With technology literally at our fingertips, we have found the diminutive interface on our phones or even the 15-inch MacBook screen as simply inadequate to view our guiltiest pleasures. We want to be able to stream our social media on the big screen and not feel limited. And thus, three products have attempted to resolve this crisis – Apple TV, Roku and Google’s newest device, Chromecast:
Released in 2006, Apple TV delivers a seamless video streaming directly to your television, retailing at $99 (price does not include the HDMI cable needed). Dedicated fans of Apple will definitely choose this device over the rest, because Apple syncs your iTunes account directly to your Apple TV. Besides iTunes, Apple TV supports the most popular streaming websites online, such as YouTube, Hulu, HBO Go, and MLB. Although it is aesthetically pleasing and easy to use if you are familiar with iTunes, Apple TV’s biggest flaw is that its biggest supporter is iTunes, limiting compatibility choices beyond the most common. If you are a casual TV watcher, for example if you do not subscribe to a cable network and instead buy episodes of your favorite shows on iTunes, this is perhaps the best device for you. Apple TV via iTunes does, however, provide the best quality of films.
For anyone who is dead serious about streaming online content onto their home TV, the Roku would be the best choice because the programs compatible with the Roku are endless, ranging from more than just your typical Netflix and YouTube, including RedBox, Amazon Prime, Spotify, Flickr, and many, many more. Although it comes with a set-top box (and a fancy looking remote) and is significantly less economical than the Chromecast (Roku starts at around $99), the Roku is a far more serious choice and bigger commitment (price does not include the HDMI cable needed). The great thing about Roku, though, is that out of all three devices, it has the fastest loading processor, so you can access your cat videos that much quicker.
For anyone who finds themselves technically inept, Chromecast is the better alternative. Setting up and using your Chromecast is laughably simplistic: You simply connect the USB (or cables if you have a primitive TV – no judgments) to your television, set up your account online and you can then begin streaming instantly. Google’s Chromecast is also the most economical, starting only at $35 and available at most places that sell tech products, such as Target, Best Buy and Amazon. The great thing about the Chromecast is that there is no set-top boxes that come along with it, so no need to make room for it in your entertainment center. The biggest con against the Chromecast is that you will need to work it using either your computer or phone/tablet to stream; it does not stand alone like the other two devices, which sync your accounts to your Netflix, iTunes, etc.