Five Streaming Devices You Need to Know

Here are five streaming devices that you should look into if you’re interested in finally weaning yourself off cable TV.

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Roku 3

Advantages:
• Supports 1080p video and dual-band WiFi streaming with built-in wireless and Ethernet.
• Has an all new interface that helps with the hundreds of streaming channels (750 to be exact) from Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, MLB.TV, and Amazon. It also offers music, games and Internet TV, IGN, blip.tv, etc.
• It is super clean and very easy to use.
• The remote has a headphone jack; you can mute your TV and listen on your headphones.
• At $100, this is probably the best streaming device out there right now.

Disadvantages:
Roku 3 doesn’t provide users with YouTube (or iTunes). Though it has 750 channels, it doesn’t have every available channel.
• No AirPlay (or similar function).

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Apple TV

Advantages:
• Now features HBO GO.
• Big buttons and grid, with the iTunes Store up top, makes the user interface super simple.
• Get Netflix, Hulu Plus, and MLB.TV.
• With AirPlay, all of your music, videos and photos can be streamed from your iOS device to your TV. This is huge!
• At $100, this is a great streaming device.

Disadvantages:
• Even with the new addition of HBO GO and WatchESPN, there aren’t enough channels.
• If you don’t have Apple devices, you can’t use the AirPlay function.

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PlayStation 3

Advantages:
Games. Games. Games. If you’re a gamer or have children, you understand.
• A solid Blu-ray player for those who have a Blu-ray collection.
• NFL Sunday Ticket. Yes, every out-of-market game is available. If you’re an NFL fan who’s willing to pay a few bucks for a great app, this is your streaming player.
• The ability to stream media from PCs and attached USB drives. This is basically like AirPlay for PCs: Your PC has plenty of media just waiting to stream to your TV.
• A vast collection of apps such as Netflix, Vudu, Hulu Plus, Amazon, etc.

Disadvantages:
• $270 is pretty expensive for a streaming player.
• As amazing as the PS3 is, it’s really only for gamers. Plus, the controller is not really a remote, so you’ll have to buy one separately, which means more money out of your pocket.

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Sony Bravia TV

Advantages:
• Sony has stuffed this device with tons of content and channels, but one stands out: Skype. Imagine calling your loved ones or instant messaging your friends, all while sprawled out on the couch.
• YouTube is included. Now that YouTube has pay service, you can watch a lot more movies and television or stream Coachella performances from your TV — and in 3D!
• As with the PS3, you’ll get firmware updates regularly to make the Internet function bigger and better — a Smart TV is kind of like having a computer for a television.

Disadvantages:
• $1500 is expensive and you can buy a cheaper TV and a Roku 3 and get most of the same features.
• The navigation has a frustrating learning curve.

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Apple iPad

Advantages:
• Stream video from every service: HBO GO, WatchESPN, Netflix, Amazon, Vudu, Crackle, and more.
• Stream audio from every service: Pandora, Spotify, Songza, etc.
• If you have a keyboard and Dropbox, you now have a legitimate laptop.
• Stream from anywhere!

Disadvantages:
• $499 is expensive for streaming and the iPad really only works well with headphones.

Besides the five devices mentioned above, there are even more streaming devices available to include the Roku Streaming Stick, 3M Streaming projector, Boxee player, TiVo player, and Sony Blu-ray player. Do some research before buying (and make sure your WiFi is working and your broadband is fast—an internet speed test will help). Happy streaming!