Making the Most of Media Players for TVs
One of the most exciting home entertainment trends in recent years has been that of media players for TVs. These fun and versatile devices allow your televisions to connect to the internet, and they let you create your own schedules for enjoying movies, sports, and other programs.
With streaming media players, you can tap into a rich array of programming from Netflix, Amazon, and other providers. You're no longer bound to one cable company, and each family member can choose his or her own choice of entertainment on demand.
What Is a Media Player?
A media player is a device that streams programming from the internet to your television. Most run on Android or iOS operating systems and connect to the internet via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Popular streaming media players include Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Google Chromecast. You can also connect your player with various receivers and amplifiers for enhanced functioning and quality. Other sound-enhancing options include the ability to connect to tabletop audio systems.
While most media players for TVs take the form of set-top boxes, you can also find compact streaming sticks that plug into the HDMI port on the back of your TV. Streaming media players can also hook up to home entertainment speakers to enhance sound, and you can use them with home theater projectors to enjoy theater-style pictures.
Do You Need a Streaming Device with a Smart TV?
A smart TV is essentially any television that can access the internet. For this reason, they were initially named "connected TVs." Being internet-enabled devices, smart TVs can stream programs from media services such as YouTube, as well as function as web browsers. Depending on the model, these televisions can also run apps that allow them to connect to on-demand video services and various premium streaming sites. Technically, then, your smart TV obviates the need for separate streaming media players. That said, many smart TV owners choose to invest in dedicated media players, as these tend to be far more powerful and polished than the systems built into smart TVs. This is especially true for media players from major providers such as Amazon, Apple, Google, and Roku, which are optimized for their apps.
What Does a TV Tuner Do?
TV tuners take many forms, but they all bring media into the home like a media player, except over the airwaves rather than through a physical device or depository. The most popular ones are digital TV tuners. Also known as digital converters or digital receivers, these enable the processing and viewing of digital television (DTV) signals from various sources. Many modern TVs feature integrated tuners. To find out if your TV has one, check for labels such as DTV, HDTV, or Built-In Digital Tuner. If not, you can view digital programs by using a DTV converter box.
If you're ready to experience a limitless world of home entertainment, check out the best media players for TVs offered by B&H Photo and Video.