Thursday, June 23, 2011

Top 5 Media Streamers 2011

Media players are big business these days, but go back as little as 5 years and nobody would've known what you were talking about. However times have changed thanks to great developments like HD and streaming. In this article I list the top 5 media players as of June 2011.

One note before we begin: I have not counted HTPCs, these home theatre PCs are unique species and will be dealt with separately. This list is for set-up like boxes only.

5. Apple TV

This media player scores high thanks to its great iTunes integration and interface. The box is also whisper quiet and very small. For people that have all their content stored on iTunes, this is simply the best box to get. Finally Airplay is the best invention for iDevice users... ever, and highly wanted in the world of tech.

4. D-link boxee box

This Black-green box tends to make heads turn due to its unusual design. It almost looks like the box was on the verge of being consumed by a greater power, but it hasn't. Instead it is very much grounded and available for users to buy. The Boxee box has powerful hardware from Intel, and supports virtually every format known to man, and it doesn't stop there. D-link has also added support for online functionality such as a full browser with flash, and plenty of apps. The only reason this device isn't higher up this list is because it's very energy consuming and pricey.

3. Western Digital Live Plus HD Media Player

This is the catchy name behind one of WD's most promoted product. The WD Live Plus is a great buy thanks to its incredible low price point (under $90) and support for most formats. On top of that this device is small, energy efficient and supports the network functionality one comes to expect from a media player. Little problems prevent this price fighter from conquering a higher place in this list.

2. AC Ryan HD2

The new Realtek chips fixes problems from older models and offers a much greater user experience. That ingredient powers the number 2 on this list: the AC Ryan HD2 series. The company have made a great name for themselves by offering fantastic support at a low price point, and it pays off. The Ac Ryan begins at just $90 (without HDD option) and tops at $130 (with HDD option). For those prices you get a great design, support for every format, a nice menu and great software support for anything the industry comes up with in the near future. The only downside is an iffy Internet functionality.

Before I announce the winner, first I want to mention a couple of players that didn't make this list of champions. First off is the Xtreamer Prodigy. This aluminium box was announced at CES in January and promises to be the best Realtek 1185 player on the market today. However 6 months after the unwrapping and it's still not available, and even worse, features are being dropped left and right. Most noticeably: the Airplay feature, which would've put this thing greatly on top of the AC Ryan.

Also forgotten is the Mede8er MED500X2. This is another Realtek player that does everything the AC Ryan does, but at a much higher price point. It's no looker either. Therefore I question the value of this player over other competitors.

And the winner is....

1. Popcorn Hour A-210

For me it's a no brainer. Syabas has made great name in the media market and they're back. The Popcorn Hour A-210 is a passive cooled device with an unmatched simplistic design. It supports all media formats known to man, has an app store, and the possibility of an optional HDD, which upgrades it from a player to a full fetched HUB. And thanks to the arguably superior Sigma chip, everything runs smooth and instant. The only downsides are the price and plastic feeling remote. (which isn't really bad but could've been better)

And those are my top 5 media players to watch this summer. As you may know, most of these players are very similar, which makes the overall feel of the device pay dividends. Right now the Popcorn Hour leaps ahead in that department, making it the best way to view your media on the big screen. Congratulations Syabas!

best media streamers

I'm Robin Chung. In my spare time I like to write articles and stories. My ultimate dream is to write a life altering story for a lot of readers. Feel free to visit my website and learn more!

Robin Chung

View the original article here


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Favorites More