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The media landscape is changing. More and more people get their entertainment from streaming services, while many also want to access their own photos, audio, and videos across various devices. The end result is often complex and far from seamless.
But in today's media accessories roundup, we're focusing on solutions that help you integrate those modes. A lot of companies are trying to solve this problem, and already we've seen a bunch of innovative solutions at reasonable prices. And if you're looking to supplement your media diet, check out our daily media deals as well.
Is It Worth It?: If you're storing significant video content on multiple hard drives, the Pogoplug may be the ideal device for you. It connects directly to your router and accepts up to four USB hard drives for storage. Drag and drop videos, photos, and music from your Windows or Mac computer to share with other systems securely across the Internet, or with mobile devices such as the iPhone and Android phones. PCMag gives it an "Excellent" rating, calling it "a neat little device" that gives you "fast access, locally or remotely, to your USB storage devices."
Is It Worth It?: If the number of remote controls on your couch or coffee table hovers at three, then that's two too many. We'd love to find a good remote control that unifies our devices in the streaming media age, and we may have found the ideal living room solution with this Lenovo multimedia keyboard. EverythingUSB singled out its "superior aesthetics, comfort, and reliable wireless signal" while also praising its "pleasant ergonomic grip," "efficient keyboard," and "comfortable scrolling." You can even tuck it into your backpack for use as a travel keyboard. This 2.4GHz wireless keyboard features a small USB receiver with a range of up to 30 feet.
Is It Worth It?: You've probably seen the commercials — the ones with Janelle Monáe in her living room waxing eloquent about the benefits of the Sonos speaker system. According to CNET, "When it comes to streaming audio, nothing beats Sonos. The Sonos Play:3 delivers a superior streaming-audio experience that you can control from any iOS device or Android smartphone." It offers streaming access to services like Spotify, Mog, Pandora, Last.fm, Sirius XM, Rhapsody, Slacker, Rdio, and Amazon Cloud Player. Currently if you buy it in White (pictured) or Black at Target, you also get a $50 gift card for free (it's automatically added to your cart). The speaker features three built-in speakers, wireless control via downloadable app for Android or iOS, and more; it's compatible with most iPhone and iPad models.
Is It Worth It?: If Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, Picasa, and Vudu are among your key destinations, then you might want to pick up this D-Link streaming player. Those five services are already integrated into the media delivery system, to the point of having dedicated buttons on the remote control itself. According to WIRED, the player delivers "a more PS3-like Netflix experience (a definite plus)." This price is $3 below the lowest total price we could find for a basic refurbished unit; however, this one is new and has more apps and channels. It includes built-in 802.11n wireless, Ethernet, HDMI, a remote with batteries, and more.
Is It Worth It?: For an easy, flexible, and effective way to integrate all your media for HD consumption in your living room, consider the revolutionary smart media hub MiniX NEO X5, a great solution for Android users. You can use it to play the latest Android computer games, stream HD movies and TV shows, browse the web, engage in video chat, listen to internet radio, and more. It features a Cortext A9 dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, 16GB SSD, Mali 400 quad-core GPU, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth, HDMI, USB connectivity, and Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). Even better: this baby can also be used as a wireless hotspot.
Front page photo credit: Limpt Inc.