We are kicking off our 2009 Holiday Gift Guide with the Roku HD-XR player. Why? Well, we think that it’s the perfect time to introduce someone to the new hotness that is TV, delivered over the web, and right into the living room. Sure, Netflix has come to the Xbox 360, but if you want streaming access to the Netflix service and don’t own a game console, this is your cheapest barrier to entry. The HD-XR model also gives you access to the Amazon Unbox catalogue, as well as the entire MLB game service as well, if you are subscribed.
Definitely a great gift for movie buffs, the Roku HD-XR player is able to stream over 12,000 movies and television shows from the Netflix Watch Instantly catalogue, and over 45,000 from Amazon Video on Demand. It connects to your home network through an ethernet port, or over Wi-Fi, connecting at up to 802.11n if you have it. There’s also a USB port on back, which Roku says is for future use. Our guess is that they’ll be allowing the device to read from an external USB drive, which would be stellar.
The actual device is tiny, so it takes up barely any space, and setup takes just a couple of minutes - very simple. Of course, a Netflix subscription is required, but once you have that, everything else is a piece of cake.
Honorable Mention: If you want all the features of the Roku HD-XR, but don’t need the USB port or 802.11n wireless speeds, you can grab the Roku HD Player for $99!
Read More | Roku HD-XR
Here’s one that the kids are sure to love - Kota the Triceratops is a rideable dinosaur. Did you catch that? A life-sized baby dinosaur to be exact, Kota is 40-inches long, and has a spring-loaded seat and handle. He also sports a smile on his face, which should mean that children won’t be scared of him. Kota has 11 sensores, so it reacts intelligently to sound as well as touch. He will react by turning his head, tail, horns, or even by roaring. You can also feed him some leaves, which will cause the dino to make a munching sound. The best part? Kota sells for $299 - but Amazon is currently selling him for just $150 - that is 50% off! Better hurry though, no telling how long that deal will last.
Read More | Kota the Triceratops 50% off
If you want an inexpensive camcorder that gives you a bit more quality than what you’d find with a Kodak ZI6 or Flip Video camera, we think the Samsung SC-MX20 would be up your alley. This camera offers some nice features that the other low-end cams just don’t have, like image stabilization, face detection, and a 24x optical zoom. It accepts SD and MMC cards up to 32GB, and has an internal battery life of 3 hours. The Samsung SC-MX20 retails for $250, but we found it on Amazon for 15% off at $212.
Oh, and for those of you who just have to have the high definition version, the Samsung SC-MX20C can be had for 30% off on Amazon, for $592.60.
Read More | Samsung SC-MX20
If you wanna pick up a YouTube-ready video camera for Mom, we are hard pressed to find something as good as the Kodak ZI6, for the price. This little camera shoots in 720p high-definition at 60 frames per second, and can also take regular old still images as well. Other cameras, like the Flip Mino can’t do that. It supports SD cards in sizes up to 32GB, which basically means you’ll be able to shoot video until your (rechargeable) battery dies, as opposed to worrying about how much space you have left. You can pick them up from Kodak for $153, they’re available in pink, as well as black. Get it quick though, because they are on sale now. After 12/15, they go back up to their normal price of $179.
Read More | Kodak ZI6 product page
We’ve been messing with our T-Mobile G1 for a few days now, in preparation for a full review, but we are confident enough in the device to list it here in our Holiday Gift Guide. The T-Mobile G1 is the first phone on the market that features Google’s Android OS. Along with the Google love, the G1 features 3G speeds, a physical QWERTY keyboard, and a 3 megapixel camera. The software itself features all the goodness you’d expect from Google, meaning integration with Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube, and Google Maps with the super-cool Street View Compass mode. There’s also a store that allows you to download apps, games, and the like. If you want to get someone a smartphone, and they are on T-Mobile, this is the one to get. You can pick it up from T-Mobile for $179.
Read More | T-Mobile G1
We’ve been big fans of Slacker since we saw it earlier this year at CES. Now, we were big fans of the Slacker Internet radio service, but that meant you had to keep Slacker in your browser. With the Slacker G2, all that Internet radio goodness is now portable. So, why the Slacker G2 over a regular MP3 player? Well, first off, the owner doesn’t have to pay for the music. You don’t even have to use a computer to transfer music to the device, as that can all be done with the devices itself. It connects to the free Slacker service over Wi-Fi, and will update itself with music whenever it has a connection. The 4 GB Slacker G2 supports 25 stations, and retails for $199.99. You can pick one up at Amazon.
Read More | Slacker G2
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