Looks like 2014 is the year of Digital Media Streaming! Consumers now have the option of replacing their expensive cable or satellite services with relatively low cost devices to watch TV, rent movies, listen to music and more. This quickly expanding new trend can be a bit confusing, so we will try to make it EZ to understand.
Media Steaming in its simplest terms is being able to watch movies, TV, sports, YouTube Videos, or listen to music directly from an internet connection to your TV set. No leaving your house to rent movies, no CDs to buy; just turn on your TV and you are ready to go! The streaming content can be free, by subscription, or pay-per-view.
For instance, you will have to pay for subscriptions to Netflix and Hulu to watch movies and TV shows, and pay per movie rental with Amazon Instant Video. There are tons of free applications that allow you to view your pictures and home videos, watch YouTube videos, sports, listen to music and much more. These are just a few examples; media streaming content is expanding quickly.
Media Streaming Devices allow you to receive streaming content. There are several options in digital media streamers: Smart TVs, Smart Blu-ray players, Internet-Ready Video Game Consoles, Apple TV, Roku, Google TV, and Boxee Box to name a few.
Digital streaming devices connect to your existing home network and offer a variety of content which varies depending on manufacturers and models, but services include access to streaming video and music, sports scores, weather information, online photo galleries, social networking sites, stock market, and a variety of applications similar to a smart phone.
Be aware that most devices do not offer complete Internet browsers and you will be limited to the applications and services offered by the device manufacturer. Many applications provide a fully interactive experience that includes updating your status on Facebook and Twitter.
Digital media devices are a relatively young technology and manufacturers are adding new offerings every day. Be sure to refer to manufacturer websites for current information on their services and content to choose a device that is right for you!
Popular Digital Streaming Devices:
TiVo Premiere: the original DVR manufacturer that introduced all-digital content to the average household. TiVo not only records live TV, but offers services such as Pandora, YouTube, movies through Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. The TiVo Premiere requires a subscription in addition to purchasing the unit itself.
Roku: a popular choice due to its affordability and ease of use. Roku offers Internet services such as Netflix, HuluPlus, HBO Go, YouTube, MLB.tv, and more. There are no additional fees in addition to the subscription services they offer, for example if you already have a Netflix account, there is no extra charge to use it on the player.
AppleTV: AirPlay lets you wirelessly stream what is displayed on your iPhone, iPad, or itouch directly to your TV and speakers including your iTunes music library! Apple TV offers Netflix, HBO GO, YouTube as well as HD movie and TV show rentals. It works wired and wirelessly and there is a free remote app that will allow you to control your TV and iTunes from your iPhone or iTouch.
Google TV: turns any television into a smart TV and brings together TV, the full web, apps, movies and more. There's even a smartphone app for Android and iPhone/iPod touch that will allow you to use your portable device to control your home theater system.
Boxee TV: broadcasts in beautiful HD from channels like ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, Univision and many others. It works with antennas and unencrypted basic Cable that deliver the channels listed above, and has 2 tuners so you can watch one thing… and record another.
Connecting a streaming device:
Most digital media devices typically come with a wireless interface for connecting to your home network but some products may offer a Ethernet ports as well.
· For a wired connection, you will need a Broadband Internet connection with a modem or router, and an Ethernet cable (usually comes with device).
· For a wireless connection, you will need a Broadband Internet connection with a wireless modem or wireless router.
Please check the connection details for your specific streaming device.