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Apple TV vs Google TV vs Boxee vs Roku vs Chromecast vs Amazon Fire vs WD TV vs PlayOn vs TVersity

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Roku logo
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Tired of watching Netflix and Hulu on your tiny computer screen or tablet? Streaming media players connect to your television so you don’t have to squint your eyes at a small screen. In this comparison we take a look at the top streaming media players and pick our winners for best receiver. Included in this review are: Apple TV, Google TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, PlayOn, WD TV Live, TVersity and Chromecast, as well as a few others. We share our top 3 picks for best streaming media player and for each, we share the pros and cons, so that you can decide which one might fit your budget and entertainment needs best.

What Is a Media Streaming Player?

First off, if you’re new to the whole digital media player thing — a streaming media player (or digital media player/adaptor) is basically a set-top box that you can use to stream television shows and movies (some free with ads, some paid) to your television set or projector. They typically include an interface that is easier to use and more reliable than if you were to simply hookup your PC or laptop to your television set.

Does a Media Streaming Device Offer Everything my Cable Service Does?

A streaming media player offers access to pre-recorded TV shows and movies. Only a small number offer the ability to view or record live TV (although with access to pre-recorded shows, this might not be a feature you’d miss terribly).

You can read all about media streaming players, how they work, pros and cons, and how to get up and running with an antenna and digital tuner (to view and record live TV), in our digital media player review.

We should point out that we are more or less at the beginning of the streaming media devices revolution. That means they’ll likely be more supported (i.e. a solid sports offering) and offer more features (more shows, more movies, etc.) in the years to come. That being said, we’re miles from where we were last year, and there are some solid offerings on the market that had enough features to make it a no-brainer for us to cut the cord on our cable subscription and save $80/month in the process.

Discounts and Promotions

Every now and then, a given media player will go on sale. To keep the discount codes from cluttering up the article, we’re posting them in the comments section below.

Price Drops

Because the streaming media player space is so competitive, there are frequent price drops. We’ll try to post the new prices below in our comparison table as they happen, but bear with us and please leave comments to help us out. Also, please note that all pricing is from at time of writing.

Roku Review

Roku Premier#1

View on Amazon

Hands down this company offers the widest range of media access. How does Roku work? Roku can stream from virtually any media service you can imagine as well as casting directly from your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. The Roku Ultra is their top of the line streaming media device, which offers 4K streaming and HDR picture quality. The biggest downside is that their high end products only work on 4K TVs, which are still fairly new. So you may have to go with a lower end product for your TV. But, do not worry — I personally own the Roku Streaming Stick HDMI and love it. It plugs directly into the HDMI port and is very discreet. I do a lot of traveling and it’s easy to connect every time, plus the quality seems great to me.

Pros

Cons

  • Built-in headphone jack on remote
  • 3,500+ channels including all the most popular ones
  • Intuitive interface
  • Easy setup
  • Full Amazon and Netflix support — you can search, browse, and add movies to your queue (including your instant watching queue)
  • Remote Finder
  • Roku Express+ works great for older TVs (HDMI and composite outputs)
  • Stream content from iOS or Android device
  • No access to iTunes content
  • No internal storage

Pricing

  • Roku Express $29.99
  • Roku Express+ $39.99
  • Roku Streaming Stick $49.99
  • Roku Premier $79.99
  • Roku Premier+ $99.99
  • Roku Ultra $129.99
  • Roku TV starting at $125 for 32″ TV

Video

Struggling to pick a Roku device? This one minute video shows the key features of each streaming media player offered from Roku.

Apple TV Review

AppleTV#2

View at Best Buy

Apple is known for its secure, streamlined and user-friendly interface and this is no exception. It took a few versions to get it just right, but the latest version allows almost as much access to media as the Roku. What does Apple TV do? It allows you to access your iTunes account for convenient access to your existing music and videos as well as easy downloads of new movies and other entertainment. But the coolest part might be that you can show your Mac or MacBook screen on your TV, wirelessly (requires OS X 10.9+ Mavericks). If you are an Apple addict, this is the box for you.

