Streaming Devices – Box Versus Stick

By DC AccessOctober 21, 2016Internet, WiFi

fire-tv   chromecast roku

Eager to cancel your expensive bundled cable contract? But waiting to cut the cord until you’re sure you won’t miss out on your favorite TV shows and movies?  Let DC Access help you choose the best streaming device for your home to get the optimal viewing experience.

The choice — streaming stick or set-top box?

There are lots of choices for streaming content to your home. And which is best can be confusing. Streaming sticks, such as Google Chromecast, Roku Streaming Stick, and Amazon Fire TV, are small, easily portable, and cost less than $50.  The streaming stick is easy to install and plugs directly into your TV’s HDMI port.  

By comparison, a set-top box, like the Fire TV box and Roku Premiere+, costs approximately $100, and requires a hard-wired Ethernet connection.

How to Choose?

In our experience, in densely populated, actively streaming communities, like the ones DC Access serves, a set-top box streaming device always provides the fastest and clearest media streaming experience. Due to their small size, streaming sticks are simply not capable of streaming the same volume of video content at optimum speeds. For example, even the newest Fire TV stick can only support resolution up to 1080p, while the set-top box can support much faster speeds.

Additionally, the Ethernet port connected set-top boxes provide a more stable connection.  If you live in a home with multiple wifi-connected devices, the streaming sticks will need to fight for connectivity, resulting in a more fragile connection. If your set-top box is connected directly to an Ethernet port on your router or a home plug device connected to your router, you’re less likely to miss the latest big reveal in Game of Thrones.

However, if you travel often, a streaming stick might be a better solution.  Streaming sticks can easily fit in your pocket or bag and are a good choice for people who are often on the go.

Looking for more information? DC Access recommends reading this piece by Digital Trends.