When it comes to watching movies, music videos and other types of media files on our TVs, we all like to have access to the best technology available on the market. While many companies did their best to make this experience better and more enjoyable, nothing really compares to the streaming devices from Amazon, Apple or Google.
Amazon just recently launched the Fire TV, and the race to claim a spot in our living rooms has officially begun. Competing against Apple, as well as Google Chromecast, Amazon now offers a high quality device that helps users bring content to the big screen. However, the other two aren’t inferior to it! With these three having such a similar offering to one another, the obvious question that comes to mind is: which one of them is best?
The Amazon Fire TV
Being the “new kid on the block”, the Amazon Fire TV had the time to take a look at what all other similar companies do, and come up with something better. For only $99 you can have a device that looks like a squared box and comes with 1.7 GHz Quad-Core processor, as well as 2 GB of RAM.
Being very fast and snappy, the Fire TV gives you access to many applications, such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and many others, expect for HBO GO. For those interested in music more than movies, there are also apps such as Pandora, Vevo, TuneIn, etc.
Apart from the remote control, this one also comes with an optional remove gaming controller for those of you who love video games. The latter can be purchased for an addition $40 and is similar-looking with any Xbox controller.
In terms of design, the Amazon Fire TV looks a lot like the Apple TV, just a little bigger – 4.5 inches on each side and 0.7 in terms of thickness. Also enabling screen mirroring via the Kindle Fire HDX, the Fire TV has a controller with integrated voice dictation that lets you tell your device what to do.
Because Amazon wanted to spice things up a little, instead of the usual list of applications, on the home screen you will be able to see a few thumbnails of different movies and TV series. Once you select the one you like, you’re presented with many options in order to watch it – from the library, as part of a subscription with Hulu Plus, etc.
The Fire TV is very suitable for families with children, as it gives parents a FreeTime feature – this one enables them to select a subset of content they allow their kids to watch. The good thing about it is that even if you’re not interesting in using parental controls, you have them included and don’t need to pay extra.
The Apple TV
Moving on to the Apple TV, this one comes at the same price $99, having a 1 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM, while it’s also equipped with a Wi-Fi 802 hotspot and Bluetooth. While it lets you watch 1080p HD video content, it’s a good option for watching sports, TV shows, movies, as well as music videos and photos.
With Apple, you’re going to have access to a lot of apps for movies: Netflix, HBO GO, Red Bull TV, Disney Channel and many others. However, in terms of music, the only audio apps you can use are Vevo and Quello. As opposed to Amazon, this device does not come with game support, which means you won’t be able to play games on the big screen using it.
However, you can use AirPlay in order to wirelessly play content from your iPad, iPhone, but also from your iPod Touch directly on the HDTV. Whether you want to share pictures from your travels with friends, or you organized a party and want to play music from a playlist you have on the iPhone, there’s no need to worry once you have AirPlay.
Measuring 3.9 inches on each side and 0.9 inches in thickness, the Apple TV streaming device looks just like a small squared box. In order to control it, you will have both a physical remote and an application, but there is no voice search available.
At the back on the device, there is a power end, as well as the HDMI and micro-USB ports that help you connect it to any screen you wish. If you’re interested in parental controls, there are just a few basic password restrictions that differ from one app to the other, depending on what you use.
The Chromecast from Google
Last but not least, the Chromecast streaming device is available for only $35, and it’s equipped with a Single-Core processor. Another important feature is its 512 MB storage capacity, as well as the usual Wi-Fi hotspot. In this case, you can use either your phone or the computer in order to control the device.
Having no remote control, you will have to log into your phone or laptop and open an app or website in order to have access to the desired media. Therefore, you get to choose what applications you’d like to download and use, and it all depends on your smartphone’s support. Once you found the movie you’d like to watch, you simply have to click on Cast that will transfer the image onto the screen.
The Chromecast is the smallest one of them all, looking just like a USB stick. It is 2.8 inches long and 1.3 inches wide. While it plays Youtube, HBO and Netflix perfectly, it does not offer much more than that – customer reviews prove that the quality of media Google Play or other apps tends to be inferior to what they could get from similar apps used by the Fire TV or the one from Apple.
There is no cross-platform search available via Chromecast, while cautious parents won’t be able to benefit from parental controls, either. However, if you’re interested in an affordable version of the Apple and Fire TVs, this remote-free device might be your best options. Plus its app works on both Android and iOS smartphones.