4 Top Media Streamers for Families
With so many options available, it is difficult to know which media streamer is best. Let’s take a look at the 4 top media streamers available today.
With the explosion of top quality TV shows made by streaming companies like Stranger Things, you may be wondering if there’s a better way of watching your favorite oldie but goodie TV shows. I don’t know about you, but it’s just not that comfortable crowding around a laptop or smartphone screen to watch the next episode of Iron Fist on Netflix. Many smart TVs let you stream media straight from the internet to your TV, but upgrading to a smart TV isn’t always the most cost-effective solution. If you’ve already got a perfectly good high-definition TV, you can pick up an inexpensive media streamer to let you and your family watch YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, and more, on your existing TV. But, which media streamer should you choose? Read on to find out the pros and cons of the top four most popular models.
Google’s Chromecast comes first in our list because it’s more of a starter device. It’s not a typical media streamer like the other devices we’re going to look at it today as it doesn’t connect to the internet directly. Instead, you plug the dongle into the HDMI port on your TV. After you install the Chromecast app on your mobile phone you can send content from your device to your TV. So, your TV is essentially mirroring what’s on your device. You can use our SURE Universal Smart TV Remote app as a remote. As a pro, it is only $35 and will stream almost anything found on your device, including web pages or videos. But as a con, you do need that extra device like a smartphone or tablet to provide the source content. If you are looking for total convenience, check out the next three streamers that can stream content from the internet itself.
The Roku is ideal for non-Apple users who want to stream content, and they have different models for different needs – and budgets. You can easily stream Amazon content through your Roku, and it gives you access to almost 2000 channels. Some of them might charge a subscription or an access fee, but others are completely free to use. You also don’t need to pay a fee to have a Roku account. So, you’ll quickly be able to find something to watch. Netflix and YouTube are also included, while BBC iPlayer is available in the UK. Similar to the Chromecast, the Roku lets you mirror your devices so that you can stream videos and photos from your smartphone to your TV. And, the Roku 2 and 3 have USB and microSD slots, making it easy to share a large collection of photos from a DSLR camera with your family, for example. As a pro, the Roku is very much a “plug-and-play” option. It’s incredibly easy to get started. As a con, don’t expect to be able to play anything from your iTunes library. The Roku can’t display your purchased Apple content due to DRM restrictions.
3. Apple TV
Speaking of Apple, the Apple TV is a fantastic choice if you’re already an Apple user. You can stream content from Netflix, YouTube, HBO, iTunes, Hulu, and many more, although streaming Amazon content is not as straightforward. And what if you’re not sure what you want to watch? Siri has you covered. Just tell her what you’re in the mood for, and she’ll present you with a list of options. The 32GB model is $149, and it’s compatible with high-definition TVs. So, if your TV isn’t high-definition, or you primarily use Android, the Apple TV may not be the best fit for you. As a pro, it’s easy to use and fits in well with the rest of Apple’s products. But that is also a con –it’s not as valuable if you don’t use Apple elsewhere in your life. It’s also at the pricier end of the spectrum.
4. Amazon Fire
The Amazon Fire comes in two separate forms – the stripped-down Fire TV Stick ($39.99) or the higher-powered Amazon Fire ($89.99). The emphasis is naturally on Amazon’s own content. So, browsing your Amazon Video account is extremely easy. And now they’ve added the Alexa search function so you can use voice search to control your device. While you can install YouTube or Netflix as additional apps, the Fire TV works best when you stick to Amazon’s own content. As a pro, it’s easy to use and makes it a joy to use your Amazon Video account through your TV. Getting started is easy – and inexpensive – with the Fire Stick. But as a con, it can be more difficult to reach other platforms outside of Amazon. All in all, pairing a media streamer – and our SURE Universal Smart TV Remote app – with your existing high-definition TV lets the whole family enjoy gathering around the big screen to watch the latest shows and movies. Over to you – which streamer are you thinking of purchasing for your family watching needs?