There is a huge market of high end streaming devices, but we get it. Not everything fits to your Apple TV taste. It’s a little tough for you to settle for something else or you simply just want to make a switch for the better.
Whatever your reasons are, the market for some great Apple TV alternatives is huge. Some are even better than the original service in terms of budget.
Why is Apple TV such a hype you ask?
Well for starters it’s a premium experience, but that’s not it.
Apple TV is a high end top box running tvOS with a dedicated TV Operating system with a 4th and 5th generation Apple TV. The Apple TV has all the enhancements and upgrades from the previous run generations along with the App Store filled streaming services, apps and games with an access to Siri via the touch assembled Siri remote.
The upgrades are automatic and simply genius given in regards to the content and overall user interface.
Sounds solidly convincing right?
Some people do not feel like that. Not everyone is Apple TV fan, especially if you are an audiophile.
You should know by now that Apple TV and Apple TV 4K conveniently lacks an optical out port, even though some of the older versions have had this port integrated into the device.
Automatically that leads to not much of support by Google Chromecast, although there is AirPlay capabilities for its iOS users. The 4th generation Apple TV just becomes more expensive if you want to cap the 4K HD TV feature which is 30 pounds extra!
Sure the entire stretch of the Apple TV and it features are a top investment but you may find similar devices and features; some of which you have to get separately.
What should you be looking for in a media streamer?
There are pretty decent competitors out there, but some of them might not be for you. In that case when looking out for the best streaming device you should always consider the following streaming points:
Apps and Streaming service
The most important feature of any streaming device is most definitely the huge bulk and pool of streaming apps available. Pretty much all of the streaming devices available are offering a good bulk of apps and features.
However not all media streamers are created equal, therefore there are a wide range of streaming features which will vary from one device to another. For example, some devices are offering a built in catch-up feature while others offer limited VOD feature.
Remember that Mario game? That’s not the resolution anyone is looking for! Resolution is a big game and mood changer. This is one of the main reasons why people are more inclined towards 4K TV sets.
If you have a standard HD TV screen, you do not have to pay for the extra 4K support at all. There are other good media streamers out there which will support your HD viewing with the same content library and value added features.
The Overall Design and Ports
It may not sound that convincing to you but it is quite important. With Apple TV you do not get to have a particular port which is a bummer for most users.
Design is an important element however it isn’t the final verdict of the overall media streamer. The designs come in all kinds of shapes and size depending on what the majority prefers. Some are hidden away to small boxes and consoles while others can be pasted onto the shelves and coffee tables.
Always consider where you will be placing your media streamer to avoid any clashing with your TV setup.
Some stream devices are more than just about streaming such as Nvidia Shield comes with game controller.
Apple TV and Android based media streamers are also offering the same services, but in their case you have to make an extra investment. The normal packs come with the remote control only.
You can look for remote alternatives if you have not had a controller with your media streamers.
Before Proceeding Please Know
No matter which streaming device you choose for yourself, VPNs are always going to be an important aspect of your streaming. Make sure you have those ISP radars off your back with our top VPNs.
While most of you may or may not know, Governments and ISPs worldwide have a strict check on their users online activities. In case, any copyrighted content is found streaming, you can land into serious consequences which may be as severe as suspending of your online account. Please know, that your current IP 2600:1700:d0:1800:b10a:e33b:af81:2f02 is visible to everyone. We therefore urge you to get started with a reliable Firestick VPN immediately. This will help cover your identity via VPN’s multiple servers, while giving you the premium viewing experience.
IPVanish has been the fastest and most reliable secure VPN we have come across so far. Their servers are widespread and strictly secured. The VPN is very easy to install and user-friendly on every device including the Amazon Fire TV Stick. If you are not sure about the app, it comes with a 7-day money back guarantee with a refund. IPVanish also has a very attractive deal in which, when paid for a whole year subscription you can avail 67% discount on your annual plan!
Register for IPVanish VPN, by clicking on the link
- On your FireStick device, go to the homepage and type in and search for ‘IPVanish VPN’ in your search bar.
- Click on the IPVanishVPN you see in your search.
- Click on ‘Download’.
- Once downloaded, you would need to register with the username and password information you must have provided while registering.
- Once signed-in, click on ‘Connect’.
- Soon you would be connected. You can disconnect from the connection whenever you wish to stop using a VPN.
So should I invest into a TV set up box?
Well you may and you may not be depending on how fond you are of streaming devices.
If you have a smart TV setup you may not need one. If you do not have one you can have TV subscriptions. Such media streamers are a value added luxury for your streaming, not an absolute necessity.
Nevertheless, here are top picks as apple TV alternative for 2020.
Apple TV Alternative List
- Roku 3
- Western Digital WDTV Play
- Google TV
- Asus Google TV Qube
- Sony NSZ-GS7
- AIRTV 8GB 4K Streaming Media Player
- Now TV 4K smart Box
- Mi Box
- Amazon Firestick (Our Preferred Choice)
Roku is the top streamer media right now based on the amazing interface and content library it has. There are several generations and models with a decent interface. For every model the price features are a different, yet the universal interface remains the same.