Pros

Cons

  • Fourth Generation has Siri, App Store and Third Party Controllers
  • Fourth Generation remote has a charging connector (no batteries needed)
  • Multiple connection ports (HDMI, ethernet, etc.)
  • Has internal storage
  • Solid, clean, easy to use and familiar (to Apple users) user interface
  • Can be controlled via your Apple device (iPhone, iPad, etc.)
  • iTunes has a limited selection of TV shows compared to Amazon VOD (only supported networks are ABC, Fox, Disney, PBS, and BBC)
  • Doesn’t support as many apps (i.e. Pandora) as the competition

Pricing

  • 32GB $149
  • 64GB $199

Amazon Fire TV Stick Review

Amazon Fire#3

View on Amazon

Amazon Fire TV Stick takes our #3 spot this year away from Chromecast. The Amazon Fire TV family includes three different streaming media devices: Fire TV, Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Gaming Edition. These come at various price points and specialize in different things. The Fire TV is great for 4K TVs, the Fire TV Stick is great for the basic TV viewing or the Gaming Edition is great for the gamers (obviously). The portability and ease of startup for these devices is a definite plus, and their ‘ASAP’ (Advance Streaming and Prediction) will personalize the experience for you with recommendations based on your screening habits, which helps with quicker media turnaround. Overall, we felt that Amazon Fire TV Stick outperformed Chromecast. It has more apps and options, which are among the reasons we ranked it higher in our rankings.

Pros

Cons

  • Various price points
  • Fire TV and Fire TV Gaming Edition have 2 GB of memory and Amazon Fire TV Stick with and without Voice Remote have 1 GB of memory
  • Portable
  • Over 300,000 TV shows and movies
  • Alexa works well with Amazon Fire Stick
  • Easy to travel with
  • No web browser capabilities
  • Customers complain that Parental Controls don’t work

Pricing

  • Fire TV Stick – $39.99
  • Fire TV – $89.99
  • Fire TV Gaming Edition – $129.99

Streaming Media Player Comparison Chart

Below is a massive comparison chart to help you learn more about each device. Find out what you can watch on it, what accessories are included and the technical specs of the device.

What Can I Watch On It?

The chart outlines the media streaming services (that stream television shows and movies to your box) that are supported by each media player – i.e. does the receiver support Hulu Plus, Amazon, YouTube, HBO Go?

What Do I Get With It (Accessories)?

The chart also shows the accessories and goodies you get with each media player. Some come fully loaded with remote control (Via App = you use your Internet enabled device as the remote control via a free app), keyboard, and wireless-N connections, while others come stripped down to save costs. As a note, because Google TV comes in so many varieties, you should be sure to double-check your particular smart TV or Buddy Box. For this review we’re using the Hisense Pulse.

There’s a row for VPN Support – this is primarily for accessing streams from countries outside the United States. While the media players don’t have VPN support built-in, you can find ways of configuring your network so the media box will be able to access content over your VPN.

Where Can I Plug It In (Inputs and Outputs)?

The last things this chart outlines are the technical specs of each media player. What kinds of inputs and outputs does each box have? Will you be able to play videos you’ve stored on your USB drive or SD card? Will you be able to use component cables to connect it to your projector?

It’s important to point out that few of the streaming media players have on board storage. (The PS3/4 is an exception which has a MicroSD expansion capability.) That means, unlike your DVR or hard drive on your PC, you’re not going to be able to record shows locally. Then again, in most cases, that’s not necessary because the services that you’ll be getting, from Hulu Plus to Netflix, do that for you. That’s the beauty of a media player – no need to stress over having remembered to record a particular show or not, and no need to worry about the day (and it will come) your DVR hard drive will crash and you’ll lose all your recorded shows and movies.

CompanyWinner: RokuRunner Up: Apple TVThird Place: Amazon Fire TV StickChromecastCloud TV BoxPlayOn (PC Based Service)PS4TVersityWD TV LiveXBox One
Winner: RokuRunner Up: Apple TVThird Place: Amazon Fire TV StickChromecastCloud TV BoxPlayOn (PC Based Service)PS4TVersityWD TV LiveXBox One
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Buy NowView on AmazonView at Best BuyView on AmazonView at Best BuyView on AmazonVisit WebsiteView on AmazonVisit WebsiteView on AmazonView on Amazon
Starting Price$29.99$149$39.99$35Unable to find$2.50/month or $59.99 one time$299Free Version Available
License Starts at $24.99
$329.69$249
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*DLNA stands for (Digital Living Network Alliance) – basically allows entertainment devices within your home to communicate with one another. So DLNA enabled media players are able to stream content to and from each other. This is a huge advantage if you want to share photo slideshows, home videos, etc. from various PCs and gadgets in your household on your television set or projector.

