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Apple TV, Fire TV or Roku?

12/03/2015

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  • Making the most of television viewing no longer means watching what programs TV stations are showing now.
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  • Streaming media players give you more to watch than just stations.
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  • You can connect to video services such as Netflix, play games or listen to music.
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  • You also can use computer software applications and even set up your TV as a second video screen for your computer.
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  • But with all of the choices, you may have questions about which one to get.
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  • Each of the three streaming media players has a new model. Each has both strengths and weaknesses.
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  • The important thing is to find the one that works best for you.
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  • As with buying any tech, you need to balance your desires with your budget.
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  • The good news is that media players are available at different prices.
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  • So you can decide whether to pay more for the best one for you or save money and buy a different one.
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  • You may own this player for a while, so plan for the future as well as for today. You may not feel you need 4K video now.
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  • But you may want it in the future if 4K becomes the industry standard, much as HD is now.
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  • If the one you want has a small number of apps, you may want to wait until it gets more apps.
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  • Most of these players come with remote controls. Your relationship with your remote may become important to you if you depend on it to use the player.
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  • Consider how easy the remote is to use, especially in the dark, and whether it offers voice control.
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  • What happens if you lose the device? Some players come with apps so you can operate them from your telephone or tablet computer.
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  • If you like to play games, be sure to get a player that offers game apps. Look at which game apps are available and read reviews of those apps.
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  • Think about what you like to watch. If you enjoy watching Netflix, then you can get any player.
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  • If you like to watch Amazon videos or iTunes movies, your choices are more limited.
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  • Do you want your streaming media player to do more than play videos on demand? Consider getting one that can use apps.
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  • ​​The new Apple TV has been available for about a month with new features such as voice control and Siri voice assistant.
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  • Ask Siri to search for a movie or TV show and you will see where it is available on your apps.
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  • The App Store has Apple TV apps for videos, gaming, travel and more. You can get apps such as Netflix and HBOGo.
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  • You can also play games using your Apple TV with the included remote or pair a game controller.
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  • Not many apps are available for the Apple TV yet. But you can expect more apps to come to the App Store in the future.
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  • You can link up your Mac computer, iPhone or iPad to Apple TV so that your television can show the program running on the device.
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  • The remote control has a screen that you touch, plus a few buttons that help you control what you watch.
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  • Apple TV does not currently connect to the Apple Remote app for your iPhone and iPad.
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  • You can connect a different remote control so you can still use the Apple TV if you lose the remote.
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  • Apple TV does not run video in 4K.
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  • A feature called What Did They Say? rewinds video 15 seconds and shows words on the screen when you missed what was spoken.
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  • Apple TV is best for those who have other Apple devices, such as Mac computers, iPhones and iPads.
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  • Apple TV is available for $149 for 32 GB, and $199 for 64 GB of storage.
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  • ​​Fire TV is a streaming media player from the American company Amazon. Fire TV has voice search, a voice assistant, apps and more.
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  • You can use the Fire TV app as a remote, including the voice feature. Amazon says Fire TV has over 3,000 apps available.
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  • They include some apps built for Android phones that do not work ideally on the Fire TV.
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  • The Fire TV comes with a feature called Advanced Streaming and Prediction, or ASAP.
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  • This feature recognizes what kinds of movies and shows you like and loads them onto your Fire TV so they are ready for you to watch without waiting.
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  • Fire TV is best for those who like to watch videos from Amazon.
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  • Fire TV is available for $99.99 with 8 GB. A gaming edition is available with a gaming controller and 40 GB of storage for $139.99.
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  • ​​Roku 4 has 4K and a useful feature called Remote Finder. It is a button on the player that makes a sound on the remote control. No more lost remotes!
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  • You can connect your headphones into the remote control and listen to the TV without anyone else hearing the sound.
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  • You can use the Roku app on your phone or tablet to control your Roku.
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  • The Roku 4 offers over 2,500 channels to watch videos. You can use voice search on the remote or Roku app to find your shows.
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  • Although the Roku 4 has a few games and apps, the player is mostly for streaming videos.
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  • The Roku 4 is best for those who want to watch shows, not use apps, on their TV.
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  • Roku 4 is $129.99.
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  • I’m Pete Musto.
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