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Definition: digital media hub

A device that directs multimedia content streamed from the Internet to a stereo or home theater system. Also called a "set-top box" and an abundance of other names, it connects to an HDMI input on the A/V receiver or TV (see digital media hub names). Music-only hubs connect via audio jacks.

This functionality is also built into Blu-ray players, A/V receivers and smart TVs. A digital media "server" is a hub that also stores content (see digital media server).

Connected to the home network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet, digital media hubs may also stream photos, music and videos from the user's computer to the playback system. For example, Apple TV and Roku hubs provide access to Netflix, Hulu and other providers, and they can stream content from computers in the home network. To stream local content, Apple TV users must run iTunes in their PCs or Macs, and the Roku hubs require Plex (see Apple TV, iTunes, Roku and Plex). See digital media server, smart TV, Fire TV, Android TV, Media Center Extender, A/V receiver and digital convergence.

Media Hub Connections
Digital media hubs hook into the network over Wi-Fi or Ethernet and to the A/V equipment via HDMI. Earlier hubs had analog outputs for old TVs.

Blu-ray Player and Media Hub
Loaded with features, the Oppo BDP-103 plays Blu-ray 3D, converts 2D to 3D and streams video from Netflix, YouTube and other sources. It also plays SACD and DVD-Audio discs and streams Rhapsody and Pandora audio. (Images courtesy of Oppo Digital, Inc., www.oppo.com)

Very Clever, But No Longer
One of the few non-Apple products that supported iTunes, this Roku SoundBridge hub (on top of the cabinet) was the only music hub with a display large enough to read from a distance. See Roku.