Set-top boxes connect your TV using an HDMI cable to allow you to watch on demand TV, Netflix, listen to music and access your computer, allowing you to watch all the stuff you would watch on your desktop from the comfort of your sofa.
We have looked at some of the best to help you decide which one to get (and they are in order of price – the first one being the most expensive):
The Nexus Player is a small round device with a chunky remote. it runs Android TV which is easy to navigate using simple icons much like the Apple TV. It has services from Google Play; Play Movies, Play Music and more as well as a large amount of third-party services such as Netflix, Sky News YouTube and others. What sets the Nexus Player apart is the fact that it can play games from Android using an option game controller. You can play with your friends online and even carry on a game on your phone.
It uses an HDMI input and has a cable included – the internet connectivity is WiFI only.
Like the Nexus Player the Amazon Fire TV also can be used as a console for casual gamers with titles such as Asphalt 7, Angry Birds and Flappy Bird Family. It is the best one to get if you are interested in playing on games like the ones designed for phones. The Fire TV also features on demand services like the other boxes and it has access to Amazon’s own Instant Video service as well as Netflix.
The device has integrated WiFi and Ethernet for internet connection, an HDMI port to connect it to the TV, Optical Audio for surround sound systems and a Micro USB port for resetting the device on iTunes.
The Chromecast is the least expensive streaming device out of the four. The Chromecast simply mirrors on the TV what is on your phone, not having its own menu on the TV which makes it really easy to put video, pictures and more on the TV. Similar to AirPlay the Chromecast uses something called “Cast” which lets you play video from iPlayer, YouTube, NOW TV and more on the TV without draining the phone battery.
The device is powered by USB and plus directly into a HDMI port.