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Lots of light, and a little smoke

Tested: Amazon Fire TV

Amazon’s Fire TV provides the best experience of any streaming device for consumers who’ve spent more than a few paychecks on the company’s media ecosystem. No question about it: if you live and die by Amazon Prime Instant Video, buy the Fire TV and rejoice. But what if you aren’t a card-carrying member of the Bezos fan club? We found a comfy couch and tested it out.

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Third Time's the Charm

Roku 3

The newly announced Roku 3 ($100) is as close to a set-top-box stud as we can currently hope for, armed on the hardware front with 1080p video output, an HDMI connection, dual-band wireless, Ethernet and USB ports, and a microSD slot for additional storage.

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Don't switch channels on Google TV just yet

Vizio Co-Star

Google TV has failed to make inroads in the exploding “Smart TV” market, but the Vizio Co-star ($99) could change its fate. This affordable Internet-ready console connects to either a satellite or cable TV box and combines live television with your favorite streaming services (like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video), along with Google Chrome for…

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Apple's Hobby Gets Serious

New Apple TV

Well what do we have here? Apple seems to be taking their AppleTV “hobby” a bit more seriously with the release of the all-new, um, AppleTV ($99). The new AppleTV comes in at a quarter the size of its predecessor and housed in a home theater-friendly black matte finish. The remarkable shrinkage (the good kind)…