Photo: Marco Bellucci / Flickr, CC
So you don’t want to shell out for the latest smart TV with all its internet-connectedness and integrated streaming media apps.That’s fine. There’s a much more affordable way to trick out your boob tube.
Use one of a number of peripherals that plug into your TV to help it come alive with the same internet functionality and then some.
Stream Netflix or load it up with your own movie files. You can even play games. Roku has made excellent smart TV peripherals for a while now, and the Roku 2 XD is no exception.
Price: starting at $49.99
Mac users might want to take a look at the Apple TV, the company's own smart TV box. It runs all the apps you'd expect, like Netflix and Hulu, and can even wirelessly mirror your computer's or iPad's display for turning your television into a giant monitor.
The Playstation 3 offers a great selection of video games and apps to turn your television into a full-fledged entertainment centre. It offers an integrated movie store, the ability to play your own digital files, and of course run your Netflix and Hulu apps.
Microsoft's own gaming console offers plenty of the same functionality you'd expect -- run apps, play movie files, and of course, play video games. Buy music and movies in Microsoft's own media stores, play games against friends via Xbox LIVE, and go through your Netflix queue by using the app.
Price: Starts at $199.99
The Wii U is Nintendo's latest console. The controller, called the Wii U Gamepad, displays extra gaming and video content while you play. You can still use your old Wii remotes and games, but you'll also have access to brand new Wii U games.
Price: Starts at $299.99
You don't need cable to have access to smart TV functionality. Boxee TV works with over-the-air signals, YouTube, Netflix, and your own digital files to become a pretty robust entertainment platform. Throw in the fact that it's also a DVR with unlimited storage space, meaning you'll never need to delete a show again, and you can really see the appeal.
This isn't a physical device, but it certainly bears mentioning. Though it's currently only available in the New York City area, Aereo will set you up with access to its army of HD antenna tuners capturing live over-the-air TV signals. Watch live TV, even while you're recording something on another channel.
Price: starting at $0
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