There are plenty of options when it comes to watching live TV and streaming movies. Platforms like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and Hulu are offering services to allow entertainment seekers to binge-watch their favorite shows and catch on the latest blockbuster movies.
You can find plenty of devices that allow you to watch on-demand videos and live TV. Most of the home theater systems also allow browsing, messaging, video conferencing, and gaming. We can tune into whatever we want to watch or listen to.
When it comes to streaming devices the most important thing to consider is whether it supports your much-loved streaming service. Some of the streaming devices allow you to link Hulu Plus and Netflix along with YouTube and Pandora Internet Radio
Essentials of having a Media Streaming Device
Before everything else, you need to have a high-speed internet as well. If you have purchased a streaming device of your choice, but unable to stream your favorite shows, all your efforts go in vain. The solution for seamless streaming without any lags is to subscribe to Spectrum plans allowing you to stream as much as you want without worrying about data caps.
Streaming dongles are getting a major chunk of share among cord-cutters. That’s right, streaming dongles are easy to plug and play in any supported device whether it be a gaming console, smart TV, or a laptop. The cost of streaming dongles is nominal and you don’t have to pay any installation or equipment fee. Pay once and stream forever.
For instance, Google Chromecast is the most popular streaming dongle with a price ranging anywhere between $35 to $50. Moreover, Google Chromecast also features enhanced wireless connectivity, gaming features, and plenty of color options.
The best part of Google Chromecast is that any Apple or Android tablet or smartphone can control it. Apart from Google Chromecast, there are plenty of other options when it comes to streaming dongles such as Roku, Amazon Fire Stick TV, Apple 4K TV, and Sling Media AirTV Player.
Now that you have come to the point where you know what common types of streaming dongles are available. Let’s have a look at some of the features that you should look for in a streaming device.
When it comes to streaming devices, you have two options. Whether you can go for a streaming stick or purchase a set-top box. However, when it comes to performance, set-top boxes are much better than streaming sticks as they tend to load quickly and offer you smooth and lag-free streaming all the way through.
If luckily you have a 4K HDR or simply 4K television, you need to look for a streaming box that is compatible with it. Today most of the devices including smart TVs and 4K HDR televisions support 1080p resolution so you don’t have to worry. However, if you have an older version make sure to check whether it supports or not.
App selection is the most important factor when it comes to a streaming device. In the past few years, app selection is not a big issue as you can find plenty of options on your smart TV. Just pay for the subscription and start watching your favorite shows and movies without any hassle. However, if you don’t have a smart TV, you must consider what app you like to stream and choose the device accordingly.
Compatibility is the biggest factor when it comes to choosing a streaming device. For instance, Apple apps are only accessible through Apple TV. However, if you love to watch Amazon Prime Video, you need to have a Fire TV device. While Android TV or Google Chromecast is ideal for music services. Also, Roku comes in middle offering apps from Google Play Movies and TV to Amazon. However, if you choose Roku, it would not be able to act as a smart assistant and home control that you get with other platforms.
With each passing day, media streaming devices are evolving due to the integration of the latest technologies and development. For instance, the Apple TV app and Roku Feed can let you know the new arrivals, while Amazon recommends your content, based on your past behavior. Make sure to read the in-depth review of each streaming device before you buy one.
Private listening options
The majority of devices allow users to connect Bluetooth headphones so that others present in the room are not disturbed. Moreover, Roku player also features wired headphones through a mobile app as well as a remote control.
Captive portal support
Sometimes when you are out on the road, and you decide to take a streaming device, you may come across Wi-Fi networks that require logging in a web browser. It is also called a captive portal and not every streaming device supports it.
Remote control features
Some Remote controls are equipped with buttons for special functions like pause, rewind, and forward. While some of the remote controls come with a minimalistic design. For instance, you can give a voice command to turn the volume up or down, rewind, or pause. With every person’s unique preferences, make sure to look for the remote control that suits your requirements.
Audio codec support
A large number of streaming services are providing object-based soundtracks like Dolby Atmos, which allows you to stream movies and TV shows in surround sound. Some home audio systems can also benefit from it and let you enjoy high-quality sound to experience cinematic surroundings.
Nowadays, you will find many streaming devices allowing you to connect different storage devices, sound systems, or Ethernet through cables. If you are buying a streaming box for the first time, make sure that the box includes appropriate ports and allow connecting other devices. Moreover, don’t forget to look for a device equipped with the upgraded 802.11ac Wi-Fi, if you are concerned about bandwidth on an overloaded home network.
Cutting the cord is on the rise and the majority of people are shifting towards streaming services instead of cable TV. You need to consider side-by-side advantages and disadvantages of both and opt for the one that meets your requirements.