TVNewsCheck’s 2013 Holiday Gift Guide

Stumped about what to get that boss, colleague or friend? Here are some tips for gifts in all budget ranges perfect for those in the media business.

Shopping for friends and colleagues in the television biz is a challenge, especially for employees. It’s tough to find gifts that send the right professional message and are both thoughtful and useful. Besides, if you work in television, who has time to shop?

Well, relax. TVNewsCheck has you covered. From luxury items to stocking stuffers, we’ve selected some TV-centric gifts that you can still order online in time for Christmas delivery.

Samsung's 55-inch KN55S9C OLEDEXTRAVAGANT ITEMS: If you’re looking to reward a stellar sales exec or a beloved news anchor nearing contract negotiations, consider the Samsung KN55S9C – Flat-panel TV that C-NET hails as “the best picture we’ve ever seen.” Sure, you’ll shell out almost $9 grand for the sleek, curved 55” OLED (organic light emitting diode) screen but hey, Amazon throws in free delivery for its Prime members.

These days, bestowing a fine bottle of Scotch or a massage gift certificate can earn you a summons from Human Resources. But you can still practice Old School gifting with a little creative thinking. Why not outfit your anchors or field reporters in a classic Burbury Trench Coat, available for men and women in various styles and colors ranging from $4,595 (with fur trim and lining) to a mere $2,195. Naturally a quick Google search reveals far more affordable pricing.

iPad teleprompterAFFORDABLE LUXURY: For less ostentatious sartorial splendor, TV talent and executives alike will be grateful for your gift of custom-made clothing. A number of online tailors hand craft everything from shirts to suits for men and women. Two of the top-rated for quality and customer service are J. Hilburn (custom shirts for $99-$169, depending on fabric) and Blank Label ($80-$125.) Both sites offer extensive custom-fitting assistance and electronic gift cards. Blank Label also offers a physical gift card, along with fabric swatches.

For more utilitarian extravagance, consider Apple’s new lighter, faster iPad Air or its smaller sister, the iPad Mini Retina Display, both of which wowed reviewers and consumers. The basic iPad starts at $499 for WiFi only and 16 GB of memory and tops out at $929 with additional cellular transceiver and 128 GB of storage. Similarly-equipped Minis range from $399 to $699. (Yes, yes, there are cheaper Android and Kindle alternatives but we’re looking to impress here.) If you order soon, Apple offers free engraving and can ship in time for Christmas. While you’re at it, why not provide added utility by adding one of these iPad teleprompter kits?


And because a caffeinated employee is a productive employee, check out the Keurig B145 Office Pro, a single-serve hot beverage maker designed to endure heavier use than typical consumer models. It’s available from several vendors for as little as $129 with free shipping. Other Keurig units worth considering: the stainless steel Breville BKC700XL, which also makes iced beverages ($287 with free shipping from Amazon) or the Cuisinart SS-700 ($160 at Bed Bath & Beyond, with their ubiquitous 20% off coupon.)

Porta Brace director's caseGET ORGANIZED: A Louis Vuitton briefcase or shoulder bag may convey wealth and status, but nothing proclaims “television” like the handsome and functional Director’s Case made by the venerable Porta-Brace in Vermont. Virtually indestructible, the Cordura nylon fabric comes in black as well as familiar Porta-Brace blue. Available from B&H Photo for $190 with free shipping. More expensive models with additional features are also available.

And these days when station executives carry almost as many gadgets and accessories as their videographers, Think Tank Photo helps keep everything in its place with a variety of well-designed cable caddies and transparent pouches. Ranging in price from $16.50 to $59, these organizers are for business bags or luggage. Note especially such dedicated designs as the PowerHouse Pro or the Cable Management 30.

Incipio offGRID ProKEEP CONNECTED:  Despite rapid advances in smartphone technology, two problems remain. Those expensive tools are inherently fragile — a short drop to the floor can shatter those large glass screens. And battery life remains a challenge, especially in the field while shooting and uploading photos and video. Now Incipio offers a complete solution with its redesigned offGRID PRO battery case. Packaged with a screen protector, the heavy-duty shell makes your smartphone more rugged, with a relatively small increase in size and weight. Battery life is tripled because the offGRID PRO allows you to swap out its battery and includes a spare. Available on Amazon for recent models of iPhone and Samsung Galaxy for between $59 and $99.

Keep all those other electronic gadgets fully juiced with the Nomad Charge Card, a small, flat credit-card sized USB charger designed to store flat in your wallet. Funded through a Kickstarter campaign and just brought to market, the Charge Card is available with either Apple’s “Lightning” connector or for Android with micro USB for $25.

And to ensure your employees are keeping current with the fast-growing world of streaming video, why not give them a $99 Apple TV or the $35 Google Chromecast. (Both discounted by Amazon and other vendors.) Both units attach to a standard television HDTV port and are easy to set up. Apple TV offers a wider range of proprietary content from its vast iTunes Store plus specialized apps for broadcast and cable networks, but Chromecast is catching up fast.

ELECTRONIC STOCKING STUFFERS:  Finally, if you’re shopping at the very last minute and are pressed for time, here are some online gifts that will be much appreciated but require less money and effort:

Purchase a gift membership to the Netflix streaming service ($7.99/month) or Amazon Prime ($79/year.)

Send an iTunes Store gift card ($25, $50 or $100) redeemable for specific movies, TV shows, music, books, or computer or mobile apps.

Consider a gift membership to the Newseum ($48 with the current holiday discount) or designate a donation to the Paley Center. Their Adopt-A-Program ($500 per half-hour) allows you do choose one of the Center’s 150,000 telecasts that will be preserved in honor of the individual or group of your choice.

We hope these suggestions are both enlightening and useful. But more important than any material gift, we wish all of you a joyous and peaceful holiday season and hope that the new year will bring you and your colleagues good health, good fellowship and well-earned prosperity.

A frequent contributor to TVNewsCheck, Arthur Greenwald is the principal of Greenwald Media, a Los-Angeles based production and consulting business.

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