As convenient as it is to stream Netflix on our smartphones, tablets and PCs, nothing beats watching on the big screen for the ultimate in movie and TV show enjoyment. Sure, you can expect popular streaming services like Netflix and Hulu to come standard, but not every device is going to allow you to remotely access your iTunes library or stream photos and video straight from your smartphone. The third incarnation of the Saratoga-based company’s flagship streamer is the most comprehensive to date, sporting more than 2,000 channels, an intuitive cross-platform search utility, and an excellent user interface. The compact and super-portable Roku Streaming Stick comes with nearly every notable feature present in the flagship Roku 3, but at half the price. After canning its first attempt at a streaming media player, Google returned to the set-top box field in the fall of 2014 with the Asus-made Nexus Player.
This article is intended to be a concise comparison of some of the top streaming services available.
Price: Netflix streaming service starts at $9 a month for new customers, and also gives you the option to get physical DVD’s sent to your mailbox one at a time for the same price – but seriously, who wants to do that anymore? Availability: APIV is available on most major set-top streaming boxes, as well as most major gaming consoles, tablets, and smartphones. Hulu was created in 2007 as a joint venture between veteran media broadcasters NBC Universal, Fox Broadcasting, and Disney-ABC. Content: Hulu has a modest selection of movies, but no other streaming service can hold a candle to its library of TV shows.
Content: Originally for cord-cutters looking to gain access to ESPN without paying a cable subscription, Sling now has over 200 channels in 18 languages and is continually adding more. Here’s a fun fact: YouTube was founded on Valentines Day in 2005 – which could be why everyone fell in love with it.
Price: The iTunes Store operates on a pay-per-content model, so even though it has a large selection of media, you can expect to pay more here than you would for a subscription-based service. Verdict: Apple scores big points for content selection and purchase options, but gets demerits for not being readily available on every device. Amazon may be the Walmart of the Internet, but that’s not stopping Walmart from getting in on the online streaming game. Price: Vudu is a pay-per content store, so you can expect to pay just as much for a digital movie rental as you would for a physical copy. Availability: You can get Vudu on Xbox 360, Play Station 3, Mac, and just about any set-top streaming box. Amazon and Netflix are definitely the two best choices for movie watchers, Hulu Plus is the undisputed winner when it comes to TV shows, and Sling TV is best for Live TV.
Updated April, 22, 2015: This article has been updated since it was originally published to include Sling TV and reflect design and price changes in Netflix, Hulu, and Vudu.
Television streaming devices do exactly what it says: it streams movies and television shows to your television. As you go into learning about TV streaming devices, you’ll find they can bring all different kinds of information to your television. You’ll definitely want to visit the websites for each device (Roku One, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google Chromecast) for more information. Any Roku device is a safe bet if you’re confused with which media streaming set top box to buy.
There’s also the $65 Roku 1 that streams at the full 1080p rate, but absent from this box is the remote control.
If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Nuvyyo Tablo TV Over The Air DVR: We got a Tablo TV DVR that allows us to watch live TV and record over-the-air TV shows and movies.
This article is about: Entertainment, TechnologyAbout Peter AndersonPeter Anderson is a Christian, husband to his beautiful wife Maria, and father to his little boy, Carter. Dave, yes, we get Fox on our setup, we have the Tablo TV DVR which has over-the-air broadcast channels, like Fox. People thinking of doing this do have to realize that if they’re looking into cable alternatives, even if they implement every one of these, they will end up with a complicated, multi-faceted solution and still have less than they did before. In many cases that might be the case that people will have less options if they cut the cord. Google Play Music offers some pretty neat features, especially if you subscribe to the All Access service for $9.99 a month. Without subscribing you can upload a ton of your own music to a cloud locker to listen to on the go by streaming it. Spotify is one of the most well known names in the space and is a strong choice to have on your Android phone or tablet. There's also a social emphasis with Spotify, with users being strongly encouraged to use friends' playlists to help them discover music and share what they're listening to on social media sites.
The biggest recent additions were streaming access for free, with ads and shuffle play the trade-off, and the long awaited support for Google's Chromecast. And $9.99 monthly gives you an experience similar to that of Spotify in the sense that you can play songs and albums on demand, all without commercials. If you do decide to pony up $4.99 per month for Pandora One, you can get a few added bonuses.
