The Best iPhone Gifts for Movie Fans

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With big screens and more video options than ever before, iPhones are great mobile platforms for watching movies and TV shows. Whether it's commuting work or taking longer trips—on a bus across the country or flying at 35,000 feet—an iPhone packed with movies and TV shows can be a terrific way to pass the time. If you've got a big movie or TV fan in your life, here are some ideas for great presents this holiday season.

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4th Gen. Apple TV
image credit Apple Inc.

Got someone on your gift list who watches a lot of movies via iTunes, Netflix, or Hulu? This little box may be the perfect thing for them. It allows users to stream video over the Internet and play it at 1080p HD on their HDTVs. Even better, the latest version adds an App Store, games, Siri to let you control the device by voice, iPhone integration, and much more. The new Apple TV may revolutionize our living rooms. At under US$200, that's a pretty great deal.

Learn more: All About the 4th Generation Apple TV More »

If your recipient likes the idea of the Apple TV, but you want to spend less to get similar functionality, check out a streaming stick. These devices are about the size of a USB drive, plug into the USB ports on HDTVs, and allow users to stream all kind of computer- and web-based content like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. Options for these devices include Google's Chromecast, Amazon's Fire TV Stick, and Roku's Streaming Stick. Expect to spend $30-$50.

Learn more: Chromecast vs. Apple TV: Which Is the Best Streaming Device

When you've got a universal remote, you can forget grabbing one remote for the TV, another for the Blu-ray player, and a third for the cable box. These handy devices can control all of those components—and more—and can be configured on your computer. While universal remotes can be expensive (expect to spend $200+), they more than pay for themselves in convenience and coolness. Anyone who spends a lot of time watching movies and TV will be thrilled to have one.

iPhones don't just display video on their built-in screens. They can also output video to TVs. While obviously not a good option for watching video while traveling, if your videos live on your iPod or iPhone, or you want to bring a big selection of movies to friends' houses, these cables are great. The cables cost from about US$20 to about $75 and are designed for devices with the 30-pin Dock Connector (though you can always add a Dock Connector-to-Lightning adapter for newer devices).

If you've got HD content on your iPad or iPhone and an HDTV, you'll want to make sure that you're sending that content to your HDTV at its highest resolution. Doing that requires using HDMI, the standard HD connector on modern TVs. The latest iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch don't have an HDMI port, but with this adapter from Apple that plugs into the Lightning dock connector, you'll not only have one, you'll have a fully HD video environment. Expect to spend around $50 on the adapter. If you don't already have one, you'll also need to buy an HDMI cable.

Most people put their Apple TVs near their cable boxes or Blu-ray players, but if you're got a complex home theater setup (for instance, if you show your movies on a projector), you may need to mount your Apple TV to a wall or ceiling. If that's the case, a mounting kit designed specifically for the Apple TV will give you the best result. The kit from TotalMount is well-reviewed and should set you back under $30.

The iPod touch is a great option for movie fans thanks to its 4-inch, high-resolution Retina Display screen. The iPod touch displays movies in widescreen format, improving the viewing experience. With up to 128 GB of storage (enough for 80+ hours of video) and the ability to record 1080p HD video on the 6th generation model, the iPod touch is a terrific little package for movie lovers. Combine this with a great music player and options at the App Store, like Apple's iMovie video editor (Purchase at iTunes), you've got everything you need.

Learn more: All About the 6th Generation iPod touch

Everyone who owns an Apple device of any kind—iPhone or Mac, Apple TV or iPad—can enjoy an iTunes Store gift card. With that card, they can buy music and videos, apps and audiobooks and iBooks. With a practically limitless selection of entertainment and productivity tools in Apple's stores, an iTunes gift card is a terrific small gift or the perfect accompaniment when you give an iPhone, iPod, or other Apple product.

Learn more: How to Use an iTunes Gift Card

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DVD & Blu-ray Ripping software

MacGo Blue-Ray Player screenshot
image credit: MacGo

For movie fans with big Blu-ray and DVD libraries, these programs can help them convert their discs into iPhone-compatible video files. There are many programs that do this, ranging from free to those that cost $20-$40, or a little more for Blu-ray compatibility (if you have a Mac, you'll also need a separate Blu-ray drive; Apple has never shipped a Blu-ray-compatible drive). They vary in output quality, so try a free download or read reviews before buying.