Black Friday buyer's guide: Apple TV, Roku, Google TV, Orb TV or Boxee Box? I'll take an iPad

Boxee BoxRev up your engines, head out to your favorite electronics store (or, better yet, sit back with a nice cup of tea and a fast Internet connection) and do your part to keep the economy stimulated. It's officially the Holiday Shopping Season, and we here at FierceMarkets expect you to shop 'til you drop. So, load up on all those connected devices that make consuming online video easier, and make watching cable execs sweat while they repeat the mantra du jour: "There is no cord cutting, it's the sluggish economy that's to blame," more fun each time you hear it.

Your choices this year--and you don't need to cut the cord to enjoy some of these--fit just about every budget, and every level of technophile. You may be an edgy technologist looking to forever cut the cord, thumbing your nose at "the man" as you refuse to kowtow to the pay-TV industry.

Or, you may fit the description Sanford Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett used in October, as he deftly inserted his foot into his mouth explaining the cable industry's nearly three-quarters of a million disappeared subscribers for the quarter; they weren't cord cutters snipping the ties that bound them to the oligarchy, he said, they were just "40 years old and poor and settling for a dog's breakfast of Netflix and short-form video."

Sigh. We prefer SNL Kagan senior analyst Ian Olgeirson's description of potential cord cutters as "well-educated, young and financially secure." So, more in keeping with the season (and Olgeirson's generous characterization), we bring you this quick guide (with links to much deeper dives), not to celebrate over-the-top cord cutting, but a kinder, gentler, over-the-top augmenters.

First up on the list... the iPad >>

Or Skip to the others with the whole list here:

  • iPad, Apple TV
  • Boxee Box
  • Google TV
  • Orb TV
  • Roku