Once you're up and running TuneIn allows you to follow your favorite stations, and if you can't find it you can manually add it in providing you have the URL. Upgrade to TuneIn Radio Pro for a one-time fee of $3.99 to remove banner ads and gain the ability to record your stations. There are some big terrestrial radio station companies that don't stream on TuneIn, like giants Clear Channel and Cumulus.
Deezer doesn't do much to break the mould, but it is a decent alternative to something like Spotify. Deezer also recently added Android Auto support which is good news if you're in the position to take your music on the road, and the "Flow" can be quite useful in creating a radio station like stream based on your preferences.
Micromax's sub-brand Yu Televentures has been offering Cyanogen OS exclusively in India since November 2014, but that may not be the case for much longer.
Samsung is rolling out discounts on phones, home appliances, and TVs as part of its "Make for India" celebrations.
You nearly can't (and probably shouldn't) buy a phone today that doesn't have a fingerprint sensor. To do it, we recommend a streaming set-top box or streaming stick, and there are plenty to choose from now, each with its own pros and cons, and some with quirks you’ll want to know about ahead of time. As such, we’ve picked out the best of the bunch and laid out their essential and unique features to help you get the absolute most entertainment for your money. The puck-sized offering is attractive and subtle, and equipped with nonskid rubber and enough weight to prevent it from getting shuffled around in your entertainment center. The included remote skips the headphone jack found on the Roku 3, but it’s lined with shortcut buttons for easy access to apps like Netflix and Amazon. But the super-slim and speedy box will appeal to anyone with subscriptions to other services like Netflix and Hulu.
It offers similar capabilities to Amazon’s Fire TV, allowing for voice-activated searching and personalized recommendations, along with integrated gaming if you decide to opt for an optional gamig controller. Once commanded to do so, the Chromecast pulls the content down from the cloud, leaving your device’s resources alone, thus saving its battery.


There’s no shortage of content to stream these days, and there are tons of different services out there vying for your attention. Below, you’ll find them stacked against each other and compared in the areas of content selection, pricing, and availability to help you find the service that best suits your needs.
Even if you were living in a cave for the past decade, you probably still had Netflix deliver DVD’s to your stone mailbox.
Because Netflix got into the streaming game early, it’s been picked up by all kinds of devices. The content selection continues to grow over time with a good number of new releases each week.
Amazon sells everything, and a few years ago the company broke into the media streaming market with Amazon Prime Instant Video. The library used to be small in comparison to that of Netflix, but recently Amazon has been using its industry clout to sign partnerships with companies like Epix and Warner Bros. Based on how quickly Amazon’s service has grown in the past year alone, it’s likely that APIV will continue to expand its content library and availability to rival or surpass that of Netflix.
The media streaming service was originally completely free, but rolled out subscription-based Hulu Plus after the service gained a massive following.
Netflix and Amazon tend to get TV shows after the season ends, or after they’ve gone off the air completely – but Hulu, in addition to having a long list of older shows and programs, posts new episodes of shows currently playing on cable just days (and sometimes hours) after they air. You can get it on just about every set-top streaming box, internet-enabled TV, smartphone, or tablet. Released in 2015 as a supplement to subscription sites like Hulu and Netflix, Sling will stream live TV from networks like ESPN, Comedy Central, AMC, and TNT. You can download the app and run it on your Amazon Fire TV Box and Stick and Roku TVs as well as most Apple devices running on iOS 7 or later, and the Xbox One. However, those who just want ESPN and ESPN 2 without dropping a premium for cable, Sling TV is worth a shot, considering it doesn’t require signing any contract and offers a far lower price than traditional cable subscriptions.
Google bought the site for around 1.6 billion dollars just a year after its inception, and since then the simple video hosting service has amassed an unfathomably large user base. You can find everything on here from small children pondering existentialism while loopy on nitrous oxide, to Joe Rogan’s reaction to two women eating each other’s excrement out of a cup. You’ll have 2 days to watch the movies once you start it, and every rental will expire after 30 days. If it has a color display and can connect to the Internet, chances are good that it can play YouTube videos. No matter how big the libraries of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon get, they’ll never have trampoline accident compilations or footage of people lighting their farts on fire – and for those reasons, YouTube will always enjoy a spot on the video-streaming podium. The media hub has a great selection of newly released movies and TV shows are usually available the day after airing.
With rentals, you’ll have two days to watch movies once you start it, and rentals will expire after 30 days.
