The best presents you can buy for the TV or movie lover in your life

TV and movie lovers can be tough to shop for. At this point they probably have a home theater setup that they love dearly, and aren’t shy to let everyone know about it. But even the most experienced home entertainment enthusiasts don’t have everything under the sun – there are tons of great products that came out just this year that they’re sure to love.

That being said, you could spend hours at the store talking with sales associates about products that your video lover may or may not appreciate or, better idea, you can follow our component-by-component upgrade guide below to narrow down exactly what they need. 

Have they been complaining that the TV has lost its luster? Check out our favorite TVs from 2016, the Samsung SUHD Series. Have they said the sound coming from their speakers is sounding a bit flat? We’ve got a soundbar that should be the perfect remedy. You name it, we’ve got a recommendation for it.  

So, without further ado, let’s start with affordable budget gifts and work our way up the price point ladder.

Tired of their DVD collection? Get them Netflix

Physical media is somewhat polarizing. Some movie lovers swear by their DVD or Blu-ray collection, others sweat at their DVD or Blu-ray collection. If the person on your list is more of the former, skip down to the next category. But if they have a bad habit of wasting limited shelf space on movies they only watch once, get them Netflix. 

Netflix is great because it not only offers some of the best quality programming anywhere in the industry (Netflix had 54 Emmy nominations last year), but it offers all of its original content in eye-watering 4K Ultra HD HDR. (If you’re not totally sure what that is, it’s the latest and greatest in TV tech that the cinephile on your list is sure to appreciate.) 

Pricing for Netflix’s four-person, Ultra HD HDR plan starts at $11.99 per month in the US, £8.99 in the UK and AU$14.99 in Australia.

Upgrading their DVD collection? Get these UHD discs

But what if the person on your list loves their DVD collection? Well, we hate to break it to them, but DVDs – and Blu-rays for that matter – are going out of style. If you want to get them ahead of the curve, start their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray collection. 

Offering four times the resolution than traditional Blu-ray, Ultra HD discs will become the staple of any cinephile’s arsenal in 2017. There’s not a ton of options out there right now, but of the 40 or so titles available there are some real winners, like The Revenant, The Martian, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Life of Pi and Deadpool. 

Pricing for these movies typically starts at $30/£25/AU$40 with many stores offering buy two, get one free deals. 

Done with DVD/Blu-rays? Buy this Ultra HD disc player

If you’re going to buy them a few UHD Blu-rays, though, you’re going to need to pick up a UHD Blu-ray player, and buying one – right now at least – can be a bit tricky.

There are a few different options here depending on where you live. In the US and Australia, you probably want to pick up a Samsung UBD-K8500 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray Player for $279 at Best Buy or AU$599 at JB Hi-Fi. If you live in the UK, you’re probably better off with the Panasonic DMP-UB700 – it’s a bit pricier at £349, but it makes movies look amazing. 

Roku getting tired? Buy them a Chromecast Ultra

If Ultra HD Blu-rays and the accompanying player are outside of your budget for this holiday season, check out Google’s new Chromecast Ultra. It’s capable of playing 4K content from Netflix as well as both kinds of HDR – HDR 10 and Dolby Vision. 

At just 2.29 inches in diameter, this pint-sized streamer can hide behind your TV while delivering high-resolution content from Netflix, YouTube and Google Play Movies and TV. It’s the perfect gift for anyone still using an outdated Roku (like the original Roku 1, 2 or 3) – plus, at just $69/£69 or about AU$90, it’s something every Santa should be able to afford.

Upgrading a 1080p TV? Get a Samsung 4K HDR TV 

Buying a new TV can be a pretty expensive decision – so you probably shouldn’t do this without consulting your significant other first. But should you both decide that it’s time to toss out that old 1080p TV and upgrade to something new this holiday season, that something new should be one of Samsung’s awesomely affordable 4K HDR TVs.

While almost every member of Samsung’s SUHD line-up is stellar, the best value is found in the lower-end of the series. In the US, that means you should definitely check out the Samsung KS8000 Series – available in 49, 55, 60 and 65-inch variations – while in the UK, you should look for Samsung’s KS7000 Series. 

The best part of all? This is a present both of you get to enjoy.

Still using the TV speakers? Get them this Philips soundbar 

There are plenty of great soundbars out there – we have a whole list of them, in fact. But above all of them stands the Philips Fidelio B5, a soundbar that can transform into a surround system and travel with you as a portable Bluetooth speaker when it’s time to move the party outdoors. 

Versatile, stylish and packing a great sound, the Fidelio is more or less the whole package – making it the perfect present for the cinephile in your life.

Building a basement home theater? They’ll need a projector

The age-old question for any home theater enthusiast is “can you get big screen thrills on a small screen budget?” The answer is yes – and the best way to do it is with an HD projector. 

There are a few great options out there – like the Optoma HD27 or Sony VPL-HW45ES – but really anything that offers full 1080p video and a long lamp life will do. That said, if you’re ready to step up to something more expensive, you could always go with one of the new – and slightly more expensive – 4K projectors on the market this year that will really make their face light up when they open it on December 25.

Running out of inputs? Check out these receivers

Receivers are a bit more nebulous, and therefore aren’t our first picks to put underneath the tree this year. A lot of time and research goes into selecting the perfect head unit, and if they already have something they like, you probably shouldn’t go trying to fix what isn’t broken.

But, that said, if they’ve repeatedly complained that they’d like to start a proper surround sound system, then you could deliver the first and most important piece: a receiver. 

There are plenty of great recommendations out there, but our go-to has always been Onkyo, and this year’s no different – your first stop on the Tour de Receiver 2016 should be Onkyo’s TX-NR747. Why? Because it supports DTS:X and Dolby Atmos, the two next big audio technologies, not to mention HDR and 4K at 50/60 frames per second. Speed and power at a great price? That’s our kind of holiday. 

You can find the Onkyo TX-NR747 on Amazon for just $479.

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.