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Apple TV & Roku, will help spice up your TV!

Televisions and mobile devices are the center of attention for most of the tech companies these days. These two areas are where we will see the most innovation within the next two years. Some of the magical stuff is already here for us to enjoy such as Apple TV and Roku and some others such as TVs thinner then your cell phone at amazing 4mm, or cell phones that can turn into laptops were announced at this year's CES.

I fully support the cord cutters (folks who refuse to pay for a cable TV or satelite TV service) even though I'm not one of them. I believe all homes with Internet service and a TV should have some way of accessing web content on their television. Most important benefit those of us supporting web content will be increased competition to cable and satellite companies. I dream one day we will not need to subscribe and pay for 500 channels of TV when we only want to watch 20 to 30.

So what are the benefits of Apple TV and Roku besides helping form a competition to traditional TV service? Internet is great source for a variety of content. YouTube videos, Netflix movies, TV shows, thousands of radio stations, subscription media content, Pandora, and much more. Those of us who connected their laptops to a TV before knows it's not something you want to deal with all the time. So how do we reach all this content easily? Easiest and the most fun way is to use devices like Apple TV and Roku. They're designed to bring you web content on a TV screen so the experience is excellent.

Let's talk about Apple TV first: second generation Apple TV just got released and overall there isn't much of a change other then 1080p resolution support when streaming iTunes content. If you own an iPhone, iPad, or an iPad touch, Apple TV is a must have. AirPlay feature alone is worth every penny. You can simply send any sort of media directly to your TV system over your wifi connection. Imagine being able to look at the pictures you just took with your iPhone on your TV screen, or beam a Facebook video from your friends timeline. In addition Apple TV gives you easy access to Netflix, YouTube, short list of popular web content, your own iTunes library, and movie / TV show rentals from iTunes store. Priced at $100, it is a very reasonable purchase and installation is a snap. It requires an HDMI cable and once plugged in, configuration wizard helps you get setup. Since most of us have an Apple ID, connecting to wifi and entering the Apple ID information is all it takes.

Roku makes its pitch by including support for a lot more content then Apple TV does and it even throws some fun games like scrabble and angry birds in the mix. Roku's support for Hulu Plus (subscription service for TV shows), and Amazon Prime in addition to lots of other web content such as Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go, and games makes it a great choice for those homes with no Apple devices. Roku just like Apple TV stores your credit card on file so you can rent programming in addition to available free content. They also offer channel guide where additional content providers and games can be added to the system. Roku comes in 4 flavors ranging from $50 to $100. For most folks the cheapest version is sufficient since the additional features are not really necessary. Roku also requires a HDMI connection to the TV set. Initial configuration is a bit more involved and time consuming but wizard helps you every step of the way.

Now that you know these little gadgets are very reasonable and lots of fun so which do you plan to purchase?

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