The rise of the high-tech man cave
Are you building a Fortress of Solitude this summer?
The man cave is the new tool shed or billiard room, that place where the modern male retreats for a little R&R.
The post-Christmas sales offer the perfect opportunity to deck out your retreat with some high-tech gadgetry.
Of course guys aren't the only ones who need to wind down at the end of the day and we've seen the rise of the woman cave as well.
Tastes may vary but the concept is the same, we all want a space where we can lock out the world for a while and relax.
For some people the perfect Fortress of Solitude requires nothing more than a reading lamp and a comfortable chair.
For others it's a full-blown home entertainment system, complete with a big-arse television and surround sound.
Yet most attempts to carve out some personal space in the home are a story of compromise - limited by space, finances and perhaps the enthusiasm of those you live with.
You might even be able to strike a compromise with a time share agreement on a multi-purpose retreat.
If I was building a high-tech man cave on a budget, I'd probably opt for a jack-all-of-trades entertainment device such as a PlayStation 3.
It's a games machine, CD/DVD/Blu-ray player and Personal Video Recorder (with the PlayTV adaptor), plus you can stream content from your computer and access online movies and TV shows.
The Xbox 360 has recently added Catch Up TV services but still isn't as flexible as the PS3. You'll find great deals on either console this week at the post-Christmas sales.
If your budget doesn't stretch to a big-arse television, you could hook up your games console to an old television for now and call it Phase 1 of your master plan. If the television is so ancient that it's only got an aerial input, you could use an old VCR to bridge the gap.
When it comes time to upgrade your display, you can opt for an older model without all the bells and whistles such as internet access and video streaming, because the PS3 can handle all that. After this you might consider budget surround sound speakers or perhaps wireless headphones.
The rise of the tablet introduces the concept of a portable man cave, as an iPad or Galaxy Tab would meet just about all of your entertainment needs.
Grab yourself some headphones and your Fortress of Solitude could be the kitchen bench, lounge room couch or even the backyard.
Still I don't think it's quite the same, as I think the real appeal of a man or woman cave is not the entertainment features but the personal space.
-Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald