We have seen them, the people proclaiming from the rooftops that they are giving up their cable services and instead streaming TV from the internet. People are deciding the monthly cost of paying for Comcast Xfinity or DIRECTV is simply too much. They instead are turning to services like Hulu Plus and Netflix for a low monthly cost around $8 each.
Which one of these devices should you pick? Each offers its own list of pros and cons.
The latest in the Roku devices, the Roku 3 is set out to be the biggest competitor against Apple TV. Roku 3 features a new processor, claiming to be at least five times faster than their previous flagship device, the Roku 2 XD. The 1080p HD capable device features dual band Wi-Fi and more than 750 channels with a new user interface layout and ability to stream services like Netflix, Hulu Plus and Pandora.
This device features new innovations including a remote control with a headphone jack, allowing its user to have private listening while streaming, and motion control for easy use while playing games.
One downside of this stout device some will find annoying is the lack of YouTube and poor local file support.
What competition would be fair if Apple wasn’t there? Apple TV, created by the same people that brought you the iPhone and Mac, features a user interface that is stark and clean. The device features the same A5 processor found in the iPhone 4S, and 1080p HD streaming. The hockey puck-like box allows users who use other Apple products functionality other devices cannot. These functions include the opportunity to stream your media from your iPhone or iPad to your TV, dual screens, and mirroring from your mobile devices and computer, basically turning your television into a second screen for easier viewing.
While the device offers clean user interface controls and compatibility with other Apple devices, Apple TV has a downside as well. There is considerably less content for streaming compared to Roku 3, and the over-simplified remote.
Before you say it, yes, this is a gaming console. While some view the PS3 as simply a gaming platform, there is a growing trend of people that are using it as there home theater Swiss Army Knife. The device allows users to play games, watch DVDs and Blu-rays and yes, run streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus.
Due to the open nature of the system, it does not require a monthly payment to access the internet. The system is easily navigated using the game controller and the simple internet connection.
Rounding out another gaming center jack-of-all-trades system is Microsoft’s contribution to the gaming world. The original Xbox 360 was one of the first systems to really challenge Sony’s stronghold on television consoles. The system allows its users easy navigation with a Windows Live tile interface and downloadable content.
However, like all good things there is a checkmark in the cons side of the list. Xbox 360 requires a monthly fee of $8 to access the internet based apps like Netflix or Xbox Live. After the fee, the users must also pay for the services they want to stream.