There was once a time when the only way we could watch a movie or show was by TV, VCR, DVD player, or going to the theater. Nowadays, there are media players that will not only play a variety of file formats but also come in a wide variety of sizes. This article will help you decide what choices you need to consider before purchasing a media player.

File Formats For Days: Consider the file formats you are using now but also the formats you will potentially be using in the future. This decision will be the most important for you when buying a media player. While the more common file formats are AVI, MP4 and MOV, many more file formats becoming increasingly popular such as, but not limited to MKV, RVMB, ISO, FLV, etc. Also, many media players will also allow you to view your pictures and listed to your audio files. There are the common files such as JPG and BMP for images and MP3 and WAV for audio but you'll be glad to know that there is also TIFF, GIF, and PNG support for images, and FLAC, AC3, OGG, and AAC support for audio content as well.

You Wanna Stream What?!? Streaming online content isn't new but there are devices that will not only allow you to play various file formats but will also allow you to login to an online service account to watch movies or similar content (e.g., Netflix, YouTube, etc.). Granted, there are service and connection fees associated with such services but would be well worth your time to consider them.

Feature This! Special Features and Functions will be something you want on your list to compare things against. While having a 10/100 MB connection, the option to go wireless, as well as plug in a USB external hard drive (HDD) or SD (or Sony) card is more of a given in my book, having built-in video editing capabilities, an internal HDD that doubles as a Network Access Storage (NAS), or internal recording so that you can digitize those old videos from a VHS or 8 MM camcorder would be awesome. Don't forget that many media players with built-in HDDs can double as an external hard drive in their own right, and you can also use them to download torrent files. And with the advent of extremely high-quality viewing experiences, many players support 1080P output through HDMI connections.

In summary, media players come in many shapes and sizes. It will be time well spent to list the file formats to expect to play from the device, the type of content you would like to stream from a content provider, and a list of feature sets that you find most beneficial before making an investment. Happy shopping!

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