The 11 Best Gifts to Buy for Cord Cutters in 2018

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

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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.

Our Top Picks

Amazon Firestick 4K

Gone are the days when watching TV meant dealing with multiple remotes and tangled wires. The new Amazon Fire Stick 4K elevates the entertainment experience, introducing the next-gen Alexa Voice Remote, allowing you to do everything from turn on your favorite show to check the weather, control the lights, or play music. More than 500,000 movies and TV episodes are available from apps including Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, and Prime Video, along with millions of popular websites. Music-lovers can get ad-free access to their favorite songs with an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription. Users can also enjoy music, podcasts, and live radio through other apps like Spotify and iHeartRadio. For sharp visuals and audio, the streaming stick is compatible with 4K Ultra HD, Dolby Vision, HDR, HDR10+, and Dolby Atmos. Featuring 8GB of storage and a top-of-the-line quad-core 1.7 GHz processor, the Amazon Fire Stick 4K boasts dedicated volume, mute, and power buttons, meaning your old remote may be looking at retirement.  

Still can't decide on what you want? Our round-up of the best TV streaming devices can help you find what you're looking for.

Google Wi-Fi System

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.

1ByOne HDTV Antenna

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.

Still can't decide on what you want? Our round-up of the best TV antennas can help you find what you're looking for.

TiVO Bolt OTA

The TiVO Bolt OTA is one of the most interesting items on this list, purely because it offers a bridge between the past and future in one device. The Bolt OTA is a DVR that you can connect with a digital TV antenna, meaning you can record, store, pause, and playback shows or movies you pick up over the air. This option is especially enticing if you already own a digital TV antenna and can pick up lots of over-the-air channels like ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS, and The CW. You can record up to 150 hours of HD programming and can record up to four shows at once, just in case you have competing shows. The Bolt OTA can also stream programming from top services like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video. The base Bolt OTA box costs $250, but you also have to pay for the TiVO DVR service for everything to work properly. This service requires you to pay a monthly fee of $7 per month (with a one-year commitment), pay $70 annually, or pay a one-time $250 fee.

Roku Premiere

Roku has been around for a long while and continues to impress with its wide range of affordable offerings. Now one of the best deals you can get for an all-in-one streaming device is the Roku Premiere. The Roku Premiere offers you a way to watch all of your streaming services from one device, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO Now, YouTube, Sling TV, and more. But it one-ups the standard offering by letting you watch everything in 4K HD, making your shows and movies look like they're coming to life.

For easier setup, the Premiere includes a free HDMI cable. And to make it easier to sort through Roku’s more than a thousand channel options on the Premiere box, you can download the Roku mobile app for iOS or Android, giving you more control from your phone. All of this is available in one package at an unbelievable $40, the lowest-priced box to offer 4K and HDR streaming.

Logitech Harmony Smart Control

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.

Sonos PLAYBAR

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.

Streaming Service Gift Cards

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.

Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Generation)

One of Amazon’s most popular Echo devices, the 3rd generation Amazon Echo Dot is truly awesome. The new design is a stark contrast from the previous plastic models, with a new fabric covering that’s available in three different colors. Fortunately, the improvements to Echo Dot 3rd Gen are more than just skin deep.

As portable as ever, the diminutive size of the Dot belies its capabilities. With Alexa on board, it can call an Uber, tell you the weather, order a pizza, find movie times, or add items to your Amazon cart. It’s perfect for managing your life with reminders, timers, and creating grocery lists. Compatible smart devices like a coffee maker or kitchen lights can be controlled with your voice using Alexa.

Ask Alexa to play a song or artist through Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, and other streaming services. If there are additional Echo devices in other rooms, they can synchronize to fill the whole house with music. Plus, the most recent generation has the ability to reach volumes 70 percent louder than previous models. 

Philips Hue Ambiance Bulb Starter Kit

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.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best smart lightbulbs

Google Chromecast

Google Chromecast

Courtesy of Best Buy

A Chromecast is a glorified wireless receiver for your TV that is controlled via your smartphone. Use Google’s Chromecast extensions or the app to stream content from your phone to your TV. It can be a little funky when you’re trying to view standard video, but it is pretty handy when you want to project web pages or other computer apps onto a screen. The latest generation has stepped up the performance of the device, offering a more seamless integration with your Wi-Fi (supporting 2.4GHz or 5 GHz). It can stream a resolution of 1080p at up to 60fps, so it isn’t going to be supporting any ultra-HD or 4K content — though it’s important to note that Google does have an “Ultra’ version that does support these resolutions.

It comes in either chalk or charcoal with dimensions that sit at just about 2x2 inches, so it’s a tiny device that’s a great, affordable wireless streaming solution for cord cutters.