It’s important to point out that even though a particular media player might support a service, it might not be supported as fully as with another box. That’s because some network providers are blocking access to certain shows (for example, if you sign in to Hulu Plus with Roku, you’ll see some shows, such as Top Chef, marked with “web only,” which means they didn’t obtain the rights to stream full episodes over the media player, and you’ll need to use your PC to view these). Read our detailed reviews below for details on what you’ll get with each media player.

Streaming Media Player Reviews

To learn more about one specific media streaming player, click a link below, or scroll through each individual player to learn about them all.

Boxee TV | ChromecastCloud TV Box | Google Nexus Player | Google TV | PlayOn | Playstation | TVersity | WD TV Live | XBox

Boxee Box Review

View on Amazon

Boxee Box sold to Samsung and is no longer selling their product. Boxee Box discontinued July 10, 2013.

Chromecast Review

Chromecast

View at Best Buy

Chromecast is popular due to its price of only $35 and the fact that it is compatible with many devices. The Chromecast dongle plugs right into the HDMI port on your television set. Users like being able to use their smartphone, tablet, or computer as a remote for their Chromecast dongle and they can stream video from any of them and still use other apps on that device. Chromecast can stream movies, TV shows, music, Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, HBO Go, Google Play, Pandora, and other web content via Chrome from the Cloud. All you need is a television with an HDMI port. The Chromecast Ultra is also available for $69, it is designed for 4K TVs.

Pros

Cons

  • Inexpensive
  • Works on Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android
  • Chrome browser mirroring is simple and effective
  • Available in 3 different colors
  • Only supports a limited number of apps
  • Few options for sports streaming

Pricing

  • Chromecast – $35
  • Chromecast Ultra – $69.99

Cloud TV Box Review

Cloud TV BoxView on Amazon

Cloud TV Box, previously Smart TV Box, has just about everything you could want. So why didn’t it rank in our top 3? We had never heard of this product until one of our readers pointed it out to us. After so many years, it worries us that Cloud TV Box hasn’t made a name for itself in this category yet. So we question whether all the features work or not.

Pros

Cons

  • Most features you want are available
  • Not a lot of information from customers online about them
  • An outdated looking site so they don’t seem up to date on things
  • Website lacks some information about the product

Google Nexus Player Review

The Google Nexus was discontinued by Google in early 2016.

Google TV Review

Google TV is no longer an available product.

PlayOn Review

PlayOn InterfaceVisit Website

The PlayOn service is unique to this review. PlayOn doesn’t actually offer a physical media player; in other words, you’ll need to download, install and run the software on a PC with a Windows operating system. The advantage of PlayOn is that you can stream content from network channels, including ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, TBS, The CW, CNN, MTV, HGTV, the Food Network, ESPN3 (which includes live sports and replays of just about everything ESPN covers) and more. There are “plug-ins” for television stations available (made by third-party developers) that give you access to the Internet feeds various networks provide on your PC. These feeds are accessible through PlayOn, and typically not the media players listed above (i.e. content is blocked).

Pros

Cons

  • PlayOn is very well supported – there are constant updates
  • Network channel access (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, TBS, The CW, CNN, MTV, HGTV, ESPN3, the Food Network, and more)
  • Supports Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Wii, Chromecast, Moxi HD DVR, NETGEAR Digital Entertainer Live, and Roku
  • ESPN3.com support (for Time Warner customers, this is a huge plus, since the Xbox 360 functionality is not yet working)
  • The software is somewhat buggy, some channels work, others do not
  • Getting your firewall configured to let PlayOn through can be a daunting task

Pricing

  • $2.50/month
  • $59.99 one time

Playstation 4 Review

PS4View on Amazon

Like TVersity and PlayOn, the Playstation 4 is not a traditional streaming media player, but it serves many of the same functions. The most popular streaming video services are fully integrated with this console gaming system. They also include fully functional Blu-ray players. The PS4 lack support for most audio services (no Pandora or Spotify) but it does stream audio directly from your PC. It comes at a much higher price point than the other devices on this list, but if you have an interest in gaming, the PS4 could certainly fill your streaming media needs and help consolidate boxes.

