<p style="text-align: center;"></p> <p>Smart TVs are the fastest growing segment of the TV market, adding Internet-based content to standard TV and cable offerings. But for those who aren’t ready to spring for a new TV with a so-called smart connection, set-top boxes can be an affordable device to upgrade a “dumb” TV.</p> <p>A set-top box sits between your TV and Internet <a href="" target="_blank" title="Wireless Router Review">router</a>. All come with a remote control. Some boxes are wireless and can pick up a signal from a router without the need for a cable, which gives you more flexibility in device placement.</p> <p>Each manufacturer offers a different bundle of content from partner providers.</p> <p>Here are five boxes to choose from, listed from least expensive to most expensive.</p> <p></p>

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<p style="text-align: center; "></p> <p>Roku this summer released its lineup of palm-size wireless set-top boxes. The $80 mid-priced XD model offers full 1080p HD streaming, 300 channels, including <a href="" target="_blank" title="Netflix review">Netflix</a>, live sports and Facebook.  Like any Internet-connected TV or device, some channels are free, but others you’ll have to pay for. Roku also offers a $60 model that supports 720p playback and otherwise is the same as the XD.</p> <p></p>

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<p></p> <p>AppleTV may be the best choice for Apple households because the $99 device automatically syncs iTunes content across iPods, iPads, iPhones and Macs, so users can stream content between their devices and the TV. However, AppleTV can be connected to any <a href="" target="_blank" title="LCD TV review">HDTV</a> and synced with iTunes on a PC.</p> <p style="text-align: left; ">The compact device supports 1080p streaming and is wireless. In addition to the iTunes library, AppleTV offers Netflix, YouTube, Vimeo, Major League Baseball and NBA on demand. The remote resembles an <a href="" target="_blank" title="iPod nano review">iPod</a> with its distinctive navigation wheel.</p> <p></p>

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<p style="text-align: center; "></p> <p>Logitech slashed the price of its Revue with GoogleTV set-top box from $249 to $99 on July 31 after months of disappointing sales. At $99, the Revue may represent the best value in the set-top marketplace, if Google can overcome its content hurdles.</p> <p>The box promises “all of the Internet” compared with the slice of content provided by $99 competitor AppleTV, which is limited to pricey <a alt="((CONLINK|2986|iTunes))" href="">iTunes</a> selections, Netflix and YouTube. However, major broadcast players Fox, CBS and others blocked Google TV users from accessing their Website content. If those restrictions are lifted, GoogleTV could indeed deliver more of the Internet than any of its competitors.</p> <p>A <a alt="((CONLINK|2610|Honeycomb))" href="">Honeycomb</a> update to Google TV’s operating system is imminent, according to CEDIA attendees who saw the new OS in operation at the home theater show this week, which could improve the device’s navigation. The Revue includes a full keyboard controller.</p> <p></p>

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<p></p> <p>Made by D-Link, the $200 Boxee is an asymmetrical box that adds a “watch later” feature to its standard offerings. The device comes with a QWERTY remote and is billed as a true <a href="" target="_blank" title="Media Center Computer Review">media computer</a> replacement. Boxee supports playback from a home network, a USB drive, or an SD card from a camera. It offers 400 apps compared with Roku’s 75 apps and also supports full 1080p streaming video.</p> <p style="text-align: left;"></p>

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<p style="text-align: left;"> </p> <p style="text-align: center;"></p> <p>TiVo has amped up its iconic DVR and turned it into an expensive, loaded set-top box. The TiVo Premiere Elite was unveiled at this week’s CEDIA home theater show in Indianapolis.</p> <p>The new device will be available by the end of the year for $500 plus a $20 monthly subscription fee.</p> <p>Billed as a TV junkie’s dream, it allows simultaneous recording of four different shows while viewing a fifth recorded program and boasts 2 terabytes of storage, equivalent to 300 hours of HD programming. Netflix, <a href="" target="_blank" title="Pandora Radio Review">Pandora</a>, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video and YouTube are built in.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p>

5 Set-Top Boxes to Buy This Year