Smart Home

Currently testing: smart streaming

Apple TV Roku Remotes

Be honest: I bet you can’t tell these remotes apart.

One of my favorite parts about writing cool smart home stories? Testing a crazy number of devices. Right now I’ve been cycling a Roku Streaming Stick, Apple TV fourth generation, Amazon Fire Stick and Google Chromecast to see what each one has to offer. Here’s notes on my favorite features from testing.

Roku Streaming Stick // This one has been a favorite in our house. Roku has tons of apps, from paid subscriptions and free content apps, making it easy to watch basically any kind of content you can think of. It’s easy to navigate, comes with a cute remote, and the smartphone app includes a remote to easily type in passwords (or just to navigate the app if you misplace your remote!) Plus, it’s super affordable at just $49.

Apple TV // I’ve been a little slower to take to the Apple TV, but I’m really excited to try it out for the combination of streaming apps and regular iPhone-esque apps. As in, you can download apps besides content ones to the Apple TV. It mirrors the iOS experience with an Apple Store for content, games, health and more. I’m really excited to try out health & fitness apps—I’ve got one for yoga and one for meditation downloaded.

The native TV app on the Apple TV is great too since it brings together the content you’re watching on various apps (Netflix, HBO, CW, etc.) into one place. It’ll allow you to pick up where you left off, and let you know when there’s a new episode of the shows you like watching. Plus, there’s Siri voice search, which works really well.

Amazon Fire Stick // This one also has voice search through our friend Alexa. While I found the remote had a little more hiccups when using it, I liked how you could ask for things like weather or facts through Wikipedia, and the TV would present you with a on-screen graphic to read details, or see the weather for the week.

Google Chromecast // Chromecast is interesting because it’s remote free. You cast through your phone or computer, or if you have Google Home, you can connect the two and voice control it. I think Chromecast is best used with a Home — read more here!

Are you using any streaming boxes? What has your experience been?

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