The TV will always be the focal point of any home theater system or media room. However, it is only as good as the programs available on it. With the advent of streaming technology, you can send online content directly to your TV via WiFi. A wide variety of media can be easily accessible on the TV-either off the internet or saved in your home computer. With streaming, you can take pleasure in watching as many YouTube videos or Netflix TV shows and movies as you want.
From Blu-ray players to gaming consoles, modern home theater systems double as reliable streaming devices. Streaming has indeed become one of the most wanted entertainment media features; it is all the rage. It has come a long way since buffering, choppy, and pixilated video and audio files. Whether you’re a big movie lover, a TV buff, a music aficionado, or just an all-around media junkie, here are the top 5 streaming devices for a home theater.
The Apple TV Streaming Media Box is a consumer favorite. With its friendly user interface, consumers can stream their iTunes content from their computer and play Nefflix, Hulu, Youtube, and Vimeo videos. This is the perfect streaming device for anyone who has a mass of Apple products. For example, if you have an iPad, you can mirror it to your TV via Airplay.
Roku offers affordable streaming devices that provide streaming content from Netflix, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, and Pandora. The Roku 2 XD connects to the Internet instantly via built-in Wi-Fi and supports up to 1080p high-definition video, while you can use the Roku LT with just about any TV – HD or not. The Roku streaming devices have a USB port for playing your own media files. Gain access to the Roku Channel Store, where you can enjoy over 300 channels featuring tons of movies, TV shows, live sports, etc. Bonus: the Roku 2XS includes Angry Birds.
There’s more to gaming consoles nowadays than just gaming. Aside from being an HD gaming system, the Sony PlayStation 3 is a streaming media player, a Blu-ray and DVD player, and an internet browser. The Sony PS3 was the first console with 1080p and 5.1 surround sound. You also don’t have to pay extra to stream Netflix shows – making the Sony PS3 the most popular Netflix streaming device.
Like the Sony PlayStation 3, the Xbox 360 is both a gaming console and a quality streaming device. It can stream content from Netflix and Hulu Plus. Also, Xbox 360 just announced their “landmark deal” with Time Warner Cable which will put hundreds of live cable channels on the Xbox 360. All that is needed is an Xbox Live Gold Membership.
The Panasonic DMP-BDT220 is a quality Blu-ray player with compatible streaming services from Netflix, Amazon, Vudu, Youtube, Skype, and Pandora. It also plays DVD, CDs, and USB and SD-based media. This streaming device has a Multi-User Mode, which lets multiple users personalize their screens including customizing icons, pictures, wallpapers, and sound settings.
Erika White writes articles on home audio and video subjects. She works for Home Theater Gear, a home cinema installation store based in Houston, TX.
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