Not everyone can afford to buy Smart TVs even if owning one has been their ultimate dream.
It’s a good thing that there’s an alternative of having an internet connected TV without going bankrupt. You can just opt to buy an external streaming TV service instead. There are several options available in the market today, and if you’re planning to get one for yourself, you should be able to tell the differences among them. Three of the most popular and best products are the Cromecast, Apple TV, and Roku.
Chromecast and Roku both look like USB flash drives and are designed to be plugged into an HDMI port at the back of your TV. Chromecast includes a USB power adapter but you won’t need another power plug since it can be powered directly from USB ports on most TVs. The Roku Streaming Stick is small and is covered in purple hues and comes with a remote. Both of these two are easily hidden behind a TV set. The Apple TV, on the other hand, is a small black box that also comes with an aluminum remote with only few buttons. On the back are ports and connectors.
When you’ve plugged the Roku Streaming Stick, it will usually take 15 minutes to set up as you need to wait for a couple of minutes while it boots. After that, you will need to log on to the Wi-Fi network and sign in to your Roku account from your computer or phone before it downloads all your channels. Setting up the Apple TV is by a HDMI cable, unfortunately, the device does not come with one so you have to buy a HDMI cable separately. Once you’ve connected the box to your TV, a voice will promptly ask you if you would like to enable the Voice Over feature. You will also be asked to set up the usual things such as language and logging on to a Wi-Fi network. Setting up of the Chromecast is more straightforward. Since there’s no remote, you will have to download an app called Chromecast that connects to the stick via a Wi-Fi. The Chromecast will log on to the internet via Wi-Fi and you can control it using any of your devices.
Chromecast is the cheapest among these three devices with a price of only £30. The Apple TV, as you would expect, is the priciest at £99, and the Roku Streaming Stick is at £50.
The Chromecast streams video from Netflix and YouTube very easy with the use of your other device as a wireless remote control. The problem is that your options with Chromecast are limited. Aside from YouTube, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and a few other apps, it doesn’t do more than that. The Roku Streaming Stick has an impressive number of apps with more than 1,000 including YouTube, Netflix, HBO Go, and Amazon Instant Video. Apple TV allows you to stream your purchased and rented movies, and it also acts as a browser for the selected Internet content. Some popular websites such as BBC iPlayer cannot be accessed via the Apple TV. And you still can’t use it to watch free TV channels.