HARDWARE

Four Set-Top Boxes

Devices from TiVo, Roku, Samsung, and popbox that turn your television into a media hub
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Still using your TV set just to watch television? These set-top boxes give you access to all kinds of media on your TV, including content from the Web and your home computer. We ranked the following models based on their range of offerings.

★★★★
TIVO PREMIERE

TiVo's new DVR, which debuted this spring, lets you record 45 hours of HD cable programming and watch movies and shows from Netflix and Amazon Video on your TV. You can search for movies and TV shows by actor or director.
COST: $299 for the box, plus $12.95 a month for the service

★★★
ROKU HD-XR

The Roku can play movies and TV shows from Netflix and Amazon on your TV, but it does not record cable programs. Like the other boxes in our roundup, it can stream movies, photos, and video from a PC to your TV. It has more than 30 Web channels, including Facebook and Pandora.
COST: $130

★★
SAMSUNG BD-C6500

You can insert a Blu-ray disc into Samsung's set-top box to watch a high-definition movie in full surround sound. Or use the Internet@TV option to watch movies and TV shows from services such as Netflix and Vudu. Like the Roku and popbox, it is not a DVR.
COST: $250


POPBOX

The upstart popbox is set to launch this summer with more than 20 apps for sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and blip.tv. As of presstime, popbox maker Syabas Technology had yet to add Netflix to its offerings, but it planned to do so before launching.
COST: $130

IMAGE: Courtesy company
Last updated: Jul 1, 2010

JOHN BRANDON | Columnist

John Brandon is a contributing editor at Inc. magazine covering technology. He writes the Tech Report column for Inc.com.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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