Streaming Set-Top Boxes

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Streaming Set-Top Boxes

Devices like Roku are loaded with Web apps to instantly stream video, music and photo content from sites like Netflix, Vudu, YouTube and Spotify.

Roku

Instant streaming video is one of the fastest-growing forms of online content and has tremendous potential to integrate with social media. Through subscription services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, Crackle and HBO GO, consumers can stream their favorite movies and TV shows on their favorite device with a click of a button.

Gadget-makers are quickly jumping on this trend. The most exciting devices are a new generation of set-top boxes that stream high-definition video from the Internet directly onto your TV. Devices like Roku, Boxee, Apple TV and Google TV connect to the Internet via WiFi and to your TV via a HDMI cable. The devices are loaded with Web apps to instantly stream video, music and photo content from sites like Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, and Flikr.

Since the set-top boxes are connected to the Internet, users can share their video and music playlists with their favorite social networks. For example, both Roku and Boxee include a Spotify app. With Spotify, users can stream millions of free songs through their TV. They can also share their Spotify playlists on Facebook and see what their friends are listening to right now.

Roku has developed its own Facebook app for the set-top box called the Facebook Photos and Videos channel. By syncing your Facebook account with the Roku app you can stream full-screen video clips and browse large-format photos from your Facebook news feed or your friend's walls. You can also "like" photos and videos, but you can't add comments through the set-top box [source: Roku].

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