Ever since Netflix or Hulu or any other online video platforms appeared, many companies have outdone themselves, creating some gadgets with which the customers are able to watch their favorite movies or shows directly from their computers. All four devices are priced less than 100 dollars, and it’s hard to pick the right one, but we’ll describe each of these streaming media player, highlighting their advantages and disadvantages.
Amazon Fire TV
This digital media player/microconsole was launched in April this year and it’s used to stream digital audio/video content or to play video games via a mobile application or with a game controller. The device runs on Fire OS 3.0 Mojito, which is compatible with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and will also run other third-party applications (XBMC). The physical dimensions of this digital media player are 115x115x17.5mm and it weights 281grams, it’s powered by a 1.7GH quad core Krait 300 processor, based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 chipset and uses Qualcomm Adreno 320 graphics. It hosts 8GB of internal storage and 2GB of RAM and it offers HDMI, Optical audio, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), USB 2.0 and 10/100 Ethernet. Plus, it comes with a Fire game controller. The gadget was praised by some and criticized by others, and Ars Technica liked the microphone, but was very unsatisfied of the free space capacity, because it doesn’t allow you to install many games.
Google launched Chromecast in June 2013, costing only 35 dollars. This digital media player streams audio/video HD content from the internet/local network, via WiFi, and it’s a tiny gadget measuring 72x35x12mm and weighting 34grams, which works with a Marvell 88DE3005 (Armada 1500-mini) chipset and 512MB of RAM. The internal memory is extremely small, of 2GB and initially, the player had four compatible applications: Youtube, Netflix, Google Music Play and Google Play Movies and TV, and now it supports Hulu Plus, Pandora Radio, HBO Go, Plex, Avia etc. The device has a HDMI port and connects via WiFi (802.11 b/g/n @ 2.4 GHz). The disadvantages of this device are: you can’t control it from the distance, being handled only with a mobil device/product only; it doesn’t support Amazon Immediate, Spotify or other sports apps; it has a spotty display mirroring.
The third Roku generation, priced at 94.5 dollars, was launched on March 5, 2013, being available in four models, each one with 512MB of RAM and support for HDMI. Although it streams over 1000 channels and has a processor clocked between 600MHz and 900MHz, the device has an ineffective AirPlay, and this function helps users to successfully save or deliver material to PC or TV display. This gadget weights 141 grams and can stream nine channels at once.
The third generation Apple TV (Rev A) was launched on January 28, 2013, and costs around 90 dollars. It runs on iOS 7.1.2 with 512MB of RAM and has an internal memory of 8GB. This device is controlled only by an Apple Remote control device or by the Remote application which is downloadable from App Store. The player supports HDMI, optical audio, microUSB, Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth and 10/100 Ethernet, being able to stream all kinds of video, audio or picture formats and it’s compatible with HD televisions with HDMI. The disadvantages of this gadget is that is has a few functions and applications, and the customers are sent to iTunes to buy materials, not being allowed to get what they want from other web stores.
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