Ultimately, there are plenty of ways to get streaming content on the small screen. The only questions are how much content you need, and how much you’re willing to spend. If you’re willing to do a little programming yourself, you can look beyond the traditional streaming boxes into the world of DIY tech. A Raspberry Pi system, or a cheap Android box, can run everything from Netflix to Kodi, and all without the hassle of being locked into a big branded ecosystem.
They won’t show up while you’re watching a video, but they can be annoying while you’re searching your library or tweaking settings. GOM Player also supports screencast, so you can connect your computer to your television or a projector and play on a larger screen. Many of these boxes have quad-core processors and powerful video processors that put Apple and Roku boxes to shame in terms function and even usability. After that, it’s onto the extra features, like gaming, voice search andscreen mirroring.
The Roku and the Shield allow you to bring your own content along via USB or microSD; the Apple TV gives you access to your full iTunes library. Additionally, both the Shield and the Apple TV provide a robust selection of games, both casual and hard-core. For those who are in the market to buy a new television set, check out the Tom’s Guide primer on smart TVs. That article explains what these devices do and how to choose the best one for your home. I’ve been using Roku devices for about six years, and it has been great seeing the company continue to improve its product, especially as more people cut the cord with their cable companies.
- Apricot can track nearly any data set, so if you have data and don’t know where to put it, Apricot will be there to collect, manage, and report your data.
- As your data and reporting requirements grow and evolve, so can Apricot.
- Apricot software is built on a Tier 1 and Tier 2 form structure.
To watch content or use the apps, you’ll have to create an account first. This was done for me already but be sure to remember the login info in the event of a restore. You won’t have to sign in again after the initial setup unless you restore the firmware. The settings menu has plenty of options if you want to tweak the sound and video parameters.
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While the user interface as a whole is pretty sparse, the menu layout makes it relatively simple to find the controls you need. You wouldn’t know if from just looking at the user interface, but Pot Player also contains a free screen recorder and free video editing software under the hood. The options for customizing video playback are very impressive, while hotkeys allow you to access your most-used settings without a hitch. The one thing to watch out for with 5KPlayer is that the free model is supported by ads.
These factors don’t weigh quite as heavily toward the final score, but they’re nice to have if they work well, and extremely distracting if they don’t. The other big boon of this model is that you can program the Roku remote’s two customizable buttons to open your favorite channels, in addition to the pre-programmed ones for Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV and Vudu. The included earbud headphones sweeten the deal, as they plug right into the remote control for private listening. This is highly important to those who want to watch TV without disturbing the other person in the room. Tom’s Guide is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher.
You can watch random titles from your library by selecting one from the top half of the menu. At the bottom is a browser that separates the content into logical categories. One particular feature I liked was the ability to organize franchise films into sagas. If you’d like to watch all the Avenger films in order, for instance, Zappiti makes that easy to accomplish.