Matinee-Priced Gifts for Home Theatre Lovers

By Sam Biddle on at

You don't need to spend a ton of money to enjoy the hell out of movies at home. That's a myth. So if you want to give your special person's TV a boost, you can do it on a budget.

A Bunch of Cheap HDMI Cables

Every time you add something to a TV, you'll need an HDMI cable to go with it. And a lot of things don't come with one--giant annoyance. So give your friend the gift of security with a big ol' bundle of HDMI cables (the cheap ones are exactly as good as expensive alternatives), and they'll never know the pain of having to shop at Maplin's ever again. £8.99 for two cables from Amazon

Airport Express

Apple doesn't make these anymore, and that's part of why they're such an awesome deal. For around £60, you can turn any speaker into a streaming, network-connected sound system. Forget docks. And hey, it's also a router. £62 from Kikatek

Samsung BD-E5900 Blu-ray Player

There was a time when Blu-ray players were only affordable for rich kids and kings. But now they cost just about as much as DVD players used to once those were totally mainstream--which means you can afford to share the best possible movie quality available anywhere. Seriously--as good as streaming stuff gets, nothing, nothing beats Blu-ray (for now). This one even does 3D, if you know someone who's into that. £160 from Langdon

Roth BAR 1 Soundbar

Speakers are expensive and a pain to set up. Good sound is mandatory for enjoying flicks. A paradox? Nope--with a soundbar, you won't get exactly the same surround quality, but you'll spend a fraction of the price and expend a fraction of the labour. This Roth is one of the best, and is also gloriously Made in Britain. Rule Britannia and all that. £175 from Amazon

Disney WOW Theatre Calibration Disc

A TV usually never looks as good as it's able to, because the settings are off. It's annoying, but you can get your set configured almost perfectly if you follow the instructions on a disc like this one, which is surprisingly affordable at just £20 from

Streaming Service

None of them are perfect, but for the perennial couch potato they're a pretty damn good way of killing time. There's three biggies in the UK: Netflix, Lovefilm and Now TV. Netflix is probably the best for TV, Lovefilm's pretty decent (especially if you like a DVD-rental service on top), but Now TV's the killer for current blockbusters. £5.99 for Netflix, from £4.99 for Lovefilm, or £8.99 for Now TV

Casino Royale Blu-Ray

Yes, it's an old movie. Yes, your gift recipient has probably seen it already. But the great Bond reboot remains one of the greatest justifications for Blu-ray's existence, even after all these years. It just looks and sounds so damn good. £7 from Amazon