Streaming Media Players

BING LEE's MEDIA PLAYER GUIDE

Home media players, or streamers, are becoming a modern household essential. They allow video games, audio and video to be transferred onto your TV, laptop, tablet or smartphone from the internet in real time. Just like TV and radio stations provide signals to your electronics, there are streaming apps or services that deliver signals to your player.

Australia now has plenty of TV and media streaming platforms to choose from such as Bigpond Movies, Dendy Direct, Foxtel Play, Netflix, Presto and Stan.

Anywhere you can connect to the Internet, streaming media gives you access to your media library virtually. Since the media is stored in the Cloud rather than on disc or hard drive, it will save you shelf space. You could be on the road, in a hotel or on the lounge enjoying movies, TV, sports and music.

Media players add Smart TV functionality to most TVs. Many media players also play music and movie files stored on a hard drive or computer. Media streaming options are appearing almost everywhere, from Blu-Ray players to gaming consoles and Apple TV. There are also separate wireless set-top boxes, with different connections and functions.

It is important to research media players before buying to make sure they have the features and services you need. Streaming media has opened up so many possibilities for entertainment in your living room, with more high-quality options than ever. This guide will help you find the device that best fits your lifestyle.

Standalone or Built-In

Standalone media players are versatile and relatively inexpensive. More often nowadays streaming functions are being built in to systems like the Playstation and X-Box, making them all-in-one home entertainment centres, if you are inclined to play games as well as stream movies. However, if you do not need a gaming console, this is where you will want to look at standalone media players.

Media Player Features

Buying a media player can a little daunting for those that are not familiar with how streaming media works. Media players come in different configurations and with varying functions. To find the right media player for your needs, consider these features:

Controls

Media streamers come with a variety of controls. Apple TV can be controlled through a smartphone or tablet. Some Android™ compatible media players come with a remote control with a mini keyboard and Air Mouse.

HD Resolution

The standard resolution for media players is 720p, which is more than enough to stream high-quality videos like Netflix movies. But if you want the extra quality and a noticeably sharper picture, 1080p content will help future-proof a device, especially on screens bigger than 42 inches. Blu-ray quality video on a computer will also need a media player will full 1080p HD.

Storage and USB

Many media players can play music, pictures, and video stored locally. Most can play content stored on a network computer. Some have a USB input for an external hard drive, which is perfect for those a storing a multimedia library.

Supported Services

There are a few services, such as Netflix, that almost every media player supports. Other services, such as iTunes, are only available on selected players. Make sure your favourite service, whether it's Google Play, Pandora or Spotify, is supported by the media player you're looking at. Also, if you have already purchased a lot of content from a specific store, such as Amazon or iTunes, make sure it is supported.

Types of Files Supported

Whether from a network computer or a connected hard drive, most media players can play stored content. All of them can handle basic files, but their ability to play file types like .ISO and .OGG may vary. Some media players support subtitles, whereas others don't.

Web Browsing

Some media players come with a Web browser which allows you to browse the internet. This is ideal if you are inclined to use the internet for social media or online gaming.

Apple TV

Enjoy your favourite content from apps such as Netflix, Stan, tenplay, iTunes and more, all on Apple TV. Experience big, exciting games as well as apps that turn your lounge room into a fitness studio, a classroom, social night and more with the Apple TV App Store.

All content on your iPad or iPhone can be played through Apple TV on your large screen TV. The new 4th generation Apple TV is compatible with high-definition TVs with HDMI.

Use your voice and touch to interact directly with the new, immersive Apple TV interface. You can easily search for content and launch apps using the Siri Remote, which can also be used as a dynamic game controller and Web browsing tool, with the Touch surface acting as a virtual directional pad.

Android™ Compatible Media Player

Media hubs such as the Minix NEO X8-H Plus, are compatible with Android™. This device offers 4K H.265/HEVC Hardware Decoding Support and Wi-Fi technology providing the capability to stream any online content.

Another Android™compatible media player is the Minix NEO X5 mini, which is more for casual users looking to browse the web, stream online media content, watch movies and TV series in Full 1080p HD and play popular Android™ games.

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Another Android™compatible media player is the Minix NEO X5 mini, which is more for casual users looking to browse the web, stream online media content, watch movies and TV series in Full 1080p HD and play popular Android™ games.

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