Roku has a powerful processor and a redefined interface with good value added features and a whole wide collection of features. The remote features add a nice touch to the overall media streamer.
It has a built in headphone jack which helps you watch your favorite content in private. It has a little restriction in sense that you cannot connect Airplay out of the Box for Roku.
The search feature is actually brilliant of Roku. In our experience so far we have not experienced with any other streaming device. All in all, most of the channels and media streaming featured on Roku are free of cost.
- The largest collection of video streaming applications.
- There are more compatible ports than Apple TV including USB port and MicroSD card slot.
- Great UI and navigation between channels is easy.
- The search feature is quite impressive.
- Some good popular video services such as Hulu Plus and YouTube are not available.
- Not very much compatible with the Apple ecosystem.
What users had to say?
Roku 3 is killer compared to Chromecast, In the last one month, I spent quite a lot of time identifying the best streaming device for my home television. To start with, those who know me will understand my first principal of choosing a device would be economical / Frugal. I tried out both Chromecast and Roku HDMI Stick past few days for my use case and landed with Roku HDMI Stick. Roku Stick is truly a winner even if I compare this with Apple TV & Amazon Fire TV. Let me look at the comparisons among the four and why I ended up with Roku Stick.
Western Digital WDTV Play
This may be a little smaller than the actual Apple TV you are used to of. However, on the basis of price alone it has quite a competitive edge given you are streaming throughout with a stable 1080p quality.
The HDMI output is in addition to composite AV as well as the outlet of the optical digital audio also with an Ethernet support. Now who gives out such port versatility.
Just like Roku it also includes the USB port.
Even though Western Digital is a back bencher in media streamers none of the features have been compromised and the specifications are telling you all about it.
You may not find the remote control to be as elegant as for other streamers but there is an in built system to get you through Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and Hulu Plus.
It does not have a much as channels as Roku 3 has but it does feature popular ones which makes it a good choice as an apple TV alternative.
- The best edge within all of its fellow competitors is that it supports wide variety of multimedia formats for example AVI, MKV, MP4 and WMV9.
- Much more affordable than any other streaming device. One of the cheapest streaming device in market.
- Google collection of Channel which includes include popular streaming services like Netflix and Spotify.
- The remote control app is available in case you lose the remote control.
- The UI is at times slower and a little sluggish and not very responsive.
- You cannot add any additional channels.
- You can only add firmware updates.
What Users had to say?
Using the WDTV comes off very feasible. You may connect the WDTV live to your computer using the HDMI connection. You are playing from a HDD through the WDTV, you can bypass the WDTV and connect the HDD directly to the computer and play the content using a suitable multimedia player similar to VLC player.
There has been quite some hype about the new Google TV, but is it really that much worth of hype?
Google TV does not have the hardware designed on its own. It is associated with multiple other companies for that cause such a Sony and Asus. This gives an edge to the buyer since there are varying top boxes with different price ranges and different capabilities.
Regardless of the hardware designing, Google TV has its own customized features. It is widely acknowledging for the music distribution. You will find Spotify, Pandora and Google music with ample music libraries and genres to choose from.
Since Apple TV does have a strong footing when it comes to good music, Google TV in terms of well-maintained music libraries can be said as a good Apple TV alternative.
Asus Google TV Qube
Qube is new in market, and like we have mentioned earlier Google does not host any hardware on its own, so it often relies on Asus for the cause. The device is rather plastic looking cheap device but comes with a cost of around $140.
The device differentiates itself well enough by having a built in mic feature for voice searching as well as rather interesting cube like interface which give a very 3D effect to your whole streaming experience.
The cursor is also cube like which moves up and down between all the different categories from TV shows, to navigating tool.
The biggest surprise for us while testing out the features were the built in AirPlay within the streaming box. We tested it out with YouTube and the overall experience was quite an impressive experience.
Overall tech features of Asus Google TV Qube
- 2 USB ports to external media
- A mini Qwerty Keyboard
- Built in Gyroscope for playing of the android games.
- There is a huge storage with 50GB cloud storage just like Apple TV
- It has internal storage of 40GB
All in all, Asus Google TV cube is a pretty impressive little top box to have as replacement of Apple TV alternative.
- Great choice of content streaming through Google TV and Google Play service online.
- It comes with the Airplay Feature.
- The remote control has pretty good gaming features.
- Even though the system is on the expensive side, it is a little more expensive than Apple TV.
- It looks a little cheap looking, which is off putting for some of the users.
- It isn’t as small as Apple TV or Roku is, making it less consolable than the rest of the competitors.
- We found the Cube UI more innovative ad different but for some of the users it can be a downgrade of the overall system.
Another Google TV version. Sony NSZ GS7 is fully functional with good Google features, Google TV box and media hub. Rest assured, this particular Goggle TV model is much better looking in terms of design and user interface. People have given positive reviews about even though it is relatively new and ill being tested out by people.
The overall design and appearance of the top box is pretty near and glossy.
