A network media player is a piece of hardware that allows you to stream media files to your television or home sound system. Using a network media player, you can watch downloaded movies through a high-quality cinema-style setup rather than your computer’s display and speakers. This is beneficial in both corporate and residential settings, with a network media player capable of streaming eye-catching presentations to TVs in your lobby or on the sales floor.
The network media player is fundamental to the world of streaming entertainment, whether it’s through Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or any of the big live TV services. But, exactly, what is a network media player? Many people are unsure since there are so many of them.
They all share the same fundamental ingredients and characteristics. These network video players make it simple to share material on your home theatre from your PC or the internet.
What exactly is a Network Media Player?
Many people are unfamiliar with the phrase “network media player.” To further complicate matters, manufacturers may refer to this device as a “digital media player,” “digital media adapter,” “media player,” or “media extender.”
TVs and home theatre components with enhanced capabilities for finding and playing media add to the uncertainty. This home theatre equipment may be referred to as a smart TV, an internet-enabled Blu-ray Disc player, or a networked audio/video receiver.
While it is handy to save your images, music, and videos on your computer, sharing them while crowded around a monitor is not necessarily the most comfortable experience. When it comes to home entertainment, we normally choose to sit back on a sofa in front of a big screen to watch movies or share images while listening to music through large full-range speakers. One solution for making all of this possible is to use a network media player.
The Essentials of a Network of Media Players
You (or your internet service provider) most likely set up a “home network” to allow all of your computers in your home to share a single internet connection. The same network allows you to share files and media stored on a single linked computer, allowing you to see them on other computers, your TV, or even your smartphone.
Movies, videos, TV shows, photographs, and music files are usually referred to as media. Some network media players can only play one form of media, such as music or photo image files.
It’s worth noting that photographs, movies, and music can all be saved in a variety of file kinds or “formats.” When selecting a network media player, make sure that it can play the types of files that you have saved on your PCs.
While the notion of a “player” may be self-evident, it is a significant distinction for this type of gadget. A player’s first function is to connect to your computers or other devices and play the media it discovers. You can then watch it on a media renderer — your TV screen — and/or listen to it on your home-theater audio/video receiver.
Network media players can also broadcast music and photographs from the internet, and some may even allow you to download and save content for later use. In either case, you no longer need to use your computer to watch videos from popular websites such as YouTube or Netflix, listen to music from Pandora, last.FM, or Rhapsody, or view images from Flickr.
Many network media players connect to these sites by simply clicking on an icon that appears on your television screen when that source is selected (or by the TV itself if it is already network-enabled).
Players that stand-alone or TVs with built-in network media players
- Several firms produce stand-alone network media players. Their main purpose is to stream music, movies, and images from external sources to your TV, audio/video receiver, and speakers.
- These set-top boxes link to your home network via Ethernet cable or wirelessly. They are frequently tiny in size, around the size of a thick paperback novel.
- Compare these network media player devices to other home-theater components that can stream media from your PCs, network, or the internet.
- The network media player function is simply integrated into a television or other entertainment component. Networked Blu-ray Disc players, audio/video receivers, TiVo and other Digital Video Recorders, and video-game consoles such as the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 are among the devices that may link directly to computers and networks.
- Furthermore, media streamers offered by Roku (box, streaming stick, Roku TV), Amazon (Fire TV, Fire TV Stick), and Apple (Apple TV) may execute network media player tasks, such as accessing media files stored on PCs and media servers, via downloadable apps.
- Keep in mind, however, that while both network media players and media streamers may broadcast content from the internet, a media streamer cannot download and store content for later viewing.
- The majority of these gadgets connect to an Ethernet or Wi-Fi network.
The Benefits of Using a Network Media Player Convenience
Network media players enable you to stream media from various devices without having to physically relocate those devices or change cables beyond the initial setup process. Furthermore, most network media players handle a large variety of file types. This is good for users who have their material stored on a variety of devices (such as PCs, game consoles, and tablets) because the media player can usually treat all of these devices in the same way.
Although network media players do not enhance files on their own, when used in conjunction with a high-quality TV or stereo system, they allow files to be played back in the highest possible quality. This is because TVs and stereos are specifically designed to play video and audio media, respectively, and as a result, they typically deliver higher-quality results than built-in computer speakers or displays. Large-screen playback can also make it easier for multiple people to view at the same time, which may not be the case with a computer monitor.
Some network media players allow for the creation of separate user accounts on the device. This improves security since different users can be granted various levels of access. A media player, for example, maybe set up so that only the device’s owner could delete data from it. Furthermore, user regions provide a type of parental control, as children can be granted permissions that prevent them from watching R-rated movies or listening to explicit tunes.
A specialized computer or gaming console could be used instead of a network media player to fulfill network streaming needs. Although this is likely to work with the proper settings, it is not a cost-effective solution because network media players are often less expensive than computers or consoles. Furthermore, because downloads do not suffer any shipping or storage expenses, downloaded content played by network media players is frequently less expensive to purchase than a comparable DVD, CD, or Blu-ray.
Whether you choose a dedicated network media player device or a TV or home-theater component with these features built in to enjoy your media, make sure you have everything you need to correctly set up your home network.
However, whereas Network Media Players can stream both contents from the internet and content stored on local devices such as PCs, Smartphones, and so on, a device labeled simply as a Media Streamer (such as the Roku box) can only stream content from the internet. In other words, all Network Media Players are Media Streamers, although Media Streamers do not have all of Network Media Player’s capabilities.