Whether you’re tired of connecting and disconnecting your laptop to HDMI cords, trying to hop off the cable TV train, or just looking for a new way to stream your favourite shows… we’re talking about some of the best video streaming devices out there right now!
And before you read any further, a disclaimer: we’ve only had in-depth experience with the Apple TV and Roku streaming players. However, we wanted to highlight two other top competitors, so you’ll read about those below as well. We’ve linked a few good articles to the devices we’re less familiar with so you can learn about them from the experts!
The Apple TV is a premium streaming device. It’s definitely an investment, since it’s over double the price of comparable products by the competition. That being said, there is a lot that this device has to offer.
The newest generation has 4K HDR, so you get high quality viewing options. The latest Apple TV also has a wide selection of apps and games – including apps for sports stations, music and fitness. And of course, you can view any of the big streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Crave. And depending on where you live, the selection varies.
If you use other Apple devices like the Apple Watch, iPhone or iPad, the Apple TV will fit seamlessly into your life. You can AirPlay (stream) videos and music to your TV wirelessly from your devices! Or, you can use your Apple device as a back-up remote control. Plus, the Apple TV is the smart choice if you prioritize data privacy.
For the home theatre enthusiasts, you’ll love the Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision compatibility. Dolby Atmos and Vision mean you’ll have really high quality video and audio if you have the right television and sound system!
And finally, a note: Apple has recently announced that some of its services like AirPlay and HomeKit (smart home automation) will be built into some 2019 television models by LG, Samsung, Vizio and Sony. So, if you’re looking at investing in a new TV as well, you might want to check these brands out later this year!
To learn more about the Apple TV’s great features, check out our in-depth article here!
Roku is a fantastic, affordable option if you’re looking for a simple, customizable streaming device. There are various streaming boxes and sticks (similar to a USB stick that you plug into your TV), or you can purchase TVs with Roku built-in.
With the Roku, you get a variety of apps that you can install. This includes Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Youtube and Spotify. The selection isn’t as wide as the Apple TV, but it’s definitely very adequate.
Plus, you can install the apps directly onto your Roku directly from your phone… very convenient! And like the Apple TV, your smartphone can act as your remote control if you download Roku’s excellent mobile app.
Overall, Roku streaming players provide a pleasant experience (the interface is very friendly and easy to use) at an affordable price. They are a great option if you’re on a budget, streaming content at a cottage, or want to give as a gift!
Amazon Fire Stick
Amazon’s Fire Stick is very similar to the Roku streaming stick. It’s affordable and user friendly – just plug it into your TV to use! The Fire Stick gives you access to Amazon’s services like Prime Video and Amazon Music. Unfortunately, you have no access to a native Youtube app on Amazon’s streaming stick. For Youtube content you will need to use the devices built in web browser… not ideal.
If you’re a fan of smart assistants, Amazon’s Alexa is available on the Fire Stick. So, you can search for content, dim the lights or check the weather by using voice commands!
And similar to the Apple TV, some Amazon Fire Stick models offer 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos for high quality video and audio. To learn more about the Amazon Fire Stick, check out The Verge’s article here!
Google’s Chromecast is a good streaming device option, especially if your devices and services are primarily in the Google Ecosystem (ie. Chromebook, Android Phone, Google Home). The base model is very affordable, but you can also opt for the more premium Chromecast Ultra (still quite affordable), which allows you to stream in 4K HDR.
Chromecast is our least favourite of the streaming devices: it works differently than the others listed above because it doesn’t actually work as a standalone device (it doesn’t even come with a remote). You plug it into your TV, but you still have to use your smartphone, laptop or other device to stream apps like Netflix onto your TV (very similar to Apple’s Airplay).
However, there are some cool features. If you have the Google Home, you can sync it up with your TV and Chromecast and use voice commands to watch Netflix. You can also surf the web on your TV by mirroring your laptop Chrome browser through the device.
To learn more about Google’s Chromecast, check out CNET’s review here!
If you have questions or want to share your experience with a video streaming device, comment below!