Gadget Purchase – Streaming Media Player

Over the last month or so I have been looking for a Media Player. There are quite a few models. This post is not one to tell you all of the features of media players because I am not a technology reviewer, it is one to point you to few resources if you are in the market for this type of device.

The Goal

My goal was to find a media player that had these features at a minimum:

  • Could be used with my Western Digital (WD) Network Attached Storage (NAS) device that has all of my pictures, music, and videos stored on it.
    • It needed to be DLNA certified. My NAS is DLNA certified, so I just wanted to be sure they would compatible.
  • Could show NetFlix, HuluPlus, and YouTube (note: I don’t have NetFlix or Hulu but I wanted to make sure it could be used.) My primary goal was for it to be able to show YouTube videos.
  • Had an Android app to control the device so that my cell phone wouldn’t have to be connected to my speakers to play music.
    • I could play the music off of the NAS device but my phone or tablet had to be connected to the speakers. This wasn’t very convenient.

What is the Real Name?

In searching for the media player, I had to find out the proper name of the device. There are a few names such as:
  • Streaming Media Player
  • Media Player
  • Digital Media Receiver
  • Media Streamer
  • Smart Set-Top Box

The Resources

What did I choose?

In the end I chose the WD TV Live Media Player.

Why Not?

  • Boxee
    • It cost $175 and I don’t look at my pictures and videos that much. 🙂
  • NeoTV
    • This was actually the one I wanted because of the keyboard on the remote control.
    • It didn’t support as many file types. 
    • As I read the forums I saw many negative reviews, that just couldn’t be overlooked.
  • Roku
    • It didn’t have all of the features that I wanted.

Why?

  • The WD TV Live Media Player:
    • Supported the most file types. The other devices were limited in this area.
    • Was reasonably priced at $99
    • Had an Android App remote control
    • Had overall better reviews than the NeoTV.
    • I had purchased a Western Digital MyBook NAS and it just seemed logical to stick with the same manufacturer, if possible.
    • It met all of my goals at a reasonable price.

Conclusion

In the olden days the rule was to determine the software you wanted to use and then determine the type of computer based on the tech specs/power needed for the software. In this case, choose the online services you would like to view, the file types you would like to display on your TV, and review any of the other qualities that are important to you to choose the best streaming media player for your situation.
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