The Pogue Review: Streaming Devices

The Pogue Review: Streaming Devices


DAVID POGUE: This is the internet. The Cloud, if you will. This is where you’ll find Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, HBO Now. This is your TV. These are streaming TV boxes, designed to bring this to this. Unless of course, your this already has this built in. [MUSIC PLAYING] They all work pretty much alike. HDMI cable, power. Then you enter your account info for Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and so on, letter by letter, and you seriously consider pulling your fingernails out. In the end, mainly these boxes differ in the details. Like the Amazon, Apple, and Roku boxes let you search for shows and videos by voice. Tom Hanks. That is a big, big deal, because it means you don’t have to search for things like that. Apple and Amazon let you ask non-video questions about sports, news, and weather like, how did the Cavaliers do? COMPUTER: On Saturday the Cavaliers bet the Nets, 90 to 88. DAVID POGUE: Apple TV has by far the most sophisticated voice commands. Show me Jean-Claude van Damme movies from the ’80s. Of course, nobody would actually use that example. The Chromecast is dirt cheap, $35, and it doesn’t add any clutter to your TV set up. The catch is you have to use your smartphone as the remote control. Apple and Amazon let you download apps, including a few simple games. If it were me, I’d care most about the price of the box and which services it can bring you. Like, the Apple TV is the only one that can access Apple’s own movie and TV stores, but it can’t access Amazon’s. The Roku 3 is my favorite. It has a headphone jack on the remote, so you can listen without disturbing those with less refined tastes in TV. And it’s $100; that’s 2/3 the price of the Apple TV. For $30 more, you can get the Roku 4, which adds 4K video reception for the six people in America who have 4K televisions. It also has a handy remote finder. [BEEPING] So to recap, the Google Chromecast is a spectacular deal for $35. The Amazon Fire TV makes it very easy to find Amazon’s own free offerings if you’re a prime member. The Apple TV is great if you’re part of the Apple ecosystem– Macs and iPhones. And the Roku, well, let’s put it this way– Roku is Japanese for six. But in my book, it’s number one. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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