What’s on TV tonight? That age-old question is starting to take on new meaning with the growing demand and availability of streaming content. Now, viewers don’t have to flip through the TV Guide to decide what to watch. Between Netflix streaming, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant, HBO GO, and iTunes, there are hundreds of thousands of options of shows and movies.
Products to watch streaming content are quickly becoming ubiquitous parts of our living room entertainment systems. All of the options out there can be overwhelming — from Smart TVs to Internet-enabled DVD players, streaming video boxes, and gaming consoles.
Each type of product can fit the needs of different individuals. Let’s take a look at two different products to watch streaming content: Apple TV and Google TV.
There are two ways to access Google TV: it can come preinstalled on an integrated TV, or you can purchase a “buddy box” to plug into your existing TV. The buddy boxes are certainly the cheaper option, as integrated TVs are selling for about $1,700 right now.
You have several options for buddy boxes: the Sony Internet Player with Google TV sells for $199.99. The Vizio Co-Star Stream Player and the Hisense Pulse with Google TV both go for $99.99.
Unfortunately, none of these models has received great reviews. In fact, none of them have received many positive reviews. CNET, in their 2.5-star review of the Co-Star, wrote: “The Google TV software continues to disappoint.” Google TV does not include many of the streaming video sites that other Internet TV does, such as Hulu Plus. However, unlike other devices, Google TV integrates with live cable television and provides viewers access to a web browser on their TV.
Apple TV, on the other hand, does not integrate with live TV and does not include a browser. At $99, it is cheaper than many Google TV products.
The Apple TV is recommended for people who use iTunes for most of their movies, TV shows, and music. Apple TV can access anything purchased from the iTunes store. It also has access to Netflix and Hulu Plus, as well as streaming sports apps like MLB, NBA, and NHL TV.
Apple TV also has the Airplay feature, which allows users to play content from other Apple devices directly on their TV.
Apple TV vs. Google TV: The Verdict
There are many options out there to watch streaming video content; you just have to pick the one that suits your needs.