Streaming Media Players have grown up in 2014. They are now less expensive & more powerful than ever!
Streaming Media Services like Netflix, Amazon Prime & Hulu now offer more content than ever & are even producing their own award winning original shows. Add in the explosion of Streaming Music Services like Pandora & Spotify, and a majority of U.S. homes now have at least one Streaming Media Player.
What is the best Streaming Media Player for your family to use for easy access to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, iTunes, etc. on your TV? The quick answer is it depends on your specific situation. Our review of the best Streaming Media Players for 2015 (Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV) also compares them to similar internet connected Cord Cutting devices (TiVo, HTPCs, Gaming Systems, Smart TVs), so you know all of your options. The Comparison Chart below should give you the answers that you need to make the right decision for you & your family, but if you need help or specific advice please use our Free Electronic’s Deal Finder Service.
Obviously on this site we will be looking at things from a Cord Cutting perspective, but this best Streaming Media Player Comparison Chart will also be a good resource for folks with Pay TV that are looking for better options for a 2nd room (no extra monthly cable box fee per room) or just a cable box add on. This comparison gives a high level overview for the average person & will focus on the differences between devices & skip the features that all Streaming Media Players have in common (wifi, HD, Netflix). If you want more details or to buy-simple click on the Streaming Media Player Device name at the top of each column. Each feature is rated from 0-10, 0 is bad, 10 is excellent.
|Feature||TiVo DVR & Streamer||Tablo w/ Roku DVR & Streamer||Channel Master DVR||Roku SMP||Fire TV SMP||Apple TV SMP||Smart TV||Xbox 1|
|Feature||TiVo DVR||Tablo DVR||Channel Master DVR||Roku SMP||Fire TV SMP||Apple TV SMP||Smart TV||Xbox 1|
|TV Guide & DVR||10||8||7||0||0||0||2||10|
|Live TV-Local News, Sports||10||10||10||0||0||0||10||10|
|Full Web Browsing||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Interface-Ease Of Use||9||7||5||6||6||6||2||5|
|Features & Flexibility||7||8||6||6||6||6||4||5|
|Play Personal Media||3||5||1||5||5||4||5||5|
|Anywhere Access To DVR & Movies||9||8||1||3||3||3||0||2|
|Audio & Video Connectivity||8||6||3||3||4||3||7||6|
|Overall Cord Cutting Score||9||8||4.5||8||6||5||5||5|
|Cord Cutting Summary & Recommendations||Only has the basic streaming options, but a great option for a unified whole home OTA DVR.||Can't hook directly to a TV & need to have a storage drive, but great whole home option when paired w/ a Roku.||Just a basic DVR, limited streaming services & need to pay extra to add on a DVR storage hard drive.||Low cost & a plethora of internet apps, Roku is highly recommended-the perfect companion for a MC PC!||Offers a fast SMP processor & a good User Interface, great if you have Prime.||Only recommended if you already have other Apple iDevices & have everything on iTunes.||Good for live TV, but poor Guide & no DVR. Poor UI & features compared to all other options.||Gaming device & SMP in kids, gaming or 2nd room-add TV tuner for OTA guide.|
On the surface Internet Connected Smart TVs & other Streaming Media Players seem to provide a good option to cut the cord. In reality they only work well in certain situations offering just a limited Cord Cutting solution that is difficult for some members of the family to use. In 2015 Streaming Media Players such as Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast & Fire TV are becoming more prevalent & offer another option to get TV, Movie & Entertainment content via some Internet Streaming Service Providers. However, for the most Robust & Easy To Use Cord Cutting Solution a HTPC w/a HD Antenna for live Network TV with is definitely your best all in 1 option to drop Cable or Satellite. TiVo Roamio DVR is also a top Cord Cutting option, but unless you want to pay $15/mo. the lifetime subscription total cost of $699 is pretty steep. Even the best Streaming Media Player that we reviewed still lacks Live TV & key cord cutting features (HD, DVR & TV Guide), and just isn’t as flexible or easy to use as a HTPC can be. Smart TVs offer live TV via switching TV inputs to Antenna, but have a clunky User Interface & limited internet apps. Some of the Top Streaming Media Players or Gaming Consoles will work as a partial solution & would be recommended if you are single, techy, or are just ok with a less convenient solution for TV & entertainment, but most only link paid TV streaming as opposed to free TV content.
TV is moving into a new era of streaming, so there are sure to be many more Streaming Media Players & Streaming Services in the near future for consumers to enjoy. If you are looking to Cut the Cable Cord, or have already cut the cord make sure you check out freeTVEE’s Comparison Chart Free TV Options Versus Cable & Satellite (a comparison of traditional Pay TV versus Free TV options like a HTPC or Streaming Media Player) & Contact Us for free help!