TV through cable companies used to be the norm only a few years ago. Now, the world has seen amazing developments in technology and connectivity, which has taken TV to the next level. So, should we all fire our cable companies and enjoy the benefits of a set-top TV box?
With consumer viewing habits changing, the days of the subscription cable companies are surely numbered. The power of the set-top box cannot be measured, nor compared with classic cable TV at present but that could all change very soon. The diversity of channels and programs on offer are far greater but do we really need so much choice, not to channels full of mention re-runs?
In reality, set-top boxes are a practical solution that adds to your convenience and ease of choice. Not to mention they’ll save you a ton of money in the long run if you shop around. However, it is important to make the right choice and choose a set-top box that delivers what you need and caters for your demands, not to mention is future proof if you want a real value and return on your investment.The world is overwhelmed with set-top boxes, making the decision process a minefield.
Here’s the list of the 6 best set-top boxes currently available on the market:
The Roku is a real set-top box powerhouse. It packs a quad-core processor with 60fps 4k ultra-HD viewing capability, boasting an easy-to-use and practical operating system. When it comes to channels… from Netflix, HBO, Amazon Instant, Hulu, Sky News, ESPN, Spotify, Pandora to many others, the Roku box packs some impressive choices.
The best thing about it is that it works at an impressive speed and doesn’t actually matter which service you decide to use from Amazon, Google Play or pay-per-view elsewhere. Flexibility is the key! And at an affordable price tag of $119, this is definitely a no-brainer.
Chromecast is probably the most affordable on-demand device for your TV. The latest incarnation comes with a versatile and completely fresh design, whilst keeping the same low price.
The only feature lacking is that it doesn’t support a remote control. Aside from that, this USB powered device offers the functionality of boxes that are three times its size yet for a fraction of the cost. You can enjoy the endless variety of TV programs, shows and movies with Chromecast so it’s a great option at a low price.
3. MAG 250/254
The highly popular MAG 250/254 set-top boxes, also available under the award-winning Blade Stream brand, lets you unlock a whole world of possibilities. Surfing the Internet with total security using your local network, pausing, recording and rewinding live content, plus access to on-demand services are just a few of the impressive features of this TV box, not to mention to remote and HDMI connectivity.
The MAG 250/254 comes at a reasonable price of around $90 for the box and remote however, to get access to various premium television networks usually requires a subscription to a third-party service provider. Aside from that, it also lets you play content from your USB storage devices and allows streaming. So buying a MAG 250/254 box gives you great bang for your buck.
4. Nvidia Shield Android TV
If you are a gamer, there is probably no better option than to combine your gaming experience with a set-top box. The best thing here is the availability to stream your gaming.
And when it comes to the Nvidia Shield, it is a powerful machine with a great game selection. It also offers you seamless 4k video processing and a controller instead of a remote device, allowing you to play hundreds of PC-quality streaming titles brought to you by GeForce Now, Nvidia’s leading game streaming service.
5. Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Fire TV is one of the leading set-top TV boxes people consider for the best user experience and value. Although it comes with no universal search, it is definitely one of the most responsive set-top boxes that allow 4k ultra-HD playback.
On top of that, the Fire TV by Amazon packs a great array of games and apps under the hood and comes with stellar internal components for game streaming. At a price of $99.99, it is the quickest and newest 4k set-top box by Amazon, so definitely worth considering.
6. Apple TV
Apple’s set-top box has been one of the pioneers in the IPTV industry. An interesting fact is that its 4rd generation is not as pricey as most Apple products, retailing around $65.
If you are wondering why Apple TV is a set-top box worth considering, then you should know that it has improved a great deal in recent revisions and now has integrated Siri voice recognition included. When it comes to programs, it combines a lot of vendors including YouTube and Netflix – but also some cult TV and movie classics from the last decade in the Apple Store.