Just a few years ago, the only things we could watch on TV were the shows broadcasted by networks and the content we had on video cassettes, DVDs, and Blu-rays. Today though, we can stream just about anything to the giant screens we have in our homes.
There are lots of devices we can use to stream videos, music, games, and pictures to the screens we have at home. Which one you’ll use will depend on your hardware as you need to first check if systems are compatible with each other.
With most of these devices, it’s possible to stream anything on your phone’s screen to your TV. You will have more options if you have an Android phone, meaning you’ll be able to stream everything from the latest Pixar films on Disney+ to live coverage of events from PokerStars TV.
So if you’re looking for a new streaming device, here are some of the best options.
Roku Streaming Stick+
Roku is a brand that has been giving Amazon and Google a run for their money for quite some time. In the UK, the Now TV branded boxes are all just Roku hardware with a different skin, so you may even be using one without knowing.
The latest device from Roku is the Streaming Stick+, an HDMI dongle that supports 4K and HDR which makes it fantastic value since it costs just $50 in most stores.
Just plug it into a free USB port on your TV and it will draw its power from there. Thanks to the lack of trailing wires and small form factor, once it’s set up, you won’t even know it’s there.
It has voice search functionality and a simple, easy to use interface. It’s almost certainly the best streaming stick on the market and offers fantastic value for money.
Amazon Fire TV Cube
The Amazon Fire range of products has always had some leading streaming options. Their simplicity and seamless integration with Amazon Prime Video, and support for other streaming services made them a great option.
One of the latest products to be added to the Fire range is the Amazon Fire TV Cube. It goes further than just being a simple streaming device. It integrates with the other Alexa devices you have in your home and has a built-in Echo speaker.
You can use voice commands to turn on connected devices like your TV and your game consoles. It’s even clever enough for you to be able to say “Alexa, play Man in the High Castle” and it to then turn on the TV and start streaming the show.
It also supports 4K and HDR video, has an ethernet port so you have the fastest and most stable streaming experience and Dolby Vision. At $120, it’s a little more pricey, but definitely worth it if you want total voice control over your home theatre hardware.
If you have Apple products, then you may benefit from getting Apple TV over the alternatives. You’ll be able to stream from your iPhone, iPad, and Mac, but it won’t connect to Android devices. It’s not the only way to do it, with some third party systems available, but it is certainly the easiest.
It also costs a bit more, with a price tag of around $180. The 4K version offers the best video quality available and it has some powerful hardware under the hood to be sure you have a seamless streaming experience.
It works with the new Apple Arcade, so your TV can become a casual games console. You can even connect PlayStation and Xbox Bluetooth controllers to it. For $4.99 you can subscribe to Apple TV+ which has some original content, but its library doesn’t compare to Amazon and Netflix.
You also won’t get as many apps as you do with Roku and Amazon, but it will be enough for the majority of users.
Which device you choose will depend mostly on whether you want a simple device for streaming, a seamless home theatre experience, or full compatibility with your iPhone.