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March 14th 2012 2:46 pm

What is the best device to stream online television content to a TV?

We have a television, and a high speed internet connection, but because of some conflicts with a cable provider we have decided to forgo cable or satellite television. So now we're looking into what the best way to get television content is. We have a very basic HDTV, nothing special. I'm not really a fan of smart TVs because they lack longevity, so I'd like to stick with a device that can stream television content to our TV. What device would be best for that? We have a Netflix account, so it must be able to access that. Also have Amazon Prime, so hopefully it could stream Prime Instant Videos. Don't have Hulu Plus though. Is there a way to watch ESPN live streams of sporting events as well? That would be a great bonus. Anyone have any opinions on what would be the best way to do this? Would greatly appreciate any and all thoughts.
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mitchell's pick

If you want a "no compromises" solution, then you are going to be stuck getting a small Windows box or Mac mini. Any of the devices you tagged will do a lot of what you want, but every one has some compromise or another you have to make. If I had no gear of any kind and was starting over in the living room, I would probably buy a Sony BluRay Google TV box and be prepared to plug in a laptop for the occasions when something requires an actual computer to be accessed (like certain websites that will block streaming to anything other than a "real" browser).
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I cut the cord, and live with my Roku, and it rocks. You can access Netflix, and Amazon Prime with a Roku, and 400 other channels of content. Depending on who your ISP is, will determine if you can access ESPN 3. Roku has different players, and I would recommend the Roku 2 XS, because of the ethernet port that is lacking on the other models. If you have a robust wireless network - the ethernet port wouldn't matter, and you could spend less.

I also have playon - and they have a lot of content partners, including Hulu and espn, if you purchase play on. They are running a special right now that you might want to check out. You can get a lifetime playon license, and a roku, for $80.00. It's the LT model that sells for $60, so it's a good deal.­/devices­/roku

Go with a Roku - and you won't regret it.
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