One of the major emerging device categories in 2014 is the so-called ‘smart TV hub’. These devices integrate much of the functionality of digital set top boxes, but combine this with the internet connectivity features of a smart TV. Just as what operating system you have on your phone dictates your experience, so too does which one of these hubs that you buy. See the options available in our list below of 4 smart TV hubs battling to control your living room!
1. Nexus Player (Android TV)
The most recent addition to this list is the Nexus player. Built by Acer in collaboration with Google, this device is one of the first on the market to run Google’s new Android TV operating system. The Nexus Player allows a user to not just stream video content from online sources, but also download apps, and play games built for the system on the Google Play store.
2. Apple TV (iOS)
Built by Apple, and designed to integrate into the iOS ecosystem, the Apple TV is a tiny, yet powerful piece of tech. The device streams movies and audio off online sources and the iTunes store, while also synchronizing with iOS devices through the Air Play feature. The device also connects to a user’s iCloud account, allowing them to play media stored off-site.
3. Xbox One (Windows)
While primarily a games console, the Xbox One by Microsoft is also one of the most powerful smart TV hubs around. Users have access to a vast library of media content and apps through the Xbox store, and can navigate this data through a home screen similar to the that of Windows 8. Unlike other platforms, the Xbox One also allows a user to run both their gaming and media experiences side by side.
4. PS Vita TV (PlayStation)
Perhaps the strangest device on this list is the PS Vita TV. Designed as a way to play PS Vita games on a TV, this contraption nonetheless turns a user’s TV in a smart hub. Through this device, a user can download and play games, as well as watch recorded gaming and eSports footage through a subscription to PlayStation TV.
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