Streaming video is now a fact of life for many AV enthusiasts. Even those who prefer the quality of Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray are tempted by the vast catalog of content that’s available at the touch of a button. However, not all streaming experiences are the same.
If you feel the urge to splurge and spend some free time on a Netflix binge, can use a TV’s built-in apps, or you can use an external device to stream. There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach that are worth discussing.
Using a TV’s built-in apps is convenient. The latest smart TVs go to great lengths to make using internal apps as easy as changing channels. In some cases, smart TV apps are the only way to get the latest content, such as enjoying the library of Dolby Vision titles on Vudu.com or HDR10+ content on Amazon.
However, there are some pitfalls to relying on built-in apps to stream. For example, it’s not uncommon to have limited controls for calibrating picture quality when using smart apps. By contrast, an external streaming device that connects with HDMI can take advantage of a pro calibration.
Another issue with a TV’s internal apps is that after a few years, the built-in apps might not get updated any longer. If you use one of the popular external streaming devices like Roku, Google Chromecast, Apple TV, or Fire TV, typically support for apps is more robust. Then again, if you have a TV that uses one of these platforms, such as a Roku TV, this becomes a non-issue.
Another reason to choose an external streamer is to tap into a larger library of content. For example, Roku has the most apps, and Apple TV lets you access iTunes. If you use an external streamer, you can buy a TV based on other factors and essentially ignore the smart apps. Oh, and there’s no rule against having a Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, and still using a TV’s built-in apps. So, I made this a multiple-choice poll.
OK, enough of my yammering…
How do you stream video?
1. My TV’s internal apps
4. Apple TV
5. Fire TV
6. Game Console (PS4, Xbox, Shield)
9. Blu-ray player
10. I don’t stream video
Click here to vote in the poll
Cover image from bigstockphoto.com