Cutting the Cord: Streaming Box Conundrum

BlackMamba14

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 14, 2011
174
14
There are so many streaming box options that it’s a bit overwhelming. Especially when Roku, Google, etc have multiple tiers of products. Personally I’m trying to decide based on my ecosystems of Amazon and Apple. And looking for 4K content.

Would love to hear what streaming platform you went with and why you like or dislike the choice you made.

Thanks!
 

vertical smile

macrumors 601
Sep 23, 2014
4,018
5,217
I own every Apple TV model, Chrome Cast, Amazon Firestick and FireTV, and have Roku built-in on my 6-Series.

I place them in this order from best to worse for overall quality, design, UI, app availability, and user friendliness:

1. Apple TV 4K - Best for everything but price.
2. Roku
3. Amazon FireTV
4. Amazon Firestick
5. Chromecast - I just don't like it.

That being said, I think that ATV4k, while is by far the best of the bunch, it is overpriced and overpowered for what currently does. It could be used for so much more, and it might one day, but right now, it is an overpriced, overpowered Netflix and HBO streaming box.

If price is an issue, the Roku and Amazon devices, while not nearly as good as the ATV4K imo, are fully capable to use for the popular streaming apps. Once in the apps themselves, you will find very little difference between the streaming boxes.

I don't like Chromecast, I don't like having to "cast" everything. I like having an on screen UI and apps to pick from. I also like having a remote to use, and not having to use a computer or phone to control the device.

Apple's Siri Remote isn't for everyone and takes a little getting used to. I have been using it for over 3 years and it still drives me nuts. It is horrible for games, but you can get real controllers for the ATV to use for games.

You can also use the Remote Learning feature on the ATV and use almost any IR remote there is. I even programed my Roomba Robot's IR remote to the ATV just to see if I can. You lose some features using an IR remote like Siri, the "TV app" button, and some apps don't support it.

I have been a long time fan of the ATV, and while the ATV4 remains one of the most disappointing Apple devices ever (imo), it is still better than the competition, and Apple redeemed themselves a little bit with the ATV4K.
 

MasterControlOp

Suspended
Mar 28, 2019
69
40
There are so many streaming box options that it’s a bit overwhelming. Especially when Roku, Google, etc have multiple tiers of products. Personally I’m trying to decide based on my ecosystems of Amazon and Apple. And looking for 4K content.

Would love to hear what streaming platform you went with and why you like or dislike the choice you made.

Thanks!
Aren’t smart TVs the new way to get steaming content. All the services have apps for the smart TVs now, even the soon to be Apple TV+ will have an app for smart TVs.
As for services, I have Hulu, Netflix and amazon prime. They are all fine. Take a look at what their originals are...pick something that has shows that interest you.
 

archer75

macrumors 68030
Jan 26, 2005
2,764
1,314
Oregon
I own or have owned a ton of different streaming devices. And to best answer which one is right for you we'd really need to know more about you. Do you have a home theater and if so what are the stats? 4k tv? atmos/DTS:X? Just online streaming or local content?

I find that for most cases the ATV4k is the best out there. There's only one case where I use another device and that's for a local, 4k movie where I want atmos/DTS:X. The rest of the time I use my ATV.

For me the ATV has all the streaming services I care about. Just about all that's out there. 4k, Atmos for streaming, Dolby vision, HDR/SDR, framerate auto switching. A nicer interface than the rest. With infuse I can get HD audio from my local rips. While there is no 100% perfect streamer out there this one checks most of my boxes.
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Aren’t smart TVs the new way to get steaming content. All the services have apps for the smart TVs now, even the soon to be Apple TV+ will have an app for smart TVs.
As for services, I have Hulu, Netflix and amazon prime. They are all fine. Take a look at what their originals are...pick something that has shows that interest you.
smart tv's don't have anywhere near as many streaming services, they tend not to be updated as often, and how am I going to get lossless audio to the receiver? It's all about the home theater! A couple of tv's can do TrueHD over ARC. Or lossy atmos as far as I know. But I need lossless audio, lossless atmos and DTS:X and the ATV4k is wayyy cheaper than buying a new TV. The "smarts" in most smart tv's are pretty horrible in all but the more expensive tv's. The best i've seen is on my current LG OLED though I don't use it as I prefer my streaming devices.
 

Dave_O

macrumors member
Nov 16, 2018
55
16
I have both an Apple 4K TV and a Fire 4K stick. The Apple TV makes it easy to get rid of promotions, you can put all unwanted apps in an Extras Folder. Fire TV's UI is one huge billboard for Amazon. The Apple TV UI also seems more responsive. The big issue I found is in the 3 content provider apps I use, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and Hulu.

1. Netflix - Pretty much the same for both HW - See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Netflix-compatible_devices
2. Hulu - No support for 5.1 Audio on Apple TV, supported on Fire TV - See https://help.hulu.com/s/article/sound-quality?language=en_US
3. Amazon Prime Video - Full 5.1 support for Fire TV. While Amazon says the Prime Video App for Apple TV supports 5.1 audio, the reality is that many 5.1 videos play in stereo. Many discussions on Reddit and this site.