Roku VS AppleTV VS Chromecast VS Wii VS Blu-Ray; which is the best for you?

#1
Streaming TV, the average users alternative to over-priced cable. With cable companies it was easy to select, pick the best choices for the best price. Streaming is a whole different ballgame. You have a choice between devices AND a choice between services. This will be a review of the devices themselves, to help you take the first step to streaming television.

If you are looking for a detailed comparison of the two major streaming services (Hulu and Netflix) check out this head-to-head. http://www.dtvusaforum.com/blogs/fa...rison-average-consumer-hulu-plus-netflix.html



Roku (Roku3HD)

PRICE:$99

Now in it's third generation Roku, once a small start-up in Saratoga, CA released its' first streaming box in 2008. Since that time there have been major changes and upgrades to its hardware. This player now includes motion-controls, HD streaming, HDMI output, a USB-port, and a new wifi remote. Roku has added a wide-variety of new features hoping to draw in a wider-audience, but is more always better.

Services available on Roku:
Netflix, Amazon Instant, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Flikr, Pandora, MLB.TV, Amazon Cloud Player, and Vudu

PROS:
HDMI
Free channels, including: Syfy, PBS, Lifetime, and Fox News
Most frequently updated with new content
HD version available

CONS:
Limited or no connectivity to other devices
Absolutely no way to access live-programs
Difficult to stream personal media
Limited selection of games, and none worth playing
No Google Play
No football, no hockey, no basketball
WHO should buy:
Less-tech savy users who want streaming without all of the bells-and-whistles, and do not care about connectivity

OVERALL: 6.5/10
A year ago if you asked which streaming box to buy the answer would always be Roku, but hardware changes are not enough to keep a product on top. This is still a good buy for a consumer with no expectations about streaming, and limited interests, but if you were hoping to get all streaming has to offer, and sports, and some live-programs keep reading this one's not for you




Apple TV

PRICE:$99

The first of the modern streaming devices, Apple (as the case with most of their products) has listened to user feedback and improved with the consumer's demands. If you are looking for a streaming device that does more than just stream, AppleTV offers connectivity which opens your TV to just about anything.

Services available on Apple TV:
iTunes Store, Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Flickr, iCloud, MLB.tv, NBA League Pass, NHL GameCenter, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Vevo, Smithsonian Networks, The Weather Channel, ABC, PBS, WatchESPN, HBO GO, Sky News, Crunchyroll, Qello or any Mac OS X or Windows computer running iTunes

PROS:
Sports (yes all of them)
Connectivity to your computer via wifi (access to videos on the web)
Very user-friendly menus
AirPlay (play anything from any device wirelessly)
More internet radio than anyone else

CONS:
No Hulu (unless you stream wirelessly from computer or phone via AirPlay

WHO should buy:
Anyone looking for a full-service streaming device. The largest variety of programs and connectivity available through this type of product

OVERALL: 9/10
When it comes to ease of use, and user-friendly devices Apple cannot be beat. The AppleTV is the best stand-alone streaming box you can buy, hands-down. There may be less free channels than Roku, but these are channels you will actually watch (like Disney) and would normally pay for. Combined with the ability to connect to any Apple device seamlessly makes this much more cmpatible for the average home. And you can stream content from your phone without ever leaving the couch.



Chromecast

PRICE: $35

The littlest of the major streaming devices is not bigger than a decorative USB stick. Just plug straight into your HDMI port and youre already streaming, and never have to look a an ugly box. Made by Google, this newer entry to the streaming world is already found a huge following in a crowded market. Its simplicity and size will keep this popular as long as streaming TV.

