We already loved this little $50 video streamer, which turns any HDMI-equipped TV into a gateway to online entertainment bliss: Netflix, Amazon, Vudu, YouTube, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, HBO Now and literally hundreds of other streaming channels. And now it gets better for 2017, with a new voice-activated remote that can also control Dad's TV's power and volume.
If $50 is too pricey, check out the $30 Roku Express. It loses the Stick's voice remote, but it has all of the same channels, and the 2017 model is considerably zippier than than its underpowered predecessor.
Even if your Dad is stuck with an ancient pre-HD tube television, you can still give him the gift of Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Amazon and all the other great streaming video options. The Roku Express+ connects to old-school RCA jacks (yellow, red, white).
Embrace the mobile lifestyle with the $35 Chromecast video streamer. Connect it to any TV, and use your phone as the remote control for services like YouTube, Netflix and many more. Just note that it doesn't offer Amazon Video.
The Chromecast Audio isn't a wireless speaker in and of itself, but this $35 Wi-Fi gadget adds streaming audio to any old stereo Dad might have laying around. It offers universal compatibility with Android phones, and some (but not all) iOS apps can stream to it, too.
In addition to providing a home for the Alexa voice assistant, Amazon's $50 Wi-Fi speaker handles music, too. The audio quality isn't fantastic, but Dad can connect it to any other stereo or speaker system.
Google's most affordable smart home speaker isn't quite as impressive as the Echo Dot, and it lacks a line out. But it sounds a bit better than the Dot, and it puts all the smarts of the Google Assistant at Dad's beck and call.
Yes, everyone's phone already doubles as a music player. But for as low as $30, this standalone mini MP3 player is useful for runners and gym rats who may want to set their phones aside for a workout. It works with both PCs and Macs, and -- best of all -- doesn't need to sync with iTunes: just drag and drop your music files.
The $50 BioLite PowerLight Mini is a handy lantern, bike light and charger all in one, making it a great choice for eco-minded fathers who enjoy camping or other outdoor activities. Dad can clip it to a pocket or strap or mount it to his bike (mount included) and its 1,350-mAh USB rechargeable battery provides up to 52 hours of light. It can also give his phone a backup boost. Lighting modes include White Lantern, Red Night Vision, Red/White Strobe and White Point Light.
BioLite's new mobile light has a solar panel on the back so you can charge it during the day by clipping it on the the backside of a backpack. It's only $25.
Everything Tech Gear Solar Lantern
When it comes to self-explanatory product names, this gadget has everything else beat. The Everything Tech Gear All-In-One Portable Solar Camping Lantern, Phone Charger, and Flashlight fits in the palm of your hand. The Lantern has three light settings and runs on an 800 mAh battery. When fully charged it can run for about five hours at full brightness and ten hours at low according to Everything Tech Gear. The device offers a USB charging port for phones and other portable gadgets and a micro-USB port for power. It expands like an accordion to about 5 inches in height and also has a handle for hanging. The lantern costs $29.99, and oh yeah, and its waterproof.