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Make Your TV Internet Ready with these Media Players

Updated on January 19, 2013

Media Players add Internet to TV

Internet ready TV’s have to be one of the coolest additions to the current stable of HDTV’s being sold.  But what if you just updated your TV, but its not internet ready?  Can you make your HDTV internet ready, without buying a new one?  The short answer is, yes, with one of these gadgets: a new wave of internet media players that give you access to internet TV and movie content on the largest screen in your house.

WD TV LIve Plus HD Media Player

The strength of this media player is in its ability to play almost any non-DRM (digital rights management) content. It comes preloaded with a number of internet content widgets—most notably Netflix and YouTube.  The WD Live Plus HD Media Player also supports the Play To function in Windows Media Player 12 on Windows 7 PC’s which allows you to stream content from your PC to your TV via your home network.  Retails around the $100 mark.

Apple TV (Generation 2)

If your life revolves around all things Apple, the new second generation Apple TV will be your go to media player.  The Apple TV is small, dubbed “the puck” and is sleek and elegant in true Apple design style.  It has limited outputs (HDMI) and outputs only in 720p.  It is however very iTunes centric, so if the bulk of your content is in iTunes format, you’ll do well with the Apple TV.  Otherwise you could spend a lot of time converting file formats.  Apple TV recognizes the same codec’s as iTunes. Price is $99.

Logitech Revue with Google TV

The Revue is the priciest option on the list at almost $300.  For your dollars you are getting a Google TV platform that works as a search engine for yout television content, regardless where it comes from— your cable provider or the internet.  The Logitech Revue comes with a full qwerty keyboard remote, addressing the concerns reviewers have of other devices—entering data via a small TV remote.  You can also download an app for your iPhone or android phone to turn it into a remote.  You will find Netflix, Pandora and YouTube apps, but with Google’s open platform and developers behind this device, watch for new apps.

Revue with Google TV and Full Qwerty Keyboard Remote Control

Roku

Roku offers perhaps the cheapest offering in the media player line-up. With models starting at just $60, you don’t need a PC to make this media player work, and the line-up of internet content is impressive with Hulu Plus, Amazon on Demand, Netflix, Pandora and YouTube, just to mention a few. The entry level device plays content at 720p. To get 1080p output you need to step up to a premium device, which still retails at $80.

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex TV

Like the WD TV Live Plus, the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex TV has no built in wireless option, and will coast extra.  It does have a slot for docking a Seagate GoFlex external storage device.  Good range of playback codecs, includes Netflix but no Pandora.  At $100-$140 you have to wonder whether you’d be better off with one of the cheaper devices on this list.

Internet Media Player Comparison Tables

Please note, that the tables below are provided as general information only. The tables will be reveiwed and updated periodically.

Technology, however, moves quickly and with new Apps and functionality being added almost daily, you should confirm all details provided below  prior to purchase.

Internet Media Player Apps

Media Player
Hulu Plus
Netflix
Amazon VOD
BlockBuster OD
iTunes
WD TV Live
 
 
 
 
 
WD TV Live Plus
 
Yes
 
Yes 
 
WD TV Live Hub
 
Yes
 
Yes
 
Roku HD
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
Roku XD
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
Roku XDS
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
Apple TV
 
Yes
 
 
Yes

Internet Media Player Apps Continued

Media Player
Pandora
YouTube
Twitter
Facebook
MediaFly
WD TV Live
Yes
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
WD TV Live Plus
Yes
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
WD TV Live Hub
Yes
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
Roku HD
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Roku XD
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Roku XDS
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Apple TV
 
Yes
 
 
 

Internet Media Player Specifications

Media Player
Resolution
Streaming (from PC)
Built in storage
WD TV Live
1080p
 
No
WD TV Live Plus
1080p
Yes DLNA enabled (Windows 7 Play To support)
No
WD TV Live Hub
1080p
Yes DLNA enabled (Windows 7 Play To support)
Yes 1 TB WD Network HD
Roku HD
720p
 
No
Roku XD
1080p
 
No
Roku XDS
1080p
via http://roksbox.com
No
Apple TV
720p
Download to IOS device and stream to Apple TV via AirPlay
No

Internet Media Player Specifications Continued

Media Player
Connections
Drives
Broadband Connectivity
WD TV Live
HDMI, Composite, Component
USB x 2, and network
Ethernet, wireless requires additional purchase
WD TV Live Plus
HDMI, Composite, Component
USB x 2, and network
Ethernet, wireless requires additional purchase
WD TV Live Hub
HDMI, Composite, Component
USB x 2, and network
Ethernet, wireless requires additional purchase
Roku HD
HDMI, Composite
 
Built in wireless (WiFi) and wired (ethernet connection)
Roku XD
HDMI, Composite
 
Built in wireless (WiFi) and wired (ethernet connection)
Roku XDS
HDMI, Composite, Component, Optical
USB and network
Built in wireless (WiFi) and wired (ethernet connection)
Apple TV
 
 
 

The Internet Media Player I Bought...

Internet Ready TV Prices Falling!

While these media players are wonderful and still have a place in making non internet ready TV's internet ready, its hard to deny that the price of internet ready TV's has been falling recently.

Prices of internet ready TV's are falling to such a point that it may actually make sense to consider purchasing a new TV! The 32 inch Vizo (pictured to the right) is a great example. Currently selling for $349 and change it makes a feasible alternative to adding a internet ready media player to your current TV. And you get another TV to boot!

Of course, the internet enabled media players listed above still have their place. I personally bought the WD LIve TV Hub. It includes 1TB on storage on board which means my media collection travels with me wherever I go...all in a neat little 1.3 inch x 7.8 ince x 6.3 inch package and complete with remote control. For international travellers, the power pack deals with 120 - 240 volt power so all you'll need is an adaptor for the outlet.

Setup in a remote location is simple - just select the resolution screen you want to output and you are ready to go. The unit also deals with different frequencies found around the world...


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