The overall tech features include:
- HDMI input portal
- USB ports
- Audio output
- Built in Wi-Fi
Initially the TV box was designed for the UK audience, Sony NSZ also has content for US based audience. The only downgrade to the overall system for us so far has been that you have to steep deep into searching to actually get to the decent content you have been searching for which is a worthwhile task.
Overall you will find wide collection of libraries from Google Play services including unlimited access to music and Video libraries.
- The overall remote control is very effective.
- There are a lot of features and functions to look from.
- You will find plenty of built in online services and features.
- The overall design is much better than other models of Google generated media devices with high quality construction and reliable brands.
- Not very slick in its user interface.
- You have to search through a lot to finally find some decent collection of good Android Apps.
AIRTV 8GB 4K Streaming Media Player
AIRTV is most known for its Bluetooth capability which helps you connect to headphones and all the game controllers. The best part is that you can also get connected to the controllers of other Media streamers.
You will have easy access Google Play services to download and find as many apps as possible which you can openly access on your TV.
Overall AirTV is a pretty standard media box with almost same promising features like of the other competitors. You can easily navigate your desirable apps and options. It even helps you with choosing the right content to watch.
Now TV 4K smart Box
Another smart technology on our hands as an apple TV alternative, with 4K compatibility you should definitely check out if you have a 4K TV box set.
For our UK audience if you are looking for something that is 4K enabled which has huge access to everything streaming in UK Now TV 4K Box is a good option at 45.99 pounds.
You get access to Sky entertainment, Sky sports and Sky Movies for free with this media streamer. The controller which comes along with the device provides extra access buttons to both the Now TV and the Sky Store directly.
You are not only restricted with the UK entertainment with Now TV, you can also find easy access to Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.
Who does not know about Mi Box? Mi Box got recognized because of its great smart phone technology. Now it is backing up for 4K box technologies powered by the Android TVs.
Mi Box comes with a voice remote control and a separate shortcut to popular streaming domains like Netflix. It supports Google Assistant voice over and comes with 4K HDR support.
Mo Box has been a tough competitor for Google from 2015. It introduced its MiBox while Google was still somewhere lost increasing tablets, smart phones and other gadgets. It was first launched in China and now it has an international recognition of course with the Android TV as its supportive face.
In short Mi Box is a great Apple TV alternative for $60 only!
What Users had to say?
Android tv’s are totally worth buying. It is not just a tv instead u get to download games and watch netflix directly or browse easily using ur wifi. Its totally worth it all. Tv can be easily used by smart phones too.
As mentioned earlier, getting a top box for your TV set is more like a luxury that you have for your TV set. Amazon Firestick however sketches a completely different picture.
The reason is obvious; you are upgrading to the exclusive Smart TV feature from your basic TV streaming experience. Now who would not love that?
Amazon Firestick is a raving choice among users because of its obvious features. The credibility of the content and details of their entire product is truly remarkable.
Outstanding characteristics of Amazon Firestick
- Very portable and easy to carry. It comes as a USB stick
- You can plug it directly into the HDMI port of your LEDs.
- Amazon Firestick hosts one of the largest platform for versatile streaming medias such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, UK TV, Spotify and so much more.
- It comes with Alexa voice control support with an integrated microphone with a small supplied remote. It also had remote features in case you lose your remote control.
If you are sure about replacing your Apple TV, Amazon Firestick has to be your only option as an apple TV alternative.
What Users had to say?
In addition to owning an Apple TV, I also own the new Fire TV Stick because I like watching content through Prime Video. There’s a Netflix app as well as other apps from content providers like HBO, Hulu, Twitch, etc. Generally speaking, I like my Fire TV Stick, but I do wish that both the UI and user experience were better. A big advantage for the Fire TV Stick is its price, and Alexa integration is pretty sweet too.
Which one should I get?
That’s a good question to ask, rather a question you should often ask whenever you are dipping your toes into buying something technical for yourself.
The above mentioned Apple TV alternatives are some of the top tiers of the media industry, but it is expected for other good releases to happen in the following year.
Each of the device offers something different and while most of us debate that everything looks and feels similar, it really comes down to small streaming and design details to help you secure your choice.
Overall Amazon Firestick and Roku are the two best Apple TV alternative on our list. Mainly because of their huge content collection and amazing user interface.
However, if you are already using Mac and iOS devices, for that purpose looking for an Apple TV alternative would not be a smart choice. Mainly because you will have no smooth compatibility with other devices. Also you will not be able to have open access to the content from iTunes and iOS.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are Android TV boxes illegal?
Illegal streaming devices are not that common to begin with. However, if you jailbreak any device, some people may use it for illegal purpose. However, jailbreaking itself is not an illegal activity.
Can you watch normal TV on Android box?
Yes, you can watch as much as of live TV on your Android set top box as you want. There is no stopping tot that. In fact, for every channel featured on regular cable network, there is a Live TV stream available on your box.
How much Internet speed do I need to run an Android box?
You need a good internet speed for sure. People often ask about whether do I need an internet connection yes you do, make sure you have a good working internet connection with good fast speed. We strongly recommend a minimum threshold of 2 MB and for HD watching you will need a minimum of 4 MB broadband width.