6. Netgear NeoTV NTV300
The Netgear NeoTV Streaming Player (model #NTV300) supports most of your favorite video and audio services including Netflix, Hulu Plus, VUDU, CinemaNow, Pandora, and Rhapsody. The box includes a remote control, but you can also download free apps for your Android or iOS mobile device to use as a remote. The player includes built-in WiFi, supports up to 1080p video, and 5.1 surround sound audio. Netgear also has the NeoTV Max model (labeled “old model” on Amazon) that has several additional features including VUDU 3D support, Intel WiDi technology to display your laptop wirelessly on your HDTV, and an expandable memory slot. The NTV300 carries an MSRP of $49.99, while the NTV300SL is list-priced at $69.99.
7. WD TV Live
The Western Digital WD TV media player has been around almost as long as Apple TV. First released as the WD TV digital media player in ’08, the 3rd-generation WD TV Live streaming media player runs on a Sigma 700MHz processor and 512MB of RAM. The device supports up to 1080p video and Dolby Digital surround sound, and supports a wide range of video, audio and image formats. Available channels include Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora and YouTube among others. The WD TV Remote app is available for both iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets, and a remote control is included in the box. The WD TV Live Media Player is list-priced at $79.99, but is available for about $79.99.
8. Keedox Smart TV Box
The Keedox Smart TV Box is an Android-based media player that features a dual-core CPU, 1GB DDR3 RAM memory, and 4GB Flash storage. The box supports up to 1080p video and the company even says it will support pass through of Blu-ray 3D movies. Apps available include Netflix, YouTube, Skype, and the popular Chinese instant messaging service QQ. Read up on this product before purchasing though, because it has an equal amount of reviews from customers that liked and disliked the product – several users saying they had problems getting it to pass video correctly to an HDTV. Although the Keedox MSRP is listed as $129.99, you can pick one up on Amazon for about half that price.
9. Sony NSZGS8 Player w/Google TV
The Sony NSZGS8 is the most expensive media player in this bunch, list-priced at $199 (although you can get it cheaper than that, including on the Sony Store where it sells for $129. The device includes Google TV with built-in voice search, lets you search the web with the built-in Chrome browser, and incorporates the PrimeTime guide for searching content while watching a program. The media player provides access to the top apps including Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, Twitter, and Amazon Instant Video, and supports Dolby Digital Plus, many different video formats, and 24p True Cinema. The NSZGS8 also comes with a remote control that beats all the other remotes, with a voice recognition, large touchpad, Axis motion sensor for gaming, and full QWERTY mini keyboard.
10. G-Box Midnight MX2
The G-Box Midnight MX2 made by Matricom runs on Android 4.2 and features a dual core Amlogic A9 CPU paired with a Mali400 dual core 3D GPU graphics processor for great performance of Android apps. Specs include 1GB RAM, 8GB flash storage, and extendable SD storage up to 32GB. The media player also supports the open source media player XBMC for support of most audio, video, and image formats. The player features true 1080p Dual Core XBMC HD Decoding (scaled to 720p in XBMC) and support for popular XBMC streaming add-ons from third party developers. Matricom boasts the MX2 is free of any restrictions and “never needs to be jail-broken.” The G-Box Midnight MX2 (MSRP $219) is currently selling for under $100 at Amazon.