With the Roku Ultra and Amazon Fire TV Stick with Amazon Alexa Voice Remote already out, and the next generation of Apple TV on the way later this year, now is an excellent time to review your streaming media options. Check out a few options below, and let us know which is your favorite!
The Roku Ultra
The Roku Ultra is the full-featured streaming media box that lets you watch channels in 4K with HDR color, using Dolby audio. If you have the latest TV, this box is for you. The 5,000 channels/services include VUDU, Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, SlingTV, and PlayStation Vue to name a few. The Roku Ultra comes with a “point anywhere” remote with lost remote finder, voice search that works across 100+ channels, headphones, and a USB port for “local playback.”
Consumers have reported issues with the remote including difficulty pairing with the Roku Ultra.
Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote
The new Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote offers voice search using Amazon Alexa. If you subscribe to Amazon Prime, this is the best way to watch Amazon Video on TV. This Amazon Fire TV Stick offers 15,000+ apps, games, and “Alexa skills”. More than 140 channels include Amazon Instant Video, Crackle, HBO GO/NOW, Hulu Plus, Netflix, SHOWTIME, Slingplayer for Fire TV, Starz Play, and TiVo for Amazon Fire TV (Beta).
The Fire TV Stick offers only 1080p and does not support 4K/Ultra HD. Customers reference banner ads at the bottom of the screen and ads before videos play as well as poor quality voice search as reasons to avoid this device.
Apple TV (fourth gen) includes Hulu, DirecTV Now, YouTube, Netflix, HBO and Showtime and will offer an Amazon Prime Video app (in gen five). Apple TV pairs with AirPods wireless earbuds as of tvOS 11. Vevo has updated its app for Apple TV with new original content and Twitter has added live 360-degree video to its Apple TV app.
The Apple TV device is the most expensive piece of hardware on this list ($149 for the 32GB box and $199 for the 64GB device). The device has yet to offer 4K/UHD. Apple device and streaming media fans can only hope that the fifth generation Apple TV will come with 4K, HDR, and at least a 128GB hard drive to support Apple TV apps, which will reach 4GB in size. Industry onlookers also expect increased Siri voice control abilities. The number of new channels and services on Apple TV (gen five), other than Amazon Prime Video, is anyone’s guess.