Entertainment has been an integral part of society for as long as anyone can remember, although this activity has changed drastically over the past couple of decades on a technological level. What once consisted of live performances and games has now been replaced with television and media streaming from the comfort of one’s home. With social distancing in place and stay-at-home orders, the demand for home entertainment has boomed which has consequently created a need for media streaming devices. With streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and HBO, you can find tons of TV shows and movies by just pressing a button. Some of the televisions are pre-loaded with apps to accommodate these streaming services while others can lag because they are older versions and not equipped to match the speed of streaming platforms.
This is where streaming devices come in. To get an improved experience, and to avoid any unnecessary lag-time you may want to invest in a dedicated streaming device. There is a wide variety of these devices and they have their differentiating features and are available in various price ranges. This article will help you pick the best device to suit your need.
However, before we get started on media streaming devices we would like to point out that if you have never used streaming services then this is going to be a huge change for you and would need an adjustment period, because no matter how convenient streaming services are they do not provide the cable TV experience. If you are someone who likes to flip through channels and watch primetime and sports then you may want to stick to cable TV for now until streaming services can offer more live TV options.
There are several providers offering hundreds of channels in their channel lineups covering every genre of entertainment you can want to watch. Some of the best cable TV providers in the country include Optimum cable, Spectrum cable, Cox cable, and Mediacom cable. You may want to check out which one is available in your area and inquire about their latest promotions.
Now moving on to the media-streaming device, let us see what options are there in store for you.
If budget is your concern and you are looking for an easy-to-use device that supports every channel you can think of, then Roku is a good option for you. It includes minimum advertisements and has features that help you discover what you are looking for. It gives you an option to search with your voice and lets you subscribe to and watch your favorite shows, so you know exactly when a new episode is released. If you are not already impressed, it provides an audio jack that lets you plug in your headphones right into your phone or the remote, so you can listen incognito. Roku has different models that accommodate for size, quality, and value for money.
The second option in line is Apple TV. Knowing the company and its previous work in other spheres of technology, it is safe to say that Apple is competent enough to cook something up in its lab that is worth trying. Before we go ahead with Apple TV, it is good to know that if you have an all-Apple household, this device will suit you perfectly. It lets you access all your rented and bought stuff along with everything you have liked. You get a voice search with Siri remote and can stream video content using AirPlay on your phone. Apple TV is more expensive than an average device but it gives you the same experience that you have come to love in other Apple devices.
Moving on, we have Amazon’s Fire TV line that has three main devices; Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Stick 4K, and Fire TV Cube. If you have built your smart home around Alexa voice assistant then you should explore these devices. It offers a wide range of channels like most streaming boxes out there. It may not be the easiest system to use when it comes to interfaces but most of the interaction is done through voice control, which is super-fast and easy. Amazon’s variety of streaming devices offer different features including 4K streaming, built-in microphone for Alexa, and basic features if you want to stay within your budget.
Now that we have talked about a few conventional streaming services, let us explore Google Chromecast, which lets you watch videos and live streams that are not available on other platforms. With this inexpensive device, you do not get a remote or a menu; instead, you access HBO, Netflix, or another app on your phone and hit a button to Cast that audiovisual on to your TV. It cuts off the need for an additional remote and lets you use your phone, which is always closer to you, which means no more wild remote hunts. Android or Google Chrome browser users can stream absolutely anything through the Mirroring option.
Nvidia Shield TV
I feel like a certain target market is being overlooked here and so to cover all the bases we have included the Nvidia Shield TV for all the gamers out there. This is the most powerful device you can buy that allows you to run Android TV and lets you play games. It comes equipped with Nvidia hardware that is perfect for playing Android games like Alto’s Adventures or Grimvalor, as well as SHIELD exclusive ports AAA games like Borderlands 2 and Tomb Raider. In addition, you can use GeForce Now to stream PC games from the cloud. The Pro version of this device offers hardcore gaming and the ability to watch your movies and shows from a USB drive.
We have discussed several options for all kinds of viewers out there, whether your priority is money, quality, or variety, the above devices offer everything you need. It does not matter if you just want something to play in the background while you cook, or you need something on a more sophisticated level, you will find the appropriate device if you use this article as your research foundation. In the end, if you do not find the right device for your home, it’s always a good idea to watch a good old fashioned movie on a Television, catching it right in the middle and watching it as nothing else exists around you.