Streaming internet videos to your TV, watching TV shows broadcasted over the internet, live events straight to the comfort of your house just get better these days, when more and more companies compete to provide you with the best HD streaming players. These days, many people are watching less and less of regular cable TV and prefer internet streaming as it offers more variety, means of personalizing what you like to watch, you can pause, rewind, make your online database of favourite music, videos, movies, add your favourite channels, remove those you find less interesting and so on. Also, with most of the players, you can connect to all the other smart gadgets in your house and access the media libraries for movies, photos and music that you already have on them. You have access to channels like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon where you will be able to check your history and playlists that you may have built before- also you can use several apps for weather, language learning, horoscopes, games, food channels, shopping, etc.
In this post, I would like to present you some of the most popular HD streaming Players along with their main features so you can make a difference between what you can get from each of them and decide whether or not they are worth investing.
Roku HD Streaming Player
Encouraging you to make from your TV time the best entertainment destination, Roku, one of the big names in this niche, brings Roku 3. The new interface makes it easier for you to browse though tons of channels, type titles, play games, etc. One-stop search allows you to find your favourite show/movie fast and easy. You get a large providers corner: Netflix, Hulu Plus, VUDU, Amazon Instant Video and Crackle and a wide means of narrowing the results: search by title, actor or director. When you find something catchy, simply select the channel it’s on and enjoy it. Roku connects you with over 150,000 movies and shows, the biggest selection of live streaming sports packages out there, including MLB.TV,NBA League Pass Broadband, NHL GameCenter, MLS LIVE, UFC and more. You can also play music-from Spotify, Pandora and MOG – or connect with Amazon Cloud Player with media libraries you already have. And if its not enough, you can try VEVO, Live365 or TuneIn. The remote with remote with built-in headphone jack lets you enjoy your TV shows anytime, anywhere without fear you might disturb other members of the family that maybe prefer reading or they are working- or why not, makes it easier for you to do your workouts, run on the treadmill, cycle without having to adjust the volume.
How do you feel about playing Angry Birds, Jeopardy and many others directly on your TV? Roku makes it possible for you.
Also, you can make your family the star of the show-free Roku app lets you put up everything from a family slide show to your favorite album right on that big screen for everyone to see.
The built-in wireless and guided setup makes Roku easy to install and use.
The manufacturers announced that the new Roku interface, available today on Roku 3, will be upgraded for free by May 2013 on all Roku 2, LT and HD models.
WD TV Live Hub
This is a 4th Generation streaming media player in the reputable Western Media line of products. While the first WD TV was able to play from a connected USB device, the second WD live model added the possibility for local network playback and the third added Netflix support. The new WD TV live Hub makes one step further, adding a build-in 1 TB hard-drive and a useful menu interface.
Designed to store and play all your media, the player is able to deliver Full-HD 1080p video playback so that you can enjoy the spectacular picture quality of brilliant high definition video and the crystal-clear sound of digital audio. The Ethernet port connect this media player to your home network so you can access and stream video, view photos, and play music from any Mac, PC, and network drive in your house. Whatever you record with your smartphone/tablet you can upload on the build-in hard drive on your WD TV Live Hub and you can enjoy directly on you HD TV.
You can stream any file on the WD TV Live Hub media center to a WD TV Live media player or any DLNA/UPnP compatible TV, Blu-ray Disc™ player, or game console. The system is powerful enough to handle multiple streams so you can stream a movie to your Blu-ray Disc player, while viewing photos on your TV upstairs. With this player you can enjoy a wide variety of channels and apps: Netflix, Pandora, YouTube, Sportify, Flixter, Vimeo, lots of games, movies and videos. Either you use their programmable remote control or you go for the app that transforms your smartphone/tablet in a touch-screen remote (it comes in handy when you want to enjoy Facebook or just for typing faster and finding what you love), WD TV live hub is easy to install and use and will change your idea of home entertainment.
If you are a fan of the sleek designs from Apple. probably you won’t miss the chance to add this smart gadget to your collection.
The 3rd generation Apple TV is basically an updated version of the 2nd generation: it doesn’t look different but it has a series of upgraded internal specifications like an A5 processor that allows Apple to support 1080p instead of just 720p. One of the biggest changes for the Apple TV is the new user interface also available as an update for the older versions. To ease navigation, the menu has a top row that offers some directions: movies, TV shows, music, computers and settings. Using settings you can log in to your iTunes account and access the previous stored content. Also from here you can turn on Home Sharing so that you can connect to your computer. You can use you iPhone/iPad/iPod touch as a remote control, for more precise typing and navigating.
Access your Netflix and Hulu Plus accounts directly from your HDTV.7 Play videos on YouTube and Vimeo. Browse your friends’ Flickr photos. And stay current with Wall Street Journal Live.See live MLB, NBA, and NHL games.Enjoy your photos, home videos, and music collection on your HDTV from your Mac or PC over Wi-Fi.
It is easy to set up and use and the interface is really clear and user-friendly.
NETGEAR – NeoTV MAX Streaming Player
NeoTV MAX Streaming Player promises to help your TV combine Internet functions to access a various selection of online streaming channels without a computer.
Enjoy thousands of movies and TV shows from Netfl ix, Hulu Plus, VUDU, and more. Easily browse YouTube clips or listen to Pandora. Connect high-speed WiFi delivers the best 1080p HD streaming performance with the reliability you can trust. Access your video, photo or music collections from USB or DLNA drives and easily search for content with the included QWERTY keyboard remote control. The NeoTV remote control app makes it easy to find and play movies and share favorite channels you on Facebook.
While it provides all these great funstions, NeoTV MAX Streaming Player creates controversy among buyers- some are very happy with the product while others conclude they should have added a few extra bucks and get a different model- buyers complain this model seems slower then others, the qwerty keyboard is annoying, lacks Amazon Instant Video App, etc. Well, everyone is entitled to an opinion so if the NeoTV MAX Streaming Player gets your attention just study the market better and make sure you are happy with your decision.
These are some really great gadgets- that will make your free time much more entertaining. I am not a big fan of the classic TV broadcasting so I appreciate the flexibility and the variety that comes with these players- I can decide what I want to watch and change it whenever I decide- and maybe watch it later. You can share with family and friends pictures and videos and be the star of your own broadcasting at a push of a button. You can easily navigate huge databases of videos and music, like YouTube, Live365, Pandora- and instantly share your preferences with your friends on Facebook. I am really curious if any of you have experience with these players and if you could share some from your experience please leave a comment below!