Top 5 Best Media Servers for Streaming
Today's best media servers for streaming digital content into your home
With cloud based Internet media all the rage these days, here are today's top five media servers that will happily stream Internet video and audio content from the cloud into your home.
Roku - Streaming Content King
The title for best selling media streamer today currently is held by Roku. When Roku decided to open their platform to 3rd party developers, it caused the list of Roku channels to explode with currently over 700 hundred different channels covering a multitude of genres. Other than the premium channels, a great majority of channels on the Roku platform are free. Please click here for full Roku Channel list
Roku's interface is intuitive and simple enough to use, that family members will quickly be navigating it to watch Free TV. For cable cutters Roku is a great choice due to it's wide integration of great commercial streaming media services like Amazon, Netflix, Vudu, Redbox, and Hulu Plus for an unlimited amount of content. Learn more...
Apple TV - Best Itunes Integration
If your movie and music collection is built on iTunes, the Apple TV makes perfect sense as a home media server. Apple has one of the nicest most polished graphical user interface. Their current Apple TV 3 media streamer currently in it's 3rd generation works very well playing HD content at 1080p. While the Apple TV still has nowhere near the channels or content as Roku, their app list lately has been growing as well.
Their app or channel list now includes: Sky News, Crunchyroll, Qello, HBO, WatchESPN, Hulu Plus, Netflix, Live Sports from MLB, NBA and NHL and Internet content from Flickr, Vimeo, and YouTube (which Roku still does not yet have). Just recently Apple added Vevo, The Smithsonian Channel, Disney HD and the Weather Channel. Apple is also currently actively pursuing content producers directly, bypassing the cable companies to offer more live streaming content on their Apple TV platform.
Unfortunately, since the Apple TV is a closed platform it restricts and limits the file types you can play. There is a work around by using AirPlay mirroring. This lets iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Mac users stream any music, photos and videos from their devices directly to their HD TV with through an Apple TV. The Apple TV is a good solid platform and still a very popular selling streaming media server. Learn more...
WD TV Live Hub - Best for Personal Media
If you are looking for a media server that will play any file format and serve it across your home network to a multitude of devices look no further. The WD TV Live Hub is solidly built and handles it's duty as a media server very well with 1TB of file storage built in. Supporting up to 1080p video, it's advanced features and stylish graphical interface will make your home media file library sparkle. The lack of WiFi may be of concern, although Ethernet especially for streaming large 1080p HD files, is a more trouble free and reliable choice.
To keep up with Roku and Apple, Western Digital recently added SnagFilms, XOS College Sports, SEC Digital, Comedy Time and Watch Mojo to their lineup. Their rather extensive app list also includes Netflix, Vudu, HuluPlus, YouTube, Spotify, Facebook, Pandora, AOL HD, Slingplayer, MLB.tv, CinemaNow, Flixster, EuroNews, Vimeo, Creepster.TV, Play James Games, tune in, Redbull TV, Happauagge, Shoutcast Radio,Kannuu, Picasa, Dailymotion, Live365, MyTV, Launchpad, AccuWeather, YuppTV, Deezer, XOS College Sports, Watch Mojo, Skitter TV, SnagFilms, Commedytime and Digital Network.
Western Digital not to be outdone also offers a few Free Smart Phone apps. WD TV Remote lets you use your mobile device as a remote control, or WD Photo Viewer to shoot pictures with your phone and upload and watch them on your WD Live Hub TV. Learn more...
GBOX Midnight MX2 - Best For Android XBMC Lovers
If XBMC is your go to media player software of choice, then you will love the Matricom GBOX Midnight MX2 with it's M6 Amlogic dual core CPU teamed with a Mali400 MP Dual Core GPU running the Android 4.2.x Jelly Bean OS. Loaded with a Special Edition version of XBMC which fully supports all add-ons including these "Top Four".
GBOX built it's hardware to last using heavy duty spec components. Since it's introduction the GBOX MX2 has taken the market by storm shooting up the list of best selling streaming media servers. While the GBOX MX2 is still no substitute for a computer platform. It's price tag now just under a hundred dollars, along with a tight integration of XBMC makes the GBOX Midnight MX2 a pretty sweet deal. Learn more...
The Little Black Box - Linux XBMC Fans Rejoice
The Little Black Box is a pretty recent newcomer to the media streaming world. Rather then going down the well worn path of choosing a proprietary or restricted OS, this box uses Linux as it's operating system of choice. Add XBMC to serve up your streaming media content and you have a winning combination.
Channels on-board this media player include: Pandora, Spotimc, YouTube, Apple Itunes Podcasts, BestofYouTube, CBS News, Cnet Podcasts, Classic Cinema, Daily Motion, Discovery Channel, Disclose.tv, National Geographic, Documentary.net, DIY Network, Earth Touch, Engadget, EPSN Video, FLW Outdoors, Food network, Fox News, Funny or Die, College Humor, HD-Trailers.net, HGTV, How Stuff Works, IGN, Khan Academy, Kids Place, Live Leak, NASA, NBA, New York Times, PBS, RedBull.TV, TED Talks, TMZ, Twit, Top Ducmentary Films, Videobash, Vimeo, Wired, Vine, PBS Kids, Film On and UStvnow.
Early reviews of The Little Black Box are solid and while this stremer is still new, the large list of channels and open nature has made it stand out from it's peers. Learn more...
Any of these media servers can help make it possible to eliminate or help cut your monthly Cable TV bill.