Best Streaming Media Players
Last Updated: Nov 21, 2019
The stranglehold that cable TV companies, such as Comcast Xfinity in the US, have over consumers is coming to an end. In the past, cable service availability for any geographic region was often monopolized by one company, and so without competition, consumers were stuck with high bills and greedy, regular increases. Enter streaming TV over the internet.
With just a good internet connection, high-definition video of live channels and on-demand TV shows and movies can be streamed to a TV to provide a similar viewing experience to cable at a relatively low subscription cost. To use this service, two selections need to be made: streaming TV service provider(s) and media player. The landscape of service providers is presently highly competitive with some of the most popular including: Sling TV, YouTube TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Philo TV, fuboTV, and AT&T TV. One of the main differentiators is the exact makeup of the content bundle (live TV channels, sports, on-demand series, original shows, etc.), which is more a personal preference. Some also offer DVR recording and simultaneous streaming for multiple TVs. Most importantly, there are no contracts and so users can switch arbitrarily.
A streaming media player is the other piece of the puzzle and connects to the home network to enable the user to navigate and play the provided content. The best quality and capable media players are listed below. Considerations include reliability, video resolution, supported service providers, user interface and ease of use, and other features such as DVR and voice control.