Battle of the Boxes: Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV, Chromecast – Stephen Radford

A few years ago I “cut the cord”, cancelled my TV License and cable subscription. Back then I used a 3rd generation Apple TV with subscriptions to Netflix and Now TV alongside my vast number of YouTube subscriptions.

I’ve since tried what feels like every box or stick that displays web content on your TV. All have their own interfaces, experiences, content options, and trade offs. Which box works for you will depend on your requirements.

This article is by a developer in the UK, so it won’t apply as much to other countries, particularly the US, where there are more networks, and many networks and channels have apps for the Apple TV. But this comparison is very well thought out and worth reading if you’re thinking of cutting the cord.

One thing he doesn’t mention, however, is that a smart TV would do most of what he wants. My LG TV has apps for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Spotify, and many others. I don’t use Spotify, and use an Apple TV for Apple Music and my iTunes Store purchases. And I don’t particularly care about the UK channels, other than the BBC iPlayer, which my TV offers.

Previously, when I had a different TV that didn’t offer an Amazon Prime Video app, I bought an Amazon Fire. I no longer use it (and should probably put it up on eBay).

As for me, I haven’t had a “cord” in many years. We have digital broadcast TV, which I almost never watch, other than for news, and I don’t pay the extortianite price for satellite TV. I do pay a TV license, which Radford says he doesn’t pay for, but which is now required to use the BBC iPlayer. (Technically; I don’t think they can actually check if you have one when you’re using the iPlayer.)

Source: Battle of the Boxes: Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV, Chromecast

8 thoughts on “Battle of the Boxes: Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV, Chromecast – Stephen Radford

  1. Maybe it’s because I’ve been a Roku user for some time that I found it odd that the article only mentioned it once, at the end, as an additional choice, but that the author neglected to use and review one.

    Our household has three TVs (after all, it’s America, Kirk), all are “smart”. While it’s a safe bet that Apple, Chromecast, Amazon, Roku et al have their own ways to gather personal info, personally, I wouldn’t trust any of the current makers with access to my streaming and/or browsing habits. They are not in any way imaginable conducive to honoring my privacy.

    • The Roku doesn’t seem to get much love. I don’t often read about it. Personally, I’ve never had one, but then again I’ve never needed anything outside of what I mention in my comments above.

  2. Maybe it’s because I’ve been a Roku user for some time that I found it odd that the article only mentioned it once, at the end, as an additional choice, but that the author neglected to use and review one.

    Our household has three TVs (after all, it’s America, Kirk), all are “smart”. While it’s a safe bet that Apple, Chromecast, Amazon, Roku et al have their own ways to gather personal info, personally, I wouldn’t trust any of the current makers with access to my streaming and/or browsing habits. They are not in any way imaginable conducive to honoring my privacy.

    • The Roku doesn’t seem to get much love. I don’t often read about it. Personally, I’ve never had one, but then again I’ve never needed anything outside of what I mention in my comments above.

  3. “and use an Apple TV for Apple Music”

    Is it the newer Apple TV? How do you route the audio out without turning on the tv?

    I have Apple TV 3rd gen which has audio out, and happily use it to stream spotify without turning on the tv.
    But what when I will need to upgrade the ATV?

    • I use an AV amplifier, and essentially use the ATV as an AirPlay target, so I don’t need to do anything on the device. I control it with the Remote app on an iPhone or iPad.

  4. “and use an Apple TV for Apple Music”

    Is it the newer Apple TV? How do you route the audio out without turning on the tv?

    I have Apple TV 3rd gen which has audio out, and happily use it to stream spotify without turning on the tv.
    But what when I will need to upgrade the ATV?

    • I use an AV amplifier, and essentially use the ATV as an AirPlay target, so I don’t need to do anything on the device. I control it with the Remote app on an iPhone or iPad.

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