Gone are the days where your only source of entertainment is whatever’s playing on TV, or browsing through YouTube videos. You don’t even have to look up pirated links online to watch your favorite TV series anymore. Streaming services have managed to change the media industry, with their easy to subscribe to, and affordable monthly plans – that also support mobile apps allowing us to use their services on our mobile phones and smart TV’s too.
But what if you don’t have a smart TV? Well, there are external streaming boxes that can be connected directly into your Android TV, and you’ll be able to essentially enjoy all the benefits of a smart TV without actually needing one! You won’t be stuck watching things on a small screen again!
The streaming boxes, or entertainment box, come in several varieties since they practically serve as a one-stop solution for all your entertainment needs. Listed below are all the kinds of streaming services offered within different devices, and their pricing too, to make it easier for you to make an informed decision.
The devices listed below are available at different prices, starting with the more expensive options. Read below.
1. Apple TV – 4K
This is a no-brainer for the pricier options given that Apple has always been in the lead with its products and its prices. The Apple TV comes with a ‘Siri Remote’ and supports almost all streaming services, including Apple Arcade, so it’s the perfect option for the avid Apple users. Other than Apple Arcade, users can easily access Apple TV Plus, Apple Music, Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, and YouTube.
It’s relatively easy to set up and sync with your iCloud account through your iPhone, so you won’t have to log in manually. Its most sought-after feature is that it can play movies and TV Shows in Dolby Vision and Atmos, providing perfect video quality to its users.
Since Apple TV falls in the higher price category, it costs a whopping $179 (for 32GB) and the remote itself costs $60 if you were to buy it separately. And despite the price, it is one of the main competitors on the market: The Roku Express 4K, however, is comparatively much cheaper (and has all the similar features) listed at a price of $40.
2. Roku Ultra
This is the pricier version of the Roku 4K, listed at $99.99 (still $80 cheaper than Apple, though) and similar to Apple TV it also comes with a new ‘Voice Remote Pro.’
The Ultra is the speedier and much more efficient version of the Roku Streaming Stick and provides excellent performance with Dolby Vision and Atmos.
It offers a built in Ethernet port, so that’s a plus point for those customers looking for an Ethernet connection. But with Roku’s extensive range of streaming devices on the market, the less pricey versions could still serve to be a better option in our opinion.
3. Amazon Fire TV Stick
The Amazon Fire Stick is a considerably less-pricier option on the market, competing with both Roku and Google TV as its retail price starts at about $24.99. This device is ideally perfect for those that already have multiple Amazon devices since it offers numerous syncing options and for those who generally prefer Amazon products over others. Besides, it’s way cheaper too! And similarly just like the products discussed above, the Amazon Fire Stick also supports 4K, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos and HDR10+.
Compared to other Amazon streaming devices, the 4K max is fast and offers a smooth experience while streaming Netflix, Disney Plus, etc. However, it can’t beat its competitors, such as Google TV or Roku Streaming Stick, because Amazon’s voice assistant does not perform as well, and the menu system includes multiple advertisements, which might become quite annoying.
4. Google Chromecast TV
The best thing about Google TV by far is that it fully integrates and has a functional voice assistant. It outranks Amazon’s Alexa when it comes with the Google Chromecast as compared to the Amazon Fire Stick and Alexa integration.
The Google Chromecast retails for $49.99, which is an increase from its previous version that was initially priced at $35. Although the price has increased, it is honestly worth all the new and better features that Chromecast now offers. Users can seamlessly stream with 4K resolution, Dolby Vision and Atmos, and almost all streaming services are available on Chromecast, including Apple TV Plus!
Streaming devices can be a helpful addition to your smart home for seamless access to all your entertainment needs, but you’ll still need to pay individually for all the streaming services that you’ve subscribed to however. These devices are merely a means of allowing you to watch on the big screen as opposed to your laptops, tablets and smartphones. There’s nothing quite like binging your favorite series on the big screen in the living room!