The 5 Best Media Streamers
With the growth and success of streaming services like Netflix, Amazing Instant and Hulu, more content than ever before is now available online. Nowadays, there are a number of different devices that are capable of delivering online content directly to your TV. By taking advantage of Internet streaming, one can significantly reduce, or even eliminate, their cable bill entirely.
What Is a Media Streamer?
A media streamer is a device that is capable of receiving digital content from a variety of sources and then streaming that content onto compatible television sets and other electronic devices. Media streamers often vary widely with regards to their capabilities as well as the content providers they have access to, so it's important to know what you're looking for before you buy.
Best 5 Media Streamers
Widely considered one of the best media streaming boxes available, the Roku 3 comes a powerful processor and support for over 1,000 channels including Netflix, Amazon Instant, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, and Vudu. The Roku 3 is perfect for those looking for a powerhouse media box that will give you the widest range of content options. Additionally, the Roku 3 features an innovative remote control that includes a built-in headphone jack that allows you to listen without disturbing those around you.
The Apple TV is the perfect media streaming box for those living within the Apple ecosystem. The Apple TV features a solid selection of channels including Netflix, Hulu Plus, and HBO Go. While the overall lineup is not as strong as the Roku 3, the Apple TV's strongest feature is its tight integration with iTunes. Its exclusive AirPlay feature also allows you to push and stream content directly to your television from any iPhone or iPad.
Amazon Fire TV
For those of you who utilize Amazon's Instant and Prime services, the Amazon Fire TV is a great media streaming box. The Amazon Fire TV is the best way to watch Amazon Instant movies, and Prime subscribers can stream thousands of titles for free. The Fire TV also supports a number of third party applications, including all the ones you expect like Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu Plus. Voice search, fast streaming, and an elegant interface tie the entire package together.
The Google Chromecast is a great and inexpensive device for those looking to watch online content on your HDTV. Google Chromecast is a small stick that plugs directly into your HDTV's HDMI port, and allows you to stream media from Google Play, Netflix, YouTube, and other Chromecast-supported applications on your TV through a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Its content library is not nearly as extensive as with other media streamers, but for the price, it gives you access to the major content providers with just about any mobile device.
Roku Streaming Stick
The Roku Streaming Stick brings Roku's entire content library on a small HDMI stick that you can plug directly into your television, similar to the Google Chromecast, for a very affordable cost. The Roku Streaming Stick also includes its own remote control, albeit with fewer features than the one available for the Roku 3. Finally, while the content is the same, slow processing time means that it does not function quite as smoothly as the stronger Roku device.
And those are our recommendations for the best media streamers. As always, be sure to check out the Wise Bread Buying Calendar to learn when and how to buy just about anything!