The fact that we are currently in the middle of a major transition in the world of TV is not questionable. Content wise, we now have the greatest collection of high quality movies and shows in history that go straight to various streaming platforms such as Netflix. In terms of hardware, and internet tv boxes, we now have a plethora of options for getting content onto the devices we want them on with the hardest being the living room television.
The market for streaming media players has more than a dozen models that you can choose from. Making a decision regarding the model or brand you should buy may not be so easy given the variety of options available unless you plan to make an impulse buy at your local electronics store.
When choosing an Internet TV box/streaming media player you need to consider a huge variety of factors. Most of these factors depend on the kind of TV you have, the amount that you are willing to spend, and the kind of content you are interested in. The factors listed here will ensure that you choose the right device for your needs.
While some people like giving new products a chance, the vast majority of people prefer sticking with established or popular brands. Bearing all the factors above in mind, here are the top 10 Internet/IP TV boxes in the market. Please note that the list does not include major gaming consoles such as the PS4, Xbox One, Wii U that can all do some of the things the Internet TV/IP boxes can do.
The Top 10 Internet TV Boxes
Roku 4 is probably one of the most highly recommended Internet TV boxes online. If you are looking to keep your content free from the hands of either Apple or Google or are simply looking for a highly reliable and high end Internet TV box, the Roku 4 is just what you need.
Roku 4 also has many things that you will hardly find in other devices with the ability to play 4k videos being most notable. If you would like to enjoy playback of ultra-high resolution content, you should look no further than the Roku 4. The Roku 4 costs about $130 and it comes with other handy features including the optical audio output and a remote finder.
Roku has several models of Internet TV boxes including the Roku 1, Roku 2, Roku 4, and Roku Streaming stick but the focus here is the Roku 3. The Roku 3 is comparable to Apple TV in terms of memory and storage.
Roku 3 is an older version of Roku Internet TV box but is still a solid buy. It is much cheaper than the Roku 4 since it costs just below $90 but still offers many of the amazing features available on the Roku 4.
The Roku 3 has a remote controller with integrated motion technology for gaming and has a headphone jack if you don’t want to disturb other people. The device has both 5.1 and 7.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound and support for video of resolution up to 1080p.
The Roku Streaming Stick is more preferable to the Roku 3 to most people because of the ease of use and price. However, if you need the analog audio jack or Ethernet port depending on your home theater system, the Roku 3 is the best option for you.
Today it seems that the hottest thing in the streaming media player world is to release streaming stick. Not to be left behind, Roku released the Streaming Stick too. Google was the first to come up with the idea by releasing the Chromecast, which is a device that plugs straight into the HDMI port of your TV and provides access to all your favorite channels and streaming services.
With the release of the sub-$40 Streaming Stick, Roku was aiming at shaking the market, which it did. However, as with many of the streaming sticks, the Roku Streaming Stick does not provide access to analog audio output and does not have an Ethernet port. Besides that, Roku Streaming Stick offers everything the Roku set top box offers but at a much lower price.
The Roku Streaming Stick is the direct competitor to Google Chromecast. Roku Streaming stick is a HDMI dongle that can draw power from either a wall adapter or a USB connection. The stick gives you access to all channels available on Roku, allows you to cast videos from YouTube and Netflix apps, supports video with up to 1080p resolution, allows you to use your iOS or Android device as a remote control using supporting apps.
The Roku Streaming Stick also has a standard remote control with RF technology. The devices offers hundreds of channels more than Chromecast and also has a remote controller.
Amazon Fire TV was the first attempt by Amazon to get into the streaming media player world and it was highly successful at what it was set out to do. However, the focus on gaming never panned out initially mainly due to the lack of gaming content on the platform but the situation is different now.
Amazon Fire TV is a top contender when it comes to top streaming media players especially in terms of storage, memory, processing power. Amazon Fire TV uses a 1-7 GHz Qualcomm Krait 300 quad-core processor as well as a Qualcomm Adreno 320 Graphical Processing Unit. The device also comes with 2GB of Ram as well as 8GB flash storage. Kindle Fire owners will also get to enjoy second screen capabilities along with a microphone for use in voice search.
Amazon Fire TV supports Certified Dolby Digital Plus with 7.1 audio channel and up to 1080p video. The Fire TV however falls short in terms of content channels that are not as many as the ones Apple TV and Roku offer with the lack HBO Go being particularly notable. The device costs about $100 and if you want the game controller you will have to add $40 more.
