Grab a gadget...

Battle begins for the microconsole set-top boxes

Welcome to MicroConsole Roundup. A new blog focused on the attractive little baubles that can hang off or sit next to your HDTV, without breaking the media center or the budget when it comes to opening up media and games on the big screen.

This blog launches just as Sony, Amazon and Google launch into the seasonal sales market with new devices to shake up what sits next to your HDTV, these sensibly-priced options are ideal for second or third screens in the home, students and anyone without the space or money for some monster console or media jukebox.

So, the battle is officially on for the living room micro gadget of choice. Google recently launched the Nexus Player, while Amazon's Fire TV should be an easy gift idea to the millions of shoppers.

Apple, to many's peoples surprise didn't update its Apple TV product at the recent iPad launch, but still offers a mean media-lineup and games via your iOS device. Then there's Sony, trying to reinforce the success of the PlayStation 4 with a new micro-console based on the PS Vita. PlayStation TV has a lot to offer, but no Netflix, Amazon Prime or much else in the form of entertainment.

Which of these is most likely on your family's Christmas shopping list? They all have strengths and weaknesses, depending on what you want to use them for, and nothing is the "perfect" solution. We'll find out with reviews and articles in the coming weeks, but to get things started here's a broad comparison of the current line-up.

Which one is your favorite? Or is most likely to be a gift idea for someone? There will be a different one for Roku and Chromecast type devices coming soon.