Streaming media nowadays is big business and we all love to curl up and relax with a great movie or get lost in a TV show box set at some point.
With the likes Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and YouTube the ability to watch great content in the comfort of your own home, when you want – is now more popular than ever.
What are Media Streamers / Media Players
For all of you wanna-be cord cutters out there, who may not own a Smart TV and are tired of paying hefty monthly Cable/Satellite subscription fees, a media streamer/player may be the perfect partner for your entertainment needs.
Media streaming players are small devices that are connected to your TV and are able to go online allowing you to stream films or TV shows from popular services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.
They provide an ideal way to view and listen to all types of multimedia on the big screen without being tied to expensive monthly contracts, making them an essential part of most home cinema setups.
Most media streamers have the ability to display content on your TV such as images, videos and MP3’s that are stored on another PC or hard drive that is connected to your network at home.
Great for viewing photos on a big screen during family gatherings or listening to your music collection in different rooms around the house – here is our list of some of the best media streaming devices to stream content to your TV:
Fire TV Stick With Alexa Voice Remote
Possibly one of the most popular options out there, the Amazon Fire TV stick rightfully deserves the reputation it has.
To start, its ease of setup and amazing array of “Skills” (functions which can be enabled to control and utilise various apps and devices) are updated constantly. Most of the popular apps and games are available and give the Fire TV stick that something for everyone appeal.
Its small compact size makes it perfect to carry around with you should you need to, simply plugging it straight into an empty HDMI slot on your TV, plug into a power supply, connect to your wifi network and you’re good to go. Continue watching where you left off.
The Alexa voice remote supplied with the stick allows you to launch apps, control multimedia content and search the likes of Netflix and Amazons vast collection of TV shows and movies all by your voice, thankfully its one of the most accurate voice searches found on any streaming media device. Amazon Prime members also get unlimited access to their music and video services which are integrated in the device.
Nvidia SHIELD TV Streamer
Built for the Google-Connected Lifestyle, powered by Android OS, the Nvidia SHIELD is an impressive beast. Enjoy movies, TV shows and games all with best-in-class 4K HDR or high-definition 1080p.
If you have ever gamed on a PC you would have no doubt heard of Nvidia. Here is one of the areas in which the Shield shines allowing you to enjoy the smoothest unlimited streaming of over 100 PC games from the cloud with GeForce NOW.
The Shield gives you access to exclusive Android games with the ability to cast your current PC games library from your GeForce GTX-powered PC straight to the Nvidia Sheild in another room.
If you decide to purchase an Nvidia Shield you will notice that there are various options such as a bundle with game controller or if you like to horde movie files, mp3’s and photos a more expensive Pro 500 GB Home Media Server version is also available.
The Nvidia Sheild lets you access the Google Play Store for a huge selection of apps, enjoy the likes of Plex, Kodi, Sling TV, HULU, HBO, ESPN, VUDU, Showtime, Pandora, Spotify, and much more available on the Android platform. With Netflix and Amazon Video displayed in stunning 4K HDR, plus YouTube, VUDU, Google Play Movies & TV, and many more video on demand services, in up to 4K.
The more adventurous of us out there can enjoy the shield’s advanced Google voice controls and commands with the Google Assistant allowing you to search for new movies and TV shows, launch apps and connect to and control your smart home all with the power of voice.
NOW TV Box
This little Now TV Box of tricks will give you access to Sky TV’s popular movie and TV channels on demand including Sky Atlantic, Sky Living and more.
How this works is on a no contract pay as you go basis where you can purchase individual passes for the content you require so for example there’s a Cinema Pass to access Sky Movies content.
Each of the individual passes allow you to purchase them for the duration you need so can be day or week passes, or even whole months are available. The great thing about Now TV passes it that they can be brought from most major supermarkets and online stores.
For information purposes, here is an idea of what you’ll get with each pass:
The Entertainment Pass lets you watch on demand content from Sky Atlantic, Sky 1, Sky Living, Sky Arts, FOX, Gold, ITV Encore, Comedy Central, MTV, Discovery Channel, Nat Geo Wild.
With the Kids Pass you can treat the little ones to the likes of Nickelodeon, Nick Jr, Nicktoons, Cartoon Network, Cartoonito and Boomerang.
For the sports buffs out there, the Sky Sports Pass gives you access to all of the latest major sports events and pay per views.
Another great feature of the Now TV box is that it gives you access to Free to Air catch-up TV services and on demand video providers such as BBC IPlayer, ITV hub, Channel 4 on demand, Channel 5 on demand, Youtube, Vevo.
Roku Express Streaming Player
The Roku Express gives you HD streaming of all your favourite content at an incredible price.
It gives you access to over 500,000+ movies, TV episodes, live network TV, and more across thousands of free or paid easy to install channels from the Roku channel store. Netflix, Amazon Video, NOW TV, ABC, Sling TV, and PBS KIDS the list goes on. You can also view the standard Free to Air catch-up TV and on demand services from BBC iPlayer, ALL 4, ITV Hub and Demand 5.
What’s beautiful about the Roku Express is it’s ease to setup and go making it perfect for new users, but powerful enough for seasoned pros out there. It’s integrated search allows you find content across all of your installed channels giving you the ability to Search by title, actor, or director and get unbiased results to stream your favourite content.
Another sweet feature of the Roku Express is it’s free Mobile App that allows you to turn your iOS or Android smartphone into the ultimate streaming companion.
To use the Roku mobile app, your phone or tablet must be connected to the same wireless network as your Roku device. It will then let you remote control your Roku player or search for things to watch with your voice or onscreen keyboard.
The mobile app also includes features like private listening, which lets you listen to audio from movies or shows through the headphone socket on your phone. Play on Roku is another great addition giving you the ability to play/view or “cast” videos, photos and music from your mobile phone straight to your big screen TV.
Well that concludes our list of best streaming media player devices. Don’t forget to go over to our TV & Home Cinema section for more reviews and guides.
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