Practical Technology

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What you really need to watch Internet video on your television


Several friends have asked me recently what they should buy to watch Internet videos on their televisions. The newly revamped Apple TV? The cheaper and more services offered Roku XDS. My answer: None of the above.

Oh, there are good reasons to buy either one. If you’re already wedded to the Apple way of doing things, the new Apple TV, or the old Apple TV for that matter, will work just fine. I’m not inspired by the new Apple TV, but that’s just me.

Roku, on the other hand, offers by far the widest variety of video choices: Netflix, Amazon Video, MLB.TV, and many more besides. In addition, it offers many Internet radio choices as well such as Pandora and, in just the last few days, Sirius XM Radio.

So, why am I not recommending either? While I use both, on my main TV, a Sony KD-34XBR960 34-inch HDTV, one of the last of the high-end, picture-tube HDTVs, I use my Sony BDP-S570 Blu-ray Disc Player. Besides playing Blu-Ray DVDs and normal DVDs, it also comes with Internet streaming support for Amazon Video on Demand, Netflix, and, real soon now, Hulu Plus. As soon as Hulu Plus shows up, I’ll be bidding cable TV a final adieu.

My point isn’t though that you should buy the Sony BDP-S570, although it is a great combination of Blu-Ray player and Internet video extender. No, my point is that almost any high-end TV or DVR player that you’ll be buying soon is going to have Internet video capabilities built-in. By the holiday season of 2012, I expect only the cheapest new TVs and DVRs won’t have it built in.

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