Pricing

  • Starting at $299.99

TVersity Review

Visit Website

The TVersity service is similar to PlayOn, without much of the “plug-n-play” functionality. From what we can tell, TVersity is not quite as mature as PlayOn at this time. It offers similar capabilities to stream video and audio locally and from the Internet, with the notable absence of a streamlined user interface, plug-ins, apps, and Netflix support.

WD TV Live Review

WD TV Live streaming media player and remoteView on Amazon

We should point out the differences between the WD TV Live (which replaced the Live Plus) and the WD TV Play. The main difference at this time appears to be that the WD TV Live supports a broader range of multimedia formats (including MPEG). WD TV is produced by Western Digital.

Pros

Cons

  • Small set-top box that supports more audio and video formats than just about any other streaming device at this time
  • Large number of inputs and outputs
  • Netflix – you can now search and modify your queue
  • Doesn’t have as many widgets (apps) or “plug-in” functionality as other media players
  • We’ve received reports that the unit loads somewhat slowly and the menu isn’t as efficient or easy to use as other players

Pricing

  • $329.69

Xbox One Review

Xbox One in box View on Amazon

You can stream music, pictures and video with your XBox One connected to your home network. Xbox One has Hulu Plus, Netflix, Crackle, HBO Go and many other apps. However, to take advantage of these things you must have the Xbox Live Gold membership, which adds on to the costs.

Pricing

  • Starts at $249

Which Media Player Do you Like Best?

There are 47 million U.S. subscriptions to Netflix in the U.S. alone. That means almost 50 million people in the U.S. (34 million more outside the U.S.) would benefit from using a media player to binge watch their favorite shows or movies without straining their eyes. More and more people are moving away from cable/satellite and switching over to Netflix and Hulu accounts. With all the developments happening in the “streaming content” world (that has cable TV companies scared silly), it will be interesting to see what contracts/relationships/developments come out of the streaming media player revolution over the next few years.

What’s your favorite digital media player?

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Alex realized it was time for a home security system when his neighbor’s house got broken into. Since then, he has tried to stay ahead of the curve by proactively applying security technologies and software that protect not only his home and family, but his personal identity, sensitive information, and finances. In his spare time, Alex’s tennis opponents are less concerned with security given the number of times his forehand finds the middle of the net. In the ocean, on the other hand, Alex could use protection as he frequently gets clobbered by the next big wave.
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83 Comments on "Apple TV vs Google TV vs Boxee vs Roku vs Chromecast vs Amazon Fire vs WD TV vs PlayOn vs TVersity"

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Mary B
Mary B
This comparTive review has come out before the new app Firestruck containing the TMC plus the Criterion Collection of film. As of early 2017, it is only available on Apple. Being a film afficianado, for this reason alone, I prefer Apple TV version 4 over Roku version 3. I have both and have found more sophisticated apps for major news stations with less advertising on Apple TV generation 4. I am also finding less spooling on Apple TV than on Roku. As mentioned in the article, Apple TV zapper is easy to charge and really works well mirroring from an… Read more »
disqus_FQgrm4l56P
disqus_FQgrm4l56P
Both of the cons for Fire TV are incorrect. “Voice search is additional cost to include – remote only works on Amazon content” The voice search does work with other content. It had been planned from the beginning and while it took a while, that’s really the fault of the app developers and not Amazon. I do get that it still is a factor, regardless of who is at fault but I really don’t think it’s fair to qualify it as a con to say that it can only play Amazon content (even if that were the case, which it… Read more »
Kimberly Alt
Admin
Kimberly Alt

Thank you so much for this information! We are actually in the middle of updating this article, so we will be sure to fact check all of this information. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

Kendra
Kendra

Great article Alex. For those who live outside US like me, you can access Netflix, Hulu and similar media stations on your Apple TV by using UnoTelly or similar tools.

Alan Wade
Alan Wade

I used PurevPN on my Google TV.

Kimberly Alt
Admin
Kimberly Alt

Thanks for the tip Kendra!

brownie
brownie

Still new, all I have to say is Midnight Box plus XBMC. Everything is free, just pay internet. If you’re still going to pay monthly fees for anything other than Internet it defeats the purpose of the box.

