Best Products to Stream Audio and Video With Ease

At a Glance

The DSM-520 delivers great sound. Standard-definition video, however, was sometimes a little blocky.

Pros

  • Easy network setup
  • Great audio-streaming options

Cons

  • Blocky standard-definition video
  • Buggy video setup
 Compare

At a Glance

Apple's video receiver is stylish and easy to set up, but you're confined mostly to iTunes-supported content. On the other hand, that content now includes downloadable movies.

Price when rated: $229

Pros

  • Very easy to set up
  • Offers HD movie rentals
  • HD movie rentals
  • 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound support
  • Improved interface
  • Can be used without a computer
  • AirTunes support
  • Ability to stream .Mac Web Galleries and Flickr albums

Cons

  • Doesn't support non-Apple video standards
  • No music video shuffle
  • Slow HD downloads
  • 24-hour rental period too short
  • No music search feature
  • Playback of HD movies and trailers can be interrupted during download by rebuffering
  • Not as stable as previous software
  • Can't directly subscribe to TV shows or podcasts
 Compare

At a Glance

This is a great audio server that happens to connect to your TV. Other products stream video better.

Pros

  • Good sound

Cons

  • Difficult to set up
  • Not really high-definition-capable
 Compare

At a Glance

This player handles many formats but calls for plenty of tech savvy. You can also add your own hard drive.

Pros

  • Very good picture and sound
  • Expandable with an internal IDE hard drive

Cons

  • Horribly documented
  • Tends to fall over
 Compare

At a Glance

The pricey EVA8000 offers versatile features and DRM support that you won't find anywhere else.

Pros

  • Supports both Apple and Windows Media DRM
  • Can work as a DVR

Cons

  • Setup menu is hard to get to
  • Occasional stutter on 1080p high-def content
 Compare

At a Glance

The CS510 has nice sound and extras like weather info, but suffers from awkward slide-show viewing.

Pros

  • Very good sound
  • Shoutcast radio

Cons

  • Slow slide show with annoying hourglass
 Compare

At a Glance

This compact, easy-to-set-up streamer lacks Wi-Fi, and rival streamers provide better audio output.

Pros

  • Very low price
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • No Wi-Fi
  • Less-than-exceptional sound
 Compare

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