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The future of TV

Part 2

Created date

November 26th, 2013
An internet-connected television
media-connected-television-576.jpg

In my last column, I talked about the recent availability of television content online. It seems that the days of having to pay the high price of cable could finally be coming to an end!

But to enjoy Web streaming in all its high-definition (HD) glory requires the use of a digital media receiver. A digital media receiver is a device that can stream online content such as videos, pictures, or music. There are dozens of devices on the market to choose from, but the two most popular are Apple TV and the Roku box.

Apple TV

Apple released its first generation Apple TV in 2006. If you already own multiple Apple products, such as an iPhone, MacBook, or iPad, you should consider purchasing this one as well. The perk to exclusively owning Apple products is that they are built to communicate with each other. This means that content available on one device will be available on all devices. The newest generation of Apple TV has “AirPlay.” With this feature, you can wirelessly stream videos, music, and photos in HD to your television. Apple TV can be purchased wherever Apple products are sold and costs about $99.

Roku

Roku is also a popular choice among consumers looking for ways to stream content. Many tech experts agree that the new Roku3 is the best receiver out there. Roku3 is much faster than its predecessor and comes with the most supported media channels. Supported channels include Netflix, Amazon, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Pandora, MLB.TV, Vudu, and many more. Lots of these channels offer free content, while others still require a subscription. The interface is clean and easily navigable, and the box includes ear buds for private listening. The price of a Roku box is comparable with Apple TV, also costing about $99.

Other options

If you own a gaming console or Blu-ray player, you may already have the ability to stream media. While these devices don’t come with all the bells and whistles that other digital media devices offer, they can be a great substitute. Wii, PlayStation, and X-box are all examples of devices that have a Wi-Fi connection. Another option is to connect your laptop to your television with an HDMI cable. These cables can be purchased for as low as $10 and will allow you to view anything from your computer to your television. However, before buying an HDMI cable—make sure your TV is HDMI-compatible, and research which brand will best suit your needs.

As more stream-able content becomes available, so will newer and easier ways to watch it. Even if cutting the cable cord still seems like a pipe dream, I’d advise an avid television watcher to consider a digital media receiver. It is inexpensive and is a great supplement to traditional cable.

jessie.helene@erickson.com

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