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You deserve to watch what you want on a schedule that works for you. Internet streaming services make watching your favorite shows easier than ever. To help you make the most of your internet and cable services, we're going to break down your streaming device options in this blog post.
If you don't already have a streaming device, you're going to want to buy one so you can watch what you want, when you want, where you want. Streaming services continue to gain popularity because more and more viewers like you are finding streaming to be much more convenient than watching, or even recording live television—plus it gives you the ability to customize to your entertainment preferences.
With Amazon, Apple, Roku, Google, and more brands offering numerous streaming devices you certainly have a lot of options, but you want to find one that matches your unique requirements. To help you tackle this daunting task, we've compiled a list of the most popular streaming devices on the market and looked into their capabilities, making it easier to find the right one for your household.
The Fire Stick - The Best Selling Device
The Fire Stick is one of the newer generations and a best seller of Amazon's devices. Powered by Amazon's Alexa, the streaming device allows you to universally search for content and control your smart home gadget with the voice button in its remote. Lost the remote again? No problem! Simply use the app on your phone. Enjoy thousands of channels, apps, and access to over 500,000 movies and TV episodes from Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, HBO, SHOWTIME, NBC, and more. Plus access to millions of websites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Reddit.
The Home Screen also suggests what to watch next, based off your favorites and recently-watched programs. The best part about the Fire Stick is you can pick up where you left off and continue streaming on the go. Just plug Fire TV Stick into any TV's HDMI port, connect to Wi-Fi, and you're back to your show. If you pick up the 4k version that just hit the market, you'll be ready for 4k as it becomes more prevalent among streaming services and TVs.
If you're an Amazon Prime Member, you can also get unlimited access to Prime Video, which features thousands of movies and TV episodes, with no additional costs. Members can even add on specialty channels such as HBO and Showtime.
APPLE TV - The Apple Enthusiasts Device
Apple TV provides seamless streaming across all your Apple devices. Apple TV is also the only service that allows you to stream content from your iTunes library. The newest Apple TV device is the new Apple TV 4K (it has a super fast processor, among many other cool features). One option allows users to copy login info directly to the Apple TV from iPhones, iPads, and Apple laptops, which drastically reduces the amount of time spent entering passwords.
You can also use Siri to search for content, including cross-platform searches. Engineered with voice-controlled search, just ask Siri to “show me popular TV shows for kids” and she will provide results from the popular streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, and Amazon Prime Video.
Apple TV offers an excellent selection of apps, plus Airplay which allows you to stream otherwise unsupported apps, as well as many of the same services available through Roku. But most importantly (as we mentioned before) it adds the abilities to playback content from your iTunes library and mirror your other Apple devices. (Mirroring simply means displaying or casting the streaming image from one device onto another device, for example; casting a music video you found on social media on your phone up to the Apple TV to watch it on the big screen.) Overall, Apple TV is a good choice for Apple devotees and a worthy competitor to the other high-end streaming devices.
ROKU - The You-Get-What-You-Pay-For Device
Roku offers a number of devices with varying perks and capabilities at different prices. Some households may be looking for a device that streams video games, where another prefers to stream sports at all times. While the budget options will get the job done, you will likely need to pay up to get all the features/capabilities you want in a Roku.
Unlike Chromecast and Apple TV, Roku is platform agnostic (compatible with nearly all TV systems) and the company puts a lot of effort into giving its customers all the options. Roku also allows you to search for a movie or TV show and presents all of the results from your favorite channels so you can compare prices on rentals; so you can find the best deal for your home movie night.
Nvidia Shield - The Gaming/TV Streaming Hybrid Device
The Nvidia Shield is a gaming counsel and Streaming TV device rolled into one. While it doesn't live up to a PS4 or Xbox One, it does provide 1000's of NVIDIA-powered games, has the Google Assistant built in and is quite a bit cheaper than those gaming systems. It also comes with a controller that also acts as the main way to search.
However, if you are considering purchasing a device solely for streaming content, this is not the device for you. It is powerful, easy to set up and has a lot of TV streaming options, but it is also the most expensive streaming device on this list.
Chromecast - The Stripped Down Device
Chromecast runs entirely on the power of casting, which is slightly different from streaming. Casting means beaming streaming content wirelessly from another device to your TV (like the ‘mirroring' concept we discussed earlier). It is one of the smallest, simplest streaming devices that works in tandem with any device you're already using. Unlike its competitors, it does not have its own operating system, user interfaces, and dedicated versions of apps since it all depends on the device you are casting from.
The Fire Cube - The All-in-One Entertainment and Smart Home Device
The Fire TV Cube was the first to put Amazon's Alexa voice assistant in a Fire TV device. The result was a voice-controlled, all-in-one entertainment and smart home device that keeps all your favorite media “on call.” Turns out, there's a lot more to the Fire TV Cube than that.
With far-field voice recognition and eight microphones, the Fire TV Cube can hear and respond even when you're in the other room. Go ahead and put your remotes away in a drawer---you can go days without using one with this streaming device. Simply ask the Cube to perform a task and it will be done. And thanks to the built-in speaker, it continues to operate as an Alexa device even when the TV is off.
That's only part of the reason the Amazon Fire TV Cube is a consumer favorite. Amazon does a great job making Fire TV Cube setup as intuitive and easy as possible. The Fire TV Cube can recognize many newer TVs automatically and will just verify it can successfully control power, volume, and mute functions before running you through a video tutorial. Just in case you were wondering, it also packs the 4K HDR capability of the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K.
Streaming TV is truly the future and there has never been a better time to join the trend. So grab an Amazon Fire Stick or another choice that is right for you and start watching your favorite content when you want, where you want.