When was the last time you watched a video that buffered so much that you couldn’t understand what was going on? What about in terms of music? Have you ever listened to a song that kept stopping and you didn’t get to enjoy it?
Streaming devices were not available to most millennials and Gen Xers just a few years ago. They’d go to YouTube and watch a video that was both pixelated and heavy, taking an excessive amount of time to load. With today’s streaming devices, it’s difficult to imagine the patience you had to endure that kind of video buffering.
You’ve probably heard of streaming devices like the Roku Streaming Stick Plus, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Google Chromecast. These streaming devices allow you to watch your favorite shows and movies on a streaming service with a single button press. But what are they, exactly?
A streaming device is a piece of hardware that lets you stream audio and video from your computer to your smart TV. They’re the small cube boxes that go in front of the TV and connect to streaming services. These devices connect to the internet via Wi-Fi or an ethernet cable, then load all of the data into their processor and display it on your TV.
How Does It Works?
Connecting to the Internet and processing data from streaming services is how a streaming device works. If you haven’t noticed, it’s similar to what happens when you watch videos and movies on your computer. A streaming device, on the other hand, is a stand-alone device that you connect directly to streaming services.
You must subscribe to streaming services in order to use a streaming device. Some streaming services require a monthly fee, while others are completely free. For instance, after connecting to the Internet, connect your TV to it and log in to your Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney Plus, or Hulu account. You can now watch videos indefinitely once you’ve connected.
Does it make sense to have?
As I previously stated, the main reason for switching to a separate streaming player is that the software on your smart TV is slow, out of date, or lacks app support. However, there are a few other reasons why you might want to skip the smart TV feature right away:
- More hardware options: Because Apple doesn’t make smart TVs, a separate Apple TV box is the only way to get the most powerful streaming device available today, one with a refreshingly ad-free interface. Similarly, if you’re looking for a high-performance Android TV player, the Nvidia Shield TV is unrivaled.
- Extra features: Unless you purchased your TV based on its software, you may find yourself lusting after the features of external streaming players. Roku, for example, has a great mobile app with private headphone listening and a “Save List” for keeping track of your favorite shows, while Fire TV has a useful live TV guide that combines multiple video sources into one menu.
- If your TVs all run on different software, you might want to consider unifying them with external streaming players. You’ll have a consistent viewing experience across all of your televisions this way. Some streaming platforms, such as Amazon Fire TV and Google TV, even allow you to sync your watchlists across all of your devices and play multi-room audio on multiple TVs at the same time.