Some Tools To Help You Decide What OTT Device to Gift for Christmas

I just took the How Millennial Are You? test from the Pew Research Center and discovered I’m fooling nobody.

Let’s just say, I don’t act my age but I’m also not at all a millennial.  

One of the huge things that sent me tumbling in the quiz calculation is that I confessed to watching more than one hour of TV yesterday.

But the fact is, I don’t think we watch much more than an hour a night, which means we probably watch at least two. So we’ve been thinking of cutting the cord.

There’s a lot of help and encouragement out there. This Christmas season connected TV devices are way hot. MarketWatch has a helpful interactive device that lets you decide just how TV-addled you are, and what to do about it. The calculator  determines from the list of shows you say you watch what’s the best OTT device for you, and how much you’ll save by doing it.

Time Magazine named Google’s Chromecast dongle the gadget of the year. Despite some limitations it now has, it only costs $35 and is about the size of a Bic lighter so it goes into Christmas stockings easily. Also it’s simple to operate, the perfect gateway drug to the new OTT world.

Thankfully. put together a simple charticle  that compares the various cord-connecting possibilities for various products including Chromesast, AppleTV, and Roku, with a list of what online alternative each has compared to the list of what they don’t have; in every case, you’re missing something.  

Those Roku and Apple devices also are relatively inexpensive and not impossible to understand so they might be good at Christmastime. So is a smart TV, of course. (At this point, many believe Roku delivers the most for the buck, but the cheaper Chromecast may have the most upside.) There’s also Aereo, if in the long run it doesn’t turn in to a tech version of “L.A. Law,” and TiVo, which seems to be oddly muted these days.

If you’re doing this as a holiday gift, remember the up and the down. Up: Your parents, siblings and relatives will be so impressed that you’re up to date and may actually thank you someday. Down: They may not understand a thing you’re talking about, and you know, really , they’re not going to thank you. They never do, do they? You can see your loud mouth uncle laughing and repeatedly screaming. “He bought his parents a dongle. A dongle!"

And there’s also this. In my cord-cutting scenario, I’m supposing you’d be interested in keeping the local stations on your TV set. For many millions of us that is a no-brainer but for millions more living in uxurbia, the digital signals provided by your closest big city’s stations may not make it out to where you are, so you may have to install an antenna, maybe inside the house, maybe outside or in the attic.

So before you go cutting cable, you must check to see what will replace it., operated the Consumer Electronics Association and the National Association of Broadcasters, that lets a user plug in their address and zipcode. It allows consumers to see what kind of antennas they’ll need to get quality signals to the over the air signals.

Truthfully at that point, you’ll have to spend an amount that equals a couple months of your cable bill to eliminate your cable bill and in the end the only thing that will keep you plugging away at this quest is a certain real visceral dislike for cable, a general disinterest in sports and all-news blather and the resignation to the fact that you'll watch “Homeland” a little later than some of your neighbors.

That’s a lot to think about before Christmas, but, well, I’d think about it anyway.

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