The year was 2014 when Amazon decided to get into the streaming stick game with the introduction of the Amazon Fire TV Stick. With regards to the basics, this cheap Amazon Fire TV Stick is very similar to the Amazon Fire TV.
The key difference between the Amazon Fire TV and the Amazon Fire TV Stick is that with the TV stick, you won’t enjoy the quad-core processing power and will also have to miss out on the game controller. However, Amazon Fire TV Stick still remains as a solid buy if you desire a quality streaming stick planted firmly into Amazon’s ecosystem.
The Amazon Fire TV stick resembles a regular USB flash drive and it plugs directly into your TV’s HDMI port. The device is powered by a micro USB cable but still requires to be plugged into its own adapter. The setup of the Fire TV Stick is incredibly easy and you can point the remote anywhere. If you buy the device from Amazon directly, it will come preloaded with your details.
In the market for Internet TV boxes, most of the devices offer similar streaming services and features and it can be hard to see exactly what makes one stand out from the rest. The first major standout feature of the NVIDIA Shield Android TV is its ability to stream 4K content, which is a feature only available elsewhere on the Roku 4.
NVIDIA Shield TV’s content offering is not nearly as fleshed out as Roku or Amazon it still has unique focus on gaming sets that help it gain some attention. The NVIDIA Shield Android TV like the brand’s tablet currently has an app that allows players to stream games from NVIDIA gaming computers elsewhere in the house at a decent resolution of 60fps.
The NVIDIA Shield Android TV retails for about $200 but is an amazing way to stream your PC games in your living room and is still a better alternative to other Internet TV boxes and major gaming consoles. The Shield TV may not be everybody’s cup of tea but if you love gaming on PCs, it is your best option.
To complete this list is a device that is targeted towards a very specific customer. The Slingbox M2 is the Internet TV box that aims to bridge the world of traditional DVR programming and cable services with the world of digital Internet content. In this respect, the Slingbox M2 is the best device for a person that does not want to miss a big debate or big game.
The great thing about the Slingbox M2 is that while it may be a bit expensive, it allows you to watch traditional TV programming on all devices including when you are overseas or simply out of town. A device such as the Slingbox M2 may not be important in 5 years but it is the best device for the transition.
8. Google Chromecast 2
The market is full of streaming stick options but Chromecast is still above the rest. While Chromecast is similar to the Roku Streaming Stick and Amazon Fire TV stick, Chromecast stands out because of its ability to cast thanks to support from Google.
Google Chromecast no only gives access to services such as YouTube and Netflix but also allows you to easily cast apps from devices straight to your TV. Besides Airplay from Apple that only works with Apple devices, Google Chromecast is the only Internet TV box that makes it nearly effortless to move your screen around.
9. Apple TV (4th Generation)
Apple TV had for many years been neglected product in the Apple product lineup and was famously referred to as Apples “hobby”. However, Apple recently released an updated version of the Apple TV, which is something that feels like a step forward for Apple’s Internet TV box. The fourth generation of Apple TV has all that people loved about the original Apple TV including all the streaming services/channels you can expect from a device from a brand of such caliber as Apple.
However, this new version of Apple TV comes with an amazing looking new interface, gaming support, and a remote with highly intuitive swiping function. The added bonus with this device is access to the App store that has only just started taking off but with the potential to transform the living room experience significantly.
10. Apple TV (3rd Generation)
The 3rd Generation Apple TV is a version older than Apple TV’s 4th version and it has kept many Apple users happy for a long time and with good reason. While the 3rd generation Apple TV might lack the fancy features of the recently updated version, it still packs a punch when it comes to such things as AirPlay Support and basic streaming services. If you are looking for a decently priced Internet TV box backed by a solid brand, which is Apple then look no further than the 3rd generation Apple TV.
The world of entertainment has really changed over the years and we are currently in a state of transition from analog to digital. Internet TV boxes are at the heart of this transition. However, choosing the right one for your needs can be a bit challenging. This is why you need to read through this article to know about the best options available.
This article has provided a list of top 10 Internet TV boxes that you should consider. It is worth noting that all the devices discussed here are more than capable of offering the very best in terms of digital content streaming.
If you would like to experience a revolution in your world of entertainment, you should consider buying any of the top 10 Internet TV boxes discussed in this article. If you do this, you will wonder how you ever managed to survive without all they have to offer in terms of entertainment.