Give your HDTV the gift of connectivity, with media streaming devices that bring the Internet directly to your television. Apple TV, Roku, Western Digital and Logitech are all contenders in this technology race for the best steaming device, but which will best suit your needs?
The HDTV Genie is here to help you find the right media streamer for you. See The Definitive HDMI Guide for any cables you may need.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are you’ve heard of the technology juggernaut, also known as Apple. Apple’s TV device is cool and sleek in appearance, and its compact size, at four inches square, makes it even more desirable. All content is streamed at 720p.
All of the streamers discussed today allow you to access Netflix, but the Apple TV also gives you access to the iTunes store. Therefore, you can purchase or rent new media, while accessing all stored media on your PC or MAC. This streamer features a super fast Wireless-N Wi-Fi, a wired Ethernet connection and an internal power supply, for a silent, low-powered device.
If you have a MAC, the Apple TV seamlessly integrates with your other Apple devices, allowing you to control the streamer using your iPhone, iPad and/or iPhone Touch. Airplay functionality will allow you to stream all of your stored media on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad directly to your HDTV via the Apple TV. Airplay will be available to mobile devices running the iOS 4.2 and better.
Buy » Apple TV
Roku LT delivers powerful streaming in a bright, colorful case that’s even more compact and energy efficient than the Apple TV. At $49.99, it gives you a similar performance to the Apple TV – at half the price. The Roku LT, with built in WiFi, offers serious perks for media junkies, and allows you access to over 350 music, news and entertainment channels including (but not limited to): Pandora, Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, NBA League Pass, MLB.TV, UFC, NBC and CNN.
You can stream existing music and movies on your computer, but you need a 3rd party app in order to accomplish this. Some may feel using an app independent of the streamer is a minor inconvenience; however, considering the drastic difference in price and the vast array of media at your fingertips, it seems well worth the “trouble.”
If you’re looking to take your streaming to the 1080p level, you can buy the Roku 2 XD and the Roku 2 XS models which boast a port for plugging in a USB memory stick loaded with videos, music, and photos. As a free bonus they slingshot Angry Birds via a gaming remote that you wave in the air Nintendo Wii style.
Buy » Roku LT Streaming Player
The Logitech Revue is the largest and heaviest of all the HDTV streamers discussed today, but it makes up for this extra size with some serious media perks. Revue allows you to bring together your HDTV, the web, Apps and your Android 3.1 phone into one device. The Revue allows you to watch TV, surf the web (via Google Chrome), browse and download from Android Market – you can even make HD video calls from your HDTV. If you are looking for an all-in-one media center, the Revue is perfect for you.
The streamer comes with an all-in-one wireless TV remote, keyboard and trackpad for easy navigating. You can also stream your existing music and movies on your computer to your HDTV via a USB port. Logitech Revue is compatible with HDTV’s with an HDMI port and a cable, satellite or telco box with HDMI output.
The Live Hub has a built-in 1 TB hard drive – that’s a lot of space! This device also streams content at 1080p resolution. One of the upsides of a large hard drive capacity is that it can store your content as well as providing extra backup for your content, which is important in this age of viruses and malware.
The Western Digital WD TV Live Hub allows you to:
It’s also WiFi ready and works with USB keyboards. It requires an HDMI connection.
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