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Streaming Devices To Change The Way You Watch TV
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Streaming Devices To Change The Way You Watch TV

With banks cancelling DStv payments left, right and centre, and  considering that DStv is quite expensive you might be considering  alternatives that offer a better or at least a more cost effective  entertainment experience.

With that in mind we will be looking at some other alternatives you  can turn to if you are no longer able to pay the subscription or you are  just tired of what's on offer.

I think the most underrated aspect of streaming devices/services  their expansive libraries is the fact you never actually have to follow a  program guide or risk missing out on the services you like watching.  You watch what you want when you want, unless what you want is Game of  Thrones Season 8. That's not out yet.

Amazon Fire TV Stick

The Fire TV Stick is a streaming device, that looks like a slightly  oversized USB stick and despite it's relatively small size it packs in  some pretty cool features considering that you have to part with only  $39 to buy one.

On one end of the Fire TV Stick is an HDMI port and on the other is a  USB port. Though the design looks uninspiring, no one will ever  actually get to see the Fire TV Stick considering that this will spend  the majority of its life connected to your TV. It comes with a tiny  remote that has some cool voice controls and a few set of buttons that  would have you think it can't do much but that would be judging a book  by its cover. The remote actually has voice capabilities which means it  acts as a mic for Amazon Alexa commands and this means you can go  through menus and programs using your voice, if talking to your TV  doesn't seem weird to you. You'll probably be forced to use the mic, as  typing using a remote is not the greatest

When it comes to content, you'll have more than enough choice as you  can choose from Amazon Prime, Netflix, HBO Now, Crunchyroll, Playstation  Vue, Sling TV, Spotify and YouTube. All of these come with "huge"  libraries that mean you'll never run out of things to watch and with  Netflix subscriptions as low as $10.99 per month you'll be spoilt for  choice.

There's no 4K capabilities which means if you have a 4K TV you may  want to opt for the more expensive variants of the Fire TV but it's safe  to assume that most of us don't have 4K TVs in Zim so this won't be a  major deal breaker.

Google Chromecast

Google Chromecast costs even less, coming in at $35 dollars. The  design is definitely more interesting than that of the Fire TV but  depending on your outlook that's probably of secondary concern.

Like the Fire TV, it connects to your TV via HDMI and this comes with  no remote... Yuhp, you use your phone to actually control the  Chromecast through
the Chromecast App on your Android or iOS device.

Like Fire TV you can stream from a number of services- Netflix,  Redbull TV, Hulu Plus, YouTube and Twitch (if you're into gaming) more  depending on which services you decide to install. As aforementioned,  all of these come with their own distinct libraries and they ensure that  users will be spoilt for choice.

Roku Streaming Stick

Roku has their own streaming stick, and with a price tag of $50 it's  the most expensive device on this list. There's still no 4K and for that  you should be prepared to spend closer to the $100 price point.

Roku's stick has a good mobile app that acts as a companion and  allows you to type in search boxes using your phone. The app is not  required like it is on the Google Chromecast but it is good to have it  anyway.

In terms of content, the same things you get on the Amazon and  Chromecast are here. Amazon, Google Play, Netflix, Hulu, Twitch, Redbull  TV, Sling and BBC iPlayer are all on offer though you have to subscribe  for each one independently. There are also a number of free channels  with the aforementioned Redbull TV being one of them.

What should be clear at this point is that these devices are hubs  that enable you to access content from a variety of services, so when  you are thinking Chromecast vs Roku you should not think of that as you  would DStv vs Kwese where you are directly comparing content. These  streaming devices will give you similar content (for the most part) but  in slightly different ways.

"There are more capable devices!"

Now there are certainly more specced-out devices but the reason why I  chose to keep everything on this list under the $150 price point is  because though these streaming devices are on the less expensive side,  most of you will understand that quality internet in Zim is not.  Actually it is quite expensive, and if you are interested in unlimited  packages more often than not you find yourself spending around $100 or  more.

"Is this cheaper than DStv?"

Of course it varies, from person to person but I think it's a safe  bet to say that streaming is actually more expensive than DStv or any  satellite service in Zimbabwe because of the data situation. Of course  you could stream at a lower resolution but once you start making these  compromises, that's a clear sign of how limited the options are. If data  gets cheaper (and the assumption is it will) then these services are a  no-brainer but as long as data is expensive I think streaming services  although great will play second fiddle to the king i.e. satellite...