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Affordable tech gifts for everyone on your list

Dec. 8, 2013 at 7:54 AM ET

Video: To spend or not to spend? TODAY’s digital lifestyle contributor Mario Armstrong told TODAY’s Erica Hill about some less expensive alternatives for this season’s must-have tech items.

Tech always makes for a great gift, but many items can be rough on the wallet. Luckily there's a list of alternatives that prove you don't have to spend a ton to get something great and affordable.

Google Chromecast

$35.00

At a price tag of $35, this is such an inexpensive and easy way to enjoy streaming. This little device plugs right into your HDMI port on your TV and then allows you to view content from your Smartphone, tablet or laptop on the big screen! Chromecast lets you stream movies, TV shows, music and more from channels like Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, and Pandora.

Plus, you can also use it to stream videos you rent or buy from the Google Play store and even stream any open tab in your web browser straight to your TV.

At $35, the Chromecast is a real bargain option

OUYA

$99.00

Gaming systems are a huge topic every holiday season, but unfortunately for our wallets, most of them come with equally huge price tags. Unless you consider yourself a hardcore gamer or your children take their gaming super seriously, you may not need to spend that much to give the gift of games this holiday season.

Whether you have little ones or simply fear investing in a system that could be obsolete soon, there are less expensive options that might be perfect for your family.

One that I love is called the “OUYA” (pronounced oo-yah), and it’s a tiny gaming console with one controller that lets you download games directly to your TV. The games are affordable, and run anywhere from free to $15. When you compare that to the cost of games on other systems, that means huge savings.

One cool feature I love is that the OUYA lets you try out a one new game for free each and every day. While this system is definitely different than the bigger, more well known gaming systems, if you’re in the market for a cost cutting alternative gift idea, this could be a great pick.

Sonos Play: 3

$299.00

Music is really important, something I simply have to have in my life. I own tons of different pairs of headphones, portable speakers, and stereo system. While there are tons of great wireless music systems, most of them cost A LOT of money.

That is why I say the Sonos Play:3 is a great deal for the money, and I’m not just saying that—I actually have this system my home. You can either choose to move the individual speaker around from room to room, or purchase other speakers and connect them wirelessly through your smartphone or music player, which works whether your have an Android or an Apple device.

Just imagine this for a second: you could have a different Christmas song playing in every room of your home if you purchase enough of these. And if you buy it before December 31, 2013 you get the Bridge (a $50 value) for free. Now that's a deal.

Read more from TODAY digital lifestyle correspondent Mario Armstrong at marioarmstrong.com and follow him on Twitter @marioarmstrong and on Facebook.

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