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Streaming Devices: Which One is Right for You?

People are moving away from traditional television options and moving towards streaming services, but it can be hard to pick the right streaming device, there are over 70 different ones on the market! To make the transition a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of the more popular ones and added our recommendations:

Apple TV

  • Price: $100
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Key apps: Hulu, YouTube, Netflix, HBO Go
  • Storage: None on device
  • Other: No Amazon app, but streams music and video from iTunes, as well as content from iPhones and iPads.
  • Networking: Dual-band compatible
  • Recommendation: Buy!

Nexus Player

  • Price: $99
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Key apps: YouTube, Google Play, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora
  • Storage: 8 GB
  • Networking: Dual-band compatible
  • Other: November 3rd release date, now available on pre-order
  • Recommendation: Buy!

Amazon Fire TV

  • Price: $100
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Key apps: Amazon (obviously), Spotify, YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, Watch ESPN, Showtime
  • Storage: 8 GB
  • Other: No HBO Go app but has limited HBO programming. Has voice search and can be used as a gaming device.
  • Networking: Dual-band compatible
  • Recommendation: Buy!

Roku 3

  • Price: $100
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Key apps: Spotify, Hulu, YouTube, Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon, Showtime
  • Storage: None on device, but you can expand it with a memory card
  • Other: Wide app selection. With more than 1,000 channels, offers perhaps the widest variety of content. Not compatible with 4K televisions.
  • Networking: Dual-band, but uses Wifi for the remote.
  • Downsides: (Major!) Roku uses Wifi for the remote, this causes problems. Users in urban areas may be unable to stream HD video because the Roku interrupts their Wifi.
  • Recommendation: Recommend against buying! (If you have to buy the Roku, only buy Roku 3400, 3420, 3500, 2720, or 4200 and you must use it on 5GHz or plug in with an ethernet cable!)

Google Chromecast

  • Price: $35
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Key apps: YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, HBO Go, Pandora, MLB.tv
  • Storage: None on device
  • Other: No Amazon app. Works like a thumb drive.
  • Networking: Not dual-band compatible
  • Downsides: (Major!) Only 2.4 GHz Wifi, works terribly in urban areas. If the Chromcast isn’t <20ft from your Wifi router, it probably won’t be able to stream HD video.
  • Recommendation: Do not buy!

Modern game consoles stream Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, etc and if you have one give it a try! Warning: game consoles have lousy wifi hardware. The Nintendo Wii has 2.4GHz-only 802.11g (very old). The updated Wii U also cannot connect to 5GHz wifi. Xbox 360 requires an external adapter to support modern 802.11N wifi. The Xbox One is dual band and ready to go. Sony’s Playstation 3 is 2.4GHz-only 802.11g (very old). The Playstation 4 has 802.11n, but is 2.4GHz only (a serious problems for urban Boston).

If you own the console, try it, you have nothing to lose. If you cant stream due to Wifi problems, wire in with an ethernet cable or get a device that supports 5GHz wifi.