How to buy a media streamer in 2018Confused about which Roku, Apple TV or Amazon Fire should be your next streamer? CNET's David Katzmaier has some advice.
[MUSIC] Right now there's about four big players on the streamer market. There's Roku, which has the largest number of streamers and is the most popular platform. There's Apple TV, which is very specialized cuz it's much more expensive than the others. There's Amazon Fire TV, which of course puts forward Amazon services [UNKNOWN] Alexa. And then there's Google Chromecast. Google has the ability to plug into a TV and use your phone as the main interface. Well, it used to be that different apps had different support on different devices, but now pretty much every device has every app. So the main things I look at are response times, speed of operation and how each app performs differently on each device. Sometimes Netflix, for example, will be a little bit slower or faster on certain apps I also look at not just the performance itself, but the way that the device itself is priced compared to the features that it offers. It's usually getting cheaper and cheaper every day, you can get one as cheap as 30 bucks. So you can actually get a really capable speaker for that amount of money. If you wanna spend up more, you can get features like remote control capability, voice control, the ability to work with Alexa and other digital assistants. And all the way up to the Apple TV 4K, which Has 4K resolution, HDR and Dolby vision capabilities. [MUSIC] It really does pay you to get a 4K streamer if you have a 4K TV. The least expensive ones are about 60 bucks these days. And they allow you to get the best video quality on the services that support it, like Netflix and Amazon Video. Just like with 4K, I do consider HDR really important if you're having TV that does support it. The thing to consider though is that, Dolby Vision is only available on the Apple TV for case. If you have a TV with Dolby vision you might want consider that box. Alexa works very well with Fire TV. It allows you to control the TV and the stream of directly using just your voice. So you can ask for [UNKNOWN] and movies for example, and if you have a Google home you can do the same thing with Chromecast, Netflix, and YouTube work particularly well with that device. A lot of remotes that come with the streamers allow voice control as well as opposed to talking into thin air. So the Apple TV has a Siri based remote. You can talk into it and ask for things like search terms and get it to fast forward for example. The Amazon Fire TV also works again with Alexa via the remote. Roku itself has some controls using search on the remote and a couple other basic functionalities, but not as developed as the others. So the least expensive streaming device now are actually streaming sticks. They plug right into the back of a television and you really don't see them at all, their remote control operates with a wireless technology that allows you to basically drive them around without having to see the streamer at all. The more advanced ones like Apple TV and the highest end Roku are boxes still. The advantage there is you can plug ethernet cable into them, they have a little bit more capabilities, but it's not going to be as hidden as the streaming stick form factor. Streamers are for everyone, you can really use one even if you have a smart TV or a game console The reason is because they're updated a lot more frequently than other devices. They also have a lot more apps. So you're gonna get the most bang for your buck with streaming. [MUSIC]