Streaming Device Reviews

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Kim Wilson  |  May 09, 2012  |  3 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $50 At a Glance: Streams a wide variety of content from various paid and free services • Easy setup • Built-in Wi-Fi • Small, compact form factor • Control device with free iPhone or Android app

With so many TVs and BD players offering streaming services these days, I didn’t think there would be a lot of demand for standalone units; yet, they keep coming, presumably for those still watching older equipment without this feature. When evaluating these units, the most important aspects are the services and channels provided, along with the user interface. The actual streaming quality is dependent on your Internet connection (which Netgear suggests should be no less than 3-4 Mbps for 720p, though I’d say 6 Mbps is safe for 1080p).

Michael Berk  |  Feb 29, 2012  |  0 comments

If you're a Boxee Box owner, you probably noticed the revamped and streamlined main menu in the latest iteration of the OS, Boxee 1.5. The company's new USB stick goes that one better, adding live TV to the do-it-all streamer's ever-expanding repertoire.

John Sciacca  |  Jan 30, 2012  |  0 comments

First impressions can be a dangerous thing, especially for an A/V equipment reviewer. Allowing yourself to become predisposed to thinking that one company’s component will be this and another company’s component will be that can cloud a review and allow for the praising of some unworthy products while subjecting others to unfair criticism.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Jan 29, 2012  |  0 comments

As an unabashed fan of the Kindle Fire, anything that adds to its usefulness I'm instantly interested in. 

Already available for iOS, Android, and other devices, the $30 SlingPlayer app for Fire is the second part of the Slingbox system. 

How well does it work? I was as interested as you. . .

Leslie Shapiro  |  Dec 29, 2011  |  0 comments

As entertainment options become more and more plentiful, so do the variety of ways to access and enjoy them. Even without cable, the possibilities seem practically endless. Could there be one box that takes all these options and makes it simple, easy and fun to access it all?

John Sciacca  |  Dec 28, 2011  |  0 comments

Most new Blu-ray players are capable of streaming both movies and music, so why would you ever consider buying a dedicated music-streaming device? I mean, if you learned nothing else from your mother, you’re probably at least squared away on the concept of not buying the cow if you’re already getting the milk for free.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Dec 27, 2011  |  0 comments

Long gone are the days when the kids sat with their parents, gathered around a single television set in the living room, all watching the same broadcast show. Today, TV is a whole different deal. There are a lot more ways to watch it. It seems you only have to wish for a cool new way to view TV, and BAM! - it magically appears. Here's a peek at two of these new products.

Barb Gonzalez  |  Dec 16, 2011  |  9 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $99 At A Glance: Vastly improved picture quality • More responsive, motion-sensitive, Bluetooth remote • Tiny footprint • Wide variety of content providers

Roku has released its newest generation of media streamers, including the top-of-the-line Roku 2 XS player. Perhaps you haven't given Roku much thought as a serious addition to your home theater. Its earlier models gave more attention to the quantity of media-streaming partners than to the quality of the pictures they were streaming. The Roku 2 XS may change your mind as it changed mine.

Michael Berk  |  Dec 15, 2011  |  0 comments

Interested in testing the wireless whole-home audio waters but want to do so with an absolute minimum of fuss? The latest version of the Home Audio Link (HAL, for short) from Aperion Audio will probably fit your needs just fine.

Consisting of a pair of puckish little rubbery objects with retractable USB tails (replacing the little blocks that made up HAL 1), the system lets you stream uncompressed digital audio (up to 16-bit/48-kHz resolution) from one place to another, simply and inexpensively.

What's not to love?

Michael Berk  |  Dec 14, 2011  |  0 comments

Cable cutting. You've probably begun the process already, even if you haven't gone all the way - think about how often you turn to Netflix, or Amazon, or Hulu Plus. And despite the panicked efforts of networks and providers nationwide, when are you watching live TV, exactly, aside from sports?

Daniel Kumin  |  Dec 07, 2011  |  0 comments

ALMOST THIRTY YEARS AGO (can it be?) the compact disc promised “perfect sound forever.” Two decades later the iPod, iTunes, and their ilk offered all music, everywhere, all the time.

Today, the first innovation is in decline while the second — despite all the quibbles about data-compressed sound quality, piracy, and the degradation of music into a disposable, mixable, mashable commodity — is ascendant. And yet, some few of us are ungrateful enough to want both; the convenience and ubiquity of iPod-like music files, and the listening experience that digital audio at its best can deliver.

Of course, the people in Hell want ice water too.

Daniel Kumin  |  Dec 07, 2011  |  0 comments

ALMOST THIRTY YEARS AGO (can it be?) the compact disc promised “perfect sound forever.” Two decades later the iPod, iTunes, and their ilk offered all music, everywhere, all the time.

Today, the first innovation is in decline while the second — despite all the quibbles about data-compressed sound quality, piracy, and the degradation of music into a disposable, mixable, mashable commodity — is ascendant. And yet, some few of us are ungrateful enough to want both; the convenience and ubiquity of iPod-like music files, and the listening experience that digital audio at its best can deliver.

Of course, the people in Hell want ice water too.

Daniel Kumin  |  Dec 07, 2011  |  0 comments

ALMOST THIRTY YEARS AGO (can it be?) the compact disc promised "perfect sound forever." Two decades later the iPod, iTunes, and their ilk offered all music, everywhere, all the time.

Today, the first innovation is in decline while the second - despite all the quibbles about data-compressed sound quality, piracy, and the degradation of music into a disposable, mixable, mashable commodity - is ascendant. And yet, some few of us are ungrateful enough to want both; the convenience and ubiquity of iPod-like music files, and the listening experience that digital audio at its best can deliver.

Of course, the people in Hell want ice water too.

Peter Pachal  |  Nov 17, 2011  |  0 comments

It's been a big week for digital music. First Apple finally rolled out iTunes Match, the final link in its chain of cloud services, allowing users to get anytime, anywhere access to all those songs they ripped from CDs over the years or acquired by, uh, let's say "other means." Then on Wednesday Google unveiled Google Music, its fully armed and operational online music store.

John Sciacca  |  Oct 19, 2011  |  0 comments

Peanut butter and chocolate. Wine and cheese. Lennon and McCartney. Some things are great on their own, but when they meet their perfect counterpart, the result can be pure magic.

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