2015’s Best Streaming Media Players
Watching TV shows and movies shouldn’t cost a fortune. And there’s no better way to save cash every month than ripping that money-sucking cord out of the wall and waving goodbye to the cable company. If you don’t have a smart TV, or the one you do own is a bit on the slow side, then a TV player is a must-have gadget. They’re an ideal replacement for the likes of Virgin Media and Sky, offering on-demand content at a fraction of the cost. Each box gives you access to a selection of catch-up channels such as BBC iPlayer, Netflix and much more, and some even offer smart features such as 4K playback and wireless streaming.
Amazon Fire TV
Amazon’s own box scores points for the best internal components this side of a game console and it also plays nicely with everything sporting the name Amazon in the title. The fire TV is snappy, fun and probably the best bet if all you want from your system is content from Amazon Instant video. While the Fire TV has access to plethora of third party apps, such as Netflix and iPlayer, its interface is biased toward Amazon’s offerings, with less visibility for second-tier apps in the main menu.
This device offers all the functionality of boxes three times its price at half the size. It plugs into the TV once you’ve installed the Chromecast app on your phone, you can watch TV on the big screen. If you have Android you can mirror your screen via the cast functionality. However, there’s lack of support for every app natively and while most big names are here, you won’t find Roku or Amazon Instant Video.
If you’ve bought into the Apple ecosphere, then an Apple TV is a great way to go, as it works flawlessly with Apple’s own brand and tech. In combination with a MacBook, iPad or other Apple device, you’ll be able to peruse online content natively, and thanks to Apple’s AirPlay System, you can also mirror content you’d like to see from a PC. It’s not the best standalone solution though. Apple hasn’t opened app development to anyone outside of the company, which means that third-party content is non-existent.
If you want the ultimate home cinema experience, then you want 4K. The Veolo is one of the few streamers that supports media in ultra HD. It has an attractive user interface that lets you easily browse your movie collection. In terms of content, you get access to the Google Play Store, allowing you to download video-on-demand app such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video and you can watch streaming 4K. This gives it flexibility as an all-in-one media box, allowing you access to the media collections of the popular services.
When it comes to channel, more is always better. Sure you may never watch western on the Six gun Cinema channel, but it gives you that option. You’ll find every major player here as well – the only absent is Amazon Instant video, It isn’t perfect and it’s missing a few core apps and decent games. But, between the high amounts of content available out of the box, super responsive interface remote with a built-in audio jack for private listening. There’s no better player than this one.