With big screens and more video options than ever before, iPods, iPads, and iPhones are great mobile platforms for watching movies and TV shows. Whether it's commuting work or taking longer trips - on a bus across the country or flying at 35,000 feet - an iPod or iPad packed with movies and TV shows can be a great way to pass the time. If you've got a big movie or TV fan in your life, here are some ideas for great presents this holiday season.
1. iPod touch
The iPod touch is a great option for movie fans thanks to its 4-inch, high-resolution Retina Display screen. The iPod touch displays movies in widescreen format, improving the viewing experience. With up to 64 GB of storage (enough for 40-80 hours of video) and the ability to record 1080p HD video on the 5th generation model, the iPod touch is a terrific little package for movie lovers. Combine this with a great music player and options at the App Store, like Apple's iMovie video editor (Purchase at iTunes), you've got erverything you need.
3. Apple TV
Got someone on your gift list who watches a lot of movies via iTunes or Netflix? This little box may be the right thing for them. It allows users to stream video over the Internet and play it at 1080p HD on their HDTVs. There's not a lot more functionality here (though the advent of AirPlay Mirroring is changing that), but at US$99 it's a pretty good deal.
When you've got a universal remote, you can forget searching for one remote for the TV, another for the Blu-ray player, and a third for the cable box. This handy device can control all of them—and more—and can be configured on your computer. While universal remotes can be expensive (expect to spend $200+), they more than pay for themselves in convenience and coolness. Anyone who spends a lot of time watching movies and TV will be thrilled to have one.
Related: Top Universal Remote Controls
iPods don't just display video on their built-in screens. They can also output video to TVs. While obviously not a good alternative for watching video while traveling, if your videos live on your iPod, or you want to bring a big selection of movies to friends' houses, these cables are great. The cables cost from about US$20 to about $75 and are designed for devices with the 30-pin Dock Connector.
If your traveling movie fan wants a bigger screen to watch, but doesn't have a TV handy, a video dock could be the key. These docks, which house an iPod Classic, iPod touch, iPod nano, or iPhone, have larger screens than the iPod (usually a 7 or 8-inch LCD) and built-in speakers. They also tend to be small, sometimes foldable, and almost always portable. Expect to pay around $100-$150 for these.
Important note: These docks generally work with the older, wider Dock Connector. If your recipient has the new iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, or iPod nano, those devices won't work without an adapter (they use the new, smaller Lightning dock connector). Expect to spend $30 for an adapter. Depending on how the video dock is made, though, there may be not enough space for a device and adapter, so check before buying.
8. DVD Ripping software
For movie fans with big DVD libraries, these programs can help them convert DVDs into iPod-compatible video files. There are many programs that do this, ranging from free to those that cost $20-$40. They vary in output quality, so try a free download or read reviews before buying.
Every iPod and iPhone owner can do well with an iTunes Store gift card. With that card, they can buy music and videos for download. Though the selection of movies at the iTunes Store is smaller than its selection of music, more movies and TV shows are being added all the time. An iTunes gift card is a perfect accompaniment to any gift of an iPod model.