Many new internet streaming options are perfect for home theaters, but in the review below found on Cnet News, the focus is on the most affordable options that begin at around $99. Specifically the new Apple Tv and Roku 2. If you are looking into a new streaming video device that will get the job done without straining your budget then check out these options.
I think even though the article recommends the Roku 2, I wouldn’t be happy unless I could interface with all my apple toys and music. So for me I’d have to go with the exceptional Apple interface. For many of you who don’t care for the whole Apple world then of course the Roku is the best choice. Either way the new internet streaming options are perfect for home theaters.
“There are more ways to stream Internet video–Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and the like–than ever before. On that subject, I’ve laid out my hardware recommendations for a variety of consumers in an earlier blog post (“Which streaming-media device is right for you?”). But looming large in the marketplace these days are the two $99 offerings: Apple TV and Roku 2. It’s enough of a horse race that it’s worth a separate discussion.”
“Before we start, a few key points apply to both units:
“Both are great for Netflix–and several other overlapping services. If you just want a cheap and easy Netflix box, both Apple TV and Roku will fit the bill. They also both offer Vimeo, MLB.TV, NBA League Pass, Flickr, and general Internet radio. And, while the Apple TV doesn’t specifically support Mediafly (a podcast aggregator available on Roku), it does offer access to nearly any mainstream audio and video podcast. So your favorite CNET (and other) podcasts are accessible on both units.”
“Both units offer some degree of free online content: Vimeo and Internet audio on both, YouTube on Apple TV, Crackle on Roku. But to fully enjoy either of these products, you’ll need to be shelling out for subscription (Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, MLB.TV, NHL GameCenter, NBA Game Time) or pay-per-view video services (iTunes, Amazon Instant). That will run you at least $7.99 per month for Netflix, and more–much more–depending on your desire for recent TV shows and movies and the aforementioned sports services.”
“Speedy Broadband is Essential”
“This sounds obvious–until you see all of the 1-star user reviews for these products and their competitors, with lines like, “Doesn’t stream on DSL.” The faster your broadband is, the better. We recommend having at least a 10Mbps connection, which probably means cable.”
Everyone Wants to Cut the Cord
“Cord cutters take note. Apple TV and the Roku 2 XS are both very cool boxes that offer a lot of additional programming options beyond cable and satellite. But if you think you can buy either–or both–of these and then ditch your existing TV subscription, you’re almost certainly bound to be disappointed–unless you also plan for over-the-air antenna reception.”
“Without that free TV lifeline, you’ll be sacrificing nearly all live local programming, including local sports and local news. And while ordering shows a la carte (Amazon or iTunes) or by subscription (Hulu Plus on Roku) is a start, you’ll may well find that you’re racking up a bill that’s equal to or greater than that of the cable or satellite subscription you want to cut.”
“Bottom line: these boxes can be part of a cord-cutting solution, but they’re not the total solution. Your mileage may vary: we’ve had cord-cutting successes and failures among our colleagues, so just be sure to plan ahead before you cut the cord.”
John P. Falcone has done and excellent job reviewing all the internet streaming options and showing the pros and cons for each. Making your final choice may still be difficult because there are so many features to compare but with all the great information here clearly the new internet streaming options are perfect for home theaters or any entertainment setup.
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