I own a 3rd generation Apple TV, and I’ve had it for around 5 years. Before that I had a 2nd generation but had to upgrade when various services like YouTube were no longer being supported. Even before that I had a 1st generation Apple TV, which was one of the biggest experiments that Apple had put out at the time. Originally, the Apple TV was a way for me to stream my iTunes library from the computer to the TV. However, as the various services have developed, it’s become something much, much more.
My wife and I use the Apple TV constantly to watch Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. But it’s no longer the only game in town. Pretty much every consumer electronic device that you can buy has some way to connect up to online media services. Additionally, now that you can rent and stream movies from a multitude of sources, I no longer download any movies to my iTunes library. This makes be less dependent on any one particular service, since I can get movies from Amazon and Google as well.
Recently, our 3rd generation device has been having issues. It isn’t getting many software updates, and it occasionally crashes in the middle of streaming media. All of Apple’s development work is being put into its high-end streaming device that has a complete app store experience built-in. It was coming time to put the old black box away and move on to something new. The question was move to what?
The three main options I landed on were Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, or Roku. The Amazon device is very slick, and has a nice UI. It is also very deeply embedded into the Amazon ecosystem, making it the ideal device to watch content from there. From what I was able to read online, it struggled with connecting to services like Google Play. On the Chromecast side, the opposite was true. It connected to Google just fine, but the Amazon integration was a bit lacking. Additionally, I wasn’t 100% sold on the idea of needing to use your phone as a remote all the time.
So that left me with Roku. As readers of this blog might remember, I’ve had some experience with Roku before. I also own a small TV in one of my kids rooms that has Roku built right into it. I happened to be at Best Buy this morning and noticed that the standard streaming stick was on sale for $40, so I decided to take the plunge. Since I have already set these up before, it only took me a few minutes to replace the Apple TV and be up and running with the Roku. The setup of the channels took a couple more minutes, but overall, it was an incredibly simple process.
So now the only issue is my iTunes Store content. Thankfully, Movies Anywhere solves the problem of any movies I’ve bought from Apple. I’m hopeful eventually that something will come along similarly for TV shows. For now, I’ll just move over to using either Google or Amazon to purchase and rent movies, which are both fully supported on the Roku.
The wife and I spent the rest of Sunday binge watching Stranger Things 2, and I was happy to have a reliable streaming device, that had all the latest software updates to the various channels. The Apple TV served me well, and it might end up getting hooked up to a different TV in the house. But for now, it’s job is well served, and I’m happy with where I’ve moved on to.