Using the Web has become the main activity for hundreds of millions of people around the globe.
Indulging the Indulgent
Need to come up with holiday solutions for that guy whose entire world revolves around his couch? Dragging him outside might be your idea of a good time, but the gifts he'll appreciate most are those that indulge his couch-potato tendencies. This holiday season, make his life even more comfy with a robot that takes care of chores, a game console he can talk to, a personal beer dispenser, and so much more. Fair warning though: He might never leave the sofa again. -- Produced by Alex Davies
Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.xbox.com">X
Xbox 360 and Kinect
Couch potatoes are usually too busy killing zombies to worry about anything else. To make life a little easier, Xbox 360's voice capabilities, powered by Microsoft Tellme cloud speech recognition, let you bark commands at the console. If you're watching a movie, just tell it to play, pause, fast-forward, or rewind. If you're looking for entertainment, let the Xbox know, and it'll use Bing to search for your favorite movies, albums, or games on Xbox Live. Plus, a number of games make it easy to experience the world lying down. Don't just watch football, play it on "Kinect Sports." Or drive through the Alps with "Forza Motorsports." Ready to boogie? Start a dance off on "Dance Central 2." (Xbox 360 and Kinect, $299.99 -- $399.99)
Photo Credit: Alice Truong for Discovery Chan
Laser Pico Projector
Forget about getting your potato to the movies, he wants to stay in. But the next movie night at home can still have that theater experience -- minus the lines, overpriced tickets, and new releases. Microvision's SHOWWX+ is a hand-held laser pico projector that can display on practically any surface up to 100 inches. The SHOWWX+ works on TV-out capable electronics, but it's made specifically for iOS devices. The best way to watch movies at home? A pico projector connected to the iPhone paired with a Bluetooth speaker and streaming Netflix. Bam -- movie on your ceiling. If only microwaved popcorn could compare to the buttery goodness at AMC... (Microvision SHOWWX+, $319)
Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.krups.com/"
5-Liter Beer Tender
Just because your friend prefers to lounge around at home instead of the bar doesn't mean he doesn't like beer. Seriously, who doesn't like beer? Skip the overpriced drinks and small talk with strangers with the Krups BeerTender from Best Buy. It fits 5-liter kegs of Heineken and Newcastle, keeping beer fresh for up to 30 days at the ideal serving temperature of exactly 37.4 degrees. Bottoms up. (Krups BeerTender, $149.99)
Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.pioneerelec
Whether playing "Battlefield 3" or watching the latest "Harry Potter" movie, you want good -- wait, no, amazing -- sound. Throw all consideration for neighbors out the window because once you hook up these Pioneer S-DJ05 speakers, TV speakers are never going to be good enough again. These five-inch two-way powered speakers are workhorses. Their dynamically curved waveguide enclosures direct sound in a wider pattern, and the bass-reflex enclosure extends the low frequency range, providing more mid-bass and bass output. These are sturdy speakers, especially great for audiophiles. One small complaint: The extremely sleek volume knob is tied to a cord that can be too short for some living rooms. Hope your slacker doesn't mind a short walk. (Pioneer S-DJ05, $899)
Photo Credit : <a href="http://www.evolution.
Mint Plus Floor Cleaning Robot
Minus the fear inspired by Cylons, having a robot is great. When you're bored, there's someone to talk to. And if you make a mess, someone -- er, something -- can take care of that for you. Mint Plus, which Evolution Robotics debuted in September, is that something. The machine sweeps and mops on hardwood, tile, and laminate floors, guided by NorthStar 2.0, which acts like an indoor GPS. In addition to using microfiber cleaning cloths, the Mint is also compatible with Swiffer cloths. The included cradle charges the machine in two hours, but the robot can't dock to it without human help -- hopefully, this won't be too much work for your giftee. (Mint Plus, $299.99)
Photo Credit: <a href="http://us.playstation.
PlayStation 3D TV
For the last couple of years, 3D TVs seemed like a gimmick. With displays costing thousands of dollars, it was no wonder 3D technology wasn't taking off in homes like it was in the theaters. At $499, the Sony's PlayStation 3D TV is a relatively cheap option, and ideal for gamers. It's only 24 inches, but it's great for multiplayer games. If two players are in the same room, they see different views on the same TV. Overall, this is a cutting-edge technology, though many people are asking: Where's the remote? If your couch potato doesn't mind turning on the TV the old-fashioned way, this is a great addition to his gaming collection. (PlayStation 3D TV, $499)
Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.griffintech
Beacon Universal Remote App
A tricked-out entertainment system comes with many remotes: one for the TV, game console, speakers, set-top box, Blu-ray player, stereo receiver, cable box, VCR — you name it. If you think a universal remote is the solution, you’re on the right track. But don’t just pick up any old thing in the electronics section of Target. Beacon by Griffin transforms your smartphone into the ultimate remote, no wires or networking required. Using Bluetooth, the Beacon connects with Android and iOS devices, which use the free app Dijit to control all elements of your entertainment system via an infrared blaster. Whoever gets this can say goodbye to remotes for good. (Beacon Universal Remote App, $69.99)
Americans have become so enamored of the Internet, they would more readily forgo television than online access, a survey showed Thursday.
The Pew Research Center survey released ahead of the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web found 53 percent of US Internet users would find it "very hard" to give up Web access, up from 38 percent in 2006.
Even when counting those who don't go online, Pew said 46 percent of all adults would find it hard to give up the Internet.
By contrast, Pew's survey showed 35 percent of all US adults television would be very hard to give up, compared with 44 percent in 2006.
Women were more likely than men to be attached to the Internet, as were people with higher levels of income and education, Pew said in the report issued ahead of the March 12 anniversary.
The cellphone comes in a close second to the Internet: 49 percent of mobile phone owners said it would be difficult to give up their handset, up from 43 percent in 2006. That amounts to 44 percent of all adults who say now that their cell phone would be very hard to live without.
Meanwhile landline telephones are losing favor. Just 28 percent of landline telephone owners said it would be a hardship to live without this, a big drop from 48 percent in 2006. Because many people have already dropped their landlines, the finding means that just 17 percent of all adults would find their landline very hard to give up.
Pew noted the spectacular growth in use of the Web, especially since 1995. Some 87 percent of American adults use the Internet, either from a PC or mobile device, up from 14 percent in 1995. Pew also found that Americans are using the Web more often: 71 percent go online on a typical day, compared with 29 percent in 2000.
In 1995, 42 percent of US adults had never heard of the Internet and another 21 percent had only a vague notion of what it was.
The rise of mobile device use represents the biggest shift in access in recent years: 68 percent of US adults now access the Internet on a cell phone, tablet, or other mobile device, at least occasionally, Pew found.
Pew found that 90 percent of US adults have a cell phone and two-thirds of those use their device to go online. A third of cell phone owners say that their primary online access point is their phone.
Mobile access took a huge leap forward with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, and some 58 percent of adults have a smartphone now.
The report found 90 percent of Internet users say the World Wide Web has been a good thing for them personally and only six percent say it has been a bad thing. Three out of four said it been a good thing for society, while 15 percent say it has been negative.
"Using the Web -- browsing it, searching it, sharing on it -- has become the main activity for hundreds of millions of people around the globe," Pew said. "Its birthday offers an occasion to revisit the ways it has made the internet a part of Americans' social lives."