Digital media player
A digital media player (also sometimes known as a streaming device or streaming box) is a type of consumer electronics device designed for the storage, playback, or viewing of digital media content. They are typically designed to be integrated into a home cinema configuration, and attached to a television and/or AV receiver.
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The term is most synonymous with devices designed primarily for the consumption of content from streaming media services such as internet video, including subscription-based over-the-top content services. These devices usually have a compact form factor (either as a compact set-top box, or a dongle designed to plug into an HDMI port), and contain a 10-foot user interface with support for a remote control and, in some cases, voice commands, as control schemes. Some services may support remote control on digital media players using their respective mobile apps, while Google's Chromecast devices and line is designed exclusively around this method of operation, though Google introduced a more traditional streaming player with an Android TV interface under the Chromecast name in the fall of 2020.
A digital media player's operating system may provide a search engine for locating content available across multiple services and installed apps. Many digital media players offer internal access to digital distribution platforms, where users can download or purchase content such as films, television episodes, and apps. In addition to internet sources, digital media players may support the playback of content from other sources, such as external media (including USB drives or memory cards), or streamed from a computer or media server. Some digital media players may also support video games, though their complexity (which can range from casual games to ports of larger games) depends on operating system and hardware support, and besides those marketed as microconsoles, are not usually promoted as the device's main function.
Digital media players do not usually include a tuner for receiving terrestrial television, nor disc drives for Blu-rays or DVD. Some devices, such as standalone Blu-ray players, may include similar functions to digital media players (often in a reduced form), as well as recent generations of video game consoles, while "smart TVs" integrate similar functions into the television itself. Some TV makers have, in turn, licensed operating system platforms from digital media players as middleware for their smart TVs—such as Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku—which typically provide a similar user experience to their standalone counterparts, but with TV-specific features and settings reflected in their user interface.