Kimberly Alt
Admin
Kimberly Alt

I’ve never heard of this device. What types of media does it stream? Does it stream current episodes of shows and newer movies? Thanks for brining this to our attention!

Guest Author
Admin
Guest Author
Isn’t it amazing to look at the number of entertainment options we have in today’s world? I can’t even imagine a time when there were only 3 or 4 channels to choose from. I even hate to think back to when I only had basic cable. Lately, I have highly considered dropping our satellite connection and opting for a service that still allows me to watch my favorite shows. In my opinion, I feel like I’m overpaying for satellite service because there are less than 10 channels that I watch on a daily basis. It would certainly be nice to… Read more »
Guest Author
Admin
Guest Author
There are so many great options when it comes to home entertainment. In our home we used to use Netflix, Blockbuster@Home, and Amazon to watch movies and TV shows any time we wanted. We are also considered adding Roku to our entertainment center, but haven’t quite decided if we are going to or not yet. It’s amazing how many services you can use through the Roku. It is just hard to decide between all of the options that are available. It is just difficult to make a choice because you really need to know that you want and what is… Read more »
Guest Author
Admin
Guest Author
So, raise your hand if you never thought you would see the day that you were looking for a digital receiver that included an app to make it easier to find what you were looking for on television. I know I am showing my age, but I can’t possibly be the only person who grew up without a remote, or even knowing what a remote was for a significant amount of years. My, how times have changed in my own lifetime! I admit this is a better way to go. We get more options now than we ever did and… Read more »
Guest Author
Admin
Guest Author
I am really thinking hard about getting Google TV. I like to streamline things as much as I can and since I use Google for just about everything else, I may as well use it for TV too. I think this would be an advantage for me in the future as well since Google seems to want a piece of every market and are likely to be about as streamlined as they can possibly get. I think we already witness that through things like Google play. Right now, I don’t pay for any kind of television service or have anything… Read more »
Guest Author
Admin
Guest Author
Before I read this article I did not even know there was a Google TV. I went and checked it out and found that you could buy a tv through them. I didn’t know that either. We have enough tvs in this house that you kind of have to be strategic about how you hook things up. For instance, I made sure my son had a tv in his room because I don’t want to be looking at videos games every other time I walk into my living room. Because of the gaming system he has, he can do just… Read more »
Guest Author
Admin
Guest Author
I’m afraid I don’t really understand what this is about. I currently have an XBox 360 that allows my son to watch Netflix in his room. My Vizio television is connected to my wireless system and comes with its own Netflix and Pandora apps. I don’t know that this would be any more beneficial than either of those devices. The Vizio TV has the capability to use Hulu as well. I’m pretty sure that the XBox 360 also allows access to Hulu. We just don’t use it because I don’t want to pay for multiple services. I’m not certain I’m… Read more »
a web rocker
a web rocker

The huge error in your review is that Apple TV will not play 1080p. It will only play 720p (30fps). Otherwise I would have purchased one. You can checkout the Apple Specs for details.

Benny
Benny
I think there are more options out there beside Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Google Chromecast, when it comes to home entertainment. For instance, I know one brand that makes awesome Smart TV Box that offers what all 4 being compared here can do and going beyond. It has the same price point of $99 or can go even less. It has the capability to browse web, streaming video, music, and video chat with distance family or friends in the comfort of your living room. It has the capability to let you expand the storage space by connecting to… Read more »
Kimberly Alt
Admin
Kimberly Alt

Hi Benny, thanks for reading and commenting with this information. We know this is a very large, expanding category and it’s helpful when readers like you bring new products to our attention. We are continuously updating this list, however, none of the products we have reviewed have beaten out our top 3 winners. We will review Smart TV Box in our next update and if it beats out one of our top 3 we will be happy to move them to the top. Thank you again for being knowledgeable in this category so we can update it for our audience.

-Kimberly

Bill
Bill
We have been on the market for this for some time now as I am done and tired with Time Warner Cable. We are also trying to save money on cable bills and like the fact that there are so many options now for digital TV and watching on demand what you want versus paying for a bunch of garbage you don’t need or care for. I have only heard of Apple TV and Google TV and had no clue there were so many other options out there, so this helps us do a lot of the leg work in… Read more »
JD

I personally have the Apple TV in one room and a Roku box in another. I love the interface of Apple TV, but I’m probably biased because I pretty much only use Mac products. For media that I have on iTunes, the Apple TV is flawless. It also does a great job with Netflix and Hulu Plus. I don’t have any complaints about the Roku, it streams really well, but just without the local content.

