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Gifts for the (New) TV Lovers in Your Life

What goes hand-in-hand with gaudy lights, fake snow, and endless holiday music? Shopping lists, of course. Here are a few items I’m thinking about giving — and a few more I’d like to receive — this year.

tivo_hd_xl TiVo HD XL: I know TiVo’s (s tivo) subscriber numbers are tanking, but I still love my TiVo DVR. My trusty old Series 2 TiVo is incompatible with my new HDTV, so it’s gathering dust.  I’d love to upgrade to the TiVo HD XL. It costs $600, but also needs TiVo service ($13 a month or $300 for a lifetime, though now might not be the time to invest  in the company’s lifetime service). But let’s pretend money is no object. The XL in “HD XL” refers to the DVR’s giant hard drive, which will let you store 150 hours of HD programming; the HD XL also supports CableCards (so you can ditch the cable box if your provider lets you), and allows you to record two channels at once. Plus, you can use the TiVo HD XL to watch the movies and shows from your Netflix Instant Watching queue on your TV. Speaking of Netflix…

Netflix Subscriptions: I want to share the joy of my Netflix (s nflx) subscription with my friends and family, so I’m giving Netflix gift certificates to some of the people on my shopping list. They’re perfect for last-minute shopping; you can pay for the gift certificate online and print it immediately. And if your recipient already has their own Netflix subscription, the gift will let them upgrade their membership to the next level.

slingcatcherSlingCatcher. No, wait, a Slingbox Pro HD. Or maybe both: I’ve spent the last several days testing out the new SlingCatcher set-top box (stay tuned for my review), and I’m really enjoying it. It allows you to play back the video you have stored on your PC on your TV…just like many other devices have promised to do. But the SlingCatcher actually works and setting it up is a snap. (If you end up buying it for someone as a gift, you should consider adding SlingLink TURBO ethernet bridges, which allow you to connect the SlingCatcher to your home network via your power lines.) But the SlingCatcher pairs up nicely with a Slingbox, which lets you view the contents of your TV on a PC. Which one would I want most? It’s a toss-up, but this is a gift guide, so I’ll choose both. And if you buy one of Sling Media’s devices as a gift, you should point the recipient to The site offers a web-based way to watch the content from a Slingbox — come to think of it, even if you don’t purchase a Slingbox or a SlingCatcher, is still worth checking out.

minohd Flip MinoHD: YouTube is adding support for HD videos, so now’s the time to upgrade to a pocket-sized camcorder that does the same. Enter the new Flip MinoHD. It’s small, so you can take it with you wherever you go, and at roughly $210, it won’t break the bank. And if you don’t like your gadgets in boring black cases, you can personalize your Flip MinoHD case with one of the many designs available in Flip’s online gallery. So your camcorder can be as pretty as the videos it creates.

Dr. Horrible on DVD: You don’t need access to the web to access this year’s web phenomenon. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is coming to DVD. And it’s only $10. It won’t be released until Dec. 19th, and it’s exclusive to (s amzn), so you may have to pay extra to have it shipped in time for the holidays. But, really, isn’t it worth it?

Those are a few of the items on my shopping (and wish!) list this year. What’s on your list?

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