Holiday Gift Guide at Any Price Level

At Modern Home Systems, we’ve put together a list of greatest scores for your holiday shopping list you can find in our stores, and we’ve even thrown in a few “pie-in-the-sky” ideas if you’re really on the hunt to impress this December.


Last month, we introduced the new Apple TV starting at $69, but we’re also excited about the trove of other Apple products available for the holiday season.

iPad Air 2

Did an iPad appear on any wish lists this season? Want to surprise a little one or the tech wizard but can’t go all out? The iPad Air 2 is a great solution. 18% thinner than the previous iPad Air, it’s 6.1 millimeters thin and weighs under a pound. Though Apple made it thinner, the iPad Air 2 has a durable aluminum unibody, which keeps it strong. What’s most impressive is the 9.7 inch Retina display: it has 2048×1536 resolution and 264 pixels per inch (3.1 million total!). And now with the 64-bit architecture and around a ten-hour battery life, the iPad Air 2 is as powerful as a personal computer and starts at $499.

One more detail: the two cameras on the iPad Air 2 will make you throw away your camera. The iSight camera has an 8MP sensor to capture images in 3264-by-2448 native resolution and 1080p HD video. It also has an advanced image signal processor in the A8X chip.

iPad Pro

If you (or the person you are trying to impress this holiday season) need something a little more substantial than an iPad Air, you’ll find all the great updates in the full-size iPad Pro. It’s got a 12.9-inch Retina display, and twice as much CPU performance of the iPad Air 2. Ideal for presentations, editing movies, and running your business. Pricing starts at $799.

MacBook starting at $1299

Also part of this year’s redesign, the lighter, stronger laptop is 13.1 mm thick, weighs only 2 pounds, and has a 12-inch edge-to-edge Retina display. At more than 3 million pixels, it has a resolution of 2304×1440. Both the trackpad and wireless capabilities have been improved, and it gets up to nine hours of batter life. A perfect gift for the new college student.

Pie-in-the-sky-gift: Apple Mac Pro

What do you get the tech guru or film buff who has everything? This most powerful Mac ever. Think of it as a computer version of Thor’s Hammer, a cylinder of computing brawn that can render your home not just a home theater but a home studio. Starting price is $3,000.


Moving away from the Apple products, here’s a guide to some great home systems and gadgets, ranging from stocking-stuffer to practical splurge.


Oh, the Tile. If you’ve felt the panic of lost keys or wallet, you can now easily find it via this small square Bluetooth tracker. You can attach it to your keyring or slide it into your wallet, purse, anything, and track your items with an easy-to-use app. Seriously, at $25, this is the gift you can give everyone and be the true holiday hero.

Sonos PLAY:1, starting at $199

With two state-of-the-art digital amplifiers, PLAY:1 wireless music system produces crystal-clear sound to any room in the house. An ideal option for dorm rooms.

Bowers and Wilkins Headphones, starting at $179

With special acoustic fabric on the ear pads seals the edges around your ear while giving acoustic transparency to hear every detailed effect Trent Reznor put into his albums. The cables are swappable for greater versatility, and the foldable design makes it perfect for traveling.

Marshall Stanmore Bluetooth speaker, starting at $399

For the classic music enthusiast or your loveable hipster, this throwback speaker is a statement piece that provides outstanding sound. Pretend you’re a roadie for the Dead by setting the stage in your living room, streaming music from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and even your Apple TV. It connects wirelessly via Bluetooth, or you can plug in your device to the auxiliary port—AND there’s an RCA input plug to connect with your record player. You’ll love the analog interaction knobs and vintage-design front fret, brass details, and iconic script logo. If not, your kids will.

Bowers and Wilkins A5 Airplay speaker, starting at $499

The perfect wireless companion to your Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, Apple’s AirPlay streams music from your straight to A5. It can also stream from iTunes on a networked Mac, PC, or other MP3s. Your device will control the sound coming through the sleek-designed table-top speaker.

Vizio E series TV

This is the best TV you can get for a low price—the 50-inch model is in the $500 range, and the smaller models (43- and 40-inch) are even less—without sacrificing great picture quality.


Don’t see anything on the showroom floors to satisfy your loved one’s humble needs? Try one of these extreme pie-in-the-sky options that are guaranteed to impress even Ebenezer Scrooge.

Ready to complete your home theater? Consider the Vizio Reference Series, including a high-end, huge-screened TV featuring the latest display technology. While most Vizio products are noted for their excellent value, if you just got the world’s greatest tax refund this year, why not try the 120-inch version for $129,999. There’s also the more budget-friendly 65-inch version, for a slightly-more-humble $5,999.

Why not buy a drone? The DJI Inspire 1, which retails around $3,000, has a knockout aerial photo and video capacity (4K), ideal for professionals as well as enthusiasts who want a drone that’s simple, ready-to-fly, and has camera swapping potential.

Are you a financial analyst who never got over missing a Dead concert? Well…there’s a sort-of win if you buy the Audeze LCD-3 headphones, which almost perfectly replicate the sound of live music. Crafted in the USA, the Audeze LCD-3 represents the top of the world class of headphones. And they should at almost $3,000. If that last two thousand is too much, try the LCD-2, which are still pretty decent and only cost $1,000.

There’s still time to rush to Modern Home Systems for the latest Apple TV and all of your home theater needs, including home theater designs and installation for a special holiday gift or an urgent entertainment update in time for Bowl season. Visit us at or give us a call at (858) 554-0404.