hen
Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Best Streaming Players: Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV & More

Best Streaming Players: Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV & More
By

Streaming players are a great holiday gift — inexpensive and handy for binge-watching over the holiday and those cold, dark winter months. Now is a great time to get hooked up with a streaming player, as the sources of online content expand, and new stick versions of the boxes sell for much less. There are streaming players to suit every personality. Whether you want to simply kick back and watch some Netflix on your TV, watch Hulu Plus in-between heated gaming matches or program your own XBMC apps, there's a device with you in mind.

Since they are inexpensive and widely available, finding streaming players is not terribly difficult. However, since many people may want to use them as stocking stuffers as Christmas and Festivus approach, it's better to order now if you need one. Tom's Guide has compiled a comprehensive list of shipping deadlines for Christmas. If you want one for Hanukkah, it's probably better to take your chances at a brick-and-mortar store at this point.

Tip: Get FREE Two-Day Shipping on Amazon with Prime. Order by December 22nd for Christmas Delivery – Learn more

MORE: Top 10 Online Streaming Video Services



MORE: How to Stream Video from a Mobile Device or Computer to a TV

MORE: How to Buy a Set Top Box

Latest Reviews

Related Buying Guides:
Best Miracast Receivers
Best Wireless Screen-Mirroring Devices
Best Roku Channels

Follow Marshall Honorof @marshallhonorof. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

Add a comment
Ask a Category Expert
React To This Article

Create a new thread in the Streaming Video & TVs forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

Display 2 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    jmazz , December 5, 2014 8:10 PM
    With the exception of the "G-Box Midnight MX2," which is outdated right now, what the author does not tell you is that he is not being too specific about these media form factor devices that are on the market right now. That is either because the author is unfamiliar with this, or because he chooses not to be clear about it, or because he thinks that if it is not paid video watching it is not worth it. What he should have called the article is : "The best paid video content media players." There is a whole new market for media streaming boxes that can not only act as second choice desktops but do media streaming and much more as part of their function. These are boxes such as the Probox2 EX, the MINIX Neo X8, the Rikomagic MK902II ,etc. These type of media streamers are much more powerful then this restricted, low functionality, low power boxes in the article. The form factor that I am talking about will become even more powerful once they start using google's new mobile operating system Lollipop.

    What the boxes such as Apple, Roku boxes excel at is streaming paid video and not much more while the media boxes that I mentioned offer you the use of unrestricted applications use, the streaming of media through applications such as XBMC (KODI) ,and a lot more interaction with your media.

    Many of these boxes have quad-core processors and powerful video processors that put Apple and Roku boxes to shame in terms function and even usability.

    So, tech reviewers will soon be forced to make a distinction between specialized video
    watch boxes and real media streaming boxes.
  • 0 Hide
    morganfj , December 14, 2014 12:03 PM
    ROKU 3 is problematic to a small degree.. But the worst part of ROKU is that there is NO real CARING Customer support... For example... Failure to play files which are stated as playable (MKV and MP4 both H.264 Audio - NO Other Formats!!!) MKV if set to 5.1 will have no sound and many newer MP4 files will freeze the unit causing reset.... ROKU's answer.. CONVERT the File and to same format and try again... IN FACT Most questions are about failures to operate correctly are answered via FORM LETTER.
    The Problem ROKU is hardwires the decoder.. NO upgradable Codecs are used.. thus any updates to Converter's Coders can not be upgraded to ROKU, and this unit is already years out of date.. Older files may work, but don't count on downloading newer files and having them work... THIS WILL ONLY GET WORST!
    Next Problem: RESETS.. Seems that ROKU will on occasions.. especially in USB mode.. FREEZE and RESET..... This will drive you crazy.. Again.. Primary software is hardwired and very little update capability was put into this old unit...

    BOTTOM LINE.. The ROKU 3 you by today is IDENTICAL to the units built 4 years ago.. Some minor software is updated as is the software in these older units.. but Major changes CAN NOT BE CORRECTED by software due to design. Considering inexpensive microprocessors and min. memory used. RODU could have used a software system that was fully upgradable also a good Upgradable Decoder COULD HAVE BEEN USED along with CODECS instead of limited hardwired Codes.. This would have allowed for ALL formats to be played and upgraded as changes are made...BASICALLY: They saved a buck in this $99 unit at the consumers COST!

    I FEEL THAT PLACING this old unit at the top of the list is irresponsible of this site.. SIMPLE SELLS NuMBERS does not make the Better Product....
React To This Article

Tom’s guide in the world
  • Germany
  • France
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • UK
Follow Tom’s guide
Subscribe to our newsletter
  • add to twitter
  • add to facebook
  • ajouter un flux RSS