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Best streaming-video boxes for gifting

You don't have a choice about waiting to open gifts, but these streaming-video boxes ensure you'll never need to wait to watch a movie.

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Matthew_Moskovciak.jpg

Matthew Moskovciak

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1 of 4 Josh Miller/CNET

Roku LT

You don't have a choice about waiting to open gifts, but these streaming-video boxes ensure you (or a lucky person on your shopping list) will never wait to watch a movie again.
The Roku LT would be a great product at double the price, and at $50 it's a steal. Roku has managed to shave the price way down, jettisoning unnecessary features, while keeping all of the streaming content we love -- Netflix, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, MLB.TV, and Pandora, to name a few. And if the LT is sold out, as it often is, go for the $60 Roku HD, which is nearly identical.
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2 of 4 Jason Cipriani/CNET

Apple TV

If you have even one iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch), the Apple TV is a no-brainer. AirPlay is the killer feature here, letting you wirelessly stream audio and video from nearly any app, straight to your TV. The recent update to add full-screen mirroring from Mountain Lion on recent Macs only sweetens the deal.
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3 of 4 Sarah Tew/CNET

Panasonic DMP-BDT220

Optical media may be dying, but it's not dead yet and the Panasonic DMP-BDT200 is the best Blu-ray player for all your discs. It has the best combination of Blu-ray performance and streaming-media features, plus built-in Wi-Fi.
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4 of 4 Sarah Tew/CNET

PS3 Super Slim

For all-around home entertainment, there's no better value than the PS3 Super Slim. It's more compact than ever, with the same unbeatable combination of Blu-ray playback, streaming video, and high-def gaming. And with regular firmware updates that add more features, it's the gift that keeps on giving.

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