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Best streaming TV devices reviewed: Just in time for the holiday shopping season

The Associated Press (AP) has came out Nov. 23 with a review of the best large-screen TV streaming devices to consider for online video viewing. They reviewed the following devices: the Amazon Fire TV Stick, the Roku 3, the Apple TV and the Google Nexus Player.

The AP ranks the Amazon Fire Stick (and Fire TV) the highest out of the other three. A “stick” is a cheaper, lightweight version of a regular streaming device, often with poorer performance. They said that’s not the case with the $39 Fire TV Stick, which is they are recommending it over the $99 Fire TV. The Fire TV devices stand out in having voice search that works well. The Stick is out of stock until mid-January. The regular Fire TV is available immediately and is better for games.

The AP said the Roku 3 device is agnostic on content providers. There are more than 1,000 apps to download, many for services users have probably never heard of and will never watch. Except for iTunes it has all the leading channels. There are many Roku models. The $50 Roku Streaming Stick is adequate for basic video, but painfully slow when rewinding and forwarding.

Apple TV, at $99, remains a solid device and is a great choice for those who already have iPhones or iPads. Place one near the Apple TV for easy set-up. User iTunes account’s transfers over wirelessly. Apple takes a “less is more” philosophy and curates Apple TV with 45 or so outside services, including ABC, HBO and Showtime.

Google’s new $99 Nexus Player has voice search like the Amazon Fire. While the Fire limits such searches to titles, actors, directors and genres, the Nexus offers more flexible searching – though it works only some of the time.