The Steaming Trend Of Streaming Devices In India
Contrasting The Best Streaming Devices In India, You Can Buy Right Now
Yo buddy, Why only Netflix and Chill? Or are you quite done with your dumb “smart” TVs? Well, you are not the only one. TVs are undoubtedly the core entertainment drivers for all of us at our warm and cozy couches. Nothing can replace the experience and comfort that comes with that biggest screen in your home. While TVs are as popular as ever, cable operators and DTH operators, who were taking a toll at consumers for a long time are losing their ground slowly to the plethora of new and engaging entertainment services and digital content providers that are flooding nowadays with more and more streaming devices making their way to the Indian shores.
As more and more people are getting on to a fast Internet connection, streaming devices now feel more right and value for money than ever. India though late, is now joining the steaming party with more and more urbane population cutting the cord in the favour of these new, cool and entertainment loaded streaming services like Netflix, YouTube RED along with regional superstars like Hotstar, Voot and more. Seems like the age of streaming is coming, so are you ready with the perfect streaming device for you? Don’t worry folks, we got you covered, In this article, we present the best streaming devices available in India, you can buy right now and which one is the best for all your binge-watching sprees. Let’s begin.
The Indian streaming arena is still quite fresh and has but a few names like the Amazon’s FireTV Stick, Apple’s Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast and Roku’s Streaming Stick. While each one of them is quite different, they embody a single vision: The future of home entertainment. Let’s take a deep dive to know each of these devices better.
Google Chromecast 2
Probably the most intuitive and unobtrusive streaming device you’ll ever find. Google Chromecast is a simple dongle, that can connect to your TV by of course inserting it into the HDMI port of your TV. It connects to the home network via Wi-Fi and that’s pretty much it, with this, you can stream anything and control your media with any Google-cast compatible application on the Play store. Its totally simplistic as you get no remote, your Android device is your remote.
No gibberish on-screen interfaces and stores to download specific apps for your TV. Just get your Chromecast on a Wi-Fi network, plug it and you are done. You can stream whatever you want from your smartphone or tablet, with only one catch that the app you are using must be cast-compatible, which most of the popular services are.
To use a Chromecast, all you would ever require is an HDMI enabled TV (surprise!), a fast Internet connection and a smartphone or tablet powered by Android or iOS or even a computer with Chrome browser, connected to the same network as the Chromecast. It gets its power juice by connecting to the USB port on your TV or a plug that comes along.
Chromecast 2 works on 801.11/ac Wi-Fi, with support for the 5GHz band, meaning no undesirable interference from other devices operating at a smaller 2.4GHz frequency in proximity, just clean and simple entertainment. Also, as most of the streaming devices, Google Chromecast is extremely portable so you can carry it around, even to your granny’s home, If they have an HDMI enabled TV and fast Internet connection, you are in for a treat, anywhere.
Google’s offering is not only the most simple and minimal but also the most economical, with a price tag of just Rs. 2,999. You can get yours at Flipkart (Click here to buy now)
Amazon FireTV Stick
Amazon’s FireTV Stick is another cherished smart streaming device in India, with a solid footing by Amazon’s Prime Services in India. Like others, this one also plugs into the HDMI port on your TV and comes with a dedicated remote, unlike Google Chromecast, called the Alexa Remote. This one is in the form factor of a USB stick and is ultimately portable. The Alexa Remote is great and comes with a dedicated app for typing. It also offers voice search capability.
FireTV Stick comes with lots of essential apps, preloaded. Amazon’s streaming stick is powered by FireOS, derived from Android and redesigned with a more Amazon-centric approach. Though the main focus of the device is Amazon’s own Prime Services, even if you don’t opt into those, you can still have content from a lot of other providers such as Netflix, YouTube, Hotstar and many more. Its worth mentioning that, if you have a Prime subscription, FireTV becomes an awesome device with all the amazing content by Amazon at your fingertips. As you would have expected, Alexa is in the play too and can help you a lot around your TV experience, with that remote.
FireTV Stick is a lot smaller than previous versions, more portable and supports HDR10, can you ask for more from a device that’s priced at just Rs. 3,999 in India? You can buy one from Amazon (Click here to buy now)
If you love Apple products and services and own quite some of them, Apple TV hands down is the best experience out there. Like everything else, the interaction and experience of the Apple ecosystem is flawless. If you an iTunes-kind of person, Apple TV proves to be the best of the lot. Apple TV allows you to stream smoothly from your Apple devices much like the Chromecast. AirPlay lets you mirror your devices to Apple TV with just a tap.
As you’d know, Apple TV is not Apple’s most famed product in the subcontinent hence you will only find the 4th generation Apple TV out on the online markets. Apple TV runs on Apple’s proprietary tvOS and has Its own dedicated App Store for Apple TV apps by developers around the globe. The App Store has all major apps like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and tons of more extremely polished TV apps as all Apple platforms do. Apple TV also comes bundled with voice control remote with a touchpad, powered by Siri.
