Home theater technology has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years. Blu-rays were touted as the new standard medium for home theaters. However, recent advances in technology have begun to eclipse the idea of HD movie discs in favor of streaming devices that allow access to the internet from your TV. Now, instead of purchasing physical discs of content you wish to access, you can stream almost anything from the internet onto your home theater screen. There are several strong options available for quality content at reasonable prices.
Roku was one of the first home streaming devices that connected HDTVs with the internet. With access to applications like Netflix, thousands of channels, and a comprehensive search function, Roku is one of the industry leaders for home theater streaming devices. The newest Roku 3 is much smaller compared to its predecessors and features an Ethernet port for fixed, consistent service. While the Roku is probably the most powerful streaming devices, it is also one of the most expensive. A cheaper, more stripped down version is available as the Roku Stick.
Amazon Fire TV
Amazon’s reach has been steadily expanding over the last few years. They’ve recently decided to enter the streaming device market. Their Fire TV platform is designed to compete with the Roku 3. It offers many of the same features at a similar size. It is designed to fully unlock all of the features of Amazon Prime. While it doesn’t feature as many apps as the Roku, it does come with an optional gaming controller and interfaces with Amazon for content. Much like its competitors, Amazon has also released a smaller, cheaper version called the Fire Stick.
Apple has long dominated any technology market it enters. Apple TV is no exception. It is one of the older competitors in this market and yet consistently remains on top in terms of features and performance. Aside from being able to stream the most popular content of its competitors, Apple TV is the only device specifically designed to integrate with iTunes, the iCloud, and all iPhones, Mac Books, and iPads. This is a huge bonus for anyone already using one of Apple’s wildly popular products as they can stream anything that they have on any of their devices to their home theater screen. Apple TV is priced competitively with the other streaming devices.
Google Nexus Player
A market wouldn’t be complete without Google throwing its hat into the race. Priced to compete with Roku, Apple, and Amazon, the Google Nexus player is sleek and unassuming yet packed with intuitive features you’ve come to expect from a company like Google. It lacks certain features of other streaming devices but also makes up for that with its attractive user interface, voice search functionality, and an optional gaming controller. Like its competitors, Google offers a smaller, more economical version called Chromecast.