Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Which streaming platform?

If you're looking for a streaming device for the first time, you have four major platforms from which to choose:

  • Roku
  • Fire TV
  • Apple TV
  • Google/Android TV

These are the platforms that drive streaming boxes and sticks. All but Apple TV also drive some smart TVs. The top two of the minor platforms are strong contenders as well:

  • WebOS (LG TVs)
  • Tizen (Samsung TVs)

The functionality and ease of the four major make them better options than the two top minor platforms.

There are other platforms as well, but they really don't make an impact. Vizio, for instance, used a system they called "SmartCast" but it's not a good system. Whether or not they'll change to something else now that Walmart bought Vizio isn't know. If they're smart, they'll convert to a version of Android TV or the full Google TV interface. Yes, that would mean that Google would get the TV usage information as well as Walmart, but most Vizio users would hook up a Roku or Fire TV (or Chromecast) to the TV anyway, at least if they want an easy streaming experience). Dropping development of SmartCast would save money.

So, if you buy a TV with a built-in smart TV system, you don't really need to do anything other than use it. However, unless it's one of the four major platforms, you are missing out on the ease and simplicity of those platforms.

Samsung and LG are okay, but if it's something else, look seriously into one of the Big Four. But which one?

Really, it doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter. All four are good. They're better than WebOS or Tizen, in my opinion, and they give you something the others don't: a consistent system across the house.

Now sure, if all your TVs are LG or all are Samsung, then yes, you have a consistent system. But if any is something else, you have a mixed system. And that can be confusing at times. Even if you have a consistent system, the remotes are sometimes different.

The good news is that if you buy a Roku TV, for example, then add another TV to a guest room, it doesn't have to be a Roku. You can get any TV and put in the guest room, then add a Roku to it. Then you have consistency.

Same applies if you buy a TV with Fire TV built in. You can add a Fire TV device to any other TV, even a Roku TV. Same with Android/Google TV. This is true for any of the major platforms. You can always convert a TV with a different platform to a consistent platform across the household, if you want.

My Streaming Life has used all the major platforms, and the larger minor platforms. They all have their ups and downs, but what is best is a personal decision. The good news is that whichever of the major platforms you choose, you can have that on all TVs in the house.

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