Download's holiday tech gifts

A gift of a streaming service or a digital media player could make a techie friend merry and bright this holiday season.

For the techie friends on your holiday shopping list, you can drive to the grocery store and grab gift cards. But without much more effort, you can find a present they'll really use -- and something that says you put more than 60 panicked seconds into the selection.

Music and video

A subscription to a music or video service is the gift that keeps giving. And you can send one without leaving your house.

An Amazon Prime subscription gives your giftee access to Amazon Prime -- just in time to catch the first season of "The Grand Tour" or the second season of "The Man in the High Castle." A one-year Prime membership is $99.

Man in the High Castle

Netflix lets you a gift a dollar amount starting at $25 for its subscription service. Your favorite binge-watcher can indulge in all of Netflix's TV shows and movies, including the upcoming second season of "Jessica Jones."

An HBO Now subscription is a thoughtful gift but requires you to buy a physical HBO Now gift card. Gift cards from the online HBO Shop are not redeemable for the HBO Now on-demand service. HBO Now lets you stream movies and HBO shows to any device, without a cable subscription.

For music, you can buy gift certificates for Apple Music (three months of the service for $29.97, or a year for $99) or Google's Play Music (one month for $9.99, three months for $29.97, or six months for $59.94). (If you're looking for other Apple gifts on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, don't expect much: The company skipped making deals last year. )

Spotify has a one-month gift subscription for $9.99, three months for $29.97, six for $59.94, and 12 months' worth of its Premium service for $119.88.

Spotify holiday

Stocking stuffers

If your giftee has been extra good this year, you might buy a digital media player to go with that music or video subscription, to stream media from the Internet to a TV or home audio system. All the devices are small enough to slip easily into a stocking.

Google's Chromecast starts at $35, is not much bigger than a large pack of gum, and can stream content -- including from Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify -- from a phone to a TV.

Chromecast holiday

Amazon's Fire TV Stick is another good choice. At $39.99, it can stream Hulu, HBO Now, and of course Amazon Prime Video.

The $39.99 Roku Streaming Stick gets high marks and can handle a wide range of streaming services.

It's not quite Jeeves, but for $49.99, you can also give the gift of a digital assistant. The voice-controlled Amazon Echo Dot can play music, order a pizza, set a timer, and more, and it's just 1.3 by 3.3 inches.

Echo Dot

For other thoughtful stocking stuffers, check out AmazonBasics, for affordable tech and home accessories. A pack of rechargeable batteries and companion battery charger must be on someone's wish list.

More holiday shopping tips

See our guides for getting the most out of your holiday shopping, how to stay safe while you shop online, and which mobile payments you can use for your purchases.

For more tech gifts for everyone on your list, check out CNET's Holiday Gift Guide.

About Clifford Colby

Clifford Colby follows the Mac and Android markets for Download.com. He's been an editor at Peachpit Press and a handful of now-dead computer magazines, including MacWeek, MacUser, and Corporate Computing.