Your favorite movie or TV show instantly available whenever you feel like watching. This entertainment model is quickly coming to fruition, thanks to Apple, Google and Roku. All three tech companies have developed set-top boxes that provide a vast array of options for watching your favorite shows, movies and online content. Below, check out what they have to offer.
Apple TV has existed for quite some time, but it recently received a much-needed update. You can rent movies [$3.99] and TV shows [$0.99] from the iTunes store and instantly stream them to your Apple TV in high definition. Already integrated with Netflix and YouTube, Apple TV may also provide access to apps in the future. The highlight feature is Airplay, which allows you to instantly stream video or audio to your TV from an iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad or computer. It’s pretty impressive when you see it in action.
Google takes a slightly different approach by offering direct integration with a TV or Blu-Ray player or through a set-top box. In addition to HD video streaming from Amazon Video On Demand, you can use your favorite apps (such as Pandora or YouTube), record shows and browse the internet with the keyboard remote. Google also touts the facility for Google search, which makes it easy to sift through your TV channels, apps and internet from a single screen.
Three different boxes offered by Roku stream video up to 1080p; and they include a USB port so you can quickly view your new photos or video on the TV. It’s integrated with Amazon Video On Demand, Netflix, Vimeo and Hulu Plus, giving you a plethora of choices. A unique benefit of Roku is the ability to stream your favorite matchups from the NHL, MLB and UFC. Finally, you can share photos with friends via Facebook or Flikr to keep everyone up-to-date on your latest life happenings.