The Benefits of Media Streaming Devices

The opportunity to use media streaming devices is changing the way many people experience home entertainment. Some of the top options for media streaming devices include Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast Ultra and the Samsung UBD-K8500, although these aren’t the only available media streaming devices.

So what are the benefits of using Chromecast Ultra, using Apple TV, or a similar device?

The top reason so many people use streaming media devices is that they can then access huge varieties of entertainment options, easily and relatively inexpensively, including shows, movies, music, and games.

Amazon Fire TV Reviews

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Streaming media players link television to the Internet using only a few connections, such as the HDMI cord, and then the available services are extensive.

A lot of people are using streaming media players to cut out cable altogether, which can be less expensive and generally easier to maintain.

The following is a ranking and review of the top media streaming devices. This compares Amazon Fire TV reviews, Apple TV reviews, Chromecast Ultra reviews, and Samsung UBD-K8500 reviews. This review also focuses on specific features of each, which make it unique and might make one option more appealing than another to a consumer.

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AdvisoryHQ’s Comparison Review List

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the device names below to go directly to the detailed review and comparison section for that device):

High Level Comparison Table

Top Media Stream Firms

Key Feature

Best For

Amazon Fire TVSupports 4K Ultra HDPeople with an Amazon Prime Account
Apple TVOffers the TV App, which unifies all shows, movies and entertainment in one easy-to-navigate locationConsumers who like the look, feel and interface of Apple products
Chromecast UltraSince your phone is your controller when using Chromecast, you don’t need to login or download appsGoogle Home users and consumers who prefer this interface
Samsung UBD-K8500Cutting edge cinematic experience with UHD 4K resolutionPeople who want to be able to play Blu-rays and other discs and also stream shows and movies

Table: Amazon Fire TV Reviews, Apple TV Reviews, Chromecast Ultra Reviews, Samsung UBD-58500 Reviews | Above list is sorted alphabetically

What To Know About Media Streaming Devices

When you decide to research media streaming devices such as Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV, you’re looking at set-top boxes.

These are one type of streaming device, and the other option is the stick-style player. A set-top box such as a Chromecast Ultra tends to be faster and more responsive than stick players, although it can also be more expensive. These set-top devices connect to a TV with a simple HDMI cable.

Before you start researching Chromecast Ultra reviews or Samsung UB-K8500 reviews, for example, it’s important to make sure your Internet connection is fast enough to support one of these devices.

You’ll need a speed of at least 5Mbps for high definition streaming, and that’s the minimum that will only support one device at a time.

Some of the other features to consider when you’re reading Chromecast Ultra reviews, Apple TV reviews or Amazon Fire TV reviews to decide on the right device for you include:

  • What is the setup like? Many options offer Wi-Fi Protected Setup, which means you don’t have to enter your password.
  • Can you customize how your apps show up on your home screen? This is important to save you time and help you find the apps you most often use efficiently.
  • Does the device have dual-band Wi-Fi? This is an option that can improve performance.
  • What about the remote? Some media streaming devices have things like a microphone that’s integrated with the remote, which can make usage and search easier.

Amazon Fire TV Reviews

The Amazon Fire TV is available from the Amazon company so it can be used with all of the Amazon Prime services.

The primary rivals to the Amazon Fire TV are the Apple TV and Chromecast Ultra, as well as the Samsung UBD-K8500. Some of the features that allow the Amazon Fire TV to stand out among other media streaming devices are highlighted below.

The Features of the Amazon Fire TV

Below are some of the important features often highlighted in Amazon TV reviews, and details of using Amazon Fire TV.

Apple TV Reviews

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Amazon Prime

First and foremost, if you’re considering the Amazon Fire TV, one of the most important things to realize is that this is most likely the best option if you’re a Prime member.

When you’re a Prime member, and you use Amazon Fire TV, as compared to something like Chromecast Ultra, you get access to Prime Video, which includes thousands of movies and TV episodes, and they can be streamed instantly at no additional cost.

Users can also listen to more than two million songs, playlists, and stations that are part of Amazon Music Unlimited. Being a Prime member also gives you access to hours of new exclusive shows from Amazon Studios which include top-winning series like Transparent.

With Amazon Channels, Prime members have the option to choose from more than 90 premium and specialty channels including HBO and Showtime, which they can add and stream without cable or satellite subscriptions.

