If the only streaming you’re doing is using a platform like Netflix that may have come pre-loaded on your new smart TV, you may be wondering if you’re missing out on more content. Maybe you have a Roku, or an Apple TV and you wonder if there’s more streaming options out there on some of those other platforms? So, what do Apple TV, Roku, and Google Chromecast all have that you might not be getting? If you’re wondering if you should also invest in another external streaming device or two, here are some cases where it just might make sense to have more than one.
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Streaming TV: Which channels do you want?
Before you make too many decisions about a external streaming device, you’ll want to inform yourself about what streaming channels are out there, and decide which ones are most important to you. Some folks might not be interested in watching Crunchy Roll, for example, while for others having Reuters TV or HBO would be a huge asset. For most folks, having access to Netflix and YouTube is a top priority, and the good news is those two platforms are available on pretty much every streaming device out there.
There are some other relatively new services; CBS has rolled out its own streaming channel, CBS All Access (on Roku, Chromecast and Apple TV) and Amazon Prime Video is now carried on Apple TV.
Decide what shows or channels you’re hoping to get access to, and search to see which platforms have it available. It might be that you’ll need a different streaming device.
Streaming TV: Is casting or screen mirroring important?
Another important question to ask when deciding which streaming platform you want to go with is which smartphone do you use? It will actually make somewhat of a difference whether you prefer Apple or Android, since you can usually only share your smartphone’s screen to a compatible device; Apple To Apple for example. If you’ve got a whole bunch of Android devices in the house, including an Android phone, getting an Apple TV might be frustrating if you ever want to use your smartphone alongside it.
Streaming TV: Do you have a mix of Android & Apple devices at home?
If your home is like so many other homes where there’s a mix of both Apple and Android devices being used in the house, this is a great reason to have more than one streaming platform available, and since the prices for devices like Google Chromecast and Roku’s basic Streaming Stick are quite reasonable, you can probably afford to have more than one device if you find you need it.
Streaming TV: Do you want voice control?
Voice control is taking over TVs. It’s now possible to control a whole array of TVs using Amazon’s digital assistant, Alexa, or the Google Assistant, both using just the TV or via a smart home digital assistant speaker like Google Home or Amazon Echo.
If you’d like to take this next step, you can get a TV or streaming device with this feature already built in, or find one that’s compatible with your preferred digital assistant.
Streaming TV: Is portability a concern?
You might have a case for getting a couple of different streamers if you need to be able to bring one to school or work for presentations, or even with you on the road while traveling. Google Chromecast Ultra, for example will let you access your Netflix account on the hotel or Airbnb TV while Apple TV or Roku Ultra aren’t quite as packable.
Streaming TV: Do you want private listening?
It can be a hassle to find headphones that can work with your TV. But some streaming devices let you plug in headphones and listen to your shows or movies privately. The aforementioned Roku Ultra, for example, comes with a small remote control that has a headphone jack, which easily allows you to plug in a set of wired headphones to listen quietly. Perfect for when you’re trying not to wake the baby!
Streaming TV: Is price a factor?
Some people have more than one streaming device at home for purely budgetary reasons. For example, a family may invest in a pricier 4K Apple TV for the main TV in the central living area, and opt for the less expensive streamer (Chromecast or Roku Streaming Stick) for a playroom or secondary TV.