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Top 7 Set Top Boxes For Holiday 2010

From Apple TV to Roku, stream your favorite shows directly from the Net to your TV.

by Michael A. Prospero, Reviews Editor on November 6, 2010

Apple TV

Apple shrank its media streaming device to a quarter of its original size, then it shrank the price of rentals, too: $4.99 for movies and $0.99 for TV shows--although it's just ABC and Fox for now. Ports on the back of this unassuming device (3.9 inches square, 0.9 inches thick, and 0.6 pounds) include HDMI, optical audio, and Ethernet. The new Apple TV also has 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi, so your Mac guy can stream content from Flickr, Netflix, a notebook, or YouTube. Couch control of the Apple TV is easy with the included remote or with a free app for the iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone.

Price: $99.00 | Read Review

Boxee Box

One of the most uniquely designed media streamers, the Boxee Box--more like a cube--brings nearly 40,000 TV episodes and premium movies to your TV fan. The device has one of the slickest interfaces we've seen, and the remote even has a QWERTY keyboard, making it easier to type in specific shows. She can even watch content stored on her computer, as the Boxee supports nearly every format under the sun. Add in support for Facebook and Twitter, to see what her friends are watching, and you have a seriously fun box.

Price: $199.00 | Read Review

Elgato EyeTV HD

When connected to a cable box and PC, this small silver box sends his home TV channels anywhere he can get the Internet. A slick app lets him watch on an iPad or iPhone. He can even schedule recordings remotely and watch shows he's previously taped. The only caveat is that the EyeTV needs to be connected to a home computer as well to work its magic.

Price: $199.00 | Read Review

HP Wireless TV Connect

These two small black boxes join forces to allow wireless streaming of 1080p content such as photos, videos, and even Blu-ray movies from a laptop to a large-screen TV. How does it work? One box connects to her notebook's HDMI and USB ports, and beams the data to the receiver connected to her TV. Best of all, there's little to no lag, meaning that she can also use this setup to play 3D games from the sofa.

Lowest Price: $184.95 | Read Review

Roku XD|S

Roku established a following by offering loads of content choices--from Amazon and Netflix to and Pandora--and now it has a top-of-the-line box to show it all off. The XDS features dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, which means streaming 1080P content wirelessly and smoothly. It also includes a USB port for connecting an external drive to play stored movies.

Price: $99.00

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex TV HD

When connected to a home network, this glossy little black box can stream all his media files from a PC to TV in full 1080p glory via HDMI, with Dolby Digital and DTS audio. It's compatible with dozens of media formats, and if he gets tired of watching personal content, he can also stream videos and photos from Flickr, Netflix, Picasa, YouTube, and more. It even includes a slot for a Seagate GoFlex hard drive (starting at $89.99).

Price: $129.99

Logitech Revue with Google TV

Think of the Revue with Google TV as an addition to the TV-watching experience, not as a replacement. The Revue quickly searches content from cable or satellite, as well as the family DVR, making it simple to find live and recorded shows to watch. A built-in browser allows your loved one to enjoy online video and do things such as checking fantasy team stats while watching the big game. Bonus: Logitech will roll out Android and iPhone apps to control this versatile box with a smart phone.

Price: $299.00 | Read Review


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