TVs are now more powerful than ever, with smart capabilities transforming them from mere corner-of-the-living-room goggleboxes into full-blown entertainment hubs. But what if your set is falling behind the times?

For some, the expense of a new main TV for the home can prove to be a little out of reach. It doesn't mean you can't teach an old dog new tricks, however - and that's where this Christmas gift guide comes in.

We've rounded up seven nifty products that are big on performance, but low on price - and, more importantly, come with the know-how to get the most out of your telly with consigning it to the scrapheap before its time.

See them all: Christmas Gift Guide 2014

Q Acoustics Q-TV2

Four stars

Tested at £330 - Available for £150

The Q-TV2 is Q Acoustics' rather ingenious solution to the problem of poor flatscreen TV sound. It's a great idea for people who don't have the budget, patience or space to upgrade to a traditional audio system, but that's not the best part this Christmas. The manufacturer has slashed the price and, if you buy direct, will chuck in a FREE table stand or fixed wall bracket as well.

MORE: Q Acoustics Q-TV2 review

Cambridge Audio TV2

Five stars

Tested at £200

We loved the Cambridge Audio Minx TV soundbase when we first reviewed it, so we’re sad to hear that the British company has said goodbye to its debut model. But we're happy to reveal that it's made way for an equally impressive successor - Award-winning, no less. Meet the TV2 soundbase (or ‘TV Speaker Plinth’ as Cambridge Audio calls it).

MORE: Cambridge Audio TV2 review

More after the break

Google Chromecast

Find Google Chromecast with Amazon for £30

If you're not yet familiar with Google's handy little streaming dongle, let us explain. Chromecast is a device that plugs directly into your telly's HDMI slot and connects to your home broadband via wi-fi in order, letting you stream video and music content from your smartphone, tablet or computer. You can access apps such as Netflix, YouTube and more, with a free 90-day trial of Google Play All Access thrown into the mix this Christmas.

MORE: Hands on - Google Chromecast

Now TV box

Five stars

Tested at £10

The Now TV Box is a device that converts any TV with an HDMI input into a smart TV. It gives you BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, Spotify and other on-demand streaming services – and, crucially, it lets you access Sky Sports and Sky Movies on a pay-as-you-go basis via Now TV. For a tenner, that sounds like a bit of a steal…

MORE: Now TV box review

Sony BDP-S7200

Five stars

Tested at £220 - Compare Prices

Scarily consistent. That’s how we’d describe Sony’s recent track record when it comes to Blu-ray players. Its budget decks have been showered with Awards and five- star ratings over the past few years, and the BDP-S7200 is the latest - picking up the 2014 Product of the Year title at the What Hi-Fi? Awards. If you can stretch your budget this far, you won't be disappointed.

MORE: Sony BDP-S7200 review

PlayStation TV

Find PlayStation TV with Amazon for £84

Making its UK debut just in time for Christmas, PlayStation TV is a micro-console that connects to a TV through its HDMI input and offers PS Vita and PlayStation Classic games available for download. PS Vita games can also be inserted directly into the device using a game card. Meanwhile, PS4 owners have the option to connect to PS TV via a wireless connection to stream PS4 games to any compatible HD TV in your house.

MORE: PlayStation TV - UK release date, £90 price tag and hundreds of games

Netflix

Five stars

Tested at £6

This is how you do it. Netflix is a perfect example of doing the right things well. It’s without doubt one of the most satisfying streaming services we’ve used – fuss-free and easy to love. And it’s everywhere. Netflix runs on every platform we can expect - after you've made your TV smarter, this should be the first port of call.

MORE: Netflix review

 

See them all: Christmas Gift Guide 2014