Choosing a streaming device is confusing, but I’m going to make it easy for you. Keep reading to find out what streaming device is best. Now let’s look at the contenders.
The Fire TV and Fire TV Stick are Amazon products. If you have an Amazon Prime membership or buy movies or TV shows from Amazon Video, this might be the answer. These definitely favor content from Amazon, but all the other major streaming services are available on Fire TV. The Alexa voice assistant is built-in and you can press a button on the remote and tell Alexa to play a program.
If you are already invested in the Apple ecosystem, this may be for you. If your video library is entirely in iTunes, then this might be your only option to get access to that library. It starts at $179 so it’s the highest priced option. Other than price, another drawback is that it offers no support for Amazon Video, so Prime members are out of luck with this one. You can find more details about it here.
This device works differently than the other streaming devices. To use Chromecast, you “cast” from your smartphone or computer. You use your phone, tablet or computer to watch and then press the cast icon to display the content on your TV. As a TV streaming device, it’s best for people who usually watch on their phones or computers or for casual TV streamers. Chromecast also has uses in the office, since it lets you cast your whole screen. It’s a quick and easy way to set up for a presentation. If you want to do that consider buying a Chromecast. They have two models. The standard Chromecast and the Chromecast Ultra.
Roku Ultra, Roku Streaming Stick, and Roku Express are favorites for many. They do not serve their own content so they do not play favorites. Roku is great searching and switching between different streaming services. The Roku Express+ will work on older TVs without an HDMI input as they come with composite cables. Install the Roku app on your phone and your phone serves as an extra remote for your Roku. From the app, upload photos to use as a screensaver.
Some models, such as the Roku Ultra, include a remote that allows you to control your TV volume and power. The drawback to most other systems is that you need to keep your TV remote out just to turn it on and adjust the volume. If you frequently lose your remote, you will love the find your remote feature. One last thing about the remote is that is has a headphone jack. When you plug in headphones the sound turns off on the tv and comes through the headphones so you can watch a late night movie and not disturb others in the house.
Which Streaming Device Is Best?
Do you already own any streaming video titles? If you own TV shows on iTunes and you want to watch them, you need an Apple TV. If you own movies, sign up for a free Movies Anywhere account and sync your iTunes, Amazon, Vudu and Google Play accounts. This will let you watch your movies from any of these services on any of these services. In other words, you can watch your iTunes or Google Play movies through your Amazon or Vudu accounts on other devices.
As far as being the best, price comes into play and Apple TV is just too expensive. The real battle for the best streaming device is Fire TV vs Roku. Both are good and both have devices that handle 4K video. Amazon favors their own content, but they have done a pretty good job integrating other apps into search features. Roku, on the other hand, has done an excellent job integrating different streaming services and has the largest app availability. It’s because of that, the advanced remote, and that it’s the easiest to use that the Roku Ultra is the best streaming device. The Fire TV is the runner-up.
If you’re looking for the best budget option, the Roku Streaming Stick wins with the Fire TV Stick the runner-up. The Roku has a better user interface, many more apps available and includes a remote that controls the TV volume and power. This remote doesn’t have the find my remote feature or the headphone jack, but you can do something similar. The Streaming Stick does not have 4K video. If you need 4K video, consider the Ultra if you want all the remote features or the Streaming Stick Plus if you don’t care about the find my remote or remote headphone jack features.
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