What is the best streaming media player?

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Technology Guru, Veronica Belmont, discusses and compares four major brands of streaming Internet players "Sony, Apple, Roku and Boxee" to help determine which device is the best fit for you.

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  • Veronica Belmont

    Veronica Belmont Technology Guru Veronica Belmont is a self-proclaimed gamer and social networking junkie. Veronica made her mark as a producer and on-air talent, leaving to host the eclectic video show Mahalo Daily, which was named one of the top new podcasts in 2008 on iTunes. more about this expert »

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Transcript

There are many ways to stream online movies, TV shows, and music to your TV. Some newer TVs even have this capability built right in. But if you have an older TV and still want to access online content, a streaming internet player is a great solution.

Hi, there. I'm Veronica Belmont. And today, I'm going to compare four major brands of streaming internet players from Sony, Apple, Roku, and Boxee. For starters, all of these brands offer built-in wireless connectivity for easy set-up. If you don't have Wi-Fi, you can still connect any of the units to the internet via a hard-wired ethernet port.

The Sony, Roku, and Boxee players offer the choice of standard RCA, composite video, or HDMI connections. Apple only offers the HDMI option. These type of connections allows you to hook up to a wider range of TVs. So if you don't have an HDTV and an HDMI connection, you'll want to go with a Sony, Boxee, or Roku. All of these players give you access to a world of online content, including movies, TV shows, videos, and streaming music.

You'll also find that each of the players has exclusive content, which does set them apart from each other. While much of the content available online is the same from brand to brand, the way in which it's served is very different.

Apple TV gives you access to rental movies and TV shows and is designed to play content from the iTunes Store, YouTube, Flickr, MobileMe, or any computer running iTunes. Roku offers channels and content options such as Netflix and Amazon video, as well as genre content from Major League Baseball and This Week in Tech. But it doesn't give you the ability to play clips from your favorite sites such as YouTube. Boxee lets you download apps from various third-party entertainment providers and integrates a social experience, so you can add your friends and see the videos that they're watching and recommending.

And Sony's player with Wi-Fi lets you watch, rent, and purchase from a large selection of movies, TV shows, music, and online video from providers like Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu Plus via the internet apps. There's also exclusive content like movie trailers and early releases from Sony Pictures. Plus with this player, you'll receive automatic updates, so new apps will appear automatically.

In addition, the Sony and Apple players allow you to view content from your networked PC or other connected device, which enables you to stream personal videos, movies, music, or photos. The Sony player streams content from any DLNA Certified devices, such as your PC. And the Apple player allows you to stream from compatible AirPlay devices. So if you're hoping to share your vacation photo album when guests come over, you'll want one of these two players.

As for controlling all this available content, all four players come with easy-to-navigate remote controls. Apple and Sony also offer an app that turns your iPhone or iPod Touch into a remote control. In addition, the Sony player has an app for Android phones as well.

Now you know the differences between the top four streaming internet players. So choose the one that's right for you.

I'm Veronica Belmont for Sony, with Howdini. For more information, visit sony.com/howdini. 


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