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Buying a gadget for streaming video

Q. I'm looking to stream movies, TV shows and Web videos to my TV. I heard about a few different options such as Roku and Google TV. One friend swears by Apple TV. What's your take?
- Steve from Bossier City, LA, listens to my national radio show on KEEL 710 AM .


A. Roku, Apple TV and Google TV are examples of Internet-connected entertainment equipment. Other examples are Western Digital's WD TV Live and manufacturer-specific software for TVs. The main point of these gadgets is to stream Internet video to your TV.

Streaming video gives you more options than traditional cable or over-the-air broadcasts. You can watch shows whenever you want, for example. These can be free or paid, depending on the service. There are also options for watching movies and Internet-only videos and accessing plenty of other digital information.

Each streaming gadget connects with different services. Before purchasing any gadget, you'll want to make sure it has the content you want. Otherwise, it will disappoint you.

This tip is the 13th installment in my product Buying Guide series for Christmas 2011. I've already covered tablets, smartphones, HDTVs and more. From now through Christmas, I'll continue to answer your tech-buying questions. Have a question on a digital item you're planning to purchase? Email it to me using this form on my website.

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