All products recommended by cafe-madrid have been selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Parents of young children just need a break. Even before the pandemic, running to the movies was hard because that means setting up a babysitter and praying that nothing goes wrong in the middle of your night out. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to help new dads (and moms) build out their home entertainment options. And it’s even easier if you’re looking for gifts for someone new to A/V equipment.
There are plenty of soundbars, but few are as versatile as the Sonos Beam† It’s a sleek box that will instantly upgrade any TV with expansive and detailed sound† But, it is also a smart speaker with support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. That makes it a viable alternative to devices like the Echo. Being able to yell “Play some Sesame Street songs!” is very useful for new parents. Believe me.
Roku Streaming Stick+
Nowadays it is almost impossible to buy a stupid TV without an internet connection or streaming apps. But for people who have older sets, especially those relegated to bedrooms, a streaming stick like Roku’s could change their lives. It offers the company’s full suite of apps, excellent 4K and HDR performance, and it’s surprisingly cheap. And as soon as we can travel again, the Roku Streaming Stick+ is great to take with you on vacation, so you’re never far from your binge-watch queue. We still love the original model, but if you jump for the newer one Streaming stick 4K+you get Wi-Fi with longer range and an updated voice remote.
Apple TV 4K (2021)
The Apple TV 4K finally gets the update it needed this year — and best of all, it has a larger Siri remote with a more responsive, touch-sensitive click pad. It’s a solid gift for anyone already embedded in the iOS ecosystem. This latest model also features Apple’s A12 Bionic chip, which offers faster video decoding and support for Dolby Vision HDR at higher frame rates. And if you know someone who already has the previous Apple TV 4K, you can always give them the new Siri remote separately for $59†
55-inch LG C1 OLED TV
If your dad (or anyone else) desperately needs a TV upgrade in the living room, you can’t go wrong with LG’s award-winning OLED TV from last year. It has incredible picture quality and a long list of features that will keep it current even if you plug in a new generation game console.
The best part? While the CX is still available, you can find some great deals, with prices nearly as low as they’ve been since these TVs debuted. This normally costs $1,500, but you can often find it for as little as $1,100. Do not wait.
If your dad just wants to spend time with an audiobook or some music, noise canceling headphones are a good fit and this Sony model offers some of the best technology out there. The XM4 can connect to multiple devices at once, so it works with Dad’s phone and computer without having to constantly re-pair and cause more hassle.
One of the few bumps we could find on the XM4s during our testing was their high price, which has dropped noticeably since their release. They have a snug fit and can automatically pause when the wearer starts talking – he’ll appreciate that. And if you want to spring for a splurge gift this year, you can give him the new one WH-1000XM5adding a new design and improved noise cancellation to all of the XM4’s existing features.
If your entertainment runs through a game console and Dad just wants to kick back and watch a game or some Blu-ray discs, he’ll appreciate navigating things with a remote instead of a gamepad.
The PS5 Media Remote aesthetically matches your console and includes keyboard shortcuts for several popular apps. Plus, the batteries last longer than those in a DualSense, so it’s always ready to go. Your biggest problem could probably be finding one in stock, but if you manage to snag the console, we think you can solve it too. For Xbox owners, the PDP Media Remote Control works for systems from One to the new Series X/S. Instead of hotkeys, it includes a pretty standard universal remote, so there’s not a lot of relearning required.
Philips Hue White + Color Starter Pack
Whether the house is already leaning towards automation or not, this starter kit from Philips Hue White and Color lamps should fit well. It comes with three lights that can glow in millions of colors, as well as a button for easy manual control and a Hue bridge. The latter will be important if Dad eventually wants to add to his lighting system, as it supports up to 50 connected bulbs. He can control his lights from anywhere with the accompanying mobile app, set schedules and routines, and use Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri commands to change the lighting in his home as he sees fit. That means it will be easier than ever for Dad to set the right mood for his next movie night.
BenQ HT2050AA Projector
For the largest and best possible screen, you always want a projector. The BenQ HT2050A is as good an option as you’ll find, and your dad can brag about how much of a deal it was for just $750. What this 1080p projector lacks in resolution and dynamic range it more than makes up for in value, and it is a perfect choice to help someone get started with the projector lifestyle life. Just find an empty wall and put it on a table for an incredible movie or game night with some vaccinated friends. A good projection screen, blackout shades and seat upgrades are follow-up gifts that everyone will take advantage of.
Panasonic UB420 4K Blu-ray Player
Blu-rays and DVDs aren’t dead yet. For the true cinephile in your life, consider a 4K Blu-ray player like Panasonic’s UB420† It plays UHD discs at full resolution and supports HDR and HDR10+. While many 4K Bluray owners rely on their game consoles, having a dedicated player is a major upgrade in terms of speed and usability. (Plus, it’s just a pain to control movies with a gamepad.) As a bonus, you can also play your older discs at a higher resolution. Sure, it costs a little more than typical Blu-ray players, but it’s a valuable gift for anyone who cares about the quality of their movies. If you’re on a tight budget, consider a Blu-ray player like the Sony S6700† It can upscale HD and DVD video to 4K, and it also has its own suite of streaming apps. Best of all, it’s quite compact, so it won’t take up much space on your TV stand.
the matrix 4K Blu-ray Trilogy
No, we’ll never stop loving the matrix† And the series looks better than ever with its 4K Blu-ray Remaster, which fixes some glaring bugs from the original Blu-ray release. Whatever you think of the sequels, the matrix action and science fiction in Hollywood has been fundamentally reshaped – mostly for the better. Thanks to a new Dolby Atmos soundtrack, the films also sound more immersive than ever. And really, what better gift for new dads than a series grappling with the nature of humanity? Bringing new life into the world certainly makes you think, especially when the ultimate outcome for civilization sometimes seems grim.
Mission Impossible 4K Blu-ray set
While this one box set is several years old, it is a worthy addition to any new father’s collection. Somehow Tom Cruise has brought the classic spy series back to life and has managed to keep it fresh and energized over the decades. (I will defend) Mission: Impossible 2 as a stunning work of action opera, come to me.) Think of them as the ultimate father films: stories about people who are great at their jobs, and almost always right in the face of insurmountable difficulties.
Planet Earth II / Blue Planet II
Planet Earth II was the best example of 4K HDR we had ever seen when it was released in 2017. Several years later, it still looks better than most 4K movies. This combo set is a great gift, as it also includes the opulent Blue Planet II, which is more focused on marine life. Dads will appreciate the incredible visuals and soothing narration. Both series make you feel connected to the circle of life, which you can’t help but be a part of when you hold a child in your arms.