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Has there ever been a better time to splurge on quality gadgets? Perhaps, but the opening weeks of 2010 will still be prime shopping time. The Australian dollar remains high against the Greenback. January is all about sales.

So hit up the web, hit up your favourite retailer, and check your mail for catalogues. Actually, forget that last bit: we’ve scoured the tech world for holiday season gifts for you and your family – dad, mum and the kids. Sure, you might not be able to afford everything listed here, but that’s what’s so great about AV gear: there’s something for everyone!

Gifts for him


Panasonic DMR-BE850 Blu-ray recorder & DVR

If the back of your AV rack is starting to resemble the thickets of thorny bushes that surrounded Sleeping Beauty’s castle, then you need to start consolidating your boxes. Away with the dedicated HDTV tuner, the PVR, the Blu-ray or DVD player.

Replace the lot of ’em with this all-in-one beauty. HDTV reception and recording to its 500GB internal drive, plus backups of your favourite shows to Blu-ray or DVD. And naturally you connect it to your receiver via a single, slim HDMI cable.

Does it have the most complicated remote in the history of electronics? Yes. But it’s the very essence of “does everything”.

Price: $1,979

Sennheiser HD 800

Sennheiser-HD800-mood.jpgSay the man of the house is one of those fellows who insists that audio be reproduced to the very highest of standards. He’s so serious about sound, he’s about to drop $50,000 on a two-channel system for his old vinyls. Stay his hand: you can get a similar experience from a set of really, really good headphones.

Yes, the HD 800s cost $2400. But you’ll pay up to 10 times as much for a pair of speakers that deliver comparable sound. Pair these cans with a quality headphone amp, and you’ll avoid a second mortgage and – bonus – won’t have to listen to his Frank Zappa collection.

Price $2,399

Read our review of the Sennheiser HD 800 headphones