Consumer Reports: super-streaming media boxes - - Jackson, MS

Consumer Reports: super-streaming media boxes

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(WMC-TV) - More people are watching video delivered to their TV's from the Internet. You can access content online with a Blu-Ray player, video game console, or smart TV. 

If you don't have one of those, you can buy a set-top streaming media box. 

Consumer Reports just tested 11 basic boxes, including Apple TV and Roku 3. They cost $50 to $100.

When it comes to connecting to your Wi-Fi network, some of the boxes make it a lot easier by offering the WPS push-button option. If your router supports it, all you have to do is push a button to connect to your wireless network.

Consumer Reports found all the boxes offer great picture quality. But some give you access to a lot more services, such as Netflix, Vudu, and Hulu. 

Some of them allow you to access your personal content, including home movies, music and photos from your cell phone, tablet, or PC.

Consumer Reports said you don't have to spend top dollar to get top performance.

The Western Digital WD TV Play was the highest rated and costs just $65. It's less expensive and easier to use than either Apple TV or Roku 3. It has handy features including a remote control with dedicated app buttons and a USB port so you can access home movies and other personal media files.

The Western Digital WD TV Play offers access to Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vudu and Cinema Now. Those services aren't free. They cost from $5 to $8 a month. 

NOTE:  the Western Digital WD TV Play does not support Amazon Prime, so if you do most of your streaming from Amazon, you might opt for Roku 3 for $100.

There's also the new Google Chromecast. It costs $35 and will stream content from Netflix, YouTube and the Chrome web browser through your laptop or mobile device to your TV.

But until the Chromecast adds more services, Consumer Reports said it can't compete with the set-top boxes.

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