One of the benefits of streaming media players is viewing services such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video on a television, instead of on a personal computer. These devices also sometimes have independent video services from the companies that make them.
A streaming media device is a box that connects wirelessly to an Internet connection to provide streaming video to a television. Boxes such as the ones offered by Roku offer a wide range of video streaming services separate from Netflix and other services in the form of direct applications. Individual channels such as PBS and ESPN offer applications on streaming media devices that broadcast their programming to the device for a small subscription fee per channel. This allows for precise customization of a user's channel selection.
As of 2015, customers already subscribed to the Comcast Xfinity service are able to access HBO GO and Showtime Anytime through a Roku device. Generally, the cost does not change if these programs are viewed on a television, the only difference is the convenience the streaming media device provides.
Key benefits of streaming media devices include being able to watch movies and television shows on demand, as well as providing reviews and searching for specific shows through the device. Streaming media devices are typically controlled using a remote that comes with the device. They also tend to be designed to be HD compatible, allowing for very clear pictures.