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How To Choose The Best Internet TV Media Streamer Box
With thousands of television channels at your fingertips, it’s hard to imagine that there was a time when we had just a handful – and you had to stand up to change them. Unfortunately, along with the ever-increasing options have come ever-increasing prices. Arguably, the only aspect of television not to go up is the quality of the content.
Today, it isn’t uncommon for cable or satellite bills to total well over $100 a month, and many of us end up paying for channels we never even tune in to. Rising prices have led many to abandon traditional plans for alternative sources of entertainment. With the advent of the Internet and recent strides in increased download speeds, it’s now entirely possible to watch shows produced for television via the Internet.
Do you need a media streamer?
As physical discs, tapes and analogue TV become extinct, and digital streaming delivery of files becomes more common. Watching a TV show or movie on your PC screen or laptop can be a bit too restrictive. No big screen, usually lower quality sound, having to wait 5 minutes for a boot-up and not conducive to group watching means we need another option. The answer is one of the new breed of internet TV media streaming set-top boxes that deliver digital files onto your big screen TV easier.
No one can say listening to music hasn’t changed greatly since the invention of MP3 players. In much the same way, our video watching habits can and will change as internet TV boxes continue to impact on the market. In the very near future, gone will be the piles of DVDs we all have stashed in some drawer in our house, all replaced by digital copies. It’s even possible that DVD players, cable receivers, or satellites will turn out to be as unimportant as the VHS players we all got rid of a long ago. Every home has some type of set-top box that handles our video watching pastimes. But as delivering media via the internet continues to be developed, the playback of digital video will become as common as MP3s. In fact, a media streamer is very similar to an MP3 player but the media streamer offers playback of video format as well.
What to Consider?
So what exactly is a media streamer and what does it do? Similar to most electronic devices that have adapted and evolved, media streamers can vary greatly in quality and features provided. Media streamers is a term that appears a lot now and describes a network connected device that both plays media from a hard drive or home network, and can stream content from the internet. So in general terms, the media you can play, video, music or images are usually stored outside of the media player and the device will play the file from its source wirelessly. So you can stream from online video sites like Hulu, Amazon and Youtube, catch-up TV sites etc. Or you can connect to your home network consisting of a computer, hard drive, tablet, phone, or media server etc.
Media streamers come in different shapes and sizes, but they are generally very small and vary wildly in the features they provide, how well the media streamer you choose accommodates your needs will require you choose the model that has the features you might need. With that in mind, it may be a little confusing at first since media streamers are so new. Like many electronic devices we have all purchased from time to time, the features needed may also vary from one person to the next. But in order to be sure you have a media streamer that will suffice, there are a few requirements to consider.
Connectivity and Usability
Connectivity is top priority. This may sound elementary, but without proper connectivity there is little hope of successfully transmitting video files from your streaming device to a television. Most media streamers found on today’s market will include HDMI connectivity. Some models will include component connections and audio connections, and there are now a range of models that enable wireless video streaming, so you can lose the ugly cables.
Support of different file formats is also an extremely important consideration. Since there are so many different video file formats and codecs, it will be important to choose a media streamer that can handle the most popular video formats. This is the best way to ensure your video library will be supported. Additionally, the network support included in your media streamer is also very important. Network support is different from connectivity. Any media streamer worth its weight will provide an Ethernet port to connect to your network. But these days, the better media streamers should also provide a wireless network support to offer users and hands-free operation.
The media streamer you choose should be easy to use and easy to navigate with an intuitive interface. You can choose a media streamer with all features unimaginable, but that will serve no purpose if finding files you wish to watch is difficult to do. The menus and navigation bars should be user-friendly and perhaps customizable to gain the most from your unit. Your media streamer should offer easy network set up and a remote control unit that responds very easily. There’s nothing more annoying than a remote control that will not change video as needed. You may also wish to choose a media streamer that has support for popular online services. Subscription services such as Netflix and Hulu Plus should be readily available. Your unit should provide content availability for such sites. Availability of on demand subscription movie sites will only further your home entertainment.Older