Digital media players are now being released by major companies across the world. Even Apple seems to think that it can bring the Apple TV to every rich home in India.
But are these digital home media players any good? What are the important things to consider when you buy one? How does it hold an advantage over the set-top boxes provided by your local cable operators?
Unlike your regular set-top box, a media player has all of its content in digital format. Anything and everything you need is available online. All you need is a high-speed internet connection that can help you to load contents smoothly.
Why do you want it?
if you're someone who pays Rs 500 on a monthly basis just enjoy your favorite shows from 3 or 4 channels, then this would be the best alternative. Instead, you can put in that amount to increase your internet speed and download limits to enjoy unlimited content available online.
Services like Netflix, Hotstar, etc provide subscriptions or free content to enjoy all your favorite shows at your convenient timings. Sports enthusiasts can record their matches even if they miss it, and watch all over when they return home.
What's the life?
These are powerful devices that can take entertainment to a different level. And when you plan to get one for yourself, it should be worth to survive for a couple of years.
What can I watch?
That really is the main point of getting a media player for your home. These devices help you access all the entertainment content directly from the online services. Some allow you to enjoy your own collection of videos, pictures and music with their inbuilt memory as well as direct streaming from your smartphones.
What's more important to me?
It all comes down to what you would want your media player to do. Do you want to stream movies on the big screen from Netflix or Hotstar and other online services and get rid of all the unwanted channels, or do you want a smart computing device that acts an entertainment hub for the entire family?
Every one of these devices (except the Apple TV) can be rooted and taken to its limits. You can add apps you want that could not be found even on Google Play.
Do you have other gadgets at home that have content you wanna enjoy on the big screen? Well, with these digital media players, you can stream all your content even from your phone, tablets or laptops.
How much does it cost?
The most important factor to consider when you're out buying a media player is the cost. Apple's devices are always expensive no matter what, but they provide features that are the best in industry. Getting one is equivalent to buying an all-in-one entertainment system.
Services like Tata Sky and DishTV too have their set of set-top boxes that can record all your shows, but they cannot help you see your own collection of movies or browse through your pictures. Even Microsoft's XBOX One can give you access to all the streaming services while also integrate your set-top box into its own interface, though primarily it is still a gaming console.