Streaming video has been gaining mass appeal over recent years thanks to services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO GO, and more. It’s also been pushed by a youth audience that increasingly turns to the Internet instead of live TV viewing. There’s plenty of content to stream thanks to the mentioned services — everything from recent movies in HD to classic films in black and white, as well as many entire TV series in their entirety and brand new, exclusive TV series.
Of course, the problem with streaming is that you need a bit more than a screen and a cable cord. You may be able to use your computer or laptop, but getting the full experience on your TV would require more wires and a potential shift around of your hardware to set it up. If you’ve already got a video game console, you’re in luck, and can probably do without any additional streaming boxes since the modern consoles support applications for the most popular streaming services. However, computers and gaming consoles can cost a lot. That’s where streaming boxes come in.
Here’s a look at Findthebest.com’s 6 top-ranked streaming devices in the category that feature 1080p or 1080i HD video streaming capabilities for under $100. (note: all require an internet connection for full functionality)
At just about $30, Google’s device comes in as the cheapest of the top devices. It is essentially a wireless HDMI input and plugs straight into the HDMI port on a screen. It is controlled by smartphones, tablets, and computers which instruct it to pull media from the Internet onto the bigger screen, though it is also possible to send media directly from those devices. It supports Android, Apple’s operating systems, and PC. Get your Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player now.
5. Roku Streaming Stick:
This device falls a little more in the middle at $50. Though it’s similar in many respects to the Chromecast in how it works — as a wireless HDMI input — the price includes a controller, so it doesn’t require another device to function. Of course, it still can be controlled with a tablet or smartphone and act as an input for them. It also supports 7.1 channel surround sound. Order a Roku 3500R Streaming Stick today.
4. Apple TV (3rd Gen):
For this bigger box — it’s not a stick like the former two — the price jumps to just about $68, and that doesn’t include a required HDMI cable. It supports plenty of streaming services like the others, and can display personal content from other devices, but it’s limited to other Apple devices. Sorry, Android users. This device supports 5.1 channel surround sound. Follow the link to order your Apple TV.
3. Roku HD (2012):
This box makes for a good budget option. It’s an earlier year model, so it’s price has dropped and can be found for around $60, but it still maintains a high rating. Supporting 1080p HD resolution as well as 5.1 channel surround sound, it will ensure a quality experience. It supports the most popular streaming services, connects to the internet via WiFi (saving you the hassle of more cords), and can even do screen-casting, similar to the Chromecast device. Of course, being a 2012 model, it might be harder to find sitting on store shelves. However, you can still find the Roku HD Streaming Player online.
2. Amazon Fire TV:
At $99, this is a bit more expensive box, but it comes with even more, except still no included HDMI cable. The device features voice control and search, a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and a dedicated graphics processor — all which helps it support gaming on over 100 titles, with more to come, plus there’s an optional video game controller. It offers extra content for Amazon Prime users, and allows for sending content to the screen from mobile devices. For added speed and handiness, it predicts what you’ll want to watch and buffers it in advance. It supports 7.1 channel surround sound. Head to Amazon to purchase your Amazon Fire TV.
1. Roku 3:
At No. 1, the Roku 3 only costs about $84 thanks to its age (though a newer $99 model is available), and again it includes no HDMI cable at the base price. This device does come with a motion remote capable of being used for playing games and also allowing you to plug in headphones for personal viewing that doesn’t disturb anyone — the headphones are included. It has a dual-core processor for extra speed, and a MicroSD slot of storing more games and channels. It supports smart devices with iOS and Android as remote controls or lets them send content to the screen through the box. Like the Roku Streaming Stick, this one also supports 7.1 channel surround sound. You can buy the Roku 3 Streaming Media Player online.
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