Apple TV, Google TV, and Other Digital Media Players

Apple TV & Google TV

What are Digital Media Players?
Digital Media Players are small set-top boxes that give your television the ability to stream video, music, pictures, surf the web, and view other types of broadband content right from your couch. Like a digital cable box delivers cable television, Digital Media Players connect straight to your TV and give you access to popular video sites like Youtube, Hulu, and Netflix, as well as any other media you may have on your home computer or online. Their goal: to help bring your computer content to the living room.

Apple TV
Apple TV is a sleek and compact device that easily fits into your home entertainment center and gives you instant access to services like Netflix and Youtube. In addition, you can purchase new content through iTunes, access past purchases, and manage your personal catalog.

If you don’t want to purchase a show or movie, iTunes offers a rent option. Available for as little as 99-cents apiece, you are allowed to keep the rental for 30 days and play the content for up to 48 hours after you first press play. If you also own an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, you can view the same content from your Apple TV, and can start from the same place you stopped.


Apple TV
  • Retails for $99 from Apple.com.
  • Browses, rents, and streams your favorite movies and TV shows from Apple’s massive iTunes store.
  • Views photos from Flickr or Apple’s MobileMe service.
  • Streams rentals from Netflix and watch your favorite YouTube videos.
  • Accesses your computer’s iTunes library and stream it from your television.
  • Comes with an Apple remote.

Google TV
Whereas Apple TV accesses most of its content from iTunes, Google has taken a different approach with their Digital Media Player. Instead of one version of the hardware box, Google has formed partnerships with companies like Logitech, Sony, and Intel to produce their own Google TV boxes.

In Sony’s case, they’ve developed an entire television, known as the Sony Internet TV, which incorporates Google TV’s functionality into a stand-alone flat screen TV. The Sony Internet TV ranges between 24” and 46” and comes with a keyboard remote control, but the Logitech Revue, a standalone box made by Logitech, is the cheaper alternative likely to be on many people’s shopping lists.

The Logitech Revue is a low-profile black box (it’s about the size of a netbook computer) that comes with its own keyboard remote and hooks you into everything Google TV can do. Like the Apple TV, Google’s device allows you to stream your personal media files, rent and view movies on Netflix, and use your Android phone as a remote control (it runs on the same Android software). Google TV goes one step further than Apple TV by featuring full web browsing, Twitter and Facebook, program recording (for DISH Network subscribers only), and the ability to use all your favorite Android apps right on your TV.


Sony Internet TV
Logitech Revue
  • Retails for $299.99 at Amazon.com.
  • External box that hooks up to your TV to deliver Google TV’s services.
  • Comes with a full-size QWERTY keyboard/remote control


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November 16, 2010
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