Technology News Blog

7 devices that stream media to your TV

Today in Tech

View gallery


A quick run-down of some of the best ways to bring the internet into your living room

Of all the services and devices that can stream content to your TV, which ones can serve up the shows and features you want? Each of these streaming media boxes can be connected to your TV and internet connection to stream Netflix and more right to your television. The products themselves give you access to the many streaming services, but some of those services, like Netflix and Hulu Plus, require their own subscription. While most of these streaming media boxes work best when paired with those subscriptions, they've got plenty of other tricks up their sleeve, too.

Let's check out seven entries in the streaming media field to help you decide which one's right for you.

View gallery


Roku LT

Roku LT Streaming Player
Price: $49.99
Streams: Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, and more than 350 more apps and services

  • Lots of sports, music, and news options
  • Very small and doesn't use much power
  • Does not offer YouTube
  • Does not easily access content on your computer

Is it right for me?
The Roku LT is one of the least expensive solutions for bringing streaming content onto your TV. It offers the largest selection of apps and services to watch, but it does not connect to your computer to play any videos, music, or other media stored there and it does not offer features such as a web browser.

View gallery


Logitech Revue

Logitech Revue with Google TV
Price: $114.99
Streams: Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go, and much more

  • Runs on Android 3.1 Honeycomb with access to the Android Market
  • Features a web browser, Picture-in-Picture feature, access to your cable/satellite TV channels, and impressive search capabilities
  • Use its wireless keyboard as a remote
  • Does not include a Hulu Plus app, but you can use Hulu Plus via its web browser

Is it right for me?
Want to browse the internet on your TV? Short of connecting your TV to a laptop, or home theater PC, the Logitech Revue is your best solution. Its integration with your current TV service, Android apps, and powerful search capabilities really make this feel like TV plus more. The full-size keyboard helps make searching a breeze, too.

View gallery


Apple TV

Apple TV
Price: $99
Streams: Netflix, YouTube, and a few more apps and services

  • Easily access content in your iTunes and iCloud accounts and on iDevices
  • Does not feature Hulu Plus
  • Limited selection of apps

Is it right for me?
If you store all of your music, videos, and photos in iTunes and you want to play them through your home entertainment system, then the Apple TV is a great choice. If you mainly want to watch streaming video content on your TV, you may want to look elsewhere; beyond what's available on Netflix and iTunes, Apple TV's selection is limited.

View gallery



Western Digital WD TV Live Media Player
Price: $99.99
Streams: Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Spotify, and more

  • Plays content from USB drives or networked hard drives
  • Plays a large variety of file types
  • Not a large selection of apps, but does feature the popular ones

Is it right for me?
While the WD TV Live doesn't boast near the selection of apps that the Roku offers, it does have the biggies that you are most likely to use. It can stream Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, and Facebook, and unlike the Roku, it can easily access and play movies, music, and pictures that you have stored in your home network.

Sony Blu-ray

Sony BDP-S480 Blu-ray Disc Player
Price: $109.99
Streams: Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, and many more apps and services

  • Plays 3D Blu-ray discs and streams music, videos, and pictures stored on your computer
  • Remote control apps available for iOS and Android
  • Uses a wired internet connection (There is a model with built-in wifi also available)

Is it right for me?
If you've been thinking of picking up a Blu-ray player, then the Sony BDP-S480 is a good way to go. It offers access to plenty of apps, streams media from your computer, and even plays 3D Blu-ray discs. The BDP-S480 requires a wired internet connection, although a wifi version is available, too.

View gallery


Xbox 360

Xbox 360
Price: $199.99
Streams: Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, ESPN apps, and many more

  • Plays DVDs and accesses music, videos, and pictures on your PC
  • Parental controls can restrict content by ratings or time limits
  • Kinect accessory adds voice and motion control
  • Lots of video games available for it (Oh yeah — it's a console gaming system, too!)
  • Requires an Xbox Live Gold subscription ($59.99 per year) to use streaming media apps. This is in addition to any subscriptions that services like Netflix and Hulu Plus require.

Is it right for me?
If you've been thinking about playing some games in addition to watching movies on your TV, then the Xbox 360 is a great choice. It offers a lot of content but does require its own separate subscription to access most of it. The parental controls are handy for restricting screen time for children. The Kinect accessory adds voice and motion control, so you don't have to get out from under that cozy blanket and reach for the remote or joystick — just say "Xbox pause."

View gallery


PlayStation 3

PlayStation 3
Price: $249.99
Streams: Netflix, Hulu Plus, NFL Sunday Ticket, and more

  • Plays 3D Blu-ray discs, DVDs and accesses videos, music, and pictures on your computer
  • Internet browser; can connect with bluetooth keyboards
  • Parental controls help parents limit screen time or turn off internet access
  • Lots of great video games available for it (Yep, another gaming console doing home theater duty!)

Is it right for me?
The PlayStation 3 is a great video game console that doubles as a streaming media receiver. If you're a football fan, you'll be very happy with the access to NFL Sunday Ticket. The internet browser can be very handy, too. If you've been looking to get a 3D Blu-ray player but also want to play video games, this is a great choice.

The right device for the right mix of content
All of these devices can access a huge variety of movies and TV shows. You can find plenty of extra features if you want them, or go with a smaller box that offers a lot of channels. With so much streaming content available, you might even want to replace your cable or satellite box altogether!

This article was written by Ian Rosenfield and originally appeared on Tecca

More from Tecca:

View Comments (19)