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5 Technology Gadgets That Make Great Gifts

The Roku 2
The Roku 2 lets you view streaming video from the Internet on your television.
The Roku 2 lets you view streaming video from the Internet on your television.
Courtesy Roku Inc.

The Internet provides us with access to far more content than we could ever hope to experience. But while watching old sitcom episodes or the latest music videos on a computer can be fun, it doesn't really compare to experiencing video on a television. That's where the Roku 2 comes in. There are three versions of the Roku 2, which offer slightly different sets of features. With all of them, you connect the box to your television and your home network so that you can stream content from the Internet to your TV.

Your programming choices aren't unlimited -- the Roku 2 has specific content channels available. If you're a Netflix Instant, Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime customer, you can connect your account to the Roku 2 device and watch content on your television. The Roku 2 also has content from other providers as well, ranging from Major League Baseball to independent podcasters.

The controller for the Roku 2 XS -- the top-of-the-line model -- doubles as a gamepad. You can play several games on the device, including one that's nearly synonymous with Internet games: "Angry Birds."

One thing you should keep in mind if you're going to give a Roku 2 as a present: To get the most out of a Roku 2, you have to subscribe to other content providers. While there's no subscription for the Roku 2 itself, you do have to pay fees to content providers if you want access to channels like Netflix or Hulu.