Have you ever been frustrated at the prospect of trying to hire out the latest blockbuster DVD, having to drive to your closest outlet only to be told “they are all booked out”. Now there is an alternative using fast Media Streaming devices via the internet direct to your Plasma television. In this article you can discover which device might suit your needs!
This was my experience recently when trying to rent the Blu-ray Cowboys and Aliens. That got me thinking, what about buying one of the new Media Streamers and attaching it to my Plasma television?
Having a relatively fast internet speed of 11MBytes/sec would allow me to open up a whole new world of digital media, from streaming music files and internet radio to HD movies from the likes of Netflix and Blinkbox. But which device would suit my system, because my internet router is situated in my study upstairs.
I could buy a device like the more expensive D-Link Boxee which includes a wireless connection or spend less money and go for the new Sony SMP-N200 which is more of a straightforward streamer at half the cost.
Since being released a few years ago the D-Link Boxee which was able to play a wide range of video and music files has undergone a software upgrade. It’s cost is £200 and can play high quality audio formats (FLAC and WAV) as well as HD video (inc MKV files).Outputs include two USB sockets to enable it to connect to external devices and that could include an external Hard drive. This would effectively create an inexpensive server. Also the Boxee will communicate with any NAS (Networked Storage Device) on your system which will allow you to browse your library of video,music and media data.
Interestingly, Boxee now has a dedicated BBC iPlayer app onboard which means it is easier to navigate around and as long as you have at least 2MB/sec internet speed, browsing quality should not be a problem.
However what struck my interest the most was the fact that the movie-streaming provider Blinkbox had now signed up to include a dedicated Film app too. YouTube was also catered for and a big plus for music fans the addition of Spotify.
It seems that D-Link are on to a winner here!!
What about a viable alternative? Well as I mentioned earlier the Sony SMP-N200 can provide a simple Smart-TV upgrade.Coming in at just under £99 it can also play a variety of video and audio files, although it will not handle MKV or AAC Files over the network.it will however play both these formats via its USB input.
This device includes wifi and its software menus are easy to navigate around and similar to those found on its Blu-ray players and TVs. A big plus for those of us with older TVs is the fact that the SMP-N200 also sports analogue audio and component video outputs.
If you do own a 3D Flat Screen TV, Sony can also display 3D Video both online and via USB. Whether you are streaming the BBC iPlayer in HD or using its Video Unlimited film service, we have been told the sound and picture quality is superb.