You’re so over DVDs, right? And you’re done with trying to track down every movie on BitTorrent, only to find that it’s in Russian, has Chinese subtitles, and is only 480 x 320 resolution anyway. So you’ve subscribed to Netflix and Hulu, downloaded a few movies from Amazon, and finally caved in to your significant other’s endless complaints about having “movie night” around your laptop’s 14-inch screen. So you’ve decided to buy a set-top box, and bring the internet and all its wares straight to your HDTV.

Good decision. The harder choice, however, is which one do you buy? There’s a near-infinite number of boxes that will plug into your TV and stream Netflix — including some you might already own. Making matters even more difficult, most of the options are very similar at first blush. Prices have come down to the point that most set-top boxes are extremely affordable, so you now have to choose based on what you want to watch, and what you want to do with your box.

If you want to watch Netflix, the world is your oyster — basically every device that connects to the internet has a Netflix app installed. But if you want to watch Hulu, or sports, your options are narrower. HBO? Narrower still. What if you want to stream your own files, or use your phone as a remote rather than losing yet another controller in the couch? Picking a set-top box is a balancing game between features and content, and the right choice will be different for everyone.

In this guide, we won’t tell you which box to buy, but rather help you choose the best one for your needs. We’ll help you figure out what features and content providers are most important, because unfortunately you just can’t have it all. First up, what kind of device do you want?