Services available on Chromecast:
YouTube, Netflix, Google Play Music, Hulu, HBO Go, Pandora, Realplayer and Google Play Movies & TV

PROS:
Size, at less than 3 inches long this will fit behind your TV no matter where yu have it
Supports (almost) anything available on Google Chrome
Connectivity to phone and computer
Allows for multi-tasking
Tab casting (TV represents a tab on your Chrome browser
Price (cheapest of all 3)

CONS:
Limited free channels and apps
No remote (must use a bluetooth or wifi device)
No MLB or ESPN (unless you stream through the web)

WHO should buy:
Anyone looking for streaming TV and access to almost all features ofther players for the best price available

OVERALL: 7.5/10
While the features are not all there yet, Chromecast makes up for it in size and connectivity. Like the Apple TV this device allows access to the internet limiting your watching only by the imagination. Plus at the price this device sells itself




Wii

PRICE:$99 (Wii mini bundle with Mario Kart)

Not only a streaming device, but a gaming system as well. The Wii has practically sold itself since it hit the market. The combination of motion controls and wifi accessability, and gaming makes this an all around great system. Not to mention you can find them bundled with extra controllers and games for under $150.

Services available on Wii:
Netflix, Amazon Instant, ESPN, Hulu Plus, Flikr, Google Play, Crackle, Pandora, MLB.TV, Amazon Cloud Player, internet browser, and Vudu

PROS:
Plays games
Offers more major streaming services than Roku
Point-and-click remote
Ability to "hack" system to allow access to thousands of apps and games for free

CONS:
Apps take longer to load (only the menu screen)
Some minor connection issues with Hulu
Does make some noise when running (with TV sound on you cant hear it)

WHO should buy:
Someone looking for hours of entertainment. At the same cost as Apple or Roku you ALSO get a complete gaming system

OVERALL: 9/10
The only points being lost here are for the loading times of some services. If you want a streaming device that gets more than just Netflix and Hulu the Wii is the best option. Gaming and TV all on one device, similar to the PS and XBox, allows a user all their favorites entertainment options in one package



Blu-ray Players (Panasonic in this case)

PRICE: $49.99 for Smart Blu-ray Panasonic

Most blu-ray players are now featuring most, if not all, streaming services on a device that also plays physical media. Like the Wii, a blu-ray player gets you so much more than a streaming box. The wifi connection proves just as fast, and if you want true high-def put in a 4k blu-ray and witness perfection.

Services available on Blu-ray:
Netflix, Amazon Instant, ESPN, Hulu Plus, Flikr, Google Play, Crackle, Pandora, MLB.TV, Amazon Cloud Player, internet browser, and Vudu

PROS:
Plays blu-ray/dvd
Faster speeds than Chromecast
Remote includes keyboard
SuperHD support (4k reslution)
3D content supported (only streaming device that offers besides PS)

CONS:
Can be noisy
Wifi set-up can be confusing

OVERALL: 9/10
 
#2
I apolgize for cutting the last section of the Blu-ray review short, I accidentally posted before adding the last bit. But a blu-ray should be somewhat self explanatory, if you want physical and digital media a blu-ray is your best choice
 
#3
If anyone was interested in my personal choice as the victor it is hands down...

THE WII

It plays games and does everything Roku, AppleTV, or Chromecast do. There aren't Wii exclusive channels or a radio service, but if streaming television is your goal Wii does all this and more
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#4
Really?? The WII?? The thing I love about the Chromecast, Apple TV, and Roku is that they're so easy to mirror content from your PC with.
 
#5
And how exactly is the Wii not capable of this? Roku has no connectivity to my computer, but with my SD card firmware upgrade I can connect my computer and Wii with ease. Roku, Chromecast, and AppleTV do not support independent programming and firmware, whereas my Wii supports literally endless possibilities of homebrew.
 
#6
@Fan-Boy,
We have the old-school WII and never got the "networking pack" that you had to get at the time to get it online. By the "noise" mentioned in the review, is that just the noise from the box running?
 
#7
CaliTVguy;bt1610 said:
@Fan-Boy,
We have the old-school WII and never got the "networking pack" that you had to get at the time to get it online. By the "noise" mentioned in the review, is that just the noise from the box running?

I was #1 in line at Circuit City on opening day, so my Wii is about as old-skool as it gets. You can still download it, or load it via an SD card. Ive been using consistently since the release way back when and Ive never had a networking issue (I even hooked it up to the internet in my dorm room and nobody was online yet)
 

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