There are so many options out there for video streamers. These are the internet TV boxes that will give you access to hundreds of video services like Netflix. But which one should you spend your hard-earned cash on to push video to your TV as a cord cutter? I have compiled my favourite list, all of which I have used personally, and gave my best shot at explaining why you might want to purchase each one. Also keep in mind which video streaming services are supported on each with this handy list.
The top seven best media streamers
|1. Chromecast||It’s cheap, is compatible with a lot of services and easy to setup. Great for a secondary TV due to its low cost.||Have to use another device as a “remote” to send video to your TV. No 5Ghz wireless version yet.|
|2. Xbox One||Decent number of streaming services available, stellar feature set, including HDTV over-the-air support and DVR. Can connect external hard drives. HDMI passthrough support so you can pass through cable boxes or other HDMI devices.||Relatively expensive. A bit large.|
|3. PS4||Sizeable number of streaming services available, powerful machine. Can connect external hard drives.||Relatively expensive. Does not have HDTV tuner support or DVR like on Xbox.|
|4. Roku 3||Inexpensive (especially for the features it comes with).Tonnes of streaming services available (including unofficial ones), comes with it’s own remote. Wired connection possible for those with spotty wireless. Headphones can be connected to the remote for private listening.||Some don’t like the user interface. No DVR support.|
|5. Amazon Fire TV||Integrated with Amazon ecosystem really well (for those of you with Amazon Prime subscriptions). Really good voice search. Great design. Powerful processor makes it fast. Game support if that’s your thing.||No access to voice search in apps other than Amazon and Hulu. Not as many streaming services as Roku.|
|6. Apple TV||Close integration with Apple ecosystem. If you use iTunes to buy content this is your choice. Slick interface. Airplay support extends it’s compatibility a lot.||No DVR support. No Plex support for those of you who use it to stream local media.|
|7. Nexus Player (Android TV)||Great integration with Google’s ecosystem (Google Play). Can also act as a Chromecast for casting content from your phone or tablet. Has it’s own remote (if Chromecast’s lack of one bugged you). Can play Android games on your TV (SNES emulator anyone?)||Not too many Android TV apps are out yet.|
Obviously these aren’t the only choices out there. There are actually several Android TV devices to choose from. There are several levels of Roku boxes, but I just included their flagship.
Really, it comes down to three questions:
- Am I already invested in an app ecosystem? (Apple, Amazon, Google)
- Do I want to watch local TV through an antenna? (Xbox One is your best bet for this)
- Do I want a physical remote? (rule out Chromecast if that’s the case)
Answering these three questions should get you most of the way to figuring out which media streamer is your best bet.
Please note that the links to the devices above are Amazon affiliate links, meaning that if you click and purchase one, I get a small commission at no cost to you. I’d appreciate it if you do click on them if you are considering buying anyway.
Happy cord cutting!