Streaming TV – Which Product is Right for You?

December 5th, 2014
Streaming TV – Which Product is Right for You?

By Naomi Dolin-Aubertin

When it comes to streaming the internet to your television, there are quite a number of products on the market aimed at making the integration seamless. As a consumer, it means you have a multitude of choices, so how do you decide which player best fits your needs?

A large part of the decision depends on what internet services you already use to stream content. Another consideration is the environment. Are you an avid Apple enthusiast, a Prime member of distinction, a Google aficionado or averse to the mega-platforms altogether?

Roku 3

The hands down highest rated product on the market is the Roku 3. Featuring by far the largest integration of applications and services, including Netflix, Amazon Instant, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Pandora, and more. It also comes with a remote and headphones. Roku also offers slimmed down versions of the 3, Roku 1 and 2. These don't boast the full set of features as the 3, but they come with cheaper price tags.

Apple TV is an obvious choice for anyone already plugged in to the Apple ecosystem of products. It is streaming-compatible for any of your iOS devices and AirPlay. However, Amazon Prime members might be turned off by the fact that Apple TV doesn't support Prime Instant Video. However, it represents another well-designed and conceived product in the Apple lineup.

Amazon Fire TV is a relative newcomer to the market, but it made a respectable debut. Prime members will love the voice search within the Amazon app and the super-high quality video streaming. Don't expect to sync with your Apple apps though, the Amazon-Apple divide goes both ways. Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and other big name services do make their play here though.

Google Chromecast

Google Chromecast is one of the cheaper media players available to consumers. Chromecast brings Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, and others to your television through the use of either Android or iOS devices. However, it lacks a remote, meaning you need a smart phone or tablet on hand to operate it. This and the smaller amount of supported content are the main reasons it's not edging Roku out of the top yet.

The lucky thing is that all these players are under $100, making them an very affordable way to bring your content from your devices to your TV. Do you stream content? What;s your favorite media device?

Feature photo via HilaryCL.

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