By Ted Kritsonis
You don’t have to watch TV the traditional way if you don’t want to, especially now that there are a number of products available that bring a connected experience to your living room.
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Boxee Box $199.99
It’s been out for a year and it keeps getting better. Not only is there access to Netflix, NHL GameCenter and YouTube, but there’s also SlingPlayer support for those who own a Slingbox. Stream your videos, music and photos from a drive connected to your router, or just plug in an external drive directly to one of the Box’s two USB ports. Perfect for those who stock their homes with gadgets
Western Digital Live Hub $199.99
This is a media player like the Boxee Box, except it’s got a 1TB drive built-in, so you don’t necessarily need an Internet connection to play content. The two USB ports on the back also allow you to attach any external hard drives or USB sticks and play what’s on those too. Or you can always stream from a network drive (just note that the Live Hub doesn’t have Wi-Fi support).
LG Smart TV Upgrader$99.99
It’s not just an LG TV that has to be a Smart TV. This upgrader box is basically a media player and content streamer rolled in one. You get access to Netflix, NHL GameCenter and a bunch of other apps with a range of content. It can also read files from your computer using DLNA, so long as they’re both connected to your home network.
While limited in that it won’t play a wide range of file formats, and doesn’t have USB ports in the back, Apple TV is still among the best at streaming Netflix, along with full access to the iTunes Store. Using AirPlay, you can also stream content from an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to your TV through the Apple TV.