Google Chromecast has finally arrived in the UK but it’s not the only gadget on the market that helps you connectyour smartphone to your TV. Apple TV and the Roku Streaming Stick both do a similar job. So which is best? And are they worth the hype?
What are Google Chromecast, Apple TV and roku streaming stick?
Their main use is as streaming devices, meaning they let you watch TV shows and movies over the internet right on your TV. That lets you get the huge on demand choice of services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer on a big screen without the need for fiddly cables. But they each have some very handy unique features.
Chromecast lets you mirror a Google Chrome browser window on your TV. Apple TV lets you send stuff that’s stored on your iPad or iPhone to your TV. And Roku Streaming Stick can play content from Android and Apple devices.
Which is best for streaming video?
The Roku Streaming Stick outdoes the others on this front. There are more than 500 channels to choose from, including Amazon Prime’s new video service that isn’t on the other two yet. But Apple TV and Chromecast do have other big names like Netflix and they have their own exclusive content, like the iTunes Store and Google Play Movies and Music. And when you’re watching Netflix or YouTube, Chromecast has one key feature; it’ll take over the streaming from your phone. That saves battery as the phone isn’t working so hard on the internet.
Which is best for viewing my own stuff on my TV?
Here they’re all pretty even, although we like the way Apple TV works. Thanks to My Photo Stream and iMovie Theatre, all your photos and videos are sent automatically to your Apple TV. On the others you have to send them to your TV when you want to look at them. But the Roku Streaming Stick has one advantage; flexibility. If you have an Android phone and an iPad, the Streaming Stick will put content from both devices onto your TV.
Which is best for web browsing?
Chromecast is easily the best here. It’ll mirror you Google Chrome web browser in real time, letting you surf the web on a big screen. With Apple TV you can mirror Safari using AirPlay, but Chromecast is a little easier. At the moment, Roku hasn’t got a web browser for the Streaming Stick but that could change before long.
Which is best?
All three of these fun new gadgets are great for turning your TV into a smart TV. But which is best for you depends on what phone and tablet you use with them and whether you’re looking to just stream video or do a bit more. iPhone users will love Apple TV as it turns your TV into a giant iPad and Android lovers will want Chromecast. But if you just want to stream video or have a couple of different devices, then Roku’s huge list of channels will win you over.