Roku offers a media app based interface. One thing you need to know about it is that there is a very large difference in performance between the cheapest and the most expensive Roku. With each price increase, processing power is greatly increased. This means that in the more expensive models, you will experience less loading time and will be able to more smoothly navigate the interface. The premier, premier plus, and the ultra all can stream in 4k. Here is a full list on the differences between all the models.
Prices range from $49.99 to $160.00
You can buy it from bestbuy.com
Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra
The Chromecast offers one of the best ways to inexpensively stream media to your TV. All media is sent to the TV via the app on your phone. You simply open the app, touch the Chromecast button, and select which device to play it on. In addition to movies and TV shows, your Chromecast can also cast your pictures from Google photos, your whole phone screen or even a browser from your laptop. Besides the price the only difference between the two options is the $35 dollar chromecast streams video in HD vs the Ultra $70 dollar version streams in 4k.
Like most things apple, if you own other apple devices, this well polished interface should feel just like home, between using Siri to search for content and using the familiar looking apps the Apple TV. Unlike all the other boxes before this one, the Apple TV can play many iOS games using the provided controller.
Nvidia Shield – Android TV
The Nvidia Shield TV is very multi-functional, and can be described in 3 different parts.
The first part is a Chromecast Ultra, this machine can do everything a Chromecast Ultra can do.
The second is a traditional Android TV, like the Apple TV and Roku, it offers access to content via apps. Most Android games are also available and it is the only one of the bunch that comes with a gaming controller.
The 3rd part of the Shield TV is the ability to play PC games over the network if you have a newer Nvidia graphics card on your gaming PC. In addition to streaming games from your PC, you can also subscribe to Nvidia’s streaming service and have access many more games over the internet.
Coming soon (in the next few months) nvidia will be pushing an update to enable another cool feature. Google assistant will soon be fully integrated. This will allow the shield to act as a google home.
There is no bad device in this list to get. All of them will give you an alternative to cable. If you want the machine that does the most from apps to gaming and even to setting it up as a server, the Nvidia Shield is in a class of its own. If you are in the apple ecosystem and enjoy the comfort that familiarity gives, Apple TV would be your choice. For those who don’t want to spend a lot and have access to all the same media apps, Chromecast gets you started for only 35 bucks. Last but not least, there is the Roku. It’s not quite as polished as an Apple TV and not quite as robust as an Nvidia Shield TV but still delivers great streaming for less than either of the two.