Monday, September 24, 2012

Devices for cord-cutting

As mentioned in my earlier post, there are many people across the US who are ditching the cable companies for TV and using internet streaming. Even the Verizon CEO has admitted that this is the future for TV. To facilitate streaming on to TV, there are many devices which are being released. Many new Smart TVs come equipped with internet connectivity these days.

Google came out with its own Google TV in partnership with LG. It's a 3D TV in prices starting from $815. It has Android apps running on the TV. It includes YouTube, Pandora, Chrome, Amazon Instant, Netflix and many others. Google TV is also available on devices like Sony Internet Player and Vizio Co-star. These devices enable a regular TV to have the same features as a Google TV (except 3D!).
Other TV manufacturers have followed suit and come out with internet-equipped TVs. Leading the TV industry, Samsung has a wide variety of TVs with internet connectivity. A search on Amazon brings up a whole array of Samsung TVs in different price ranges according to screen size and functions.
Recently, many companies have started making small devices to give internet connectivity to regular TVs. Some of them are Roku, Western Digital, Boxee, Apple, and recently Netgear.

Roku has been in this industry for a long time and has been the cheapest device for internet streaming. Prices starting from $60 make it a truly worthwhile buy. It can play most of the popular internet streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon and many others. Although it's lacking YouTube and Vudu services.

Western Digital recently launched the new version of WD TV Live. It comes equipped with many internet streaming services and other features like playback from USB and wireless streaming from your Mac or PC! The list of compatible files include FLAC, MKV, DivX and even ISOs. With prices starting at $90, this is a good deal if you want internet streaming on your TV as well as stream your collection of movies from your laptop.

Boxee TV has been an old contender against Roku for the top spot in internet streaming devices. Recently, it hasn't come out with a new device to compete with Roku, which has it displaced from the market. There has been no news coming from this company about any new releases, and it hasn't been mentioned in the blogosphere. From the information gathered on their website, it seems they have most of Roku's streaming service lineup, plus YouTube and Vudu!

Apple has had its Apple TV device in the market for a very long time. This device is aimed for iOS fans. It's biggest feature is its compatibility with iPads, iPhones and iPods. It uses iTunes, iCloud and AirPlay for this compatibility.

Netgear came out with a decent surprise this month. It launched three devices for the internet streaming fans. Their NeoTV series starts from $50 and is a very strong competitor to the Roku device. The NeoTV Max (for $70) even has the capability of playback from USB and streaming from DLNA servers.
Depending on what your usage is, any of those devices could suit you in making your regular TV internet equipped. If you (like me) would like to also be able to wirelessly stream content from your laptop as well, the NeoTV Max or WD TV Live might be your best options.