Almost everyone must have seen or heard about Amazon Fire Stick or ROKU or Apple streaming device that is getting popular these days. But, do you know what a streaming device is, how does it work, and what it offers? If your answer to these questions is no, then you might want to keep reading. We are going to discuss what are streaming devices and how do they work in this article. Let us see what all the fuss is about these streaming devices.
What are streaming devices?
Streaming devices are the hardware that lets you stream content (movies, music, sports, etc.) once it is connected to a TV or home theater with the help of a streaming service provider. There are several streaming media devices available in the market such as Amazon Fire Stick, ROKU, AppleTV, Google Chromecast, etc. These devices have many pre-loaded famous streaming apps or channels like Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, ROKU channels, etc. You can also download some other such apps you want later. You just need an HDMI port in your TV and an internet connection to use these devices. The individual streaming devices come in different shapes like in the form of cube boxes or in the form of USB flash drives.
You can choose from one of these recommended streaming devices:
- Roku Ultra | Streaming Device HD/4K/HDR/Dolby Vision with Dolby Atmos
- Roku Streaming Stick+ | HD/4K/HDR Streaming Device
- Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen, 2021) with all-new Alexa Voice Remote
- Fire TV Stick Lite with Alexa Voice Remote Lite (no TV controls)
- Ml Box S Android Version 9.0 with Google Assistant Remote 4K HDR
- NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV 4K HDR Streaming Media Player
- TiVo Stream 4K – Every Streaming App and Live TV on One Screen
How do they work?
These streaming devices are required to be connected to the internet to work. You need to connect the device to the HDMI port of your TV and then connect it to your wifi or ethernet. Once connected to the internet, it will start processing data from the streaming services. One important thing to remember here is that you will have to get a subscription to the streaming services you want to use them. Most of the streaming services provide a monthly subscription for their content while some of them are free as well.
Streaming devices also allow you to view your online photos on the TV and listen to music available on various streaming services.
Benefits of streaming devices?
Now that we know what streaming devices are and how they work, let us know why we need them or what are their benefits. The best benefit is the excellent picture quality provided by these streaming devices when you have a stable internet connection. Let us have a look at some other benefits of streaming devices that we can enjoy:
- Faster content loading: Since the streaming devices are made for the purpose of streaming-only, they have a faster processor. This means that these devices load the content faster than a normal Smart TV without any streaming device. You won’t have to wait for the content to load after clicking on it. These devices offer fast, on-click content without much hassle.
- Availability of more streaming services: Smart TVs come with 1-2 prominent streaming apps pre-downloaded in them and you can download a few later as well. But, streaming devices have several streaming apps or services in them that you can enjoy at an affordable price. These devices can even make the cable connection redundant as most of the content of local channels is available on one or the other streaming service. So, you save the cost of cable connection while enjoying a wide range of content available on numerous services provided by the streaming device.
- Availability of on-demand content: Streaming devices provide you with on-demand content, meaning that you can enjoy the content anytime, as per your schedule. You can pause, rewind, and rewatch any movie, show, or music video at your convenience. You can also download your favorite content and watch it later whenever you are free.
- Better safety of privacy: In comparison to a Smart TV, streaming devices provide better protection and safety. These devices have their own set of policies regarding privacy that you can find out about from the manufacturer. These policies protect your privacy and even make a solid base for building a case if there is any privacy breach.
Buying guide for streaming devices
When you think of buying something, it is necessary to know what you should look for. When it comes to streaming devices, consider the features, price, connectivity, channels available, etc. Let us look at some of the factors to look for while buying a streaming device.
- Platform: What brand or platform you should choose depends on the Operating System you want and the brand you are most comfortable with. For example, if you have Android TV and other Android devices, it is better to go for Android streaming devices and if you prefer Apple products, go for Apple streaming devices. The comfort and convenience of your Smart TV will vary as per each streaming device’s control and command features. Therefore, it is important to choose the right platform for a better viewing experience.
- Easy setup: Installation and setup is the first thing that you will have to deal with after getting the streaming device. Make sure that the device you choose has a simple and easy setup process. It will save you the cost of getting a professional for setup. Also, check for an easy navigation feature so that you can explore and enjoy your favorite movies, TV shows, music videos, etc. without any hassle.
- Features: Some of the features that would be good to have in your streaming device are compatibility with other home assistant devices, the ability to adapt to technology updates, etc. One other important feature to look for is 4k resolution support, which is there in most of the streaming devices now. Also, look for devices that can be connected to the internet via Bluetooth and ethernet both. Compare the features provided by each device and sort out the ones you need, before deciding which one you want.
- Universal search: One of the most tiring things to do while streaming is exploring each app one by one to look for a particular program. The solution for this issue is ‘Universal Search’. It is a feature that allows you to search content (movie, TV show, etc.) in the main search box or location of the TV and gives you an integrated search result. The result gives a list of apps or services that have that particular content in them. When you click on one of the results, the program directly opens in the app that you chose. While choosing which streaming device you should get for yourself, choose the one that comes with this ‘Universal Search’ feature.
- Price: Price is the ultimate factor that we look for before buying anything. Make a budget for your purchase and a list of features that you want. Then choose the device that offers the maximum features that you want in your budget range. Consider the features provided, the number of channels or services available, and the model of the device available in the market within your budget, and then make your final decision.
To conclude all the points that we have discussed above the streaming device is a technological advancement that adds to your experience while streaming. It is cheaper, has more options, and is also faster while loading the content. Now that we know what are streaming devices, we can say that they are an excellent addition to the list of devices in your home.