Apple TV ($99; apple.ca)
It may be as small as a deck of playing cards, but Apple TV packs in a lot of functionality. It connects with an HDMI cable to provide a high-definition picture, and can play video, photos or music from your computer, iPhone or iPad. You can even use your TV to duplicate what’s on your computer or smartphone screen. Rent or purchase movies and TV shows directly on Apple TV using your iTunes account and easily access video services such as Netflix and YouTube.
Panasonic Blu-ray player ($250; panasonic.ca)
The slimline BDT320 has built-in WiFi and can connect to your home network to access music, photos and video from your computer. It will also play 3D discs and can convert standard definition videos so they look more like HD. With an optional camera, the machine also delivers Skype functionality on your television. And you can control the device with an app on your iPhone.
The set-top box was reimagined by Sling Media, and the company has just introduced a new line of high-definition devices that give us the freedom to watch what’s on our TV from anywhere, whether the backyard, the bedroom or a hotel room halfway across the world. Essentially, whatever you can do with your remote control you can do from afar on your computer, tablet or mobile. The Slingbox 350 ($180) requires an ethernet connection, but the Slingbox 500 ($300) has built-in WiFi and supports full 1080p high-definition signals.
Sony’s Internet player ($200; store.sony.ca)
This box plugs into your TV and gives it some Google power. Thanks to a built-in Chrome browser you can watch TV, surf the Web or do both at the same time. And it connects to your wireless network so you can stream video from Internet sources or mobile devices. But it’s the remote control that really makes Sony’s Internet player so unique. Dual-sided, it has buttons and a touch trackpad on one side, a keyboard on the flip side and its motion sensing functionality knows which side is up.