Home Theater Tips: 10 Devices That Stream Media

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As the internet and technology expand, more and more devices enable you to access the web. And if you have a home theater and internet service, there many ways for you to take advantage of both free and paid streaming media. These services don’t stop at streaming movies either. You can connect your television directly to devices that stream television shows, sports, and even user uploaded clips on sites like YouTube. If you’re not sure where to start, below, we have listed most of the many available streaming devices.

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Media Box

These tiny boxes allow your television or device to receive streaming media services. In both wired and wireless options, you simply connect the device and use its built in apps to go to sites like Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, and others depending on the type of box you purchase. A streaming-media box may be a good option for those who don’t already own a console, Blu-ray player or other device with built in streaming abilities, especially if you want to avoid the hassle of connecting your TV to your computer every time you want to watch Netflix on your TV.

Apple TV

If you are a lover of all things Apple, this is the media streaming device for you. It is the only option that works seamlessly with iTunes, iCloud for all your media, and AirPlay. New updates to the device even allow you to play content from your Apple device directly to your television screen.

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Blu-ray Player

This option is often preferable in the home theater arena. If you’re planning on getting one or upgrading to a 3D player, chances are it may come with streaming capabilities already built in. Best of all, you’ll be able to work both the player and the streaming media from the one remote.

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Smart TV

It isn’t just for phones, televisions can be smart, too. Meaning that TVs can run apps now. Purchasing a smart TV is one of the most expensive ways to access streaming media on your television But if you’re in the market for a new television and don’t have any of these other options, have a look at televisions which offer media streaming. However, with some streaming devices costing as little as $50 or less, the added cost to have it built into the television may not be worth it. Another important factor when choosing a smart television is to make sure it has a reputation for keeping up with technology as newer entries into the smart TV arena may not take the time to update their apps, rendering your streaming media options useless in a short amount of time. Remember, this technology is new, so it is more expensive and sometimes less reliable than more tried and tested alternatives.

PS3

If you’ve got one of these handy gaming devices, you also have a Blu-ray player and a device that can stream media. Constant firmware updates to the PS3 allow users to access Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vudu, Amazon, and sports sites without the need for an extra device. You can also network your own computer through the PS3 to view the photos, music, and videos on your hard drive. Also of note is the new Nintendo Wii U which also allows users to stream media.

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Xbox One

Microsoft’s newest addition to the gaming world is expected to be released November 2013. Far more than a way to play games, the system also accesses your television and the internet to bring you a sort of gaming system, cable box, and computer all in one. You won’t necessarily conduct business on the Xbox One, but you will be able to access the internet via its Windows 8 platform and Microsoft is promising that you’ll be able to stream media easily.

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WD TV Live Hub

Unlike the above devices that only stream media, you can actually store what you stream or download onto this machine. Tech geeks love these devices as a one stop shop to store their iTunes library, burned media, and more. But if you still just want to kick back and stream from a variety of sites, it can handle that too.

TiVo

If you use this device to record your favorite shows, you can also use it to stream media. Firmware upgrades have allowed these devices to access the standard array of streaming media options. However, the devices run several hundred dollars as well as the monthly service charge, so it is only a good option if you already use a TiVo.

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Cable Provider

Many cable providers offer media streaming as an add on to their regular services. It can sometimes already be included in the price. For example, Comcast allows you to access their On Demand services with tons of television, movies, and music to view for free. However, they will also let you access the same database on the go for a monthly fee, and you can view your streaming media on just about any device.

HDMI Cable

Ever wish you could just hook up your laptop or device to your television and just skip the middle man? If your TV and your laptop both have HDMI ports, you don’t need to purchase a device that streams media. Simply plug one end of an HDMI cable into your laptop and the other end into your computer. Once connected, switch your television input to the corresponding HDMI port and stream away as you usually would on your computer. You may have to fiddle with your display setting a bit, but if you already have a computer and a TV this is definitely the least expensive way to get streaming media to show up on your television.

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If your home theater needs media streaming and you have no idea where to start, visit our page or give us a call.

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