The pay-per-content model is great for getting the newest releases but those rental fees will add up quick. Apple realized long ago that physical media was dying and was among the first companies to create a digital music storefront for MP3’s. You’ll find a good number of new releases in the store as well as a sizable library of older flicks and series that are no longer on the air. Apple gives you the option of renting or buying movies TV episodes, and if you know you’ll want to catch every episode of a particular show, you can purchase a MultiPass, which gives you access to one episode plus the next 15 episodes for a fixed price.
The pay-per-content scheme also gets expensive if you consume a lot of movies and TV, so we suggest using iTunes to fill in the gaps left by Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu. Vudu is Walmart’s pay-per-content store, and the brick-and-mortar behemoth is giving all it has to make sure that Vudu becomes a household name. It’s a hodgepodge of movies and TV shows, but overall the content veers toward more feature-length movies. Digital rentals typically start around $3.99, and go up from there depending on the video and audio quality you want. Netflix is the most well-know streaming company right now, streaming movies and television shows to your TV. For the most choices and features, the Roku for $49 gives you numerous applications and along with a physical remote to assist with programming.
Though the Fire and Roku are dual-band (it can share wireless better because it can use more than one channel) the only connection method is wireless, which can be slower due to congestion and usage.
There are also set top units from Roku, Amazon, and Apple, plus a new entry near March of next year (HBO Go). This media set top box streams high quality HD content for the price of $95 (same as the Roku 3).
We can then watch recorded shows on our computer via the web browser, or via any of our connected devices like our phones, tablets, Google Chromecast (on our main TV) or Fire TV Stick (on our basement TV).
For most people, however, I’m willing to wager that they only really watch a few channels on their cable subscription anyway, and in many cases they can likely get those same channels via an a-la-carte method that will save them money. But with the subscription you're opened up to Google's vast library of content, allowing you to stream songs, albums, even create stations or listen to some curated ones. For half as much again on top of a regular subscription you can bring in everyone in your household to get their stream on without requiring an individual All Access plan. Spotify has the massive library you'd want to find, as well as a station generator and some curated, mood and genre based offerings if you don't feel like making a playlist yourself. And now with Chromecast Audio on the scene, hook up a couple of speakers and you've got a Spotify powered stereo. It also enables you to create playlists and download those playlists on your device for offline playback. TuneIn also recently had a visual overhaul making it much more attractive than the slightly stale, but functional look of old. It's also a bit like Pandora in the sense that you can craft stations based off of a particular band or song. It comes in free and paid forms, with your $9.99 a month opening up premium features and removing the in-stream advertising.
The key feature of the watch is its ability to make and receive voice calls, made possible through an embedded pre-paid SIM card. Lenovo is all set to introduce the ZUK Z1 in the Indian market, with the phone also set to offer Cyanogen OS 12.1.
And LG has just unveiled the next generation of the security feature, getting rid of the button and moving things under the phone's glass. The Stick’s slick, thumb drive-like design fits discretely into any HDMI-equipped television, and though it is much smaller, still delivers 1080P HD streams and snappy navigation .
Amazon also made the device compatible with a dedicated video game controller (sold separately at $40), which is designed to work with a wide array of mobile games such as Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto III.
While most essential services are supported (sorry, no Amazon Prime!) it is Apple Airplay and apps like iOS Remote that makes the Apple TV’s user experience unique. Perfect for the budget-minded cord cutter, the Fire TV Stick streams stunning 1080p HD video and provides rich Dolby Digital Plus surround sound in the process.
The systems have quickly become jack-of-all-trades media centers, conveniently giving you access to scores of programming from the likes of HBO Go, NFL Network, Netflix, and Hulu.


But with so many services out there offering up am ever-evolving slew of programming, how do you know which one to subscribe to?
Back in 1997, that’s exactly how the company got its start, but after realizing that physical media was dying off, it rapidly adapted its business model to focus more on instantly-available streaming content. The selection leans more toward feature-length movies, but its collection of TV shows is constantly growing and improving. The library of TV shows isn’t as robust as what you’ll find on Hulu, but Netflix is completely ad-free. The content library has ballooned as a result and includes Amazon Studio exclusives like Alpha House and Transparent. In addition to the streaming services, you also get free two-day shipping on your Amazon orders.
