quality speakers then this device is one of the top HTPC ideas to bring your movies back to life. Multiple Sonos Play 1 speakers can be connected to a Sonos Playbar (sold separately). This will provide the true surround sound movie solution. The Sonos Play 1 is one of the best tech gifts for the audio experience and comes at a very competitive price.

Time to Fill your Christmas List with Top HTPC Ideas

Getting the right gift is for your loved ones is a tough choice. With the festive period just around the corner there are many gift ideas for the digital media enthusiast. These 5 best HTPC gift ideas for Christmas 2016 will provide entertainment for the Christmas weeks and all gifts are available for under $200.

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About the author

James Tillson

An IT professional working in the UK specialising in Windows server environments and data centre solutions. Now writing for home entertainment providers.

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