There is certainly no shortage of hardware that allows a family to “smarten up” a TV giving it Internet streaming capabilities. There are of course set-top boxes, video came consoles and disc players. Also, with “smart” TVs getting cheaper, and high speed Internet prevelant in many homes, very few have the inability to stream media to their televisions. Some don’t even know it.
Watching TV and movies from the Internet illegally. Is it even worth it?
There are certainly still many people connecting TVs to computers via acronyms like DLNA and UPnP or some other means. They may be downloading TV show and movie torrents and streaming them to the TV via their local network wirelessly or through Cat5, or even transferring to an external USB device and plugging them into the TVs.
With the potential of a quarter million dollar fines, and streaming services around the $10 per month range, is it really worth the risk?
Specs for best 3 set-top devices for streaming
I’m going to pick the top 3 set-top type boxes used for streaming and leave top streaming services, smart TVs, PCs, gaming consoles and the rest for other articles. While you can find many great devices on the market, the big budget players (Google and Apple) can certainly offer quick response to user feedback and demand in order to produce better products, and early adopters (Roku) have certainly been around the block and have devotion and experience in this arena.
I have selected the Roku 2 XD as the top choice, Apple TV as a close second, followed by Google TV to complete the top trio. While Google TV can be used with or without a “buddy box” I decided it can be among my picks of top set top boxes for streaming.
Access to the LAN and user-gnenerated web content
While my top picks main functions are the ability to stream movies and TV from the web, naturally other in-built functions exist. Some require extra bits of hardware, others do not. User generated content from sites likes YouTube, iTunes, Facebook and Flickr have found there way into many of these devices. Whether in the cloud or local, whether created by Joe Schmoe or Disney, you can likely stream it to an HD (or sometimes lower quality) television with a combination of software and affordable hardware.
1) Roku 2 XD streaming player
Depending on the entertainment channel the Roku box offers either 720p or 1080p video (and also supports 480i over composite video, and 480p over HDMI). An IR remote control is included with this device.
It boasts BGN wireless which refers to the three common 802.11 technologies. Loads of free movies are available. Roku started as an exclusive Netflix device but has expanded to include many more channels, including different media types.
2) Apple TV set top box
User generated contend from iTunes, YouTube, Vimeo and Flickr are available. Your media purchases can be stored on iCloud and streamed to multiple devices. The extra AirPlay hardrware opens up the local area network for additional “channels”.
3) Sony Google TV buddy box
Built-in WiFi allows the streaming of music, movies and photos from other devices: desktop, laptop, tablet, iPod, iPad or Android smartphone.
Category: Streaming TV