The availability of media streaming devices has grown extensively in the last few years.
It is quite amazing considering that the Apple TV first came out in 2007. The arrival of several devices from the stables of Google has increased the profile of such devices, which are becoming an increasing part of the home entertainment nowadays. Recently, Amazon also came out with its own version of a media streaming device, but Chromecast, Apple TV and Roku are the well-known products in the category.
The three products approach their destination in different forms, with the Apple TV being the most beautiful design in a box format. The Chromecast comes in a stick format, while the Roku comes in both stick and box format.
In terms of functionality, the Roku player comes out on top because of its support to content and also because it has more than 1000 apps. The presence of channels like Hulu Plus, Disney Channel, Redbox Instant, YouTube, and HBO Go make it extremely comprehensive in this regard. The likes of Chromecast and Apple TV can only look at this amazing support because they come nowhere close enough. Apple has a lot of apps on its store but it is playing catch-up in terms of apps. This has been a major criticism for Apple, but they have come up with new additions like HBO Go in recent months.
The Apple TV is an extremely great device for those who have a lot of Apple products at home. The device just syncs perfectly with every other Apple product. For such users, having the Roku or Chromecast will be an unnecessary pain, as it is a little difficult to pair these devices. Further, the Apple TV also works well with downloads from iTunes.
This in itself may be the reason for its negativity in the face of competition from Roku and Chromecast, because they work with a full range of devices quite easily. This Apple centric approach may hurt Apple.
Chromecast’s biggest advantage is its price, which at $ 35 is a steal and there is no other way to describe it. The price offers an extremely value for money proposition considering that the Roku and Apple TV come in at $ 99. Even the latest entrants into the segment are priced at around the same figure. This gives a massive advantage to Chromecast, but it needs to overcome the negative aspects like the lack of a remote and the screen mirroring function, which is not exactly the best in the segment. The device can be controlled only by an app, whereas the Roku and Apple TV come with physical remote.
Chromecast’s app ecosystem is set to expand very rapidly, but for the moment, it is still trailing Roku. Google recently came out with a separate Software Development Kit for the device, which should help it add more apps in the future.
All these products have some minor defects, but overall, they are excellent products to take advantage of media streaming.
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