What's your favorite streaming device?

I realize I'm throwing cost into the mix, but that matters if I want to consider favorite streaming services. When I read cut the cable experiences, I feel like we'd lose our favorite entertainment (all the services we have). Am I missing something? Are we paying way too much? I know it's a personal preference, but I can't help think we're overspending.

My opinion on this is: If you really like what you have, use it often, are comfortable with the menus/guides/remotes/DVR functionality, and you're spending well within your FIRE budget, then don't worry. I've been considering cutting the cord off-and-on for over a year now, but I've yet to take the plunge because, IMHO, the monthly savings (~ $40 in my case) isn't enough to offset the loss of certain "nice to have" aspects of my current setup. I also recently was able to negotiate my bill down to under $100/month (including high-speed Internet), which isn't very hard to do if you're willing to spend some time on the phone negotiating with the "customer retention" folks once a year.
 
In addition to the built-in Apps in our Vizio TVs:

3) Roku Ultras, a nVidia Shield and a HDhomeRun HD300 (that is used almost exclusively with SageTV for OTA broadcasts). I am, expecting to purchase a Tablo Quatro this month (as soon I can figure out what days we will be home to accept delivery).

I am reluctant to declare any of them better than another. They are all capable of handling 4k and HDR when provided and they all do what they promise.

Nevertheless, there are some irritations with each, of course: The nVidia Shield does not support DirecTV NOW nor does it have a "PlayOn" app (it does have a PLEX App though). In fact, ROKU has so many channels available (most free) that it would be hard for other devices to match for that comparison. I do, however, prefer the Shield's rewind/forward performance over the Roku unit.


Case in point on the number of Free ROKU channels: https://mkvxstream.blogspot.com/2019/04/free-tv-top-ways-to-watch-free-tv.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+RokuPrivateChannelsMediaStreamersInternetTv+(Roku+Private+Channels+%7C+Media+Streamers+%26+Internet+TV)
 
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Another vote for Roku. The price and the functionality are hard to beat IMHO...
 
BTW the shortcut buttons cannot be reprogrammed - unless you have NSA grade hacker skills.

That is the most hated thing about ROKU. (Yes, they get paid for advertising those networks but...) There is nothing worse than to be watching a program/video and pressing (what you think is) the Pause button and are instantly connected to Netflix. Finding your way back from that is enough to make one send the whole contraption back. Even the "Voice" key isn't immune. In fact, just moving the remote can cause it to happen.

There is no amount of skill that will allow one to (de/re)program those keys. There are, however, several suggestions that I have seen:

1. Put tape over the keys

2. Take the remote apart and and literally destroy the contacts on the circuit board for those buttons

3. use a sharp pointed tool (an pin style pen knife) to pry/pop the buttons out of the sockets. Once that is done you can leave the hole uncovered or you can use an epoxy type substance to fill the holes.

4. It is possible to remove the contacts underneath the buttons. It involves unscrewing screw near battery slot. Then prying open the remote shell top from bottom with a smooth metal pry tool, or hobby screwdriver if you want to chance scraping the shell or damaging the circuit board.
 
Apple TV here. Love it. 4th generation.

Love how it is integrated with all our other Apple devices. Can even control it from my Apple Watch when I am cooking in the kitchen.

The Apple TV has an Amazon Prime app, so it’s easy to watch any Amazon Prime video content. We use several apps: Netflix, Hulu, PBS, YouTube (not the TV version), Amazon Prime, the occasional Apple or SpaceX broadcast.

The remote turns on our audio-visual system and controls the volume, so we use only it, unless I use my watch.

Very easy to navigate between apps with a double-click and swipe.

We do use the 4K capability when content is available.
 
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I hardly stream TV shows or movies at all. But I do have access to Amazon Prime Video (since I have Amazon Prime for other reasons), and F's Netflix account (since he installed it so that we could watch shows together when he is over here). I get to both Amazon Prime and Netflix on my six year old Panasonic TV by clicking on the app. That's really easy and no need to buy anything else. If my TV was not that "smart", I'd replace it.

I do watch various short Youtube videos on my laptop every single night, so there's that. But I don't subscribe to the paid Youtube service.
 
If my TV was not that "smart", I'd replace it.
I'd feel very ecologically wasteful if I tossed a TV that works perfectly fine because it doesn't have Smart technology, when it can be made smart by a $30 (on sale) stick. In fact I've heard recommendations to use a stick over the smart tv feature because it works better. My previous main TV was smart but that feature worked poorly--very slow to load, and choppy, and crashing at times IIRC. The power supply went out and I replaced it with another smart TV that works fine, so I don't use a stick with it. Other TVs in my house are or can be made smart with sticks.
 
I prefer not relying on my TV for the smarts. The software can be crappy.
 
We are trying out a new Roku device the next 30 days before we downsize our home. Running it off out wireless hotspot. Works great. With OTA and purchasing a mlb tv monthly subscription for a couple of months we will have 99 percent of what we have. So far so good
 
I use amazon fire stick on the Second tv and the Amazon fire cube on main tv. Cube includes Alexis and controls tv volume and power. Direct connection to Amazon Prime Netflix and Hulu. Plus I use the Amazon Recast that provides complete OTA and Dvr functions. We rotate between hbo, STARZ and showtime depending on what’s on. HBO now because of GOT.
 
