The 10 Best Gifts to Buy for Cord Cutters in 2017

It's time to stopped getting ripped off by cable providers

Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Cutting the cord can be one of the most liberating things a tech owner can do. Corresponding with the rise of Netflix, cord cutting is literally cutting off your cable plan in favor of an Internet-only service. That’s because there are myriad streaming options out there, from standalone apps like Hulu, to channel-based services like HBO NOW, that basically make traditional cable packages obsolete by saving you tons of money. But it’s much more than that – cord-cutting is a culture of embracing evolving smart tech. That’s why we put together this handy gift guide for any occasion highlighting the best tech for your home, the most seamless streaming devices and everything in between.

The Amazon Firestick offers arguably the best bang for your buck when it comes to streaming devices. Many higher dollar streaming platforms will give you seamless performance, but the Firestick’s user interface is perfectly serviceable for most casual Netflixers at a fraction of the price. What sets it apart, though, is its open source nature. Side-loading apps to the device is easy because it operates a Fire-based Android OS. This gives you the opportunity to load on flexible apps like Kodi that streams third-party media and even lets you access your own video files off the device.

 

If you have cable service or not, chances are you need a reliable Wi-Fi router anyway. But when you rely entirely on streaming, those speeds have to be even higher. Enter: Google’s Wi-Fi system. The tech giant recently tasked their hardware wizards with coming up with a Wi-Fi system that provides seamless signal in your home, without dead zones. And it turns out, the trick was as simple as providing a system of mini-routers that all work the same way, positioned evenly throughout your home. Think of this as the gift of no more loading screens.

This is the sleeper gift on this lift – the thing that the recipient might not know they need until they see it in action. Even if you aren’t watching live cable TV, chances are you’re going to want to watch the big game live or that Sunday night awards show. Live network TV is still a full-fledged entertainment machine and this HD antenna lets you snag all of those channels in full HD right from thin air. Just tack it to the wall, plug in the coax and you’re good to go. It has a 50-mile range.

If you don’t have cable, you can’t record shows to DVR, right? Not true. In tandem with an HD Antenna, you can gift this seriously full-featured TiVo standalone DVR. You plug it right into your antenna and then you can record shows just the same way you would with a more traditional cable video recording box. You can record up to four HD shows at once and the box itself features 1TB of storage space. That translates to 150 hours of video. The best part? Unlike some other TiVo boxes, this thing doesn’t require a monthly subscription.

Roku was one of the first streaming names on the scene, and even though tech giants like Apple and Amazon have answered with their own streaming solutions, these OG players are still worth their weight in viewing. The Roku Premier+ is kind of like the all-star member of the larger Roku lineup. This thing broadcasts in 4K UHD, comes standard with a quad-core processor and offers 802.11ac dual band wireless, so your signal matches your resolution. It’s also incorporated HDR for more vibrant, wider range colors. Of course it also streams content from anything there’s a Roku app for (so, pretty much anything you can think), plus it’s got a super responsive remote with a headphone port for private viewing.

One of the often under-discussed drawbacks of opting out of cable is just how many devices you’ll need to catch all your favorite programming. So, to avoid a coffee table overflowing with remotes, turn to the Harmony Smart Control. This magic little box sits on your TV stand and connects via Wi-Fi to any smart-enabled device. It also comes with a completely programmable remote control (and by programmable, we mean you can get these buttons to do any combo of actions that any of your devices require). Plus, Harmony offers a smartphone app that works the same as the remote.

Honestly, much of the Sonos line would fit well on this list. Their whole MO fits the cord-cutting lifestyle. But the Soundbar is particularly fitting because it’ll connect via Wi-Fi not only to your TV (for the ultimate movie nights), but also to your favorite audio streaming services via a standalone app. And with nine amplified drivers (including six woofers and three tweeters), you better believe this skinny little system packs a punch. Roll that into some seriously cool extras like a speech clarity mode (say goodbye to subtitles) and a night mode that boosts quiet sounds and attenuates loud ones, and you have a winner.

Most times, a gift card can be a real “womp womp” sort of gift. But if you bundle in a gift card with one of the above devices to a service that that device will need, then it’s a really great complement. You can grab gift cards right on Amazon for most of the popular services such as Netflix, Hulu and more. For bonus points, check out some more unique streaming platforms like Tribeca Shortlist – an indie movie lover’s dream with director’s cut picks and limited run films from one of the world’s best film fests.

To tie everything on this list together, you’ll want to hook up your cord cutter with the ultimate in cordless connectivity. Think of the Echo Dot not just as a voice-controlled smart interface, but also, as the chance to finally live in the future. The Dot works via Wi-Fi and is controlled with the Alexa app or by just saying “Alexa”. There are a ton of compatible devices (including most on this list) and it’s sure to be a winner for any recipient.

Any cord cutter is going to gravitate toward smart home devices, so it’s a safe bet to gift them something like the Philips Hue Lightbulb. There’s also an added benefit when it comes to streaming movies: you can cue up the Hue system to dim or color lighting to fit any mood. Horror movie? Go with a dark, dimmed red. Chill date night? A soft, calming blue. The bulb interacts with your Wi-Fi network, so you can control it via any smart-enabled interface.

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