Getting online content on TV has never been easy like now. Smart TVs itself have apps to get you online, and if yours doesn’t, you can pick one from the vast range of streaming devices available. But choosing the right one is a difficult task.
And to make it easy, first, decide what you need the box for. If you only want to stream Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV won’t be the best choice, and for iTunes, Amazon Firestick will do no good. Below is the list of five best streaming devices.
Top Streaming Devices Available for Australians
Roku Streaming Stick Plus
The first in the list is Roku, and the best thing is none of the Roku devices is locked-in with a particular content provider.
The neutral Streaming Stick Plus can deliver high-quality 4K content from Netflix, Hulu, and even Amazon. There also are other apps and services to get you international movies, news, and sports.
The interface is simple and the content catalogue varied. This wireless stick provides more than other similar devices and at an affordable price.
There is a wired receiver though, which you have to plug into a USB port or plug. If your TV doesn’t support 4K, you need to buy one or take one of the cheaper Roku Express boxes.
And for the older TV boxes, you can get the Roku Express Plus box. It can connect to the A/V port. The only thing negative you get with Roku is the menu layout which feels pretty old-school. Also, you won’t get iTunes with it.
Amazon Fire TV Stick (with Alexa Voice)
The least expensive (value for money, I mean) of the devices is the Amazon Firestick. You can talk into the remote and Alexa gets things done.
You can watch videos from a wide range of online services like American Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and of course Amazon Prime.
Apart from the standard streaming services, there also is support for regional services like HBO Now, WatchESPN, BBC iPlayer, iTV Player and many others.
The downside though is that the device is more inclined towards Amazon’s content, unlike Roku. It also misses the Google Play and some other prominent ones like Vudu.
So, if your primary concern is to get the content of Amazon Prime, Firestick probably is the best choice, else it’s not as helpful as Roku.
Also, Alexa is not always listening to other Alexa-powered devices you know. It works when the system is on and is quite good (for that).
With the amount of 4K content available on the iTunes store, Apple TV can give you the best streaming experience.
And on a supported TV, you can get a superior picture quality with its Dolby Vision HDR system. The only problem with Apple TV is the price. Roku is available at less than half of the amount but offers similar picture quality.
This Apple device doesn’t have the apps of its competitors, of course. Also, you can’t stream videos from the famous YouTube.
But, at this price you get a premium experience, a Siri controlled remote and yes, the excellent catalogue of movies and shows.
One of the most versatile streaming boxes is the Kodi box. It’s an Android TV box with the Kodi media player app pre-installed.
You need addons to stream content, and Kodi has addons for almost any service you know about.
Kodi is the cheapest option who have to make your TV a streaming hub. While you are good with the official addons, the unofficial ones may land you trouble.
Many use illegal sources to provide you what you want. There also are addons providing you with access to the UK TV channels and the US, free of cost.
So, a VPN is recommended with a Kodi box. How does it help? Going to answer it soon.
Of all the devices mentioned here, Chromecast is the lightest. Why? It doesn’t have any menu system or a dedicated remote.
It doesn’t even have a content library. What it does is getting connected to your mobile or tablet and stream the content from the Cast supported apps. There are many including Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify.
You can connect your Chromecast device to your TV’s HDMI port, power it up through the USB, and watch your favourite content on the big screen.
It’s the perfect device for those who prefer searching on their mobile devices but want to see the content on a TV.
The downside to it is the lack of content offered by other streaming devices. You need to rely on a mobile or PC to control and watch what you want.
And if you aren’t a fan of mobile streaming, you won’t find Chromecast any helpful. You should get one of those mentioned above. Also, it does not support the Amazon Prime Video.
Get more content with a VPN
Yes, you heard me right. You can get more entertainment with your streaming device by using one of the best VPNs Australia currently have. There are many region-locked movies and TV shows (or channels) which you can’t see if residing outside that region.
Netflix, for example, offers different content according to the country you are in. So, someone in the UK gets a separate catalogue than a user in Australia.
There also are regional restrictions like the British TV channels can’t broadcast their shows outside the UK. With a VPN service like ExpressVPN, you can get past these limits.
Let’s assume that you want to watch HBO Now on your Firestick. To get the HBO stream unrestricted, you have to connect to a VPN server in the US. It masks your Australian IP address and changes it to an American one.
Now, you are ready for Game of Thrones. Along with the masking, it also encrypts the network, providing you privacy. It keeps you safe if you are watching illegal streams, as in case of Kodi.
And if you want to stream Sherlock, switch to a UK server. ExpressVPN has servers in many countries of the world. But there is a hindrance.
While you can install and setup ExpressVPN on your Kodi box easily, it’s not so easy for the others mentioned here. Moreover, unlocking content on an Apple TV requires some more steps.
So, check our ExpressVPN guides for the process and get started with watching your favourite shows on a big screen.