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Best streaming and TV gifts for your 2018 grad

It's time to stop studying and turn on the TV! Your new graduate worked hard to get through school, and he or she deserves an entertaining new gift. Here's a few suggestions.

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David Katzmaier
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1 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

Roku Express ($30)

Dirt-cheap and awesome, the Express can turn any TV with an HDMI port into a streaming powerhouse. If you just want to spend as little as possible on a streamer, it's your best bet this year.

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2 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

Roku Express Plus ($35)

Did your grad inherit an older TV that doesn't have HDMI? The Express Plus is the answer, delivering Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and everything else via an old-school yellow video connection. 

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3 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

Google Chromecast ($35)

Your grad is always on her phone. She loves watching YouTube videos. You love a bargain. Sounds like Chromecast, which allows her to blow up those phone videos to TV size, is the perfect gift.

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4 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote ($40)

Or maybe your grad likes to talk to Alexa so much that he wants it on his TV also. This streamer could be just the ticket.

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5 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

Roku Streaming Stick ($50)

If you're looking for slightly nicer streaming gift for your grad, Roku's stick offers the invaluable convenience of controlling TV power and volume with the included remote.

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Roku Streaming Stick Plus ($70)

What's better than a Roku Stick? A Roku Stick with 4K and HDR. The Plus is designed to deliver the highest-quality video from Netflix, Amazon and others, but your grad will need a 4K and/or HDR-capable TV to take full advantage.

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Apple TV ($150)

If your grad has a bunch of stuff on iTunes, or she just wants something that looks and feels a lot like her iPhone, the new Apple TV is just the ticket. In addition to numerous TV apps it also works with many of the games and other apps she might already own.

At this price, however, it might make more sense to spend a bit more for the 4K version.

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Apple TV 4K ($180)

Take everything we said before about the Apple TV and add compatibility with the latest 4K resolution and high dynamic range TV shows and movies. It's a grown-up-level gift for your video-centric Apple fan grad.

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9 of 18 Sarah Tew/CNET

Nvidia Shield ($200)

So your grad loves gaming almost as much as he loves streaming. The new Shield could make him a happy camper, especially if he already has a 4K TV.

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10 of 18 Sarah Tew / CNET

TCL S305 Roku TV ($160 and up)

As stoked as your grad would be to get a new TV with thousands of built-in streaming apps, you'll be even more stoked at the value. TCL's least-expensive Roku TVs range from 32 to 49 inches.

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TCL S405 series 4K Roku TV ($300 and up)

Your grad loves all the built-in Roku apps but maybe deserves a TV that a bit bigger -- and still ultra-affordable. The S405 is one of the least expensive 4K TVs available and comes in sizes from 43 to 65(!) inches.

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12 of 18 Sarah Tew / CNET

Vizio E series, 60-inch and larger ($600 and up)

Is your grad moving out, perhaps to a place with enough room for a really big TV? The Vizio E series provides some of the best picture quality for the money in larger sizes.

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TCL P series 4K Roku TV ($600)

Looking for the blend of Roku smarts, excellent image quality and an affordable price? The P series is as good as it gets, delivering all of that goodness to your deserving grad. Too bad it only comes in one size: 55 inches.

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Vizio M series ($550 and up)

So what if your grad doesn't want a 55-inch TV, but still values great image quality? The Vizio M is the answer among midpriced TVs.

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LG OLEDB7A series ($1,600 and up)

So what about that grad who knocked it out of the park in school and has always wanted the best TV money can buy? Look no further than LG's OLED televisions, which cost a bundle but repay it with perfect black levels and a lifetime of gratitude from your grad.

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Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 640 ($360)

And now for something completely different. Your grad loves movie night more than mere TV and has a big enough space to stretch out a huge projector image. This Epson is one of the least expensive decent models available.

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Optoma HD142X ($550)

So what if your grad really likes movie night? The step-up answer to the Epson is this Optoma, which has full 1080p resolution and a gorgeous picture for the money.

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Optoma UHD60 ($1,800)

And the step-waaaay-up version of that Optoma is this, one of the first somewhat affordable projectors to deliver 4K resolution. Beyond the extra pixels, your lucky grad will appreciate its overall superb image quality.

Check out the full Grads Gift Guide.

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