TV streaming devices for festive viewing

Control your festive TV viewing like a boss…
TV streaming devices for festive viewing

The best TV streaming sticks and players

In the bad old days before mobile technology, there was no such thing as on-demand TV. There was a big film on every Christmas evening, but the only way to pass the time until it came on was to eat too much chocolate and start family feuds.

Fast-forward to the present day, and things are a lot different. We can now plug streaming sticks into our TVs and watch pretty much what we want, when we want. If this sounds like a more civilised way of spending some quality time over the festive period, you’ll want to check out our favourite TV streaming devices…

Google Chromecast

How does it work?

Plug Chromecast into your TV and wall socket, and have your smartphone or tablet at the ready. When your device and Chromecast are connected to the same Wi-Fi, they’ll recognise each other, and you’ll be taken through the rest of the set-up.

Chromecast doesn’t actually store any information, so the content you want to stream needs to be on your device. You simply choose what you want to view, and tap the ‘cast’ icon to make it appear on your TV.

What can I watch with it?

Chromecast is compatible with 1000s of apps, including Netflix, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Spotify and NOW TV. This adds up to an almost unlimited amount of entertainment - over 200,000 TV shows and films, 30 million songs, plus radio, sports, games and more.

You can also use Chromecast to mirror your device’s display onto your TV. If you want to see your favourite mobile game or website on the big screen, it’s a great option.

You can buy Google Chromecast from Currys, or find out more about it here.

Amazon Fire TV Stick

How does it work?

Plug your Fire TV Stick into your HDTV and wall socket, and connect to Wi-Fi. You can then speak to the Alexa voice remote control, and use voice commands to quickly find what you want to watch – Alexa is Amazon’s virtual assistant, and can help you discover all the content that’s available.

You can ask Alexa to play specific titles, or to “launch Netflix” for a wider range of results. If you want to order something from Just Eat before you settle down in front of the TV, Alexa can do that for you too.

What can I watch with it?

The Fire TV Stick gives you instant access to loads of Amazon content. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you get unlimited access to 1000s of TV shows or movies on Prime Video. And if you’ve got Amazon Music Unlimited, you can unlock 40 million songs.

You aren’t just limited to Amazon content either - you can install Netflix, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, YouTube* and lots more entertainment apps. In fact, you’ve got over 7,000 apps, games and Alexa skills to choose from. If in doubt, ask Alexa.

You can buy the Amazon Fire TV Stick from Currys, or find out more about it here.

Roku Express Smart Streaming Player

How does it work?

Plug Roku Express into a wall socket and your TV, and connect it to Wi-Fi. You’ll then be taken through a short setup, and be asked to create a Roku account.

What can I watch with it?

The Roku Express remote control gives you access to all the usual suspects such as Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Video. It all adds up to over 1,000 dedicated apps with 150,000 TV shows and movies for you to enjoy.

The remote comes with shortcut buttons to the most popular apps, so your favourite channels are always a mere button-press away. Or you can download the Roku app and activate everything with your voice, if that’s more your thing.

You can buy the ROKU Express Smart Streaming Player from Currys.

Our verdict

You really can’t go wrong with any of these TV streaming devices. If you’re an Amazon Prime member and have an Amazon Echo sitting in your home somewhere, then you’ll probably want to keep it in the family with a Fire TV Stick.

If you’re happy to use your phone or tablet for streaming and don’t feel the need for an extra remote control in your life, then Chromecast is probably the one for you. Roku Express gives you the best of both worlds, with its choice of remote or mobile app to control the action.

If you’ve got any questions or want to share some TV streaming insights of your own, please comment below.

* At the time of writing, Google is trying to restrict YouTube access on Amazon Fire products. Amazon has said: “We hope to resolve this with Google as soon as possible”. We’ll update this article as the situation develops.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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