Gordie
Gordie

Download the Plex app for Roku and run the Plex Media Server on a PC on the same network. Voila! Local content (flawlessly) on the Roku.

charlie
charlie

Need PC up all the time. network drive is not enough.

Hyeon
Hyeon

Comparison Chart is quite different from what I know.

For example, Boxee Box supports PANDORA and Apple TV Support NETFLIX

silphium
silphium
The claim that Netflix can’t be searched or the queue modified on the WD TV is dead wrong. In fact, a “Search” button is the first thing you see at the top of the screen when you enter Netflix. You can search for titles, actors, even directors. Makes me think the reviewer relied on second hand information, rather than actually using the device. WD TV has the best file support in the industry, and can play virtually any video and audio file available, from Flash to FLAC. It can also view photos in high-res TIFF, for those who shot photos… Read more »
Michelle Schenker
Admin
Michelle Schenker

Thank you for your input and assistance. You are correct. We had the facts right in one place but screwed it up in the other… We had Netflix checked as WD TV Live Plus supported programming in our chart and mentioned it as a pro in the paragraph write up but had it incorrectly classified in the pros and cons list. This has been updated. Also, the check was missing for the DLNA support but has been added today.

Thank you again for your help, Michelle @ We Rock Your Web

Anonymous
Anonymous
I have been wondering about these things. I mean I could not figure out if they could replace my cable service. I mean I know that everyone has cable for different reasons, so whether or not the can replace someone else’s cable might not be a good indicator of whether they can replace mine. After reading through your article a bit, I do find that I don’t watch a whole lot of live TV. But without cable commercials, how would you know which new shows you want to watch? I guess a site like Hulu might keep you up to… Read more »
Kellie
Kellie
Hi! Thank you so much for this article I feel so much more informed now. I don’t know much about this media but I’m poor and looking for a way to save some cash and this sounds like a winner. I have a couple questions that I hope you can answer… In order to have streaming tv on each tv set would I have to have one of these boxes for each one? If I don’t does that mean that a person would have to watch the same channel that someone in another room was watching? Would I have to… Read more »
a web rocker
a web rocker
Yes, you would have to have a different box for each TV, but when you’re cutting back or cutting out cable, the upfront cost outweighs the long term, bloated cable bills. At the very least, it should help you cut out premium channels and packages that you aren’t using. At the best, you’ll be amazed at how much you can watch without cable at all, making the move away from cable easy. You will need high speed internet to have any streaming work well. Look for an online speed test to see how fast your internet service is if you… Read more »
Greg Granville
Greg Granville
The chart that shows which “channels” each media streamer can get doesn’t quite tell the whole story. The set top boxes all have limitations with respect to what content they can access relative to what you can get for free with a real PC web browser. PlayOn breaks down this barrier. The best example is Hulu (free) vs. Hulu Plus (subscription). To my knowledge, no set top box can stream Hulu natively. Hulu has an enormous library of content – all free. With PlayOn and almost any DLNA device, you can access it and a lot of other FREE content… Read more »
bill
bill

So I want out of cable. I have narrowed my choice to a boxee or a google tv because of the web browser and the keyboard, but my question is are any of these units upgrade-able as far as the flash player and new formats that the videos will be streamed on? Or every other year when web sites have a new better way of streaming their content, do we have to buy the latest new device to accomplish this? Anyone have any thoughts? Thanks!

