In the last few years we’ve seen an increased number of Internet-connected entertainment platforms that are slowly but surely pushing the traditional ones out of our homes. The holiday season is over, but people are always hungry for ideas what to buy to their loved ones for special occasions. This is a short guide through some of the most popular integrated entertainment gadgets.
Samsung 2.1 Channel Soundbar System with Wireless Subwoofer
More likely than not, the speakers integrated in your TV are not of the best quality. I know many people who are reluctant of upgrading their sound systems because they don’t want a clutter of trip wires on their floor, which is the price you pay for most of the multiple-speaker systems. If you are one of them, this stereo soundbar from Samsung with a wireless subwoofer is the right thing for you. Not only you can now connect it wirelessly to a compatible Samsung TV and use it as a Bluetooth audio device, but you can use it to play music from your computer or smartphone.
While Apple set-top unit is still considered a hobby device, and inferior to some other brands like Roku, when it comes to the number of content channels, an Apple device has its own advantages. One of them is AirPlay. You can use Apple TV for playing media from your iOS or OS X mobile device with ease, and what’s more, it works well with many third party apps. If you have a newer Mac running Mountain Lion, AirPlay Mirroring provides streaming of Web video to the Apple TV. The other advantage is the access to your iTunes music and videos library and the fact that the Apple TV user interface is one of the best there is.
This is an inexpensive option for 1080p streaming that supports more than 1,000 content channels. Besides the omnipresent Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus, you also get HBO Go, TED, NASA, PBS and many more that you’ll probably never even get to watch. An additional advantage of Roku 1 over the company’s latest Streaming Stick is that it can be used with universal IR-based remote. With this set-top box, Roku has made its name in the world of Interned–connected platforms.
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WD TV Live
The buying point for this media box from Western Digital is the ability to play a multitude of file formats, stream media from USB devices or any computer on your home network, which makes it ideal for home theatre installation and also stream from sites like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus and Spotify. This platform can also be controlled by its dedicated smartphone app for Android and iOS. The WD TV Live features on of the prettiest interfaces of all the streamers, but its selling point is mainly its bread file type support, which makes it perfect for people who are relying heavily on downloaded video files.
The popularity of this flexible mini-computer has made it one of the top choices as a compact home theatre device. It can perform a range of functions, like running XBCM software for streaming content stored on your SD card, or an attached device. On the other hand, the Raspberry Pi doesn’t work so well when it comes to some of popular online TV and movie subscription streaming services. Upgrading a Raspberry Pi home theater and installing different add-ons enables accessing to YouTube, Vimeo and a variety of video games, and technology channels.