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Cable Technology Feature Article

December 17, 2012

The Holiday Gift Guide for the Video Buff

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

While many have already made their arrangements as far as gifts go for the holiday shopping season -- most of Hanukkah has already come and gone while Christmas and Kwanzaa remain -- there are still plenty of shopping days left, and plenty of people who are likely waiting for further big deals. When it comes to gifting for the person who knows anything and everything about television, be of appropriately seasonal good cheer as there are plenty of possibilities to give them a happy holiday gift.

Since streaming video is a phenomenon that’s value has yet to be fully realized, it's beginning to develop a whole lot of merchandise around it. There are ways to get better movie rentals through services like Roku, which offers a line of set-top boxes with access to Netflix and Hulu (News - Alert) Plus, as well as Amazon Video on Demand. 

Going with an Apple TV set-top box will also offer that up, as well as support for iTunes, which has a nicely eclectic mix of titles, including some stuff even I couldn't find anywhere else, like the late-nineties fusion of WWE and American Gladiators known as “Battle Dome.”

There are those, however, who prefer the network television offerings, and for them, there are plenty of possibilities as well. If the video buff in question lives within 25 miles of broadcasters, then the Flatwave antenna, available through Amazon and the Winegard Company, may be just the thing. It's designed to hook up quickly—reports say it can be plugged in and ready in under ten minutes—and can hook up most anywhere in the home. Once it's ready to go, it can get signals from up to 25 miles away and bring them in 1080p, where available.

But if the video buff in question is happy with their current cable provider, then there's the possibility to upgrade their cable experience. Picking up a Samsung (News - Alert) Galaxy tablet with the Peel app will step up the cable experience by turning that tablet into a massive touchscreen remote, complete with local synchronization. It's not just about changing the channel, though, as Peel allows users to group their shows of choice into convenient groups for easy watching, or for easy avoiding. The Boxee (News - Alert) TV system, meanwhile, will even throw a DVR into the mix, but since it's cloud-based, a solid Internet connection will prove necessary to use it fully.


For those viewers happy with their current setup, consider peripherals; multioutlet surge protectors are often welcome for users with a lot of components in their system, and for those who don't have the components they'd like, a more high-end gift can come into play by picking up the speakers and receivers and Blu-ray players they'd like to turn their entertainment center into a full-bore home theater.

Finally, for those givers who don't have a whole lot of cash to throw around, consider the gift card approach. Gift cards for service providers like Netflix and Hulu Plus, gift cards for iTunes and Amazon on Demand, or even a gift card to that local video store—trust me, they could use the help—in a basket with plenty of good old fashioned movie goodies like popcorn and chocolate-coated snacks can come into play too.

So for the video buff, there are plenty of terrific options out there for holiday shopping. No matter what holiday they actually celebrate, having plenty of options helps ensure a happy one for all concerned.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

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