Network media player devices have been growing in popularity lately. Though they are also being called media streaming devices, there is a distinction between the two that is often causing some confusion. Thus, it is necessary to differentiate between the media-playing devices and the media streaming devices; downloading versus streaming media.
Media is streamed when the video, music, or picture file is played or viewed from its source and cannot be saved outside of the source. The media plays the file from its source location. A Roku box is the perfect example of a media streamer. It has no need for a memory. Its sole purpose is to stream video, music, photos from Netflix, Roku, Pandora, Flickr, and a number or special interest channels.
Another example is the second-generation Apple TV. It just streams media from other sources since it has no hard drive.
Network media players have more features or capabilities more than just streaming. These devices have USB ports to connect to external hard drives or flash drives. Some even have built-in drives. Thus, if the media is being played or viewed from a connected hard drive, it is not streaming from an outside source.
Examples of network media players that can both play and stream are the PS3 and Xbox 360. They can play by streaming directly from the home network or online or copy media files to their hard drives and play the media directly. Another example is LG’s BD-590 Blu-ray Disc player with a built-in hard drive.
When shopping for a network media player, be sure to check out all its features. Make sure it is compatible with both your television and computer. If you have photos, music, and movies stored in your computer, look for a device with the ability to connect and play your home network media libraries as well as act as media streaming devices player. Be sure to purchase a player that can play the file formats that you have.
However, if you simply want a device to just stream media from online sites or just to listen to news or talk shows, media streaming devices is just right for you.Social tagging: Streaming Devices