Mario Preciado
Mario Preciado
I asked Roku about it and they said they haven’t had it for at least a year and no it is not available. I admire, the info in your blog and have it as a favorite post. The comments are a “don’t miss info also”. Thank you, for all. If you ask me, my number One: Is Google TV because it has youtube, and ability to the computer on the same hook-up or so I think. Roku 3, you have to have a wired path besides WI-FI. I’m looking into “Plex” and Roku what’s that about, something that I would… Read more »
Doug in Georgia
Doug in Georgia
Youtube must have sued Roku to stop the Youtube channel on Roku. I have had Roku for about 4 years now and I must be grandfathered in because I have the Youtube Channel on Roku but my friend that are newer Roku users are not allowed to load the channel. As for your “so better check ATT first and see if it works well for you before buying into the sell pitch of “300 mbps wide band” comment…….. you are correct. Depending on where you live….. I am getting AT&T 12 mbps service for $30/month (as of June 2013) and… Read more »
Scott R
Scott R
After much deliberation, I decided that the Roku 3 was the best fit for me. Once it arrived, I spend way too much time trying to get it connected to my network. Technical support told me that it was probably too far away from my router, but that seemed unrealistic because I am actively online with my laptop in the same room. So I took the Roku and tried to get it to connect right next to my router, still no luck. I bought via Amazon, so it was free to exchange. The new Roku arrive and I had the… Read more »
Bogdan
Bogdan

I just got an OUYA for watching media on. It’s based on Android so lots of stuff that works on a phone/tablet will work on it…but then you also get to play games. It’s only $99 too.

Michelle Schenker
Admin
Michelle Schenker

Thanks Bogdan – we will consider adding OUYA in our next update!

Aereo
Aereo

Do you guys have any reviews/ opinions on Aereo Internet television? They support the major network channels in 22 states and work on your PC, tablets, iPhone, Apple TV and Roku.

Anonymous
Anonymous
If you have been on the market looking for one of the new digital media receivers, then this article will be of great benefit to you. The author of this piece has taken a lot of time to compile a number of useful facts about each of the major players in this space. So whether or not you have already had some experience with one of these models or are just interested in looking at them more generally, this will definitely be worth your time. The first thing to notice is the sheer volume of information. There are at least… Read more »
a web rocker
a web rocker
I enjoyed your post on Roku. I use it to save money on cable TV. My only beef in the past was when I would forget my remote control. A tip for all Roku owners: if you have a smartphone (iPhone for example), download the Roku remote app right away. You’ll need to sync it up one time with your Roku, and then it will always work as a remote. Perfect backup in case you go on a trip with your Roku (like I just did) and forget your remote. Also, if you ever lose your remote, you’ll have a… Read more »
a web rocker
a web rocker

I believe the Boxee Box does support Netflix now. (At least it said so on their web site.)

a web rocker
a web rocker

I’ve managed to connect my Apple-TV through my DD-WRT router using the iVPN.net VPN service. Now I am able to stream content through Hulu in the USA as well as content in the UK.

a web rocker
a web rocker

The fact that the Roku has as many inputs as it does, coupled with 1080p support and official Hulu Plus support (although some shows are marked “web only” – bummer!) makes purchasing the Roku XDS a no brainer for me!!

a web rocker
a web rocker

Great! I know this is a huge advantage if you want to share photo slide shows, home videos, etc. from various PC’s and gadgets in your household on your television set or projector.

Anonymous
Anonymous

You missed a big player in this new market, Orb Networks with their Orb TV. They support Hulu, all of it, not just Hulu Plus!

Anonymous
Anonymous

It’s not that I’m a huge Apple fan, but I feel like the Apple TV interface simply can’t be beat. Have I tried the competing products? No. Do I need to? No. Is Apple still #1? You betcha!

Anonymous
Anonymous

Couldn’t agree more! Apple is still and will continue to be the best damn product around!

Anonymous
Anonymous

Woah – I totally didn’t realize this, but you can get college hoops, at least March Madness, on demand from NCAA.com! That means it’s not only legit, but should reliably work. At this time I think there’s only live games. Here’s the link: March Madness on Demand.

Anonymous
Anonymous

OMG !!! Your article and comparison chart LEFT OUT the most important thing about these boxes, and that would be an included MEDIA BROWSER to surf the WHOLE web!!! And I see the only one that has it is the Google TV, to surf the Internet on an HDTV big screen TV sold me as to which one to choose.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Both are having heavy competition through the technology development. Your chart explains everything clearly. I thought that this is getting some wonderful market.

