TV, Chromecast, Spotify Connect, Wi-Fi, 3840x2160 (4K Ultra HD)
TV, Chromecast, Wi-Fi, 1920x1080 (Full HD)
The Chromecast finally becomes a simple media player with remote control, apps and voice control
TV, AirPlay, Wi-Fi, 3840x2160 (4K Ultra HD)
TV, Spotify Connect, Wi-Fi, 1920x1080 (Full HD)
TV, Spotify Connect, Chromecast, Wi-Fi, 3840x2160 (4K Ultra HD)
‘Media player’ is a fairly loose expression. Technically speaking, it could be anything that is capable of playing some sort of media, such as streaming services. Today, when we talk about media players, we usually refer to Chromecasts, Apple TV, and the like. So today, it really is just a piece of hardware capable of streaming external media files.
The big question. The most common media player is definitely Google’s Chromecast. It’s a small box you connect to your TV using an HDMI-cable, and then you can stream content from your phone or computer straight to your TV. For instance, if you got a recording from your vacation, you can stream it.
Apple TV is also a contestant. It’s more of its own ecosystem, since it allows you to utilize Apple’s apps on the TV.
To choose the right player, you ought to consider what apps you want and what TV you have. For instance, if you primarily use an Android-TV and a Samsung phone, you may not really need an Apple TV.
It’s difficult to say which player is the best one. If you’re looking for plenty of functions and 4K-functionality, Apple TV is definitely a top contender. For Android, Nvidia Shield and Xiaomi’s Mi Box are both excellent options. Finally, Chromecast is the most accessible and easy-to-use solution, though at the expense of some features.
Today most TV’s have a ton of built-in apps. Yet, not all TV’s have access to certain apps, and especially older TV’s are lacking in this department. For instance, if your TV doesn’t have access to services like Amazon Prime and Plex, a Chromecast will allow you to stream these apps’ content to your TV.
You simply connect the Chromecast to your TV, install the relevant app on your phone, and Bob’s your uncle.
The cheapest way to make a TV smart has long been a Chromecast. Google’s small streaming puck costs about £30-40 and is still the absolutely cheapest option. It works with both Android and iPhone (albeit a bit more limited with the latter).
Otherwise, the most common services are built into Playstation and Xbox. It has far from everything available, but it’s good for playing both popular streaming services and local media.
Of course, it's smart to stick to the same system in your home.
Of course, it’s not a necessity, but it does make life at home a little smoother.
Need help setting up your media player? We've found a guide for Chromecast here and a guide for Apple TV here. You decide which seems easiest.
The problem with smart TVs, especially older ones, is that they do not update. This causes apps to “fall away” or stop working because the system is too old.
Separate media players may experience the same thing, although this is not always the case. Both Apple TV 4 (now called Apple TV HD) and the first generation Chromecast are still going. The same thing, however, cannot be said for some other media players used with Android TV. Read up on what the manufacturer says about the matter before you make a purchase.