Amazon Prime membership includes free photo storage in Amazon Drive, and they are automatically viewable on your HDTV.

HD and Processing Power

The Amazon Fire TV features 4K Ultra HD streaming capability when it’s used with a compatible 4K Ultra HD TV, which is something Apple TV doesn’t currently support. This is a big reason many people opt to go with this option after reading Amazon Fire TV reviews.

The Amazon Fire TV also has a responsive interface, instant search results, and ultra-fast streaming.

It has a quad-core processor with 75% more processing power than the previous generation of Amazon Fire TV as well.

Other Benefits

Along with the features mentioned above that are important to cite in Amazon Fire TV reviews, when you’re using Amazon Fire TV you can also integrate the usage of Alexa voice control for Amazon Video.

There are features that allow you to rewind and skip ahead using voice control, and you can also move to the next episode of a show when you’re using Amazon Fire TV with Alexa voice control.

There is a universal search option that’s been recently expanded to include more than 75 apps and channels, and you can set up customized content that’s relevant to your searches and preferences.

Another unique feature you’ll find when using Amazon Fire TV is the ability to use Alexa to get instant sports updates with the latest scores of your favorite teams, which you can customize in the Alexa app using a web browser, Fire tablet, or Android device.

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Apple TV Review

Apple TV is a box that offers more than 1600 video apps to choose from, simple single sign-on and access to your iTunes library.

One of the primary differences between Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV that’s noted in most Apple TV reviews is the fact that you don’t have all of the benefits that come with Amazon Prime, however, if you’re not a Prime member, that’s not relevant to you.

Comparing Apple TV Reviews and Other Media Streaming Device Reviews

Below are things to consider with Apple TV reviews, particularly when compared to Amazon Fire TV reviews, Chromecast Ultra reviews, and Samsung UBD-K8500 reviews.  

Apple TV vs. Amazon Fire TV

When comparing Apple TV vs. Amazon Fire TV reviews, unfortunately for Apple, the Amazon Fire TV almost always comes out on top.

The reasons include the fact that Amazon tends to offer better picture and sound quality, better voice search, and a simpler remote. Amazon Fire TV reviews also show it has more apps and USD videos, and Apple TV is, in general, more expensive.

While the Apple TV reviews may show it coming out on top in many instances, with Apple TV, as mentioned you can access your iTunes library, and in many cases, people just enjoy the Apple brand, so they opt for using Apple TV as well as their other iOS devices.   

Apple TV Reviews vs. Chromecast Ultra

So what about Apple TV reviews versus Chromecast Ultra reviews? Both of these media streaming devices have similarities including the ability to connect with HDMI. What’s nice about the Apple TV device as compared to the Chromecast Ultra is the fact that apps are pre-installed, so if you want an easier overall setup experience, Apple TV may be a better option.

Some people might find this restrictive, while others might like that level of simplicity.

On the other hand, the Chromecast doesn’t have any apps of its own and instead uses Android apps that are compatible with Chromecast.

Also notable is the fact that the Chromecast doesn’t come with a remote, and everything is controlled through a mobile app. This is another place where consumers are going to have to choose based on their personal preferences.

Unique Apple TV Features

There are plenty of features to like when it comes to Apple TV, however.

When you read Apple TV reviews, you’ll see that the TV app is one of the consumers favorite aspects of Apple TV. The TV app provides one unified, centralized place to access shows and movies from multiple apps.

You can still get recommendations and find upcoming episodes in one location, regardless of whether you’re watching on your TV, iPhone or iPad.

Also important to note when covering Apple TV reviews is the fact that it’s equipped with Siri intelligence, which is a big part of what’s made the iPhone so successful.

Users can not just use Siri to direct them to exactly what they want to see, or they can ask Siri to present them with a range of options, and they can choose from those, instead of going through multiple menus.

Samsung UBD-K8500 ReviewsImage Source: Apple

Chromecast Ultra Review

The Chromecast Ultra is a Google product that’s often compared to Amazon Fire TV in terms of performance and capabilities. It’s a high-performing streaming device, which unlike the other names on this comparison such as Apple TV doesn’t use a remote.

One of the biggest differences between the Chromecast Ultra and Apple TV as well as Amazon Fire TV is the fact that your phone is used as your remote.

