As a content connoisseur, you are literally spoilt for choices, going into 2021. On one hand, there is an extensive range of streaming devices, still going strong, whereas the contrasting market is being ruled by Smart TVs, regardless of the budget.
However, the question that beckons an unabated approach is the relevance of the streaming devices, in general. Then again, we didn’t put the smart televisions and other gadgets under the radar as the innovation surrounding them is but obviously a discussion for the future. But, for the unversed, this debate, or rather a discussion makes a lot of sense as even in 2021; a majority of individuals are still persisting with the streaming devices; Roku, Fire TV Stick, and others to be precise.
Streaming Devices: Addressing the Elephant in the Room
Long answer short, streaming devices were, are, and will continue to be important, despite companies phasing out innovations, in regards to Smart TVs. While there are many reasons for this persistence, portability happens to be the most striking one.
Streaming devices, or as we know them, are extremely portable. They can be carried along if you want to keep experiencing movies and other forms of content, even when held up in a resort or a guest house. The likes of Fire TV Stick from Amazon ensure that you are never short of options when consuming media on-the-go is concerned.
However, some might argue that even mobiles and laptops offer similar flexibilities, provided you have access to internet connectivity. While this analogy seems partially true, smart devices aren’t good at broadcasting a wide-range of content streams, especially the ones provided by web clients and IPTV sources.
A World of Third-Party Applications
Smart Televisions come pre-loaded with compatible operating systems, which might or might not be open to third-party applications. However, popular streaming devices, including Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Cube, and more allow users to jailbreak the system, precisely for facilitating the installation of third-party applications.
Most third-party applications come with specific skill sets, capable of revitalizing the viewing experience for the users. For example, you can install web streaming clients and services on the Fire TV Stick or any compatible media streaming device to enjoy movies, TV shows, and a wide range of content pieces. In addition to that, streaming devices also allow you to enjoy IPTV content, which is a blessing for pure content lovers.
Therefore, it wouldn’t be wrong to state that streaming devices offer a new meaning to the way you watch TV shows, movies, and other consumable pieces of content.
Functional Trade-Offs! Zilch
In no way does this post belittles Smart Televisions. Termed as the future of IoT, Smart TVs offer exceptional content viewing experiences that are way more advanced as compared to standard televisions. However, Smart TVs are everything but cheap and this is where streaming devices come into the mix, offering similar levels of functionality and often greater flexibility as compared to the Smart counterparts.
A streaming device is more like a hub that connects to conventional television and uses the interface for projecting its streaming capabilities. Therefore, you end up experiencing almost zero functional trade-offs if you choose to revamp your existing television with a streaming device rather than investing in a Smart TV altogether.
Besides, as mentioned, streaming devices support side-loading of applications, something which isn’t easily possible with Smart TVs. Then again, if you have a Fire TV Stick handy and you are at sea with third-party installations via jailbreaking, you should definitely check it out in every possible way. We are sure that upon critiquing the same, you would believe that streaming devices are still relevant in the era of Smart TVs.
Are there any Loopholes?
The OTT ecosystem has been the bedrock for several online tracking activities. Therefore, surfing and content consumption habits of an individual, either on Smart TVs or streaming devices, are always subject to stringent scrutiny. However, with Smart TVs and the restricted collection of apps and services, the surveillance is often within permissible standards.
Streaming devices, however, offer access to web streaming, torrenting, IPTV, and other third-party services, making them prone to several cybersecurity threats. While a high-end, paid Virtual Private Network is a good option to use streaming devices without hindrances, it eventually makes the process way more cluttered and pricey.
Besides, the voice-controlled capabilities of certain streaming devices like Roku make it prone to threats, as the APIs can be hacked.
Regardless of the apprehensions towards streaming devices and the willingness to purchase a high-end Smart TV, it is the logic that needs to prevail. Therefore, if you are a content monger and on the lookout for options that are heavy on content-centric options, streaming devices show up as better bets.
To be honest, a streaming device is more like a portable set-top or digital box for a television. However, instead of being connected to the satellite, they work as usual entertainment hubs, with Wi-Fi powering their intellect. Lastly, as manufacturers put ample time and effort into their streaming innovations, these gadgets are better equipped when it comes to eliminating streaming lags.
Therefore, keeping every aspect in mind, it is possible for Smart gadgets and streaming devices to co-exist, with the former being expected to stay relevant for at least the next few years.