Media Streamers

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FAQ About Media Streamers

TVs have come a long way from the days of black-and-white screens to the Smart TV era we live in today. Smart TVs connect to the internet so you can enjoy a wide range of online entertainment services on the big screen. But what if you don't have a Smart TV or aren't satisfied with your Smart TV's features? Is there another option besides upgrading your TV? Yes, there is. And it's called a media streamer.

What is a media streamer?

A media streamer accesses online services and streams content directly to your TV. It performs the same function as a Smart TV, while often providing access to a lot more content. Some media streamers even have a web browser so you can surf the net directly on your TV. Media streamers range from streaming sticks like Google Chromecast and the Roku Streaming Stick, to set-top boxes like Apple TV and Google's Android TV Box.

What's the difference between a media streamer and a streaming media player?

A streaming media player does the same thing as a media streamer (stream online content to your TV), with the added bonus that it can also access your stored content. This means you can stream music and videos stored on your smartphone or tablet, provided it's connected to your network. Certain streaming media players can also download and store content.

What types of services can you stream with a media streamer?

All media streamers provide access to at least some online services, opening up a world of entertainment possibilities. Certain services like Netflix are offered virtually across the board, while other popular services such as YouTube, Flickr, and Google Play are available on many devices as well.

What is a digital converter box and do I need one?

A digital converter box hooks up to your TV so it can receive free, over-the-air digital TV signals. It offers high-quality picture and sound along with more free channel choices. If your TV receives its signal over the air via an antenna but doesn't have a built-in digital tuner, you'll need a digital converter box. That said, you don't need a digital converter box to stream online content to your TV using a media streamer.

Want more info on media streamers? Check out some of our resources:

 Plug-in Blog: Budget hacks for home theatre technologyPlug-in Blog: Home Theatre Month: the 411 on Streaming Devices