Chromecast Ultra Reviews

The following are things to note about using Chromecast, as compared to using Apple TV or using Amazon Fire TV in particular.

HD Capabilities

One of the most important things to note about using Chromecast, as compared to using Apple TV is the 4K Ultra HD and HDR capabilities that come with this streaming device. In terms of this particular feature, using Chromecast is most similar to using Amazon Fire TV.

Users of the Chromecast Ultra gain the benefits of better color, a crisper, clearer picture, and smoother video when they’re streaming 4K content.

Whether a TV is 4K or HD, the Chromecast Ultra is designed to optimize the content for the best possible quality and experience.

Google Home

When you’re reading Chromecast Ultra reviews on using Chromecast, you’ll see that it’s designed to integrate with Google Home seamlessly.

This makes it easy to watch movies and shows with voice commands, which is helpful if you don’t want to use your mobile device as your remote control.

When you’re using Chromecast, the experience is also highly personalized since you personalize your phone, and you don’t have to use an on-screen keyboard, which is something you have to do with Amazon Fire TV. With Chromecast Ultra, you’re already signed in to all of your apps on your phone, so no download or login is required when using Chromecast.

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Samsung UBD-K8500 Review

The Samsung UBD-K8500 is different from the other media streaming devices on this review because it’s actually a Blu-ray player. It’s also more expensive than the Apple TV, Chromecast Ultra and Amazon Fire TV, but it’s designed to provide the ultimate viewing experience.

Samsung UBD-K8500 Reviews

Samsung UBD-K8500 reviews and comparisons to other media streaming devices are detailed below.

Cinematic Experience

The key differentiating feature of the Samsung UBD-K8500 as compared to for example the Apple TV is the fact that it’s specifically designed to offer what the company calls the “ultimate cinematic experience.”

This includes the best in picture quality, color range, and detail within the framework of an ultra-high def resolution.

This is the best media streaming device if you want something that provides you with the utmost quality in your viewing experience.

According to Samsung UBD-K8500 reviews, it delivers four times the picture quality of existing Samsung Blu-ray players, and it features life-like images with 4K UHD playback.

4K Streaming Service

The thing that is similar between the Samsung UBD-K8500 and the other media streaming devices in this comparison is the fact that it can be used to stream 4K movies and shows at high speeds.

As with options such as the Chromecast Ultra, with the Samsung UBD-K8500, users can get content from a wide variety of online providers including Netflix and Amazon, as well as offline shows.

At the same time, according to Samsung UBD-K8500 reviews, this is different from options like the Amazon Fire TV and the Chromecast because it also allows for playing CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs in UHD quality.

Screen Mirroring

Another way the Samsung UBD-k8500 is similar to options such as the Chromecast Ultra is in its screen mirroring functionality. You can share content on a portable device with others by watching it on TV.

According to Samsung UBD-K8500 reviews, users can send images to their TV via an HDMI connection quickly and easily.

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Conclusion — Comparing Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast Ultra and the Samsung UBD-K8500

People are increasingly turning to media streaming devices to watch movies, play games, access apps on their television, and cut the cord with their cable provider. With the rising popularity of media streaming devices, more companies have been introducing new products and new versions of existing products with more features.

Some of the common features of many of these media streaming devices include:

  • The ability to access hundreds of thousands of apps
  • Screen mirroring with a mobile device
  • Leading-edge high-definition picture and performance
  • Fast speeds
  • Easy connectivity

These are just a few of the many features that you’ll enjoy whether you’re using Chromecast, using Apple TV, using Amazon Fire TV, or you opt for a Blu-ray player with connectivity options, like the Samsung UBD-K8500.

While there are many similarities between many of these media streaming devices, you’ll notice there are also differences, which is why it’s important to compare Amazon Fire TV reviews, Apple TV reviews, Chromecast Ultra reviews, and Samsung UBD-K8500 reviews before making a buying decision.

Some of the differences are as subtle as the interface. For example, when using Chromecast you’ll be interacting with the Google interface, and when you’re using Apple TV, it’s the iOS interface.

Then, there are other significant differences between many of these devices. For example, when you’re using Amazon Fire TV you have access to all of the offerings of Amazon Prime if you have a membership, and with the Samsung UBD-K8500, you can play Blu-rays, DVDs, and CDs.

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