Anonymous
Anonymous
As much as I hear that people won’t buy it just because it won’t support Hulu, I can’t help but think that all the features you get with the Logitech Revue outweigh the cons of the device. I can surf the web while I am watching TV, program my 722k DVR with it as well. On another note, because I have an account with DISH Network (who also happens to be my employer), I didn’t have to pay the full $299 for the Logitech Revue, I only had to pay $179. With the money I saved, I bought the Logitech… Read more »
a web rocker
a web rocker

Thank you for the super thorough review! I especially enjoyed the “Media Streaming Services” comparison chart as we are avid Hulu Plus subscribers, it’s imperative we have Hulu on our device. I had no idea that the GoogleTV and even the Boxee Box did NOT have Hulu Plus! So we went with the Roku and love it. Even grandma loves it we bought it for xmas for her. Thanks so much for the valuable info and research/work. Merry Xmas!

Anonymous
Anonymous
A digital media receiver is basically a way for you to take much more control over your TV and media viewing experience. These contraptions are basically little boxes that fit on top of your TV and allow you to stream TV shows and movies directly to your set or other type of receiver. Depending on which service you have chosen, you may be able to find quite a wide variety of programming to view according to your schedule. Most of the time, these receivers will not allow access to live television programming. The items you will be able to view… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
I liked the fact that this article is more than simply a review and certainly much more than the typical internet thinly disguised sales pitches for a certain company or product. Instead, the author took a look at many of the top digital media receivers and actually broke down their features, pros and cons. In fact, for people who might be new to this subject (or just starting out in their own research) there is even a lot of helpful introductory information. For me, it was also very helpful to take a look at each of the included charts. The… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
Digital media receivers are one of the coolest new trends in entertainment. Basically, these are relatively small boxes that sit on top of your TV and allow a user to stream all sorts of movies, TV shows, sports and other types of programming right to your TV. Different service providers allow for different options, like being able to pull programming off the internet or your computer. This article provides a number of different reviews about the top providers. Each of these reviews is pretty in depth and highlights both the good and bad features of particular services. This also includes… Read more »
a tablet user
a tablet user

Would be much easier to read this page without the “share” buttons floating over the page.

Anonymous
Anonymous
Some good friends of mine recently experienced an accident that erased all the shows on their DVR without any potential for getting them back. This made me think about what I would do if ever faced with such a problem. As this article pointed out, many of the media receivers today actually use cloud and other secure storage options. This way you are sure that all of your data and stored programming is completely safe. Another very important consideration when choosing a media receiver is the picture quality. The gold standard for the industry is currently 1080p, which is simply… Read more »
a web rocker
a web rocker

AppleTV 3rd generation does allow 1080p.

Anonymous
Anonymous
I really like how this article points out that you can spot different deals and discounts for various TV services. Of course, you still need to pay attention and make sure that you understand exactly what you are getting. Articles like this can really help out when you want a new media receiver. By pointing out both the pros and cons between services such as Apple TV, Google TV, Boxee (and others), it gives the potential customer a lot of helpful information upon which to base an informed decision. I also appreciate the chance of finding articles and predictions about… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
I find this development in technology very intriguing. It is, of course, all based around the advancements in widely-available internet speeds and the functionality of streaming video that has been embraced by the open market. I have never worked with any of these media devices listed in the article, but I think my Xbox 360 is very similar in its offering as a media device. It is constantly connected to the internet and although it is primarily known as a video gaming device, it has far more functionality that that and aims to be the central entertainment portal for everyone’s… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous

Roku rocks and so does Hulu! I quit cable three years ago and have not looked back even once. I am saving money and able to watch what I want when I want without being harrassed by DirectTV, Time Warner and the other overchargers of media in today’s world!

a web rocker
a web rocker
Huh? Digital media receivers, huh? Good grief! I never heard of these things. Though you explained everything really well in this article, and I completely understand your explanations, I still feel lost. There is so much random, new technology out there; I do not really know what to look at anymore. I am dizzy after this article. I mean I heard of iPhones, iPads, smartphones, Androids and so many other things, tablets, eReaders and the list goes on and on, but to actually stumble on an article about something I have never, ever, ever heard of? It just makes me… Read more »
Ben Linus
Ben Linus

This one of the best comparison of media streamers I have looked at. I liked it so much I placed a link to it on our news page @ mkvxstream.blogspot.com.

Excellent work!!

Anonymous
Anonymous

It would be nice if you could add which of these work with a VPN – lots of us use our media boxes outside the US and it can be a pain to setup… Wild Media server is the best I have found for streaming US shows/Hulu/Netflix to my WD HDTV Live…

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