APPS & BOTS
Do you ever get tired of channel surfing and having nothing to watch? Do you feel like paying for a cable subscription is getting more pointless each day? Well then becoming a so-called cord-cutter might be just the thing you need. With the way things are progressing and the growing demand for entertainment, sometimes it’s better to skip the cable and go directly to the streaming sites. The News has compiled a few alternatives for you. Keep in mind you need the internet for all of these.
Chromecast is probably the simplest (and perhaps weakest) solution on the list. It will cost you $35 and it’s just a matter of plugging in the Chromecast USB into your TV’s HDMI. It gives you access to multiple streaming sites like Hulu, Youtube, Netflix, among others. You can also use Chrome on your computer to “cast” that content onto your TV.
Pros: Easy to Use, cheap
Cons: Needs a good internet connection, doesn’t have any content of it’s own, casting from Chrome needs improvement.
Apple TV is a micro console developed by Apple Inc. It’s easy to connect to your television via an HDMI cable. You can use Airplay or the Itunes Store to play Apple-bought content directly on your television. It comes with a remote control or you can download the Apple TV Remote from the app store. It can also access the regular streaming sites like Netflix, HBO, Hulu+, Youtube, etc.
Pros: If you’re an avid Apple user you can browse all your content on the Apple TV
Cons: More expensive than other brands ($150) despite having basically the same functions. While the newest version of the Apple TV is an improvement, it’s still a step down from the next item on our list.
Roku is another micro console digital media player. While it may seem like your typical service, it brings so much more. The latest model is a small black device without an annoying fan sound. It comes with an HDMI port, ethernet port, digital audio outport, microSD card port and a USB slot. Since it comes with a built-in media player you can play almost anything from your own media library. It comes with a control remote that has an earphone jack (for those late nights where you can’t sleep but don’t want to wake up the rest of the house with the sound of the television) and voice search. The remote has two extra buttons at the bottom for gaming purposes and four other bottoms for specific sites. It has a quad-core processor, full 4K output, and support for both HDR and Dolby audio so performance-wise it does pretty well. It is priced at $130.
Pros: More Channels that you know what to do with (3,500 channels), ability to organize them so your favorites are at the top of the list and 4K resolution is always a plus.
Cons: Doesn’t come with an HDMI, the four buttons (Hulu, Netflix, Showtime, Sling) might be overkill for some people.
Of course for you to get the best out of the above options you should subscribe to a streaming site. Nowadays pretty much every network has their own particular app (although you need a TV provider for most of the cable-network ones like ABC, NBC or FOX). Here we’ll take a look at the biggest ones.
Pretty much everyone who has the means to get Netflix, has Netflix nowadays. It’s unparalleled when it comes to its collection of television shows and movies. It’s also the home to a lot of popular original series like House of Cards, Sense 8, Stranger Things and ever-popular Netflix/Marvel series (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage). The cost is from $8 to $12, depending on how many people can use the account at the same time.
Pros: No Commercials, available Worldwide
Cons: Not every show is on every country’s Netflix, having to sometimes wait for the season to end for it to be on Netflix
When it comes to television shows, Hulu is a great option. It comes with a free version, a $8 a month and a $11 a month version.
Pros: Shows available the day after aired, some shows have a Hulu-Exclusive contract
Cons: Commercials, U.S.-based
Amazon Prime Instant Video has a lot of content, from popular shows like The Royals or The Expanse to it’s original series like the critically acclaimed Mozart in the Jungle or the Man in the High Castle. It costs $99 a year, but you can try the free Prime Trial for 30 days. And of course it gives you all the other benefits like two-day shipping and access to Kindle unlimited and audible.
Pros: Includes Premium Channels like Starz and Showtime, outstanding video quality, access to all other Prime Benefits, you can try the 30 day trial to see if you like it before you pay for it
Cons: Not available in as many platforms as the other two, you can’t pay month-to-month, searching for content is not as easy as with the other two