What is the Best Video Streaming Box Available? Lets take a Look.
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question, as it really depends on what features you are looking for.
So let’s take a look at all the most popular devices on the market, so that you can make an informed decision.
Table Of Contents
Video Streaming Device Reviews
Chromecast – Many of us already enjoy video entertainment from online sources such as YouTube, Netflix and Google Play, but without a video streaming box we are not able to watch it on our Televisions. To solve this problem, Google recently unveiled a new device, Chromecast, an affordable HDMI adapter that turns any TV into a Smart TV.
Roku Streaming Stick – Roku or Google – Which One is Better? At the end of the day, it really depends on what you’re looking for in a streaming device. If you want a no-hassle, ready-to-go out of box experience, then Roku is the device for you. If you want an open-platform device that effortlessly integrates all your content spread on your multiple devices, then it’s Chromecast all the way.
Amazon Fire Stick: This powerful little stick connects to your TV’s HDMI port just like the Roku Stick and Chromecast. All you need to do is plug it in and you can enjoy Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube.com, Pandora, and much more.
AirTV – Developed by a company called Echostar, this new streaming device works in conjunction with your Sling TV account and your OTA to provide a uniquely integrated experience. Online TV merged with OTA TV is something cord cutters have been dreaming about for years.
Roku Streaming Players – Roku 1, 2, 3 and now 4, allows you to instantly stream tons of entertainment on your TV. Watch over 100,000 movies and TV shows from Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, Hulu Plus and more. The all-new Roku XD delivers the highest quality HD video, in the smallest box, at the lowest price. No wonder Roku is the best selling streaming player ever. Even though the Roku does not have a Blu-ray disc drive, internet browsing capabilities or gameplay, it’s prices and user-friendliness makes it a great buy.
Amazon Fire TV – I think this quote best sums it up: “In reality, the Fire TV is a small, flat, matte black Trojan horse intended to sell you even more Amazon goods than you already buy. I prefer streaming that is content-neutral, or that at least allows me to find the best deal. This is not that box.” Molly Wood – New York Times
WD TV – the new WD TV devices allow for Live TV broadcasts to be picked up and viewed on tablets or computers. The WD TV works with Internet streamer Hauppauge to allow live broadcasts to be picked up via the WD TV unit. Anyone who has a WD TV device with the hub hard drive can record the live broadcasts for later viewing. Live broadcasts includes sporting events as well as basic cable programming.
Apple TV – A digital media receiver that allows consumers to use an HDTV set to view photos, play music and watch video. The bottom line: the low price makes this a very popular impulse buy for people looking to bring Netflix into the living room, but it is best suited for people that are already invested in Apple products (iPhone, iPad, Mac book).
Nexus Player – was co-developed by Google and Asus and is a digital media player; as some would call a Video Streaming Device. The player runs on the Android 6.0 (“Marshmallow”) operating system, and it is the first device of it’s kind that employs the Android TV platform. ~ As of May 2016 the Nexus Player seems to be out of stock everywhere I look. I am not sure if this means. Stay tuned.
iView 3500STBII Multi-Function Digital Converter Box with Recording and Media Playback – Attach a USB 3.0 1TB HDD for $90, and you’ll have a cheap DVR setup that is basically the modern equivalent to a VCR.
Silicondust – HDHomeRun Connect – a digital television tuner box that connects to your network, allowing you to stream video (including an OTA signal) to all your internet-connected devices.
Hauppauge TV Tuner Card – A TV Tuner Card allows you to pause, record, and of course watch an OTA signal on your PC. This is an internal card that you would need to install inside a PC tower.
Hauppauge Digital TV Tuner for Xbox One – A digital USB TV Tuner stick that works with the Xbox One; allowing you to watch free over-the-air broadcast TV on your gaming device.
Hauppauge Digital TV Tuner for Windows PC – A digital USB TV Tuner stick that plugs into your PC; allowing you to watch free over-the-air broadcast TV on your computer.
Are they the Future of Home Entertainment? Everything is getting smarter today – home security systems, phones, TVs. The new generation of TVs available today come ready to go without a cable connection, stocked with Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and other apps.
Roku TV – Roku recently released a new form of Roku Player and it is called Roku TV. The Roku TV is a smart TV that brings the Roku experience to your television with no cable bill required.
PlayStation 4: The gaming industry has advanced drastically since the PS3 was released seven years ago, and the PS4 is the proof of that. From the streamlined look to the more inexpensive price, the PS4 proves that the gaming industry is moving forward at a truly fast pace.
PlayStation 3 (PS3 Review) – This system delivers an experience beyond anything you know today. With a built-in Blu-ray Disc drive, PlayStation 3 video streaming invites you to a whole new generation in high-definition graphics and media capabilities. Whether your looking for the best games console, Blu-ray movies, music or online services, PlayStation 3 takes you where you’ve never dreamed possible – a place where you can play beyond. With access to over 100,000 movies and TV shows from Netflix, Hulu Plus and more, it’s hands down the best value for you buck! And one of my all time favorite digital streaming devices.
Xbox One – The Xbox One is the newest game console, replacing the Xbox 360, to be released by Microsoft on Nov. 13, 2013. The device has been called an “all in one entertainment system,”… All in all, it looks like the Xbox One may be a force to be reckoned with as long as you are satisfied with purely streaming your video content. But at a price point of $500, unless you are a gamer, there are far less expensive cable TV alternative videos streaming devices out there.
Xbox 360 – The Xbox is a video game console produced by Microsoft. It was Microsoft’s first foray into the gaming console market. Though this system will provide a great gaming experience and it’s ready for the controller-free experience of Kinect (motion sensor-driven – simply step in front of the Kinect and it recognizes you and responds to your gestures) it lacks in controller usability, it does not contain a Blu-ray player, and there is no Hulu access (though this may be changing soon). For these reasons, I cannot suggest this console.
Set-Top Boxes That Offer Free Content
Concerning the legality of set-top TV boxes that stream content for free, that is otherwise only available through subscription pay services.
In short, it is safe to say that anyone accessing content from a pirate site is involving themselves in unlawful behavior.
A few years back a spokeswoman from the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) said: “If a device provides access to that content without a valid subscription from the recognized provider, then anyone using that device needs to be aware that they are accessing that content unlawfully.”
“Our strong advice to the public is to steer clear of any service other than the recognized provider which appears to be offering access to these channels and programs at a discounted cost.”
Because the jury is still out on this topic, we have decided to take the high road and not promote or discuss devices that seem to profit from providing access to illegally obtained content.
** If you don’t see the box you are looking for, please tell me about it in the comments section and I will do my best to add it. Also make sure you check out our Stream TV Scams page, as there are a lot of Streaming Boxes hitting the market that my readers have reported issues with.
Rather go DIY and use your laptop? Check out our guide for how to connect your laptop to your TV.