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Streaming Video in Your Living Room

The Web opens up new possibilities for prime time entertainment

While it's premature to say the end of cable TV is nigh, there are many new ways to enjoy on-demand media on your television — be it TV shows, movies, sporting events, concerts, photo galleries, music or podcasts.

Online video sites have grown in popularity over the years (YouTube, Hulu, and so forth). Before, you had to be in front of your computer to watch these clips. Now, with the improvement of "media hub" devices, you can navigate and watch content on the big screen in the family room. You will need a broadband Internet connection (and, of course, a television) to use the hubs in this review.

man with laptop relaxes at home

— Corbis

That said, consider these increasingly popular media hubs a complement to — rather than a replacement for — your cable or satellite TV service, as these devices don't offer the same selection you're accustomed to from your TV provider. But you'd be surprised how much these magical boxes can enhance your entertainment experience.

Here's a closer look at two of the biggest players in this space: Apple TV ($99; Apple.com) and Roku XD|S ($99.99; Roku.com).

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