The ultimate guide to choosing streaming devices

13 June 2023

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It goes without saying that streaming has revolutionised the way we consume entertainment. Gone are the days of waiting for your favorite shows or movies to air on television at a scheduled time. With the advent of streaming services, we now have the freedom to watch our favourite content whenever and wherever we please.

Yet, to unlock the full potential of these streaming platforms, it’s crucial to have the right TV device that suits your needs. With an overwhelming array of options available in the market, choosing the perfect solution can be an intricate task. Whether you’re a casual viewer, a binge-watcher, a sports enthusiast or a movie aficionado, we understand that everyone has unique preferences and requirements when it comes to streaming, so we’ve simplified the selection process for you with valuable insights on smart TVs, set-top boxes and the Google Chromecast.

So read along and get ready to unlock a world of limitless entertainment, convenience and immersive viewing experiences.

What are TV streaming devices and how do they work?

Streaming devices are gadgets that connect to your TV and allow you to access various streaming services and content. They work by connecting to your home’s Wi-Fi network and then use apps to stream content directly to your TV screen. This means you can enjoy your favourite shows, movies and series without having to rely on traditional cable or satellite TV. In addition, with these devices offering a wide range of features and functionalities, they have the ability to elevate your entertainment experience up a notch, way beyond cable or satellite TV.

What are the main types of TV streaming devices?

Generally speaking, there are three main types of streaming devices, namely smart TVs, set-top boxes and Google Chromecast. Let’s take a closer look at each type, their features, advantages and disadvantages.

TV showing the GO TV app

Smart TVs

Smart TVs are televisions with built-in streaming capabilities and internet connectivity. They feature integrated apps and services, allowing you to access popular streaming platforms directly from your TV’s interface, eliminating the need for any additional devices.

Advantages of Smart TVs:

  • No additional hardware required
  • Simplified setup and user experience
  • Direct access to streaming apps

Disadvantages of Smart TVs:

  • Limited app selection compared to dedicated streaming devices
  • Software updates may be slower
  • Can be more expensive than non-smart TVs

Did you know you can get 3 months of GO TV for free, giving you access to 20 local and Italian channels, as well as top local content with Tokis and one of our GO TV Passes (Movies & Series Pass, Sports Pass, Entertainment Pass) when you buy an Android TV set from one of our selected partners? These include Scan, Samsung, Doneo, Astral, Forestals, Top Choice, A to Z Electronics, Ultimate and Digitalzone.

And if you’re already a proud owner of a Samsung or LG TV, know that our GO TV app is now available on these TV sets in its beta version. So go ahead and tune in to hundreds of live channels and hours of on-demand TV content and enjoy features, such as catch-up, pause, rewind and restart so that you can watch and rewatch as you please and never miss a thing.

Android TV box

Set-Top Boxes

Do you prefer watching TV the traditional way? Then a set-top box is what you need. If you’re unfamiliar with this gadget, this is a standalone device that connects to your TV via HDMI and offers extensive streaming capabilities, while they often come with advanced features like voice control, 4K HDR support and expandable storage options. Some examples of this you may have heard of include Apple TV and our very own GO Android TV box.

Offering the best of TV and access to your favourite Apple services, with the Apple TV 2nd Generation you can now enjoy top TV content from Apple TV+, GO TV and so much more. With its touch-enabled click pad, the Siri Remote gives you precise control, enabling you to click titles, swipe through playlists and use a circular gesture on the outer ring to find just the scene you’re looking for. To set up Apple TV, all you need is a TV with HD capability or better, an HDMI cable for HD streaming, a wired or wireless network, a broadband internet connection and you’re good to go.

On the other hand, with our 4K Ultra-HD capable Android set-top box you can benefit from features like enhanced user applications, including federated search and voice control, as well as whole-home ultra-HD video distribution with flexible networking options, including Wi-Fi and Ethernet. What’s more, the set-top box is Android TV Operator Tier certified, which gives you access to Google Play Store’s boundless applications, services and games. If you already have our GO Android TV Box and would like to set it up, here is our easy-to-follow guide.

Advantages of set-top boxes:

  • Vast app selection and customization options
  • High-quality streaming with support for 4K HDR
  • Additional features like gaming and voice control

Disadvantages of set-top boxes:

  • Can be more expensive compared to other streaming devices
  • May require separate remote control and additional cables and space

Google Chromecast TV device

Google Chromecast

A small, thumb-sized device that plugs into your TV’s HDMI port, chromecast offers a simple yet powerful solution to transform your regular TV into a smart streaming hub, by allowing you to stream content from your phone, tablet or laptop directly to your television. The device works by connecting to your home Wi-Fi network, enabling you to “cast” media from a device of your choice to your TV screen.
Don’t have a Google Chromecast yet? And if you already have one, then here is a guide about setting it up.

Advantages of Google Chromecast:

  • Seamless switching between devices like casting from your phone to your TV and then to your tablet, all without interrupting your viewing experience
  • Affordable option compared to other streaming devices
  • Small and portable, allowing you to take it with you on the go

Disadvantages of Google Chromecast:

  • Requires a reliable and stable wi-fi connection for it to function smoothly
  • Possible lag between your mobile device and TV depending on your internet connection and devices used

Comparing TV streaming devices

If you’re on the fence about selecting a streaming device, there are a number of factors you must take into consideration. For instance, picture and streaming quality or user interface are just a few things you should bear in mind. Here is a list of these and some other factors:

Picture and streaming quality: most streaming devices support Full HD (1080p) resolution, while some may also support 4K and HDR content for an even better viewing experience.

App support: while most devices have access to popular streaming services, some may offer better integration with certain platforms. For example, Apple TV integrates seamlessly with the Apple ecosystem.

User interface and control: each device has its own user interface and remote control design. While some prefer simplicity, others might appreciate a more high-tech alternative.

Unique features: some devices offer unique features that set them apart. For example, Google Chromecast allows you to cast content from your smartphone or tablet to your TV, while with Apple TV you can play games using the Siri Remote.

Now that you’re equipped with all the necessary information needed to select the right TV device for streaming, it’s time to have a look at our TV plans and choose the one that suits your needs best. And if you’re looking for some inspiration on what to watch, how about these sci-fi movies? Or these romantic comedies? Alternatively, snuggle up with your little ones and watch some shows from these top educational channels.