The holiday season means fighting crowds, shopping online, buying gifts that no one is entirely sure about, followed by a period of frantic returns. Streamers are a great for college students, young adults just starting out, and even those just looking for an alternative to traditional cable options. We’ve evaluated the four big names in streaming devices, and here is a point-by-point comparison that will help you find the right one for a gift this holiday season.
Amazon Fire TV
This is a service that Amazon is definitely serious about growing. The interface, setup process, and execution of finding content – is amongst the simplest of all streaming TV choices. It’s small but has an impressive lineup of content. Over 200,000 movies and access to virtually every channel one could desire watching, like Netflix, Showtime, and many more. The device streams Amazon content especially quickly. Tests have shown that it Amazon Fire TV is 3x faster than the competitors, but that is typically restricted to Amazon content – since Amazon themselves cannot guarantee the speed of content being streamed from other places. 1080p quality and a 30-day prime trial is a definite value, but it is on the expensive end as it costs $99 even with holiday sales.
This is one of the oldest players in the game, and one streaming service that really understands how to win the entire market. Whether it’s their massive channel lineup of more than 1,800 channels, or their compatibility with old television sets, it’s hard to go wrong with the Roku LT this holiday season for the streamer on your holiday shopping list. $29.99 gets you the device, a remote, and a 60-day free trial of Rdio Unlimited.
The great thing about this choice as well is that Roku offers an app that can be downloaded on your smartphone or tablet that really helps improve an already impressive user interface. Searching is simple, use is easy, and it works well with your smartphone or tablet – what’s there not to love?
Like anything Apple has done, they’ve done it well. Typically, they won’t get involved with something that they can’t really make work with their system. If you’re used to using Apple products or you’re used to the Apple ecosystem, then this is the best option for you if you’re nervous about understanding it – and making it work well. It’s a small device, which is a big plus for those who are fans of Apple, and the content is well spread out. While the content lineup isn’t the best, it certainly is not the worst. It works across Apple devices, which includes bringing AirPlay into the equation which is an added bonus – but costs $89, which makes it one of the most expensive options available.
Chromecast integrates a lot of different systems really well and does so in a very simple, and straightforward manner. You can “cast” your favorite apps, entertainment, and streaming videos right from your smartphone or tablet to your television whether you’re using an iOS smartphone or an Android tablet. They all work universally in that sense.
Access to a ton of channels, and apps, like HBO Go, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Watch ABC, Watch ESPN, and many more make Chromecast an incredible value. And with it interacting incredibly well between your devices, and on your TV – it makes the cost even more appetizing. Just $25 right now, which makes it one of the most affordable choices for the holiday streamer on your shopping list.