Below, I have my favorite media streamers you still have time to give to people on your list.
If you’re a Mac user, you already know how easy to use Apple products are and if you’re giving a media streamer to a novice, you’ll appreciate that quality in a device. With Airplay, streaming content from devices on your network to an Apple TV is easy as pie. It practically sets up by its self up and with iTunes, Netflix, and a growing number of others, you’re never far from great HD content.
As you may know, the Chromecast uses your smartphone or tablet as a remote and at around $30 is a great stocking stuffer for someone who wants to stream content to their TV. Since it’s newer than Apple TV there is slightly less support for it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not just as easy for a novice to set up and start using. There is also the ability to mirror your browser window to your TV, which is an awesome feature! You’ll also notice that you can name your chromecast based on the room that its in, perhaps this is Google suggesting you need one for every room in your house? Well, in any case at around $30 they might be on to something there.
The newest kid on the block, The Amazon Fire Stick goes for about $40 and while it moves pretty fast it heavily favors the user to have an Amazon Prime account for media viewing. It does offer 4x the storage and 2x the memory of Chromecast, plus a dual-core processor and 1 GB of memory.
Lastly, the Roku 3 has, by far, the largest number of ‘channels’ vs. any other competing product. If you like exploring content beyond the popular services (Netflix, Amazon, etc.) you should consider a Roku. It also has a remote with headphone jack “to crank up that late-night flick while the kids (or parents) sleep”