Between offerings from Amazon, Google, Roku, and Apple, there’s no shortage of ways to stream movies and TV shows to any television in your house. These platforms all have access to the same lineup of apps — Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, and so on — and yet, many of us think long and hard before we pick one up from a local retailer. For many, it’s the technical specs that make the difference. Maybe Dolby Vision support is a must-have, or expandable storage for local media playback is the way to go. Maybe you’re focused on which voice assistants work with your hardware, picking Assistant over Alexa every time. Or maybe it all comes down to a matter of price: which gadget fits into my budget before I place it behind my TV and never think about it again.
Many of us are spending more time at home now that the holiday season is in full swing. Getting the family together for a movie night is a tradition as ancient as time — or at least as old as movies — and it’s especially true when you have relatives visiting at this time of year. You probably have a nice home theatre system built up particularly for these occasions, but there’s something lot simpler lurking behind your Dolby Atmos speakers and 4K OLED display: a streaming device.
With most streaming devices priced below $50, it’s easy to experiment with various platforms until you find the one that’s right for you. I recently reviewed Amazon’s latest Fire TV Stick, a gadget I really liked despite a mediocre UI littered with advertisements. Before my review, I’d been using Google’s latest Chromecast for most of 2021, but I’ve found myself reluctant to go back — the 4K Max just feels so much faster when I’m browsing through apps. Still, I’ll probably switch back to Google’s latest offering at some point — its interface just feels so much more intuitive.
We’ll have more to say this week about AP’s picks for the best streaming devices you can use today, but for now, I’m curious what our readers are currently using. Have you become a die-hard Google TV fan? Dedicated to Roku devices for ten years running? Maybe you have a — gasp — Apple TV mounted under your television. For the sake of this poll, if you use more than one platform, vote for the one you consider your primary way of watching entertainment.