Three Solutions for Streaming Media

As media streaming devices become more popular, it’s becoming more and more confusing to choose a solution that’s right for you. Depending on how you consume your media, there are a few options for media streaming devices. To help you make the decision, I’ve put together a short guide of some popular streaming solutions.

Apple TV
Price: $109.00

This is probably the most popular streaming device on the market and with good reason. Apple TV is a great little device, especially if you’re all set-up in the Apple ecosystem. This device is compact and sleek, making it nice to display in the open and easy to tuck away. The user interface is also sleek, clean, and easy to navigate.

In terms of functionality, Apple TV allows you to stream videos from the web and access services such as Netflix. You can also stream your photos, music, and videos directly from your iTunes library. All this can be streamed using AirPlay from a Mac with the Mountain Lion operating system or any iOS device. AirPlay uses your WiFi connection to stream your media right to your Apple TV.

While Apple TV is extremely convenient if you have other Apple devices and use iTunes for all your media, it can make things tricky if you have media in a variety of file types. Unfortunately, the file types you can play using your Apple TV are limited. If you cannot add a file to iTunes or play it through QuickTime Player, you won’t be able to stream it using your Apple TV.

Western Digital TV Live Streaming Media Player
Price: $109.93

Western Digital also makes an excellent streaming device, which is a great option if you’re not a die-hard Apple fan. This device and its remote control are a bit less sleek than Apple TV but its functionality more than makes up for this. Western Digital has recently updated the user interface so this latest version of their TV Live Streaming Media Player is much more user friendly than previous iterations.

This device gives you access to web streaming services such as Netflix as well as your media library. The great thing about this streaming device is that it can handle a wide variety of file types, allowing you to play all the videos you already have. Unfortunately, streaming to your Western Digital device isn’t possible over WiFi but it does have two USB ports allowing you to plug in an external hard drive.

Netgear Neo TV Streaming Player
Price: $49.69

The Netgear Neo TV Streaming Player is the last device on our list. This streaming device offers less flexibility and functionality but boasts a great price. If you know you won’t use an Apple TV or Western Digital device to it’s full capacity, it might be worth considering this option.

Neo TV gives you access to web streaming services but does not allow you to stream your own media library. If you don’t have your own extensive collection of media and don’t like to download, this might be a great option. The other great thing about this device is its ability to turn your iPhone or Android smartphone into a remote control with the simple download of an app.

By Mike Agerbo

September 03, 2013