Jumping into streaming is fun but can be confusing for new customers. To make matters more confounding the streaming landscape keeps growing. What started with Roku and a box that brought a small Netflix catalog to the television has grown into its own full sector of the technology world. Today we will be highlighting a number of the available products awards ceremony style. Anybody with school aged children has sat through an awards ceremony where everyone gets a trophy. So as not to hurt the self-esteem of any of the products featured in this story each will be given a trophy based on its strengths.
Amazon’s Fire TV: The Amazon Fire TV has a beautiful interface that appears to be heavily influenced by the Plex Home Theater interface usually found on computers. Its black and yellow lettering is set off by the numerous selections from the Amazon Prime Instant catalog. The system is essentially set up to encourage use of the Prime Instant video service but has a constantly growing list of video and music apps in addition to a few hundred games. Both the app selection and game option promise to grow. For those who are already Amazon Prime customers this $100.00 item is an elegant and powerful (quad core powered) solution.
Purchase a Fire TV
Buy From Amazon here
The Apple TV: Made by Apple (of course) Apple TV was the second major entry in to the set top box market after Roku burst on the scene. Its interface is straight forward and the least customizable of any of the choices on the market but what Apple TV has over its competitors is AirPlay. Apple TV owners with an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and even Mac Laptops can use the feature to send video from apps and websites to the Apple TV. This means any video that you can find online can also be seen on television further clouding the difference between traditional television broadcasting and the internet. If you own a compatible Apple product Apple TV may be a great choice to meet your streaming needs.
Purchase an Apple TV
Buy from Apple here
Roku: First off Roku sells 5 different models on its website Roku 1,2,3 The HDMI Streaming Stick as well as the MHL based streaming stick. There are older models including the Roku LT still floating around at online shops and the occasional consumer electronics stores. Each model varies from
processor speed, price and video hookups and so on. What they all have in common is that they all have access to a massive “Channel” app store along with private channels. Because it does not have its own on demand service it is able to offer multiple video on demand services, while Amazon and Apple do not allow competitors to their branded stores. on demand competitors. The Roku will also likely be offering Firefox Mirroring see our story here from Android phones at some point in the future.
Purchase a Roku
Buy From Roku here
The Google Chromecast: The Google Chromecast see review here is a unique entry on this market. It costs $35.00 and plugs into an HDMI port on an HDTV. The item only allows access to apps installed on a linked IOS and Android device. The device also provides the ability mirror Google Chrome tabs and full screen mirroring when using Mac and Windows PCs. The Chromecast has no remote and instead uses the smartphone or computer as its controller.
Purchase a Chromecast
Buy From Google here
Most Tremendous Upside Potential
Android Boxes: Android is a heavyweight when it comes to mobile communication but there has yet to be a heavily adopted Android based box. There are a number of choices such as the JynxBox M6 and Armada Mach 8 the G-Box Midnight. Along with numerous other HDMI dongles Android has potential to dominate the TV space. Android TV boxes typically provide users with thousands of apps through the Google Play store. The star app on most Android based boxes is XBMC, which is like a streaming device on to itself. Often they are customizeable giving users the ability to use multiple controllers, game pads, keyboards etc. Typically they will feature full mobile browsers as well as access to Android games, and other programs like Video game emulators. The failure to launch a successful Google TV branded product over the past 5 years inspired Google to drop the branding and instead re-brand as Android TV. An announcement about an Android TV box is expected late this month.
Purchase an Android Box
The Jynxbox M6: Buy from Amazon here or Buy From Theater In A Box here www.theaterinabox.com
Mach 8: Buy from Theater In A Box here Amazon here
The G-Box Midnight MX2: Buy Amazon here
Linux Boxes: Linux is the king of speed and stability. Linux boxes typically boot directly in to XBMC. This is a winning feature for a number of streaming fans who love XBMC for its open source nature, its numerous skin configurations and dozens of video apps for movies and TV shows. Some strong Linux entries include The Little Black Box see review here and the JynxBox M1V2 see video review here.
Purchase a Linux Powered XBMC box?
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