The internet is the ultimate answer to cable, video games, movies, and music. With today’s entertainment sticks and HD hook-ups there is no excuse for being bored–or not procrastinating–if you have a wireless connection. Entertainment sticks are pouring in, but not all sticks are created equal.
Cautionary Tale: Though these sticks are full of fun and endless entertainment, the viewer is still responsible for subscriptions to Netflix, HBO, Pandora, Spotify and so on. Don’t forget, you need to buy wireless internet for all of them. Being this stimulated can be expensive.
Amazon Fire TV
Models: Fire TV and Fire TV Stick (Gamepad sold seperately)
Subscription: $99 a year for Prime
What you get: The Amazon Fire Stick was one of the first entries into the media world that offered video games, music and TV all-in-one. It is a one-stop shop for all entertainment needs. Coupled with Slingbox (a wireless alternative to cable) and Amazon Prime Video, The Fire is a hard contender to beat. But even if you do not subscribe to Prime, you can get Netflix, HBO Go, and countless apps for gaming.
Models: Roku 1, Roku 2, Roku 3 and Roku 4
What you get: Roku started the internet TV sensation and it hasn’t backed away from all these contenders. Pledging over 2000 streaming channels for movies, music, and games and the addition of a 4K Streaming option (Roku 4), this will not disappoint video junkies. The games section is not as boisterous as the Fire Stick, but it can mirror the screen of Android and Microsoft devices.
Mad Catz M.O.J.O
Creator: Mad Catz
Models: The 16gb Micro Console w/ controller
What You Get: The Mojo is not well known in entertainment circles. It is a direct port of the Android operating system. It can play most major entertainment apps (Netflix, Pandora, Spotify), but it also comes with the complete Ouya library. Ouya is a game store that has over 1000 indie games. Also, computer gurus can install different applications on it to make it do more. If you want an Amazon store or any third-party app, you can install it right on the program. The Mojo is the top contender for gaming and internet exploration, but its obscurity might make it harder to grab.
Models: Nexus Player (Gamepad sold separately)
What You Get: The Player does not add anything significant, but the fact that Google is using their whole Android OS. You will be able to play all the top streaming services for movies, TV, and music; plus you can use your purchases on the Google store. The game selection is just as good as the Amazon Fire TV. For select Nexus phones, the user can put their screen right on the TV. The Player came a bit late to the game.
Models: PS3, PS4, Playstation TV, Playstation Vita
Subscription: $49-69 a month for Playstation Vue, $15 a month for Playstation Now
What You Get: The best answer for people who want good entertainment and the best video games is to get a next-gen system. Sony comes to mind as a contender because they have Playstation Vue (their own popular TV/Movie cable service) and Playstation Music (their own popular music streaming service). The Playstation is not a good answer to the budget-minded family man who is looking for Netflix and a few PBS shows. Mainly, it is for the man who wants to play the best video games and watch a few movies on the side. Probably the best feature is Playstation Now, which lets you play current PS3, PS2 and PS1 games over streaming. Sony also released a Blu-Ray DVD player that uses Playstation Now and other Sony services.
Note: I realize the Xbox One is also a media and entertainment center, but at this time they are more game console than full media center. The Playstation Network is on Playstation TV, making them a contender for being an entertainment option.
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