The only downside is that even though you pay for Hulu Plus, you’ll still be forced to sit through ads. Sure, there’s a lot of junk and downright weird stuff on here, but the site also boasts a healthy library of both free and pay-per-view movies. Their on-demand format is similar to Vudu or iTunes, and at this point, Google Play is a great supplement to sites like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video.
Buying movies will almost always cost less than $20 and you’ll have the option to stream in HD. Over the years, it quickly became clear that DVD’s would soon be a thing of the past and Apple started building its video library as well.
Walmart does a good job of offering new releases at around the same time that they come out on DVD. But, as with all things technological, the big question becomes, what exactly do you want these services to do for you? You’ll need to be careful here once you go to choose the applications you want to use (Netflix is an application), as you may need to pay for that application. Gamers will want to look at the Amazon Fire, which provides gaming features plus offers a separate remote gaming apparatus for an additional $30.
It’s a bit on the expensive side at $95 (or $100 with some retailers), but think of the many the benefits it gives.
The benefit of it being able to play iTunes is a strong consideration on why it’s preferable over the Roku. The latter of these comes thanks to the integration of Songza, a previous entry on this list that Google acquired. The desktop app can be pointed at wherever your music collection lives on your PC or Mac and automagically upload new additions to the cloud. Just enter the name of the song or band in there and it will create a playlist with similar-sounding music.
Without paying you'll also have to play things in shuffle mode, but the ads are so frequent if you're going to use it a lot it's definitely worth paying up. In addition to standalone cellular connectivity, the Mi Bunny offers GPS, GLONASS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. A microSD slot for additional app and game storage is a feature unique to the Roku (others tend to us USB for storage). With access to more than 2,000 sports, movies, news, and music channels, the Roku Stick makes it easy to cut the cord and never look back.
The only downside is no Ethernet port, which seems like an odd omission for a set-top box. Read our full review here. As sleek as it is inconspicuous, the black-matte Fire TV Stick also discretely plugs into any HDMI port without becoming an eyesore. Several other devices on our list provide gaming, but as you might expect, the next-gen consoles blow all mobile games out of the water in terms of graphics resolution and playability. Netflix even offers its own highly successful TV shows, including Orange Is the New Black, and House of Cards.
Unlike Netflix and Amazon, the most recent TV show episodes usually appear on Hulu the day after airing. I downloaded the Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring for the great price of zero dollars.
Vudu will also host any Ultra Violet digital copies that may be available with the movies you buy with a free digital locker service. There’s a bit too much of an overlap in content between Netflix and Amazon to make it sensible to subscribe to both. But, it can save you on trips to the local family video store or Redbox to get a movie, or you may find an old TV show you haven’t seen in ages to share with the kids. And you can use your iOS and Android device as your input mechanism (read: remote control), so expect to be able to play games on it. That means you have to wait a month before you can watch the latest sitcoms otherwise already available in the other boxes.
Say you want to listen to local stations for local news and weather information one moment. You do give up on the voice-search feature here, but it can still be activated using a Fire Phone or Kindle Fire tablet, all of which act as remotes on their own. 2015 promises even more from Netflix, with successful productions of Bloodline and Daredevil. You can expect all the major channels like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, Pandora, YouTube and HBO Go in the Roku. Apple TV does not support Amazon (especially the Amazon Cloud Player), Pandora and Spotify. The main feature of Chromecast, however, is its ability to transfer your contents from Google Chrome to your computer. You may just want to have some music playing in your office that will be uninterrupted by commercials the next moment. Even most last-gen consoles (Xbox 360 and PS3) still cost upwards of $150 if you buy them new. It also allows you to watch recorded shows or live TV on all your devices like set top boxes, phones, tablets, etc.  The only cost is for the DVR itself ($219-299), and a subscription cost for guide information and other premium features. It even has a feature to skip ads from online content (like Hulu) called AdSkipper.  Hook it up with your streaming device like a tablet, phone or TV with Chromecast or Fire TV Stick, and you’re all set to go!
From there we can stream TV, movies and music from a variety of apps on our phones and tablets directly to the TV.  We love our Chromecast, and Google has just released a second gen device! You’ll be watching TV and movies in no time!Is It Cheaper Than Traditional Cable TV?After going through all of these details, the question is this: Is it truly cheaper to dump your cable TV bill and get your TV entertainment via other sources? Tell us what your setup is, and how you’re saving by cutting the cord?  What technologies, services and devices have we missed that you think should be mentioned?



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