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Nowadays there are more ways than ever to get online video on your TV, with a streaming media box war brewing between companies such as Apple, Boxee, Roku, Western Digital, a handful of Google TV partners. Each of them has its own strengths and weaknesses, and for those that just can’t compromise, there’s still the option of building a dedicated HTPC.
Lately I’ve been on the fence about getting an Apple TV. Its video sources are rather limited, but its Airplay mirroring feature is quite tempting, especially if you already own other Apple gear. And frankly at $99 it doesn’t feel like a huge investment.
In the meantime, however, I just whip out a long HDMI cable and hook up my desktop to my HDTV whenever I want to watch a movie or TV show. What about you? Are you using a dedicated media streamer? Tell us about your setup.
The Roku 2 XS offers dozens of Internet video and audio services, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, Crackle, Pandora, NHL, NBA, and MLB. The 2 XS packs an HDMI port and a microSD card slot for additional game and channel storage. It also includes Roku Bluetooth game remote for playing games.
The Apple TV features a micro-USB for service only, HDMI output, optical audio output, 10/100 Ethernet. It also allows you to sign in to your Wi-Fi account and use the remote (or better yet, the free Remote app on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch) to navigate around. Last but not least, you can purchase TV shows, plus rent or purchase movies and stream in photos from your iCloud Photo Stream and Flickr.
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