The High Tech Society

Top Ten Digital Media Devices

Gadgets & Gizmos

Top Ten Digital Media Devices

In this fascinating technological age, a large number of consumers are moving away from single-purpose devices and, instead, looking for a device that can fit many needs. With the advent of better quality video and a plethora of streaming services, many consumers are looking for a multi-purpose entertainment system. Thanks to digital media devices, sometimes being used as Kodi boxes, that dream can now be a reality.

10. D-Link MovieNight Plus

The MovieNight Plus offers a large number of viewing choices, including Netflix, Youtube and Hulu Plus. For music lovers, this device includes the Pandora app for internet radio streaming. It’s inability to stream network files may be a deal-breaker to some, but overall this is a great digital media device. Best of all, it can be set up in just three easy steps.

9. Popcorn Hour C-200 Networked Media Tank

While the Popcorn Hour C-200 comes with a larger price tag than most devices, the range of options makes the cost worthwhile. The C-200 includes 5 USB and 2 SATA ports, enabling a virtually limitless amount of add-on storage.

The C-200 also streams digital media across a network, and includes a built-in download utility to make downloading from the internet seamless.

8. Roku 2 XS Streaming Player

The 2 XS is Roku’s flagship digital media device, incorporating Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu and over 400 other entertainment channels. This device offers full 1080P resolution, a USB port, and both a built-in wired and wireless network connection for accessing the many online video and music options available on the device. And for all you Angry Birds fans, every Roku device comes with a free copy of the hit game.

7. Asus O!Play Mini

Though this digital media device comes in a small package, it packs quite the punch. 1080P resolution, Dolby Digital surround sound and HDMI output make this miniature device a true powerhouse of digital technology. The O!Play mini supports a wide range of video, audio and picture formats, including the popular MKV and MP3. A USB port and a 4-in-1 card reader, a rare find on a media player, offers expansion options in the form of external hard drives and memory cards.

6. Western Digital WD TV HD Media Player

This digital media device may not have as many features and options as others, but what it does, it does well. Featuring dual USB ports and a built-in media library system, the WD TV HD player is perfect for the average household user. While not supporting as many formats as other devices, it does handle Xvid, MKV and high definition H.264 files. Don’t have a big fancy HDTV? No problem. This little beauty also includes a standard composite/RCA connection, making it compatible with older televisions.

5. Apple TV

From the makers of the iPod, iPad and iPhone comes the Apple TV, a popular digital media device among Apple fans. This device offers the standard streaming options, high definition output and a variety of format compatibilities. The Apple TV, like most other Apple devices, does not natively support the popular Divx and Xvid formats, but it makes up for this lack in other areas. Namely, integration with iTunes and AirPlay, which makes streaming media from any iOS device a breeze.

4. Playstation 3

While not originally intended as a digital media device, the Sony Playstation 3 has carved out a place among entertainment seekers. As well as playing a large number of video games, the PS3 has become a powerhouse in media streaming. This console includes both a built-in blu-ray drive and hard drive. While not able to store mass quantities of media itself it can, utilizing DLNA technology, access network storage devices and shared folders, and stream from popular services like Netflix, to make a virtually unlimited player.

3. Xbox 360

One of my favorite devices, the Xbox 360, like it’s counterpart, was not intended to be digital media device. However, it performs that function well. Combined with a DLNA server, the Xbox 360 can be used as a streaming media player, compatible with most common file formats. It’s built-in WiFi and large collection of media apps, such as Netflix, Hulu and Crackle also make internet streaming possible.

2. Samsung BD-D5100

The Samsung BD-D5100 is, at first glance, a standard blu-ray player. However, a few not-so-obvious features make this device a great digital media player. While not having a built-in WiFi connection, it’s Ethernet port allows you to hook the player into your home network for streaming, updates and online video. Netflix and YouTube apps on the player’s dashboard offer instant access to the world of streaming video services, while the integrated DLNA access can stream media from a Windows computer. The BD-D5100 is truly a technological marvel.

1. Custom HTPC

Sometimes an off-the-shelf device just doesn’t have all the features a consumer may want, or doesn’t offer a format that the consumer needs. That’s where a custom HTPC comes in. An HTPC, simply but, is a Home Theater PC, or a computer built specifically for entertainment purposes. Built much like a regular PC, the only real differences are larger storage drives and a video card capable of making a connection to a television set. While building an HTPC may seem daunting, the user has almost limitless control over what can be played. And for those who are unfamiliar with building computers, complete HTPC’s can be purchased.