The Best Video Streaming boxes for the HolidaysBrian Tong will show you CNET's top recommendations for video streaming set-top boxes this holiday season including the Xbox 360, PS3, Roku 2 and Apple TV.
-Hey, everyone, Brian Tong with CNET.com and if you're looking for the best set-top boxes that stream content from the internet and onto your TV, I'm here to show you CNET's top recommendations that will get you started. Now, if you have a game console already in your home, you might not be using it to it's full potential as a streaming box. Microsoft's Xbox 360 starts at $199 and Sony's PlayStation 3 starts $249, and they both offer variety of video services built in. The biggest one is Netflix that allows you to watch older movies and TV shows if you're Netflix subscriber. Now, you also have access to Hulu Plus. You will need a separate subscription to that service and will let you watch episodes of TV shows that currently running older seasons as well. There's plenty of other services too and each console also has their own video store for purchasing and running movies and TV shows and you will get a live sports with the ESPN and Apple on the Xbox and NFL Sunday Ticket and major league baseball on the PS3, and if you wanna get a little social, you will also find Facebook and twitter integration on these consoles as well. We like gaming machines because they are so versatile, but there's plenty of you that don't need them. So there's Blu-ray players from companies like Samsung, Panasonic, and LG that can also stream additional video content and services that start around $149 with built in Wi-Fi. Now, if you're adding streaming functionality to your TV and you don't wanna pay $100 to do it. These are our top recommendations. The Apple TV is a $99 bucks that allows you to view content that lives on your other Apple devices like your laptop iPhone and iPad and view them directly on you TV set. If you live in the Apple ecosystem, you will fill right in with this. Now, in addition to this, it has video services like Netflix, YouTube, and Vimeo, and it also includes access to live sports with the NHL, major league baseball and the NBA if you subscribe to them separately. Plus, you will also be able to rent and purchase content from iTunes directly through the Apple TV and it's a solid choice for 99 bucks. Now, we always save the best for last, and the Roku box is our top pick for the holiday season. It starts at $49.99, and this is loaded with the most video and online services that you can think of with an easy to use interface. You will get Netflix and Hulu plus, but you'll also get Amazon's instant video store and HBO Go. There's Pandora for music listing and discovery plus 100s of other channels with specific content like Disney and the UFC including our own channel from CNET. It's really the best all around streaming box you can get and even better. It starts under $50, so it's the perfect gift for the holiday season. So, that's a roundup of our top picks for streaming boxes and if you ask me what's my top pick, I'm gonna have to go Roku.