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Aug 28

Cutting the Cord 3 – Hardware

In the last two posts I talked about cutting the cord and the types of services that were out there to provide you with programming.  Now let’s talk about some of the devices that will let you stream and beam programming to your TV.

First, the TV itself.  If you look at advertising for new TVs you’ll see many of them called “Smart TV” or “internet ready”.

Samsung-Smart-Tv

These TV’s have a host of functions that let you access all kinds of online services from Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime to Pandora, Facebook, ESPN and more.  Each brand of Smart TV offers a host of apps. So, just like with any streaming device, before you go out and buy the first one you see, make sure that it connects to the things that are most important to you.

The most common device in today’s streaming world is the Bluray DVD player.  Virtually all Bluray players offer some form of streaming.

wireless-blu-ray-player

As with the TV, and every other device you look at, each Bluray DVD player will offer a different set of streaming services. If all you want is Netflix, pretty much any Bluray will offer that, since it’s pretty much the “standard”.  But if there’s anything else you would like to stream, do a little homework and you should be able to find a device that works for your needs.

One more caution about Bluray players — not all Bluray players connect to the network via WiFi.  Spend the extra few dollars for one with WiFi built in. Otherwise, you’ll have to run a wire from your router to the player, or pay for some kind of wireless access point to connect the Bluray to the network.

The next category are streaming and beaming devices.  The come in a number of different “flavors”.

 

Roku (www.roku.com)

Roku

Western Digital Media Players (http://is.gd/XaRrZF)

WDTV

Google Chromecast (http://is.gd/1iSy8y)

chromecast-tv-dongle-p40274-300

Apple TV (http://is.gd/WXueQN)

Apple TV 2

 

All of these devices do streaming of all kinds.  Apple TV takes it up a notch with the ability to “beam” video from your iPhone or iPad via Airplay as well as stream from a number of popular services.

The Roku, and Western Digital Media players are primarily streaming devices and both come in a variety of styles with different features, and naturally different price points.  Roku seems to have the most services available of all the devices, but that’s likely to change as time goes on and more and more contracts are negotiated between the providers and the manufacturers.

Google’s Chromecast is the newest player on the block and it’s also the least expensive at about $35.  But with that low price is one caveat… Google’s Chromecast has been designed as primarily a beaming device.  That means that there’s no streaming services built in to Chromecast (yet). You’ll need an Android device (tablet or phone) iPhone or iPad with the appropriate apps to beam programming to the Chromecast via your network.  Currently the apps that will beam to Chromecast are somewhat limited, but it’s expected that the offerings will be expanded as the device becomes more popular

Finally, don’t overlook something that might be sitting in your house right now….  Video Game Consoles.

 

Most of today’s video game consoles also offer video streaming. If you connect your game console to the internet, you should be able to see what services you might already have available (if you can get your spouse or your kids off of the game).

So, that’s the basics on streaming and beaming devices.  There’s a lot of options out there, and doing your homework on which device best meets your need is probably the most important thing you can do.

As always, feel free to ask some questions or comment right here.  And by all means, don’t ever be afraid to share the link to the blog!

2 comments

  1. alejandra gonzalez

    hi I wanted to know the price of this blue ray dvd player

  2. Marty Silbernik

    Bluray players come at a variety of price points. Here’s a sample of the listings for those at Amazon.com…

    http://is.gd/aQybsL

    There’s a player for nearly every budget… but be sure that it has the features that you need… in particular, for most people who want to stream, wireless connection to your network… otherwise, you’ll need to run a cable or buy an adapter. Hope that helps!

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