In the past, if you wanted to watch content such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer or YouTube you would have to have a smart television. Nowadays all you need is a streaming device and you have instant access.
But which one should you buy? They all have benefits and drawbacks, so it really depends on what you want to view.
When streaming devices first appeared on the market, they were, understandably, expensive to purchase. Now that they have been around for a few years the price has dropped considerably, so it is a great time to invest in one.
So whether you are interested in live streaming, watching on-demand content such as films or boxsets, there’s a media streaming device for you.
Here are our views on the best ones:
BEST WINNER OVERALL
Roku Streaming Stick £29.99 was £39.99, Currys
For sheer content and the ridiculously low price of under thirty quid, the Roku Streaming Stick is our overall winner.
PROS – There are currently over 500 entertainment channels which include all sorts of content such as films, TV programs, sport, news, music and children’s programmes.
CONS – You cannot presently stream from smart devices and some customers have said their subscription charges are confusing.
BEST BUDGET BUY
If you love Sky, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t, but you are wary about contracts and taking on more subscriptions than you can afford, Sky Now TV is the second best way to view their content.
PROS – You get access to Sky’s amazing channels, such as Sky Atlantic with a package that includes Entertainment, Movies and Sports and all other on-demand services like BBC iPlayer and Demand 5.
CONS – Unfortunately the Now TV box does not support full HD 1080p content, instead you receive everything in the lesser 720p resolution. And there’s no Netflix or Amazon Prime.
BEST FOR EASE OF USE
Google Chromecast 2 : £30, John Lewis
If simple to use is your main concern then Google’s Chromecast will have you singing and dancing around the living room. As soon as you plug in you have instant access with no messing.
PROS – This new updated version has included support for more Wi-Fi streaming standards (including 802.11ac, 5Ghz) and increased the antennae in the device to three, providing optimal Wi-Fi streaming
CONS – Currently there’s not as much content as there is on other devices, also there’s no dedicated remote, which makes rewinding irritating.
BEST FOR FILM LOVERS
If you already subscribe to Amazon Prime, it makes sense to buy the Fire TV Stick. This way, you get all the content you are familiar with and it’s all in one place.
PROS – Great for people that love Amazon Prime and want a convenient way to access content.
CONS – If you are looking for something other than Prime and want more choice, you are better off looking elsewhere. This device is dedicated to Prime and all of Amazon’s service, so if you are not a fan, consider another device.
BEST FOR GAMES AND FILMS
Apple lovers will no doubt be drawn to this box, but does it deliver? Well, they have recently redesigned it to make it more user-friendly. It now has a new interface and includes more games and apps then before.
PROS – Users say that Apple TV is great fun to use, and as you would expect from Apple, there’s tons of choice in the App Store.
CONS – Users outside the US only get Netflix, iTunes and a ton of foreign content. Not really worth the money unless you are in the US.
With something for everyone, the Roku Streaming Stick gets our vote.