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Feed their streaming habit

Chances are, your grad already does a lot of video streaming. Heck, he or she probably doesn't even subscribe to cable TV, and uses your cable account to authenticate HBO Go or Watch ESPN (you may not even know it). So when you go to kick 'em off the dole, you can soften the blow by rewarding your grad's hard studies with a new streaming device or even a new TV.

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Amazon Fire TV Stick

Why your grad will love it: Hey, did you know that the Amazon Prime subscription you pay extra for can be used to stream TV, movies and music too? Well, I bet your grad does. Here's a great gift idea: give them a Stick and your Prime sign-in, and let them go to town streaming. You can keep the free Prime shipping for yourself.

As a bonus, the Stick is also the only streamer for this price to support "captive portal" Wi-Fi, which basically means it works better in more hotels and dorms.

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Roku 2 (2015)

Why your grad will love it: Our favorite streamer of 2015 so far is the new Roku 2. Not to be confused with the slower old Roku 2, the new one is lightning quick with all the benefits of Roku's great ecosystem, search and more than 2,000 apps. Your grad likes apps, right?

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Roku 3 (2015)

Why your grad will love it: If you really want to show your grad you care, spend the extra $30 and get him or her a new Roku 3. It one-ups the new Roku 2 with voice search on the point-anywhere remote, as well as a headphone jack for private listening. It's the best streamer on the market at any price.

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Apple TV

Why your grad will love it: Maybe it's the reassuring logo, or the mostly-fulfilled promise of "it just works," or the prestige, but for whatever reason your grad has always been an Apple person. That alone makes the Apple TV the best streamer for him or her.

You'll love the recent price drop, and your grad will love the access to a bunch of great apps as well as photo and video synergy with the iPhone via AirPlay. And if you do want to kick him or her off your HBO Go account, the Apple TV with HBO Now is the next best thing.

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Amazon Fire TV

Why your grad will love it: If he or she loves playing games on the phone, maybe they'll like playing on the big screen even more. The Fire TV delivers all the goodness of the Stick, but adds the best gaming support of any streamer, including support for hundreds of games from Amazon's store. It's as good as TV gaming gets for this price, especially if you spring for the $40 optional controller.

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WD TV Media Player

Why your grad will love it: Is your grad a media hoarder? Let's ask in another way. When you mention a new movie, does your grad invariably say "Oh yeah, I have that one. Don't ask how I got it, but do you want to watch it now?" If so, he or she will appreciate the WD TV. It's designed to play back pretty much any media file your grad throws at it, no matter how questionable its legality.

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TCL Roku TVs

Why your grad will love it: It's a TV as a graduation present. That alone will likely earn their unending admiration.

But if they don't pay for cable, and instead rely on streaming for their video content fix, the Roku TV makes even more sense. It's basically Roku's great ecosystem and app selection without the box, complete with a gee-whiz interface that makes everything easier to use.

Last year's TCL Roku TV is still on sale for cheap and it's still perfectly recommendable, but the 2015 models, which include the 32-inch, cerca $200 size, just started shipping (there's also a 48- and a 55-inch size). We expect the 2014 and 2015 versions to perform basically the same.


Vizio M series

Why your grad will love it: Maybe your grad is the kind of tech nerd who insists on a 4K TV, and if only to hook up his crazy computer for gaming. The Vizio M series is among the least-expensive TVs available with 4K resolution, making it perfect for the pixel counter on your grad list.

We haven't reviewed the 2015 M series yet but we expect it to perform similarly to the 2014 version, which was among our favorite TVs of 2014 for the money.

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LG 55EC9300

Why your grad will love it: It's the best-performing TV CNET has ever reviewed. It's OLED, thin and exceedingly slick and futuristic-looking. Sure it's expensive as all get-out, but then, so is college. If you're feeling generous enough and your grad is deserving enough, there's no better TV to give or receive at this size.

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