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Our editors rate and review products objectively based on the features offered to consumers, the price and delivery options, how a product compares with other products in its category, and other factors.
The ratings are based on the expert opinion of our editors and on underlying technology that analyzes decisions made by similar users to provide individual, targeted recommendations to each person who visits our site.
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Streaming Device Shopping Guide
In today’s digital era waiting for a popular movie to come out on DVD has become a thing of the past. Access to media online has become easier than ever and consumers are starting to take full advantage. It is estimated that by 2024 over 90 million subscribers will utilize at least one streaming device. Wi-Fi compatible streaming devices are quickly becoming the trend that isn’t going away while expensive cable subscriptions are fading into the background. But with so many devices on the market how do you even start narrowing down the field? After reading this article you’ll know what to ask yourself in your streaming device shopping journey.
What Is A Streaming Device?
Modern streaming devices connect your television to the internet using a simple HMDI port allowing for access to online video and music services at the click of a single remote. While smart TVs with similar capabilities are readily available, the user interfaces offered by streaming devices often improve the viewing experience. The ability to customize your bank of streaming apps, background images, downloaded library, and more make streaming devices the premier option for home theaters, college dorm-rooms, family rooms, and even man caves.
How Will You Use The Device?
It is important to keep in mind that you’re purchasing for your unique household. Think about your family’s daily interactions with streaming services and how you can improve the current experience. Are you watching educational videos on YouTube at work? Are you going to need interconnectivity with several devices? Is the new device mainly for the kids? Depending on your needs the most advanced system may not be the most user friendly.
Which Apps Do You Use?
We all have at least one streaming service charging us each and every month because of that one show we love to watch once in a blue moon. When shopping for streaming devices it’s important to ensure that the device you purchase is compatible with the apps you regularly use. If purchasing a streaming device is your first step in cutting the cord from the cable giants, a device with the largest range of compatible applications may be the best way to go. While most devices will offer Netflix, Hulu, Pandora and SlingTV there may be other network applications such as HBO or AppleTV which may not be available across the board.
How Easy Is Installation?
The installation of new streaming devices is a very simple process in most cases. An HMDI cable, a quick wi-fi setup page, and you’re ready to go! While the majority of streaming devices will ask you to make a login but will not require a paid subscription for continued services, there are exceptions. Do the research and ensure that you aren’t adding to your monthly streaming expenditure without realizing it.
What Is The Device’s Storage Capacity?
We all spend more time navigating home screens than we would like to admit. Finding a device and remote combination with the right user interface and storage capacity should be near the top of your list. Streaming devices with more GBs of storage will allow you to retain more apps on the device at any given time and even download your own library of movies and music. While most users never get close to the standard 8GB limit due to constant access to cloud streaming services, there are variants with up to 64GB of storage for you movie lovers!
What Kind Of Remote Control Does It Have?
Remote controls for streaming devices vary quite dramatically - from full keyboards to voice controls there is a lot to choose from. Voice controlled remotes do seem like the way of the future in this category but if simplicity is your goal there are plenty of options.
What Does The Device Look Like?
While the style of your new streaming device may not be at the front of your mind, remember that this little box will likely be sitting up on your mantle or sliding onto a shelf in plain view. There are plenty of subtle sticks and sleek boxes on the market to choose from so if your device will be highly visible, color and design is worth considering.
How Much Does It Cost?
When you are narrowing down your options, price may be a factor. While you may not expect there to be much discrepancy in cost between different streaming devices there actually is. Ranging from $25 to $60, some devices are more expensive than others. But don’t rule out the higher priced options right away as they tend to come with extra capabilities and features including:
Keyboard Style Remote
3D and 4K Image Quality
24 Hour Customer Service
Trusting Our Top Pick
Navigating the many choices for every consumer purchase can be challenging. Our team spends hours doing research, combing through forums, and reading consumer reviews on even the most basic of household items, and we summarize that information in clear, precise comparisons.
Join the millions that have trusted BuyersGuide.org to help them make smarter buying decisions. We help our readers spend their money wisely and find the right product to suit their specific needs. Our independent expert reviews and data-driven shopping recommendations empower you to find the streaming device that's right for you.
What Sets Us Apart?
We leverage user data to understand decision-making and put the best products in front of each user. We tailor our comparisons to what matters to our user's needs, specific or broad. We keep our content up to date, we are constantly looking for new merchants and products to compare, and we are quick to remove any that are outdated or no longer meeting our standards. Our rankings change day-to-day based on our proprietary algorithms, that crunch data to identify top-performing products and tailor recommendations to exactly what our readers are looking for.
Have a question or want to make a recommendation? We love to hear from our readers and are always looking for new products to include on our site. Get in touch!
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