Everyone wants to get rid of the dozens of entangled cords that hide behind TV stands, and run along walls. Airplay, ChromeCast, and Roku are all innovative devices that allow various electronic devices to connect to each other without wires. Learn about the best features that each of these three have to offer, and then choose the most suitable one for you.
AirPlay, in partnership with Apple TV, allows you to wirelessly connect your electronic devices to each other. Songs on your iPhone can now be wirelessly projected onto your speakers. Similarly, you can stream videos from your iPad onto your TV.
With a few simple taps, you can stream your favorite content from your handheld or your computer onto other devices that are on the same Wi-Fi network. Speakers placed in different locations, as well as AV receivers, can now play music from a single source. What’s more interesting is that, unlike Bluetooth streaming which compresses audio files, AirPlay doesn’t compromise on the sound quality.
AirPlay Mirroring, which is built into the Mountain Lion operating system, allows you to replicate your Macbook’s screen on your TV. All your other iDevices can also be mirrored in the same fashion.
You have access to a range of apps via the Apple Store. You can now use Netflix, YouTube, Vevo, TED Talks, Facebook and others to watch just about anything on your TV. Moreover, you can even control your iTunes on your TV with your handheld Apple device.
Apple has priced its streaming device at around INR 6,700.
Google ChromeCast Review
Google’s tiny HDMI dongle works universally with Android, Windows, as well as iOS. ChromeCast uses Wi-Fi to connect multiple devices, but it doesn’t allow the source device to stream its content directly onto the TV. Instead, the source device instructs ChromeCast to stream a particular video from the cloud.
ChromeCast allows you to use your handheld devices for streaming, and with the addition of a special extension to your PC’s Chrome browser, Google’s dongle can stream videos from your PC’s Chrome browser as well.
ChromeCast allows you to stream and play videos on your TV even if you switch tabs on your computer or send the app to the background on your phone. Furthermore, if you are watching live television, ChromeCast allows you to change HDMI input, and play other content.
Google has also ensured that this gadget is not locked to a single account or a particular device. Guests at your house can also connect to ChromeCast wirelessly, and stream content from their devices or online accounts onto your TV screen.
Google uses tab casting to mirror displays of smaller devices onto larger screens. A cast button appears on your source device when you use ChromeCast. By tapping it, the tab that is currently open will reflect on your TV monitor. You also have the freedom to mirror more than one tab from your Chrome browser.
ChromeCast supports apps like Netflix and Youtube. HBO and Hulu will also soon be available for the device.
Google’s ChromeCast is priced at INR 2,300.
The third generation Roku was launched in early 2013, and got rave reviews. Here is a look at what it can do, and what makes it special.
Streaming and Mirroring
Roku plugs into your HDTV, and connects to the internet, after which you stream online music and videos from different apps, called as channels. Unlike the ChromeCast or Airplay, Roku 3 doesn’t need a source device like a tablet or laptop.
Earlier Roku models did not come with video mirroring functionalities, but the company has partnered with Broadcom to add this feature in their latest device. You can now stream videos and mirror your handheld’s display onto the TV screen. You can also download the Roku iOS app and display recorded videos from your iDevices onto your TV screen.
Built-in Headphone Jack
Roku’s remote has a built-in headphone jack which lets you listen to your streamed videos while the TV’s audio is muted. Roku’s smart designing has also ensured that the headphone volume doesn’t not interact with that of the TV.
Roku’s apps and services have always come out faster than that of Apple’s. The company has over 75 channels including HBO Go, Netflix, Vudu, TED Talks, Pandora, CNET, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant.
Roku 3 is priced at INR 6,700. The older versions can be bought at approximately INR 3,300.
If you own a lot many Apple devices and have a huge library of iTunes movies and music, then the Airplay is definitely your best option.
Google ChromeCast reviews show that this device is easy to setup, and can be carried around in your pocket. Unfortunately, Google’s doesn’t yet offer a lot of content. However, since it costs much less, you might want to buy it with the hope that Google will soon introduce more apps.
Roku 3’s bulk content is its strength, along with innovative features like a built-in headphone jack. Unfortunately, Youtube is not available on Roku. If you can’t live without this popular video-sharing website, then Roku is not for you.