I prefer not relying on my TV for the smarts. The software can be crappy.

Some also literally spy on you. Vizio for example has an option called "Smart Interactivity" which is turned on my default which tracks your viewing habits and reports them back to Vizio who sell it to information brokers.

Samsung, LG, and other TVs also do something similar.

Another way to defeat these things is to not hook them up to your home network so they can't report data back to the mothership.
 
Some also literally spy on you. Vizio for example has an option called "Smart Interactivity" which is turned on my default which tracks your viewing habits and reports them back to Vizio who sell it to information brokers.

Samsung, LG, and other TVs also do something similar.

Another way to defeat these things is to not hook them up to your home network so they can't report data back to the mothership.

Oh, for sure! There is that too!!

Our TV is not connected to the internet. We occasionally update it via a thumb drive.
 
Perhaps ROKU does this, but when one selects Search on Netflix, Hulu, Prime, PBS, etc the AppleTV box automatically opens comms with my iPad and my iPhone ...

So, instead of pressing buttons on the remote to navigate the letters to make words, one uses the keyboard on their iPhone or iPads ... I guess it works with Mac computers, as well.

HUGE annoyance reduction ...
 
Perhaps ROKU does this, but when one selects Search on Netflix, Hulu, Prime, PBS, etc the AppleTV box automatically opens comms with my iPad and my iPhone ...

So, instead of pressing buttons on the remote to navigate the letters to make words, one uses the keyboard on their iPhone or iPads ... I guess it works with Mac computers, as well.

HUGE annoyance reduction ...
In that case, I usually use Siri to say or if needed spell out loud the search name. That is very slick.
 
Some also literally spy on you. Vizio for example has an option called "Smart Interactivity" which is turned on my default which tracks your viewing habits and reports them back to Vizio who sell it to information brokers.

Our current Vizio has this turned off by default. I didn't activate it.

On the other hand our previous Vizio did, indeed, have that activated. I had (have) no objections to that for I have nothing to hide. In any event, after four years, the world survived and I am still here.
 
We use our blue ray player, no need to buy a specialized streamer.

OP might want to see if they have a blue ray player or DVD player with roku built in already.
I also notice x-box has streaming capability as well, various apps available on it.
 
I have been a long time user of Roku and recently purchased a TCL smart TV with built-in Roku. Although the image quality is great and the TV gets great reviews online for its value proposition, in retrospect I wish I would have purchased something else though it is difficult not buy a smart TV these days. Nearly all my complaints are with the user interface (Ux) as someone who watches OTA broadcasts and streaming channels. Specific short comings include:

  • Remote is way too basic. No buttons to enter the TV station channel number. One is forced to bring up the channel menu and press up/down arrows. And to top it off, the scrolling direction in this menu view is the opposite direction when just going next/back without being in the menu context. The bottom half of the remote is of little use having fixed streaming channels, but at least it is easily ignored.
  • Once you have selected your last two TV stations such that you can use the "last channel" button there is a big semi-transparent banner giving a description of the current TV show. This banner lingers on the screen too long...especially if you are flipping back and forth between two football games and checking the scores at the bottom of the screen.
  • Volume button is on the side of the remote. Seemed like a good idea at first but it is hard reach. Which would be less of a problem if the baseline volume level between many streaming channels and OTA broadcasts was not so large. Volume must be adjusted every time.
  • A lot of button presses are needed to get anywhere. Switching from watching a Roku channel back to broadcast TV takes 6 button presses. If you need to change the TV channel, then more. The previous TV with a separate Roku device required two remotes but was so much easier/faster to operate. With the old TV it was simple to switch sources between broadcast TV and external source (Roku device). This also meant that the Roku did not loose context about what streaming channel it was on. Making it easy to pause the Roku channel stream, go check the score of the big game on OTA, then return back to the paused Roku stream.
Bottom line Roku is nice device/service with a lot of channels that I would recommend. TCL 6 Series is a nice display by itself, great for watching movies and sports. But I would definitely NOT recommend them together in a single package where Roku software is controlling the whole TV interface.
 
Our older "stupid" tv just died so I bought a "smart" one. It has netflix, prime and youtube tv built in so it made sense to finally "cut the cord". I stayed with xfinity for internet but dropped the cable and subscribed to youtube tv. One device, one remote...love it!!!
 
We bought three (3) Roku Ultra’s last year on the black Friday sale at Costco for $49/each and love them (Family Room, Guest Room and Master Bedroom). Previously, we had one of the Apple TV 4k units which I actually liked slightly better, but returned it for $189 and got the 3 Roku’s. As I said, the Apple TV was the superior device (the interface is nice), but the Apple remote control never worked the way I wanted it to. I was forever bumping it and accidentally turning the TV on or switching content when I didn’t intend to. The Roku remote has physical buttons that require a push and it does a better job of controlling our TV. Once the entertainment starts however, you cannot tell the difference between devices, so the cheaper the better.
 
gt wealth - don't forget, if you want to stream something from another source other than those you mentioned as being integrated in the tv, you may be able to do so. I think a Roku chip enable tv (built with Roku in it) will provide the future flexibility you need.

t-minus - yeah, one of the major gripes about Apple TV is their remote. I use a cheap ($40) Harmony universal remote to control TV, DVD, AV receiver, Apple TV box ... works quite well and is easy.
 
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