A look at the best streaming media boxes, accessories, and software

Every single day, more and more people are turning to online methods of getting their entertainment fix. Whether it's music, TV or movies, today's landscape is a far cry from a decade ago.

And as it's National Streaming Day, what better time than to celebrate the new way.

Treat yourself to some new hardware

With Windows 10 in your arsenal, you have a pretty powerful friend when it comes to streaming. Whether it's to directly deliver you your content or to act as a secondary device, there's not a great deal you can't access.

One of the more popular streaming boxes is Roku, and it's pretty darn friendly to Windows, as well as just being an all around excellent streaming system. And this streaming day you could save a few bucks and get yourself a new one.

Our buddies at Thrifter have surfaced some great deals on Roku hardware to coincide with National Streaming Day. The entry price is just $40 for a Roku Streaming Stick, which is hard to pass up.

Xbox One S

One of our favorites is the Xbox One S. Not only is it a most excellent games console, but it's about the best streaming box you can get. There's almost nothing it can't do: Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime and more besides.

The Xbox One S is the closest you can get right now to a solitary solution to fit all needs thanks to its support for online services, live TV, and 4K UHD Blu-Ray movies.

See at Amazon

Free yourself from cable



"Cord cutting," that is, releasing yourself from the shackles of cable TV, is becoming more and more popular. There are more ways than ever to get TV content in front of your eyeballs without having to send massive piles of cash to the cable providers every year.

You can split it down further into a few different categories. There are internet based services, home media center software, and hardware that can help you get over the air (OTA) TV into your new streaming-based life.

The internet

The obvious ones are Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. The latter you get included with a Prime subscription which is useful for way more than just watching your favorite movies and TV shows. Prime is a ridiculously good value product with a 30-day free trial. It's a great addition to your Xbox One streaming collection.

Get a 30-day trial to Amazon Prime

Netflix is about the best-known service in this space, and nowadays, it can deliver 4K content as well. You'll need the right subscription and hardware, but you can also use Microsoft Edge on Windows 10. Not many browsers can claim that!

Hulu just got a whole lot more interesting, thanks to its new live TV beta service. Its core service is very Netflix-esque, offering on-demand content at a reasonable monthly cost. And thanks to this amazing deal you can snag yourself a 45-day free trial. Can't say fairer than that!

Home media servers

Plex DVR

Plex DVR

There are a number of ways you can set up your own home media server with Windows 10, and two of the easiest, and best, are Plex and Emby.

Both allow you to organize your own library of music, video and photo content, as well as integrate some live TV features like a DVR. To get the most from both there is a small outlay, but it's worth every penny in both cases.

Then there's Kodi. If ever there was a piece of software to do it all, Kodi would be it. It integrates with so many other services including Plex, Emby, live TV, and a seemingly endless number of add-ons. It's free, it's open-source, and it's incredibly customizable. Go crazy and make it your own!

What is Kodi and how do you use it on Windows 10


If you can get good OTA TV service where you are, you should definitely look at investing in something like a HDHomeRun or a Tablo. Both are great to use on Windows 10 and a whole bunch of other devices, don't cost a lot and make your TV experience a lot better.

They act as go-between devices between your antenna and your local network allowing you to rebroadcast those channels throughout your home to anything you have connected.

Mix in a little Kodi, Plex or Emby, and you've got a killer home TV system.

How to setup and use the HDHomeRun tuner

And if you have an Xbox One, you can either get one of the two mentioned above or just snag the OTA tuner and have your OneGuide full of delicious TV goodness!

Don't forget the music

The hype is around cutting out cable TV, but don't forget the tunes! Music streaming is well established now, and everyone wants a piece of it. The good news is that it doesn't matter what device you choose to use, some form of music service will be on it.

When it comes to Windows, naturally, Groove is our go-to. But it's not alone, and with the likes of Spotify and iTunes with Apple Music coming into the Windows Store soon, it's going to get crowded in here.

Just choose one that suits you, put on some headphones and turn it up to 11 this National Streaming Day.

Get a 30-day trial to Groove Music

Your turn

We're a community around here, and there's no doubts tons of useful information, tips, and tricks out there. If you've got your own ideas to share for National Streaming Day, jump into the comments below!

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine