Video game consule buying guide from Consumer Reports

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- It's no secret that gaming consoles make a great gift. Besides playing video games, the high-end consoles can stream video, surf the web, and help you get in shape.

This year there's a new choice for pint-sized players. Consumer Reports has checked out the top options to help you make the best choice.

In the Consumer Reports' lab, gaming expert Matt Ferretti and others check out the Xbox One from Microsoft, the Nintendo Wii-U, Sony's PlayStation 4 and newcomer LeapTV from LeapFrog.

LeapTV is aimed at children ages 3-8 for $150. If you're choosing a console for older kids, expect to pay a lot more. It comes with educational games and a controller that's just right for little hands.

"The question you should ask yourself when picking a console is do you want it just for gaming or do you want all of your entertainment through the console?" said Matt Feretti with Consumer Reports.

While any of the higher-end consoles will stream video from services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, Xbox One has advantages as an entertainment hub. When bundled with the Kinect motion-sensing camera, you can use voice commands, such as "Xbox, watch TV" and switch easily between games and watching TV without having to pick up a separate remote.

"The Xbox One is a good choice if you like to split your focus between gaming and watching TV or movies," Feretti said.

Like the Xbox One, the PlayStation 4 has built-in Blu-ray. It really shines for gamers who like graphics-intensive games and want to share video clips or live streams or sample a friend's game over the Internet.

"You just press the share button and after you hit that one button you have access to all the PlayStation's sharing features," said Feretti.

But if you don't want your kids to view shared content, it can be tricky to restrict.

If having the greatest selection of family-friendly games is your priority, the Wii-U is the console that delivers.

The Wii-U costs $300, the PlayStation is $400, and the Xbox One with Kinect is $450. Around the holidays, you can often find the consoles bundled with different games and accessories at a discount, so it pays to shop around.

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