A Closer Look at Digital Media Receivers

Cutting the cord from cable companies is all the rage in home entertainment these days. Since many television shows and movies are available over the Internet, viewers and fans are able to check out the latest episodes of these shows without having to pay a cable bill. Digital media receivers allow users to stream content, such as television shows or movies, directly to their television. The main benefit of using a digital media receiver is not having to purchase a full-blown computer to connect to the television.

Still, just the purchase of any of the popular digital media receivers does not guarantee a successful cost-saving, cord-cutting venture. Many of the popular services these devices take advantage of require subscription fees. Sites like Netflix and Hulu Plus offer an astounding amount of content, but are two of the more popular sites that carry a fee. As with any other piece of technology, personal preference plays a huge role in selecting which media receiver to purchase and how it fits into a home entertainment system or schedule, because different types and different varieties fit different needs.

Potential buyers should be sure the player they are buying best fits their needs on desired content and price. However shoppers need to focus on total ownership cost, not just the price of the unit, which means looking at subscription costs and per-episode fees. Here is a look at a few of the most popular digital media receivers:

Roku XD

For around $80 the Roku XD delivers access to services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video on Demand, and iTunes. It also supports music service from Pandora and iTunes, plus the unit allows access to a number of Roku channels, some of which are free. The Roku XD also has a few great sports networks that are subscription-based for Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League.

Apple TV

Apple TV is available for under $100. While this unit does support Netflix and YouTube, it is primarily designed to work with iTunes. From that particular site customers can stream a number of movies and television shows, although since it is a pay-per-episode deal it can get a little pricey. Still, there are a bunch of apps that allow all sorts of programming to be experienced.

Logitech Revue

The Logitech Revue with Google TV retails for around $300 and basically allows the user to search the Internet on any HDTV. Anyone looking for full Internet search capability in addition to watching services like Hulu and Netflix will enjoy this expensive but great digital media player. This is a platform that really has tremendous upside, as it offers the chance to stream new episodes of TV shows directly from their websites.

D-Link Boxee

The D-Link Boxee is a cool unit that can be found for around $200. This device allows users to stream video from a number of different websites including: Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, and more. Plus, users can access Facebook, which might prove to be a great place to watch video, and Pandora and Flickr as well. The cool feature on the Boxee is the media card slot for easy transfer and storage of media.