What is a Streaming Box?
When someone asks, What is a Streaming Box? They are commonly referring to a device that can stream media such as music, video and pictures over the internet onto a television. A Streaming Box commonly uses apps to stream different types of content from different sources. A Streaming Box can also have different types of OS’s installed which have a dramatic impact on usability.
Common Streaming Box OS’s?
IOS Streaming Box OS
Used by apple products such as Apple TV Streaming Box
Pros : Fast, Reliable, Stable, Well Supported, Airplay
Cons : Very limited file playback, Small amount of apps compared to competition
Android Streaming Box OS
Used by many products.
Pros : A LOT of apps available, Open Source
Cons : Slow compared to IOS, Not too Remote friendly at the moment
Used By Taffy Media Center
Pros : A Lot of Apps Available, Open Source, Playback compatability
Cons : Apps for streaming services such as Netflix
Can a Streaming Box Stream Files In 1080p?
Depending the the type of software and hardware the Streaming Box is using, it is limited. I would recommend checking supported file formats and video output to make sure the device can do what you would like it to do.
How do I play my files on a Streaming Box?
There are different methods of playing files on Streaming Boxes. I will list the most common ways, however, each device may or may not support the methods listed.
Memory Chip / USB Stick or USB Drive
This would more or less be the easiest method as all you have to do is plug in the memory chip or usb and it should show up on our Media Play to start Playing.
Network Or Samba Share
Sharing files with a windows file share or network share is another easy way to go if you know how to set it up. This way you can just keep everything in one place without having to plug and unplug things. You can share files over a wired network or wireless network.
This is relatively knew compared to the last two examples. Airplay allows you to just play content directly from your IOS device. This is about as simple as it gets, although, it does require you to have an IOS device to stream from and an airplay compatible Streaming Box.
Best Streaming Boxes / Best Streaming Box Software
Some people may ask why this is even a subject. Well, if it is not easy to navigate through your media, ESPECIALLY on a tv when all you have is a remote, then whats the use? I will list a few below along with their pros and cons. This should give you an idea of what to look for.
Roku Box :
Pros : Inexpensive / Reliable / Easy To Use / Can Access Netflix, Hulu, Etc
Cons : Limited File Type Support / No Airplay / Hard to share videos over network
Apple TV :
Pros : Reliable / Easy to Use / Can Access Netflix, ITunes Etc
Cons : Limited to No File Type Support / No USB Support / Hard to Share Videos over Network
*** Possible to jailbreak and install xbmc on versions 1 and 2 – not 3. Read Below for more info.
Android TV Boxes :
Pros : Android Market / File Type Support / USB and Network Share Support
Cons : Unreliable and Hard to Use / No Airplay Support / XBMC is in beta with bugs still
Taffy Media Center :
Pros : Airplay Support / USB and Network Support / Large File Type Support / Reliable and Easy to Use
Cons : No Netflix Support . . . Yet.
What does a Streaming Box have to do with XBMC?
Well, XBMC has been around before Streaming Boxes really existed. They were more like computers hooked up to TVs. XBMC has been around longer than most, if not all Streaming Box software out there. It has been refined and perfected over the years and is now an award winning media player software. In my opinion it is second to none.
There are few devices out there that are fully xbmc compatible inexpensive to operate and easy to use. Once device is a jailbroken Apple TV. These have become so valuable that the price has skyrocketed. The other device is our own Taffy Media Center.