Navigating Internet Connected Devices

Which movie rental service you use may soon depend on which gadgets you own. More technology is Internet connected, letting you stream movies or play downloaded content. Kell Grant, Senior Consumer Reporter for explains how to navigate the market.

Digital video player are becoming a popular choice for consumers. Apple's big announcement last week involved the Apple TV, a $99 device that will let you rent movies and TV shows from iTunes, stream from Netflix and access other content on your computer. Competitor Roku starts at $60 and can stream Netflix, Amazon On Demand and other content. Experts like these devices because they work with existing home theater systems and computers and are essentially plug-and-play.

Your TV could also have the ability to connect to the internet. Plenty of people already have a big, high-definition television, so manufacturers are using features like 3D and Internet connectivity to drive sales. Best Buy, for example, has nearly 70 TVs that connect with services including Netflix, VUDU, Cinema Now and Blockbuster. A connected TV is great if you're in the market for a new set anyway, but there are cheaper routes.

A chief benefit of Blu-ray players are online content, such as the latest trailers and talks with movie directors. The latest players are all connectible, and many have partnered with Netflix, Blockbuster and other content providers. Blu-ray is still struggling to get a foothold, so people who buy a new player can get some pretty good sales and rebates right now.

Video game systems are offering more than just games these days and consoles can be a good choice even for non-gamers. Experts like the PlayStation 3 as a Blu-ray player. The PS3, Xbox and Wii all offer Netflix content and they have their own video stores.

And finally, the cellphone in your pocket might be right for you. Watching on a tiny screen has limited appeal, but content is available is you're willing to squint. The iPhone can stream content from iTunes, Netflix and Hulu. The Samsung Epic 4G on Sprint is also going to have a media hub service to buy or rent TV shows and movies.

For more information on how to find the best internet connected device and other consumer advice, click here.
by Kelli Grant and Jenn Eaker