December 31, 2012
| by Grant Clauser
3. Streaming Media Device
If your video sources are limited to your cable box and Blu-ray player, you’re missing out on a lot of great movies and TV shows. Streaming media players such as Roku 2, Apple TV, Vizio Co-star or NetGear Neo TV offer access to huge catalogs of movies, TV shows and music, and viewing is reasonably priced (or sometimes free). The premium video services include VUDU, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, HBO2GO and Hulu Plus, but you can also find a lot of high-quality content from services like YouTube or Vimeo (they’re not all smirking cat videos).
Netgear’s NEO TV can stream audio and video from the most popular media services.
Sure, there’s a bit of a quality trade-off with streaming video, but most services offer high definition video (though it’s not Blu-ray quality), and some even can get you 1080p. The best video quality can generally be found on VUDU, but the other services are also extremely watchable. (More about streaming media and servers here)
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.