The original Amazon Fire TV box was introduced in 2014. Since then an upgraded 2nd generation Fire TV has been released with improved wireless connectivity, sharper images, and better reception quality. In addition to an improved box, Amazon released 2 generations of the smaller (1.1 oz), more convenient, Fire TV Stick.
Although it’s smaller, there is no sacrifice in quality. The Gen 2 Fire TV sticks now include enhanced wireless connectivity, a faster processing chipset, Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, advanced graphics cards, and improved voice search support powered by Alexa. Internal memory is still set at 1GB with 8GB. It remains unlikely that Amazon will increase the available storage, especially given Amazon’s increasing emphasis on cloud storage.
All you need is a basic Amazon account to start streaming the best videos, channels, games and apps. You can use any of the available online video streaming apps on the Amazon Store to watch Fire TV channels.
Roku is considered a pioneer as far as streaming devices are concerned. The standard-definition Roku DVP was released in 2008 and the products have continued to improve since. Five generations later the Roku line-up includes features like voice control, 4K Ultra HD and High Dynamic Range streaming.
The current generation devices range in features AND affordability. From $29.99 to $129.99, there is something in the price-range of every cord-cutter. If you’re considering cutting your cable subscription, Roku may be an option for you.
The AirTV Player is essentially a tuner box brought to you by Sling TV. It allows you to access streaming services like Netflix and Sling TV. It offers voice search, 4K video capabilities, and a more intuitive remote than competing streaming devices, and access to local channels via an OTA digital antenna adapter.
There is no cost to use the AirTV Player but the device itself (box and remote) is $99.99. To access local channels, you need the AirTV Adapter for an additional $39.99. This lets you connect to a digital antenna and local TV.
A Sling TV subscription is not necessary to use AirTV Player. While you won’t be able to access your local channels directly from the Sling TV app’s Guide without a dedicated Sling TV subscription, you can simply hop over to Google Play and grab Google’s own Live Channels app, which will allow you to browse any over-the-air TV you have access to with the AirTV Adapter.
There are a lot of streaming services (Hulu, Netflix, Sling TV) nowadays and if you want to use them, you need a streaming device. Apple TV is a streaming device that you can use to watch movies, listen to music, play games, and view photos.
The most current (4th generation) version of Apple TV features a dual-core A8 processor, a new touch remote, allowing swipe-to-select functionality and Siri voice support, and a new operating system… tvOS.
There are 2 versions, the 32 GB priced at $149 and the 64GB at $199. Keep in mind that, since Apple TV streams content from a cloud without necessarily storing it, the difference between the two devices is buffering, not storage space.
Access all your streaming apps from one central device for a unified viewing experience. Not only that, but stream from your iPhone or iPad to your Apple TV.
Since its debut in 2013, the Google Chromecast has become a top player in the streaming device game. The newest version, Chromecast Ultra, is capable of streaming 4K Ultra HD.
It’s easy to use. Just plug it into your TV’s HDMI port and connect to your home internet. Once you’re set up, the device then becomes a portal to stream apps from your device to your television. You can use your mobile device as a remote control.
Google’s Chromecast devices can run on all types of devices. From Android tablets and smartphones, iPads and iPhones, and Chrome for Windows and Mac OS X. The Tube Cast app offers partial YouTube functionality for Windows phones through Chromecast.