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Multimedia Players Buying Guide

The humble home entertainment system looks even more humble when you compare it to a multimedia player. Where different video and audio components have to come together to create a traditional entertainment system, a multimedia player offers a seamless all-in-one centre for music, video, streaming, gaming, apps and more. Big names like Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Samsung and more are leading the way in providing home entertainment at a whole new level. Here's what you should know before you plunge into this incredible world of fun.

Before You Buy

The performance of your multimedia player depends on the speed of your internet. Do you have enough net power to help your player perform at its optimum? Check out your current internet set-up and find out if it is compatible with the device you have your eye on, or with multimedia devices in general.

You're Spoilt For Choice, But...:

There are a lot of multimedia players on the market right now, and the number is growing. To help refine your options from a lot of choices to just a handful of options, consider what you want most from your multimedia player. Live sport? Gaming? A larger selection of TV or movies? More music? Every multimedia player is different, and some are better at doing certain things than others. Work out what your entertainment preferences are, and direct your search towards the players that will best satisfy your preferences, knowing that not every player will be able to do that.

Where's The Remote?

The Google Chromecast does not have a remote control; you use your smartphone or tablet as the remote. But most multimedia players do have a remote control, and as it is the key element in accessing the wonderful world of digitally delivered entertainment, it should be easy to use and highly functional - entertainment is not quite as entertaining if you can't easily gain access to it through your remote!

Dongle Or Set-Top

A conventional multimedia player comes in the form of a set-top box. These boxes are compact but still large enough to contain a decent amount of hardware - this is something to keep in mind if you want to really exploit the "multi" aspect of your multimedia player. On the other hand, some players run through a space-saving dongle which plugs directly into a port on your TV, and is then operated via a compatible app on your phone, tablet or computer. One big advantage of these dongle-type devices is they are generally cheaper - but check they have the capability to deliver the sort of entertainment you're after.

Check The File Format:

Using your player to play media you already own is probably a basic requirement. To be sure you can do this, check the media file formats that each device can play, and that those formats match your existing media.

Picture Perfect:

Watching content delivered by your multimedia player is an even more pleasurable experience if the picture quality is crystal clear - or in the case of 4K, mind-blowingly clear! If picture quality is important to you, check that the media player and your TV will team up to deliver the sort of image you're after. Maybe your new media player deserves an upgraded TV to go with it?

Ask An Expert:

Get as much expert advice as you can when choosing a multimedia player. The number of options available to you is as staggering as the entertainment they provide, and trying to find the perfect match between what you want and what the player can deliver can be slightly daunting. Asking someone with in-depth knowledge to guide you through the process will ensure you buy a multimedia player that provide exactly what you're want.

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