These days, just about every kind of media we consume can be stored digitally. Where photos, music and video previously each had separate storage and playback devices, the information age now lets us enjoy all of them on anything with a screen and speakers. Enter the media player. Media players are essentially external hard drives equipped with the software to play or display image, audio and video files through your television. What this means is that it’s possible to enjoy all your digital-based media files from the comfort of your couch, or to bring an entire library of films and music wherever you go and be ready to set up wherever there’s a television. Commonly, they include additional USB ports for playing files from other external hard drives so friends coming over can easily share from their own library. Additionally, some are capable of connecting with your home network, letting you stream files directly from your PC to the media player or even browse the internet. A great feature of many media players is the ability to record programs from your television in high definition format. This is an essential feature for anyone who needs to catch up with their favourite shows but just can’t be home in time. Others may include a variety of fun features such as a digital camera or a karaoke system. An additional option is the portable media player. As the name implies, the main draw of this category is the ability to indulge in digital entertainment literally anytime and anywhere. While it’s true that that even mobile phones can play audio and video files now, dedicated portable media players will typically support a wider variety of file types and offer superior playback quality. Overall, the intention behind the media player is to be able to combine all the various types of media playback devices in the home into one and replace them all. From the stereo to the DVD or Blu-ray player and even the projector, this device is built on the rationale that no one household needs that many devices in this day and age.