Looking for a way to stream all your favorites to your TV? Read more to find out about the different streaming devices.
With the introduction of Smart TVs, streaming devices aren’t always needed. Now, this all depends on your TV. Some smart TVs, and most new TVs, all have apps and features that deem the streaming media player unnecessary. If you have cable packages for cable and network television through a TV provider, you may be able to cut that cord and get everything you need on your TV with a streaming player.
Streaming content from apps like Netflix, Sling TV, Hulu, and other channel-specific apps to your TV is undeniably one of the smartest ways to keep up with your favorite movies and TV shows. Here is information on the top 4 in streaming media players:
The Fab 4
This player is the most hidden and least complicated of the streaming media players. You simply take a Chromecast Audio or Chromecast, plug it into the power source, plug into your sound system or TV, then you can control everything on your phone. Chromecast does not have a remote, an app store, or any on-screen interfaces. It’s easy to connect your Chromecast to your home network and stream what you want to watch from a Google Cast compatible app from your phone or tablet.
Chromecast is the least expensive of the four and they work with Google Home, which allows you to use the voice command feature.
Roku has indisputably the largest line-up with six models ranging in prices and features. This device is a USB plug-in with remote. They call their apps and services “channels” and offer thousands of choices in their Roku Channel Store with all the big names including Hulu Plus, Netflix, Sling TV, Amazon Video, and other niche services and “channels” for sports, movies, news, and international content as well.
Roku has streamlined their product and now offers its technology to manufacturers to incorporate into their TVs. Not all, but they have offered their tech to quite a few manufacturers. In this case, you wouldn’t need to buy an additional streaming device.
FireTV is a version that has been modified from an Android design and Amazon content. The newer FireTVs (not the cube) are similar in design to the Chromecast. Amazon FireTV equipped its device with Alexa, the voice assistant used by the Amazon Echo. A voice remote is included. FireTV has individual apps from your favorite premium channels and other apps alike. While they do highlight Amazon Prime Media and Amazon Instant Video content, there’s not much you can’t access through the FireTV. The latest in Fire TVs is the Amazon FireTV Cube, which is heavy on the voice-first TV experience.
If you’re a Prime member, you can sync all of your Amazon devices and accounts, which makes it easier to access your content from your FireTV. Anything you purchase will be stored in your video library.
Apple TV is the priciest of the fab 4. Its design is similar to the Amazon FireTV Cube. Apple was a bit behind in updating their streaming device but has caught up a bit recently. If they’re HomeKit-enabled, you can control smart home devices. The device features the Apple TV app store. The selection of apps is on the lighter side in comparison to the others, especially Roku and FireTV. Other than that, it’s still very capable and feature-rich.
The fab 4 are all a great choice when trying to stream online content to your TV. Make sure you know about your TV, what it offers, and what it doesn’t offer. This will help you make a more informed decision when shopping for streaming devices. Check out our TV Screen Distance and Viewing Guide, along with our TV Screen Types.