As the last shopping weekend before Christmas begins, how can you choose the best high-tech gifts for the geeks and other technology-lovers in your life?

CBC reporter Angela Johnston and technology columnists Dan Misener and Jesse Hirsh offer some tips and recommendations on a few different categories of devices.

TVs and Smart TVs


Gift givers who want to buy a smart TV box should make sure it can plug into the recipient's existing TV. (iStock)

Gil Gauthier at Advance Electronics in Winnipeg recommended to Johnston that those shopping for big-screen TVs learn the acronyms for the connectors and cables and what they mean, such as HDMI, DVI and VGA.

That's particularly important for those looking to buy smart TV boxes such as Apple TV or Boxee that allow an existing television to be hooked up to internet services, Misener warns. Gift givers need to make sure they will work with the recipient's TV, as many older TVs don't have HDMI inputs. Misener also suggested that people make sure the content the recipient wants to watch is available in Canada – some services such as Pandora and Hulu may only be available in the U.S.



It's worth considering that different apps are available for the iPad than for Android tablets. (iStock)

Gauthier says iPads are perfect for people who are app crazy, but other tablets can do the job for watching movies and reading ebooks.

Misener recommends considering both the size of the tablet, which can vary widely, and the available apps for each platform (e.g. Apple, Android, BlackBerry, etc.), before choosing one.



Does the recipient want the e-reader exclusively for reading? (Amazon)

This year, for the first time there are two kinds of e-readers to choose from, Misener notes: Traditional black-and-white versions exclusively for reading, and new, tablet-like, full-colour e-readers that can run apps, but are more expensive, have shorter battery life, and are harder to read in bright sunlight. Gift givers need to figure out which type the recipient wants.

Misener also recommends considering where they will get their books, as the e-books available at your local library may only be compatible with certain e-reader models.

Stocking stuffers

Hirsh suggests USB sticks, which can be pre-loaded with files; Smaller, cheaper headphones such as earbuds; e-books.