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Different Streaming Devices and some Pros & Cons....


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Today I'm going to talk about different devices to use to stream media onto your tv and some of the Pro's & cons of each of them IMHO.

 

#1. Google's Chromecast. The Chromecast pretty much acts as a receiver for other devices and puts the picture on the screen up to 1080.Works with Android,iOs,mac,&Windows so it's rather non discriminatory.U can use your laptop,and your kids can later watch something streamed from a phone or tablet all on the same tv with no added cables. DIS-advantages are you are limited to streaming what U can watch in a browser or in an app that supports chromecast,and you're using 2 devices to watch something on the tv.Cost approximately $35 us.

 

#2 Roku Streaming Stick The Roku Streaming Stick Is a self contained unit with it's own OS that can NOT be side loaded onto. Roku uses "Channels" for their streaming and developers can submit an app to them for admission to their channel store. Some examples of available channels are Netflix,The CW,TubiTv,Crackle,and the main network channel apps(abc,nbc,cbs)Some are free(CW,Crackle,TubiTv e.g.)while others are paid channels. Advantage = Enough free channels that U can find something to watch without paying. Dis-advantage= can NOT sideload an app onto the OS and Kodi isn't available for this ecosystem.:( Cost $49.99 for 4k stick, but cheaper 1080 Express is often free with a subscription to Sling Tv.

 

#3 Amazon Firestick. Available in Basic(1080) and a 4k model both are often on sale on amazon for close to half their normal price.The 4k model is worth the extra money because it has a faster cpu,&more ram.The FS DOES allow the adding of apps directly from websites(I personally use the downloader app to download and install them). You get the typical amazon promos on the home screen,but that's out weighed by the amount of free apps available(crackle,Tubi,Pluto,IMDB Tv, e.g.). If U have Amazon Prime,U have Prime Video & Prime Music also available for free. If your wireless isn't the best and you have Ethernet near the device,an adapter is available that many people say greatly helps.Advantages = Can sideload apps such as kodi onto it without voiding warranty.Dis-advantages= Only 8Gb of HD so U want to watch the AMOUNT of apps U load up on it,too cluttered it tends to get sluggish from everything loading.Also,the WiFi is good and handles 5g,but it feels like it could have been better.That may just be my setup with too many walls.;) Cost basic=$39.99 4K = $49.99

 

#4 Android Set top box. Most often recommended of the lower end devices is the T95Z. These boxes come in as many configurations as there are manufacturers. here's 1 that's rather nice sounding.System: Android 7.1,CPU: Amlogic S912,Core: 1.5GHz, Octa Core,GPU: ARM Mali-T820MP3,RAM: 3GB DDR4 RAM,ROM: 32GB ROM,TF CARD Support 1~32GB,WIFI: 802.11 /b/g/n/ & 5G,Bluetooth: 4.0,Ethernet: 10/100/1000M RGMII. The advantage to these boxes is that they have better hardware and more ram/rom than the sticks. They have the plain Android OS so not usually restricted in what U can put on them. They can even be used for light retro gaming machines using android based emulators. The Dis-advantage to these boxes is that most of them come from China and have little in the way of OS support.Also,some have to have the Playstore sideloaded. Cost for device as shown = $85.99 PLUS customs charges.

 

#5 Next lvl of set top box and Highly regarded is the Nvidia Shield which now comes in 2 ver. The Shield Tv,and the Shield Tv Pro. Both have the Tegra X1+ cpu and a 256 cuda core nvida GPU. The basic unit comes with 8Gb HD and 2 Gb ram, while the pro has 16/3 respectively. There's also some added usb ports on the pro and both have Ethernet in addition to wireless included.The Shield has it's own updates from Nvidia and also includes the Google Play Store.This IS a gaming device using Nvidia GameStream,GeForce Now, or android games from the PlayStore. Streaming can be done easily by Plex,streaming app(Netflix,Hulu,Prime Video,e.g.),or Kodi can be easily installed from the website or the PlayStore. Advantages= hardware is modern and kept up to date along with software. Dis-advantages=Initial cost if all you're looking for is something to stream a movie with. Cost Shield Tv = $149.99 u.s. and Shield Tv Pro = $199.99 u.s.

 

#6 Computer or tablet connected directly to tv. This 1 alot of people don't use anymore. If you have a computer with an hdmi or display port output you can usually use a tv with an hdmi port as a monitor.The computer specs don't have to be that high,I've gotten away with using an athlonx2 with 4Gb of ram and a 512Mb video card for streaming 720 video with no issue on a projection tv.Streaming was done with Kodi running on a Windows 10 64 bit OS. Advantage= Just about everybody's computer today has enough power to stream with no issue,and even older comps in the closet can usually manage.So,No added cost except for a hdmi cable or hdmi to displayport adapter. Dis-advantage= having a mouse & keyboard by your chair or getting up whenever U want to change something.Also,If someone needs to use the Comp as a COMP,your movie gets put on hold.;)

 

 

I didn't include Apple Tv or Smart Tv's because I know nothing about apple, and the smart tv's can be considered to fall under either the Roku OS, Amazon Fire OS, or a form of android (either open or privatized).The hardware on the tv's is generally not as good as on the sticks(cpu & ram e.g.)

 

 

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, It seems Google is upping the anty... "The future Of Android Tv may look more like Amazon Fire Tv" TECHSPOT https://www.techspot.com/news/85130-future-android-tv-may-look-more-like-amazon.html

 

Now,the question will be if they will allow the installation of Kodi from the Playstore on the device. If they do,it will mean some competition for the Firesticks in the compact form factor devices.If they keep the price in the same range,it may be very interesting come Christmas time when they're all out. :)

 

If anyone has questions or wants to comment,feel free! :)

 

 

 

 

 

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Personally if I was going for a streaming device I always prefer to pay more for the overall spec of the machine, just so all bases are covered. Out of that list I would likely have gone the Shield route.

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  • 5 months later...

lol,there's no doubt U get what U pay 4, as U can see in the test results for the hardware in the link below. I was just doing this for peeps who were looking to stream & were getting confused by the different options. :) Amazon even released a new ver. of their 1080 stick this year with a faster cpu in 2 flavors. Lite (no tv controls and passes dolby audio through by hdmi) and regular. Here's the nvidia cpu compared to most common ones used for streaming devices in test. https://androidpctv.com/comparative-nvidia-tegra-x1-plus/Screenshot_294.thumb.jpg.9e4acc042938bbe928a0b1c8aba35e01.jpg

Edited by schuck6566
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