Apple TV, 4th generation, is available in India in 2 storage options of 32GB and 64GB which is enough for most games and apps you might download from the App Store. Apple TV is a lot more than only a streaming device like Google Chromecast 2. It's a very powerful device capable of satisfying all your media consumption needs, you can watch world-class content, listen to amazing music from around the world and even play motion games, all thanks to tvOS and the capable Siri remote that comes along Apple TV. Apple TV provides a great and complete experience for your living room. The only downside and possibly the greatest in the Indian context is that Apple TV is tailored around other Apple products and observes a strong role in Apple’s ecosystem. Apple TV is already quite expensive than other contenders here and like everything from Apple, It might feel quite limiting and restrained If you don’t own other Apple devices, at minimum an iPhone.
You can get the amazing Apple TV from Flipkart(Click here to buy now), starting from Rs. 11,999 for the 32GB version.
Roku Streaming Stick
Roku is a widely popular and fairly inexpensive choice in the western world. Though, Roku has not entered the Indian shores, officially yet. Its worth mentioning, as you can buy one online from Amazon and offers more or less same content as other candidates discussed here. Roku is the oldest in the segment and offers a wide range of content from sports, music, news and a lot more. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play, HBO and more, the platform is no short of big entertainment providers for both TV Shows and Movies.
Roku Streaming Stick isquite in line with Amazon’s FireTV Stick and comes with a remote which makes the experience quite decent. The remote has quick shortcut buttons to popular services such as Netflix and Google Play along with other basic controls. For deeper controls, you’d have to download the Roku mobile app, for iOS or Android. A smartphone can also be used as a remote in this case. Much like Apple TV, Roku has its own store for apps and a good but heavy interface, which I find quite cluttered, the app store is flooding with famous apps for streaming content.
As a warning, Don’t expect Indian content from Hotstar or Voot to be there as Roku has not stepped into India yet. The Roku Streaming Stick is really great but lacks on regional support and content for India. It can be bought from Amazon (Buy Now) at a value price of Rs. 5,499. At this price, until you are a regular traveler to the United States, I would prefer the Amazon FireTV Stick instead.
The Comparison - Best of the Best Streaming Media Device
Now that we have acquainted you with all the contenders in the race to reach your living room and accompany your TV as the perfect streaming device. Here are the points worth considering, while buying a media streamer and how these four fare on the given criteria.
What are you buying the streaming device for? Of course, you want some and a lot of quality content to watch on your TV. So the question - “What can you watch on this device?” is prime. Not all media streaming devices support every content provider, there are compatibility issues and a lot of other stuff which often makes a device unfit for you. Starting with Google Chromecast 2, It is basically a device which streams content from your device. So It basically boils down to what services are available on your device, whether Its Android or iOS. Chromecast allows you the access to Google Play and YouTube (Of course!), Netflix, Hotstar, Eros Now and more. Though Its a sufficiently packed list, Chromecast loses out on one major service. Due to clashes between Amazon and Google, you won’t have Amazon Prime Services on Chromecast and that’s a bummer for many because Amazon Prime Services is really magical and offers a mother-load of quality content at a nominal price in India. With Chromecast, you get the ability to mirror your device whether it be a smartphone or laptop to the biggest screen in your home, painlessly.
Amazon FireTV Stick also offers a plethora of content from Netflix, Hotstar, Eros Now, Voot, Airtel Movies and the list don’t seem to end. Amazon Prime services lie at the centre of FireTV Stick experience, that’s a no-brainer. Additionally, you can get music content from YouTube, Gaana, Saavn and a lot more from other services.
Apple TV as it comes to no surprises does it all and has a flourishing store of polished apps, that let you do a lot more than just media streaming. The quality of gaming on Apple TV is beyond the competition here and just feels a supreme addition to the Apple arsenal, If you have Apple devices. iTunes has tons of regional content from movies to music for India, with probably the biggest and best marketplace for 3rd party content providers like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hotstar, Eros Now and tons of more services from around the world.
You can say whatever you want, but Remote is an integral part of the TV experience. However cool It may sound to use your smartphone as a remote, It feels very unnatural and inconvenient at times when you want to use your TV for longer times switching from one service to another, the smartphone as a remote can be quite uncomfortable for many. So do take a look at the remote, If you are into buying a streaming device. It makes the experience complete, comprehensive and natural.
Google Chromecast 2, as discussed with earlier is the most minimal of the lot and has no remote and follows the ‘smartphone is the remote’ policy, which feels good at times but not always.Though no doubt smartphone as a remote offers deeper and faster controls, than a remote, but the experience is distorted a bit in my opinion.
Amazon does it nicely with Alexa remote on the FireTV Stick, Alexa makes searching quite easy, where you just have to speak in whatever you want to be presented before you on the TV. Alexa is great as always but for the Indian context, It's not the best way around as It is unable to identify most of the Indian content as you would say It. The same native language issue creeps in and becomes really annoying when you want to search for one Indian show or movie and It searches you a totally awkward and annoying title from the other side of the world. The remote beside Alexa is well built and offers a decent set of controls, Its small and light and suffices on basic tasks like volume and play controls you’d definitely like to have at your fingertips.
