The rise of subscription TV services has disrupted and radically changed the way we access and consume entertainment. In our last blog, we went over just how the industry is changing, and how embracing the subscription TV market has changed the landscape of TV viewing. Now the power is in your hands, and less and less in the hands of the the cable companies. This trend is only likely to continue, and gain tremendous ground as these services improve and provide you with access to more and more choice.
So, you’ve decided to go for it. Welcome to the 21st century of entertainment. Now what?!? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this blog, we’re going to take a brief look at what services are out there, and what they have to offer.
Simply put, if you’re an Apple loyalist through and through, this is probably the one you want. Apple TV offers many of the apps on your iPhone, iPad, and MacBook, and is growing every day. The newest version, released in October, 2015, is their best version yet and comes with a voice capable remote for easy searching through your favorite apps.
If you’ve acquired lots of music, TV shows, and/or movies through iTunes, then Apple TV will give you access to all of those seamlessly. Even if you’re not heavily invested in Apple products, Apple TV is a good choice for its range of services, easy setup, and fluid accessibility that Apple is renowned for.
Roku offers several devices for streaming; each with various functions and capabilities.
For the best value with what it has to offer, the Roku Streaming Stick is an excellent choice for accessing multiple services and navigational ease. However, it is only available through a Wi-Fi connection, so if you prefer to connect through an ethernet cable, you’ll have to upgrade.
If you’re really on the cutting edge, and want a subscription TV device that can handle 4K and HDR (High Dynamic Range), then the Roku Premiere+ is the only way to fly. With much greater access to 4K and HDR programming than most Smart TV apps, the Premiere+ is also in the top-tier of app accessibility and ease of use.
Cheaper than the Roku Stick, Google Chromecast offers a lot of value at very little cost. If you’re new to subscription TV, this is an excellent way to test the waters with minimal investment on your end. Google Chromecast works with both Android and iOS tablets, which you’ll need to use as a remote, since it doesn’t come with one. Also, its small size makes it easily transportable to use on the go, and anywhere there is a decent Wi-Fi connection and an HDMI adaptor.
Google Chromecast Ultra, however, is another beast entirely. Ultra provides both 4K and HDR access, and is also compatible with Dolby Vision HDR, something which the Roku Premiere+ isn’t capable of yet. However, you’re still accessing it through a tablet, and Amazon Video, which has an abundance of 4K and HDR content, isn’t accessible through it, like the Roku Premiere+ is. Nonetheless, the Ultra is a great addition to the 4K and HDR market, and we wouldn’t be surprised if it surpasses all 4K and HDR capable products in the future.
Amazon Fire TV
Let’s start with the Amazon Fire TV Stick. One of the best stick devices out there, the Fire Stick provides easy access to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, and many other services. Also, this option provides you with a voice remote at less cost than the other devices.
Amazon Fire TV surely lives up to its name. If you prefer Amazon’s content over all others, and want a wide selection of 4K TV, then Amazon Fire TV is the subscription TV service you’ve been looking for.
Also, if you’ve had us add Amazon Alexa to your Smart Home, then Amazon Fire TV is just another amazing feature for seamless voice control.
H3: What You’ll Need for any Subscription TV Service
Whatever you decide, you’ll need a solid internet connection to provide you with the best streaming experience possible. 5Mbps works for most, but, if you’re going to go the 4K or HDR route, 15Mbps is the minimum connection you’ll need to stream, with most requiring 25Mbps, which is the new standard for broadband internet.
Whatever your needs, and whatever you decide, we hope this helps shed some light on all there is out there. And, as always, we’ll be there to help you maximize your home entertainment potential.