Boxes and Sticks: 7 Ways to Stream Content to Your TV

There are lots of media streaming devices on the market, and each one is a little bit different. How do you choose? Here are seven great options, and what sets them apart.

Photo By: Roku

Photo By: Google

Photo By: Amazon

Photo By: TiVo

Photo By: Slingbox

Photo By: Apple

Photo By: Western Digital

Roku & Roku Streaming Stick

The little Roku set-top box has been lauded as the king of streaming devices, thanks to its ability to access more than 200,000 shows and films — some free, some pay-as-you-go. The Streaming Stick is a thumb drive version that plugs into the back of your set and can travel with you.


Call Google’s streaming dongle the bargain pick. At about $35, it plugs into the back of your TV, but has no remote: You control it via smartphone or tablet (some people like that, others don’t). It works with apps such as Netflix and HBO GO, and can also mirror your smartphone screen.

Amazon Fire TV & Stick

If you’re a gamer, then Amazon Fire may be your streaming device of choice. It offers access to 500+ games, while promising three times the processing power of Apple TV or Roku, plus a voice search that actually works. And of course, it’s a natural at streaming Amazon Prime programming.

TiVo Stream

This box sends shows from the TV to your devices, letting you simultaneously stream up to four shows on different gadgets. It can also download your favorite shows to those devices, so you can watch them on the go (though some shows will be no-no’s because of copyright laws).


This box streams live content from your television to your devices — wherever you are in the world. Flying to Paris? You can still see your local news. The minus: It will tie up your TV while in use, and the mobile apps cost extra. 

Apple TV

Apple TV is made to work seamlessly with Apple products — including the AirPlay feature, which lets you mirror what’s on your screen, or stream directly from your devices to your television. And with a $30 price drop and the addition of HBO’s streaming service, it may appeal to non-Apple devotees, too.


Got a big collection of videos, pictures and movies? Western Digital’s box specializes in playing an extensive variety of file formats (like .AVI, .MOV and .MPEG), so you can send them from your devices to your television without getting an annoying error message.