Apple TV does is quite like the FireTV Stick, though Apple has been doing it from the beginning. The Siri enabled remote with a few basic controls, Its firm and well-built fits nicely in hands and is quite natural to use. On the top you get a small trackpad, quite like a MacBook which enables a whole sort of other gestures like swiping and tapping, making the remote experience even richer. The trackpad really makes Its mark while gaming. The Apple TV remote is more sophisticated than FireTV one, allows motion gaming, taking the living room energy level to a whole new height with accurate motion controls, via the remote.
Roku Stick also comes with a basic remote with no special functions as with Apple TV and FireTV Stick, It does have a good set of shortcut buttons to popular services like Netflix, Google Play and more. For deeper controls, you are asked to download the Roku mobile app, which also functions as a more sophisticated and complete remote.
This is probably the least of your worries here, but It does matter. The better hardware equipped the device, the better It performs translating to a wonderful experience and responsiveness.
Starting with Chromecast 2, It comes with
- Dual Core ARM Cortex A7 SoC, clocked at 1.2 GHz.
- 512MB of RAM to support the SoC with a meagre 256MB of Internal storage, which is good for nothing and the way Chromecast functions, it doesn’t even require much storage.
- Supports 802.11a/c Wi-Fi at 5 GHz band, with 1080p video support and 5.1 surround sound with Dolby Audio.
It's definitely a decent spec sheet for Chromecast, but not the best when compared to other contenders. Chromecast 2 is almost a mirroring device from Google, which has a very basic Interface and doesn’t require App installs and stuff.
The Amazon FireTV Stick is packed with
- Quad-Core MediaTek processor, clocked at 1.3GHz, backed by Mali 450 MP4 GPU
- 1 GB of RAM, Not so big 8 GB of Onboard storage, which might get easily filled once you get on to download too many apps, though that’s unlikely for most users.
- FireTV Stick also features Bluetooth 4.1 and Dual channel - Dual-Antenna Wi-Fi 802.11a/c.
This streamer is powerful enough to support 720p and 1080p output at a respectable 60fps.
Apple leads the pack in streaming devices with the most powerful Apple TV. Apple TV (4th Generation) is
- Powered by the 64-bit A8 chip, found in Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, though Its old, Its still leagues ahead of the competition in terms of power and performance.
- It also has a giant 2GB of RAM and comes in two storage options of 32GB and 64GB SSD.
- Apple TV also has support for 1080p content and as with all Apple products gets excellent software and hardware support.
Even after years, Apple TV gets tvOS updates that keep updating the device every year. That really makes the device worth the money.
The Roku Streaming Stick is powered by a
- Quad-core processor entails Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DTS surround sound and supports 720p as well as 1080p of output over HDMI.
SuggestPhone’s Verdict: Cutting The Cord
So we talked all about the smart streaming devices in India, at the moment and why you should get one. We really believe streaming is the future of television and Its already here. Though the streaming landscape is still growing in India, It certainly is growing by each passing day. The monopoly of cable and DTH operators grabbing exorbitant fees for a bunch of channels with the same ol’ crap, most of which you don’t watch and rest of them don’t interest/entertain you. So why play for all of that? when you can have on-demand movies and the best of TV shows from around the world at a nominal price. SuggestPhone truly believes in the future of television, and hence this article.
While Amazon FireTV Stick is probably the most comprehensive and still budget-oriented device among the contenders. If you have some of the weaponry from Apple, Apple TV is where your search for a device for your living room. Hands down, the supreme experience that Apple TV provides second to none, the IF part is a veritable downside and is also considerably expensive than others.
|Product||Amazon Fire TV Stick||Apple TV||Google Chromecast||Roku Streaming Device|
|Internal Storage||6 GB||32 GB||0 GB||0 GB|
|HDR||HDR10||No||Dolby Vision HDR10||HDR10|
|Online Content Services||Amazon Video, Music, App Store||tvOS||Google Cast||Roku Channel Store|
|Voice Control||Amazon Alexa||Apple Siri||None||Search|
If you are looking to buy a streaming device right now, Our choice would be Amazon’s FireTV Stick. Though, If you have invested in iTunes and love the Apple Ecosystem, own some other Apple products, nothing goes better than the Apple TV. Roku, albeit has not yet entered the Indian markets, but It's readily available on Amazon and offers the most diverse repertoire at a nominal price. Don’t expect support and availability of regional content on the Roku App Store. Chromecast by Google, offers the most flexibility but can be little difficult to set up for the non-tech audience, also Its the cheapest of the lot but doesn’t offer much of the prowess as others.
On the other hand, If you are looking to enter the streaming world of entertainment. Chromecast is the cheapest and best to start with If you do not want to spend a lot on this new thrill.
We hope, this article like many others from SuggestPhone Informed you a lot and also helped you a lot in your quest to understand and buy the perfect streaming device for your beautiful but dumb TV. What streaming device do you think is the best? What is the best content provider in your view? Are you in favor of the Netflix and chill gang or you belong to the relic DTH world? Do tell us your opinions, we are dying to hear from you. We’d like to see your views on this topic.
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