Streaming TV — The Best Devices and How to Make Them Last
It’s convenient to watch TV on the go via a smartphone or tablet, but there’s nothing like catching your favorite show on the big screen of a high-definition television from the comfort of your sofa. Upgrade your Netflix viewing experience with the right streaming device. Apple TV was the original leader of the pack, but with more streaming devices to choose from it can be hard to know which is the best option for you. Here’s a look at three great devices, their features and benefits, and how to maximize your streaming experience.
This device was the pioneer of TV streaming. Apple TV’s fourth generation device is set to hit the market fall of 2015 and features a remote with both touch and voice controls. The new interface lets you search multiple services at the same time, so you no longer have to guess if a show is on Netflix or Hulu. Photo from MacRumors You’ll also be able to take your online shopping experience to the big screen with a huge selection of apps designed to perfectly fit a super-sized screen. When the new version hits the marketplace you’ll be able to pick it up for around $150.
Roku is one of the most functional options, as it allows you to search and control your TV via the Roku remote or a mobile device. Roku also offers the largest amount of content options, including Amazon Instant Video and Vudu. Photo from Roku Roku 4 comes with voice-enabled search, lost remote finder, and headphones that plug into the remote for a quiet alternative to late-night TV. You can choose the Roku box-top device or the Roku stick, which is easy to take with you from room to room — or even away on vacation. Roku ranges in price from $49 to $129.
Google’s Nexus is the latest entry in the streaming media field, which offers integrated gaming options in addition to television streaming. The Nexus player allows for voice-activated searches and provides personalized recommendations based on television viewing habits. Photo from DigitalTrends A bonus is the ability to easily share content with others using smartphones and tablets. Nexus operates on Wi-Fi but doesn’t have an Ethernet port, which might be viewed as a negative for some users. Since it’s relatively new, there are limited apps available, but Google is working to provide more. You can pick up a Nexus player for just $70.
Maximize Your Streaming Experience
No matter which streaming device you use, it’s impossible to completely avoid the inconvenience of delays and buffering. When your favorite show gets interrupted it can be tempting to give your current device the heave-ho and rush out to buy something new. However, if you’re experiencing more buffering and delays than usual, upgrading your streaming device isn’t your only option. Most streaming devices should last several years before replacement is truly necessary. Before laying out money for a new device, here are some troubleshooting tips for your current device:
- Update Device Software: Make sure your current device software is updated. Regularly check for updates and take the time to make your software current.
- Check Your Home Network: Test your Internet speed and make sure your device is receiving a strong signal from your router. You may want to move your streaming device closer to the router to ensure a strong, solid signal.
- Switch from HD to SD: You may prefer HD, but sometimes standard definition will deliver your show faster and require less buffering.
Streaming TV is an exciting new way to watch your favorite shows. If you were an early adopter of this wave of the future, make sure you try these tips before tossing your current device in favor of the latest and greatest.