Streaming Media Devices Vs Smart TVs

Posted on May 14 2016 - 5:29pm by Editorial Staff

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Smart TVs and streaming media devices have come a long way over the last few years. The ability to use the internet to stream media, play games and access apps that we typically could only do on our tablets or smartphones has made TV a much more enjoyable experience. We have different ways to stream media: smart TVs, game consoles, and streaming media devices. These are all great modes of getting the content we want. However, have you stopped to think about the differences between streaming media device and smart TVs? They both offer similar features, but which one is the clear winner? You have to look at content availability, the ease of use, updates provided, picture quality, the cost of both types of devices, and what will ultimately work best for you. Some of the best streaming media players include: Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, StreamSmart, Google’s Chromecast etc.

Content Availability

A streaming media device gives you the ability to stream TV shows, movies, sports, and much more for free or purchase at any time. Smart TVs are limited to what is offered. Netflix is on just about every smart TV, if not all of them. However, Amazon and Apple have the most content available. Google Play is a close second, but all other smart TVs are going to keep you limited. This is enough to justify a costly streaming media device that lets you get all of the content you can imagine. You get everything you want if you get a streaming media device, but not if you get a smart TV.


The usability between the two devices can vary; however, I would have to say that streaming devices tend to be the winner in most cases. Some of the devices allow you to use a voice activated service instead of the complicated remote to navigate. Smart TVs can be somewhat of a burden with all of the menus and navigation. However, streaming devices can be cumbersome with setup. It truly is up to the individual and what they are willing to put up with.


Most smart TVs never go through an upgrade; however, game consoles and streaming devices will always have updates and security patches that are integrated on a routine bases. They offer new and improved menus, navigation and applications. The clear winner here is streaming media.


The picture quality on the devices can vary. Honestly, quality will depend on the TV that you have. If your streaming media device will support 1080p, but your TV only supports 780p then obviously the TV is your problem. It is always possible the scaler inside your media box is better than your TV. Now it is also possible that your TV is better than your streaming media player. Not too mention, if you have a smart TV, no matter what your content is played, it is played in the best possible view.


Cost is also a toss-up, because it depends on the smart TV you get and/or the streaming media player. You can get smart TVs that range from $100-$2000 and you can get streaming media devices from $100 – $1000. It really varies depending on what you want and what you are willing to spend.

Who wins?

With all of this said, I do believe that adding a streaming media player to your TV is your best option. You dictate which TV you want and you get the best possible streaming service with all the content you can dream of. The question comes down to what you are willing to spend.

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Editorial Staff at I2Mag is a team of subject experts.