I have just picked up the Christmas edition of Radio Times and nearly put my back out. It is a truly weighty tome and seems to be growing every year as the number of digital channels grows exponentially. How am I supposed to adequately navigate my way through two weeks of gorging on television with so much to choose from?
I donâ€™t want to end up having seen the same Christmas specials of Only Fools and Horses while missing that one show which everyone else has seen and will be talking about for the rest of 2011. And so enters TiVo. Launched this month by Virgin on this side of the Atlantic, this little box will ensure you never miss anything important again.
Ok, so maybe the little black box is not quite that impressive yet but its ability to learn the programmes you like and record them without any effort on your part is a killer feature in my opinion. Now I will never miss one of David Attenboroughâ€™s shows again, whether or not I know its on. The Â£239 cost of the TiVo box and installation is a small price to pay for the reassurance that you will no longer be the idiot in the pub who doesnâ€™t have a clue what people are talking about - not that Christmas is only about television of course - thereâ€™s Turkey too!.
The only issue I have about seeing the sleek black box under my tree on Christmas morning is it could take some time to train TiVo to learn exactly what I like so it could be a bit late for this festive season. Canâ€™t have everything I guess.
So I have my TiVo box set up and ready to go, but what is the point if I'm squinting my eyes to make out what's happening on my tiny screen. Well thereâ€™s no point. Which is why I have plumped for the Philips 32PFL9705 as the second item on my Christmas wish list. Yes it does cost about Â£1,200 and yes it is â€˜onlyâ€™ 32in and no it doesnâ€™t have an in-built Freeview HD tuner or 3D playback capability but let me explain why none of these factors matter.
First of all the price. Â£1,200 is a lot of money to spend on a TV but who puts a Â£100 18in TV from Argos on a Christmas wish list. Even if thereâ€™s no possibility of someone stumping up the cash to buy me the 32PFL9705, at least let me dream. Secondly the lack of a Freeview HD tuner. I simply direct you to the first item on my wish list.
Thirdly the lack of 3D playback. This is actually an advantage for me as 3D content is as yet not at the level where I would want to watch anything in 3D in my home. The IMAX? Fine, but not in my own sitting room. Finally the size. As I keep telling everyone, size matters and in this case it is the size of my sitting room. It can comfortably accommodate a 32in television but no more. So why would I get rid of one of my armchairs just so I can have a bigger telly?
With all those issues out of the way, I can focus on the greatness of this television. The picture quality is unsurpassed for a television of this size and has debunked the myth that HD content cannot be fully appreciated on a television of this size. While Ambilight is a Marmite-like feature, I love it and the 32PFL9705 implements it better than ever before. Finally there is full internet access through the Opera browser so I would never have to get up from the couch again.
Manchester United Season Ticket, Audi A5 Sportsback and Driver
Picking a wildcard present for this wish list has been tough. Initially I was going to wish for Mark Zuckerberg to be named Person of the Year 2011, but gosh darn it if the good eggs at Time spotted his genius and pipped me to the post. So back to the drawing board it was.
A wildcard Christmas present for me should represent that thing in your life that's missing. Something that when you get your hands on it would make you feel whole. And for me the possibility of sitting in Old Trafford every week of the season (OK, OK, every second week) would be a dream come true.
I guess however, since I live in London, I would have to add a suitable mode of transport to bring me up the M1 every week. Having done a lot of research, I have come to the conclusion that an Audi A5 Sportback in United red would be ideal. Not only would it give me much needed comfort, the technology within the car is second to none.
It includes 14 Bang and Olufsen speakers which can create five channel surround sound from your iPod; a hard drive-based navigation system; the Music Interface which connects with any portable music player; built-in hands free and even a TV tuner so I can watch highlights of the latest United victory as the driver speeds me home to London. Oh yeah, Iâ€™ll need a driver too. Thanks and Happy Christmas.