When was the last time you watched a video which buffered so much you barely understood what you were watching? What about music? Was there a time you listened to a song that stopped all the time you didn’t get to enjoy it?
For most millennials and Gen X-ers, streaming devices weren’t available a few years back. They would go on YouTube and watch a pixelated and heavy video that took too long to load. With the streaming devices available today, it’s impossible to imagine the patience you had enduring that sort of video buffering.
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What is a Streaming Device?
You’re familiar with streaming devices – Roku Streaming Stick Plus, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Google Chromecast, and the like. These streaming devices help you watch your favorite shows and movies on a streaming service with just the click of a button. But what exactly are they?
A streaming device is hardware that allows you to stream audio and video on your smart TV. They’re the small cube boxes you place in front of the TV that you will connect to streaming sites. These devices are connected to your internet through Wi-Fi or ethernet cable and they load all the data into their processor and onto your TV.
How Does a Streaming Device Work?
A streaming device works by connecting to the Internet and processing data coming from streaming services. If you haven’t noticed, it’s much like what videos and movies do when you watch them on your computer. The difference is that a streaming device is a standalone gadget that you connect to the streaming services directly.
To use a streaming device, you need to subscribe to streaming services. Some streaming services come with a monthly subscription, while some are free. For example, after you connect to your Internet, connect it to your TV and log in to your account on Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney Plus, or Hulu. Once you’re connected, you can now stream videos non-stop. ]
Why You Need a Streaming Device
What if you have a smart TV and can directly access streaming services from there? Why get a streaming device? Most people ask these questions because streaming devices can be redundant. While that much is true, that doesn’t mean it won’t add value to your watching experience. Here are three reasons why a streaming device is necessary.
It loads content faster
If you own a smart TV and have tried watching Netflix, you will notice that it will load and stop more than when you’re using a streaming device. Why? It’s because streaming devices are made specifically for streaming, meaning their processors are fast enough to keep up with the streaming services’ demands and requirements.
It has more available streaming services
Not all smart TVs can stream a lot of streaming services. Some have 1-2 sites available. With a streaming device, you gain access to more services at a more affordable price. It’s affordable because even if your streaming device becomes outdated, replacing it with a newer model will still be more affordable than replacing a new smart TV. Besides, streaming services are more focused on improving their technology for streaming devices than smart TVs.
It is safer in terms of the privacy
If you’re looking for a more private streaming medium, a streaming device offers more privacy and protection than a smart TV. For one thing, regardless of its type and model, each streaming device comes with a set of privacy policies that you can also look for on the manufacturer’s site. These privacy policies are what will protect you from other privacy issues. And if you end up having privacy issues, you have a solid base on which your case can be built.
What to Look for in a Streaming Device
A quick look at the best streaming devices for 2021 will show you that there are so many to choose from. If you have no idea what to buy, here’s a short guide on what factors to look for.
The first thing, and probably the most crucial factor you’re going to consider, is the platform. What is the brand you are comfortable with? What operating systems are you using? If you have an Apple TV, you will need an Apple streaming device (not that you can’t use other streaming devices), especially if you’re a heavy user of Apple TV or iTunes. This also applies if you have a Mac or an iPhone. On the other hand, it is better to use Android-patterned streaming devices if you have Android devices.
Choosing your platform is the first step in making your viewing experience comfortable and convenient. Each streaming device has its way of controlling and commanding, so you should make that your top priority.
Different streaming devices have their specific features. Today, one of the most important features is the ability to have a 4K resolution. Since most TVs are in this resolution, you want to buy something that can adapt to the new technology.
Looking at its compatibility features can also impact your viewing experience. Can it connect to your other home assistant devices? That’s something you have to check the specifications for.
In reality, you always need to look at the price. Even if you’re not price-sensitive, knowing if a streaming device is worth your money will save you all the hassle and frustration of having a device that isn’t up to your expectations. If you’re looking for a device that has almost every streaming service available, then the best brand to buy is Roku. Roku has different price points that can fit people with different budgets.
On the other hand, if you want a more high-end brand, then Apple tops this category. The most affordable model on their streaming device line costs as much as $149.
Overall, a streaming device provides a better experience when using streaming services. It’s faster and cheaper and made to adapt to newer technologies.