Digital video streaming – 5 of the best

Whether you're looking for a hi-def multimedia streamer, or just a hard disk on a wire, we've found a digital video solution for every living room.Bes

LaCie LaCinema Rugged 320GB – £185

The Rugged is a tough, ultra-portable USB hard drive with an HDMI output so you can connect is straight up to your TV or receiver and watch your stored media files.

Unfortunately, LaCinema falls down on format support. It won't output 1080p or surround sound, won't play uncompressed music or AAC files, and MKV video is out as well.

It'll play most other files but video playback wasn't always as smooth or stable as it could be – music on the other hand was fairly well balanced.

Rating: ***

Western Digital WD TV – £100

This compact player has no on-board storage, and won't connect to a network, but instead will link up to your TV or receiver and play music, movies and display pictures from connected USB devices.

Plug in your HDD to one of the USB sockets and the WD TV will automatically scan for all compatible media. It'll play loads of formats, including MKV, AVI and ripped DVDs, and will output 1080p video at 24fps with 5.1 sound as well.

Rating: *****

Apple TV 160GB – £265

Apple's gorgeous little player is designed to stream or sync your iTunes content, and can connect directly to the iTunes store so you can buy and rent HD movies, TV shows and anything else that takes your fancy.

Setup is a doddle and performance is outstanding using fast Wi-Fi or Ethernet. It might only be 720p, but we found it rivalled Blu-ray for image quality, and standard-def content is impressive too.

Rating: ****

HD Digitech HDX-1000 1TB – £330

This imposing slab of tech specialises in playing almost any format available, so you as long as it's not DRM'ed you can bet it will play it.

The massive hard disk means you shouldn't have any problems storing all your media, or alternatively you can stream it via Ethernet.

You may need a bit of computer knowledge as the box isn't the easiest to operate, but once it's up a running, the picture quality is superb. Music performance can be a bit flat though.

Rating: ****

Linksys DMA-2200 – £150

The Linksys piggybacks Microsoft's Media Center software, allowing you to wirelessly access content from your PC or Freeview tuner, which is handy as there's no built-in storage. Just make sure its connected to a switched-on Windows PC for it to work.

The DVD will upscale to 1080p with a pretty decent picture quality. However, streamed video can come across as overly soft, music lacks dynamism and there's limited format support. It's also a sizeable bit of kit.

Rating: **

If none of these take your fancy, make sure you check out our's Top 10 wireless video solutions for more ideas. To see the full feature, see the latest issue of Stuff magazine.