A Cord Cutter Gift Guide

Just in time for Cyber Monday we bring your our list of suggested gifts for the cord cutter or potential cord cutter. Here are some ideas ranging from the most fundamental to the more sophisticated . Let us know if you have some other ideas.

A Subscription to Netflix

Netflix  is still the easiest way to get started  as a cord cutter. At only $7.99 per month, with no contract requirement, unlimited streaming, lots of movies and TV shows.

Aereo TV

Aereo  is a new streaming service that will bring you every local broadcast station at only $8 per month.  At present Aereo is only available in select major cities in the eastern US but they have plans to expand across the country.

photo: oceanerin on flickr

photo: oceanerin on flickr


The Roku Box

I still think a Roku is the best cord cutting appliance. And if you don’t have an Xbox or “smart TV” one of the best ways to quickly get Netflix.

Apple TV

For Apple devotees the Apple TV set top is  the Cupertino approved answer to the Roku. If you have iPhones and Macbooks you might prefer it.


This is a bigger step.  The indoor Mohu antennas are very popular and would be an easy way to get started.  But for best reception outdoor antennas always work better. Maybe you could throw in a gift certificate for installation with the neighborhood handyman.

A new Flat Screen TV

If you and your family agree to turn off cable in 2014, maybe you can justify upgrading your big screen TV  with the cost savings.  A 42″ flat screen will actually cost significantly less than what you will save.


Some Stocking Stuffers

Because it’s so small and cheap I put Google’s Chromecast in this category. This is a  great way to port YouTube from your iPhone to your big screen. And at the time of this writing Google just dropped the price.

An HDMI cable is a good way to connect your PC to your TV and you’ll probably need an extra one if you start adding cord cutting appliances.

A pair of NFL tickets for week 16 might ease the pain of the cord cutter who just lost ESPN.

Some reading material?  “Dump Cable TV” by Tom Galland get’s pretty good reviews on Amazon.

And if you can’t afford an iPad, the inexpensive Kindle Fire is sure to be a big hit.

Happy Holidays Cord Cutters!

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10 Responses to A Cord Cutter Gift Guide

  1. TabloTV says:

    If you’re missing live TV, check out http://www.tablotv.com! Browse, record and stream FREE local HDTV broadcast programs on any device, anywhere, anytime.

  2. Greg says:

    Thanks for the comment Tablo. I see that you are still in the crowd funding stage.Is Indiegogo the Canadian version of Kickstarter?

    • Len Mullen says:

      Indiegogo is international. Regardless, Tablo is not ready for prime time.

      It’s tough to shop for others. Cord cutting is very personal.

      Netflix is a no brainer. if you know a cord cutter who has a capable device but no Netflix, then go ahead and hook them up.

      Until Aereo works out the continuous viewing problem, I cannot recommend that service.

      I hate the new Rokus. The R3 has no composite and the new LT, R1, and R2 lack wired ethernet. Deal killers all around. Get a Roku 2 XS refurb from Newegg or Woot.

      Speaking of Woot, Simple TV DVRs with lifetime Premier Service are going for $90. That is a great deal. The software is buggy, the documentation is awful, and support is terrible, but I love my Simple DVRs — all four of them.

      Playon makes a great gift for someone willing to run a server. They just added HD, so you can watch and record streams in 720p. PlayLater saves these as MP4s that you can play anywhere with or without internet access. Fun for planes and trains — you ride a train, right?

      I also recommend a HDHR3-US. The two tuner HDHomeRun can feed several servers and PCs, but I use it as an installation tool. It shows Signal Strength, Signal Quality, and Symbol Quality using software that can be run on a laptop. Great for roof or attic work.

      I like the Chromecast as a gift.

      I am eagerly awaiting the release of a new Channel Master K77 line of DVRs made by EchoStar. My inlaws will get one if they come out before Christmas.

      • Greg says:

        Thanks for the mini review Len. Would you want both a Simple.TV and the Channel Master?

        • Len Mullen says:

          Would I or would a regular person? I would have both. I like the multi-tuner set top DVR for pausing, rewinding, slo-mo, and spontaneous recording. I like the Simple whole house DVR for capturing entire series for playback at anytime on any set.

    • Greg says:

      Thanks for the article Bob – interesting although they present statistics in a way to make them more dramatic. The 2nd half of that huge Q3 sub loss was this:

      They gained 574,000 new ones, for a net loss of 113,000, according to the LA Times:

      Also I can’t buy the premise. I don’t see the television appliance itself ever going away. Even in an all OTT world the television itself is still necessary.

      When I was young and living in my first apartment I remember being part of that “No TV” world. (Those were good times.) Eventually I acquired a cheap set. If i had a laptop and broadband (not yet invented) I could have gone a lot longer without.

      • Len Mullen says:

        I don’t remember ever not having a television. A lot of televisions were sold yesterday. My sister bought three for her kids’ bedrooms.

        The challenge of interpreting the numbers is that their data doesn’t directly relate to the question they are trying to answer. Another way to say that is that their data does not support their theory. Another way to say that is that you can twist statistics to make any point.

        There were five families at my Thanksgiving table. Three were OTA’ers who had no interest in plugging in. One was a DirecTV subscriber who was somewhat dissatisfied and the other was a Comcast subscriber who was interested but not changing anything. Two of the OTA’ers have never subscribed to anything — I think they call them cable nevers — but they were old like me not college kids watching YT on a laptop.

        That’s just a sample, but it shows that the picture analysts paint may be suspect.

        My sister (who was not at the table) has got a lot of directly connected televisions and will be impacted by encryption. I can see them adding OTA/streaming to the mix. That will represent lost revenue, but probably not a lost subscriber. I posted the OTA view of this in August…


  3. Len Mullen says:

    Just one. Big bird, small families. We watched the football games OTA, of course.

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