Dump Your Cable Box and Get Into the Stream

Published On May 7, 2014 | Tech Business

When it debuted across most of America in the early 1980s, cable TV was a huge technological improvement from the grainy over-the-air signals TV viewers were used to watching. With a clearer picture, sharper sound and more channels to choose from, cable TV quickly took over and became the norm for television viewing.

Fast forward 30 years later, cable and its successor satellite TV are challenged by a sea of streaming media players, which offer the freedom to watch what you want, when you want without having to pay for dozens of cable channels you never watch.

Here are just some of the most popular media streaming products that millions of American TV viewers are using to dump cable and satellite TV providers.

Google Chromecast

Chromecast is a thumb-sized device that plugs into an available HDMI port on your television. Using a simple mobile app, you set up the device to stream your favorite online shows, movies, music, and more from Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, Google Play Movies and Music, and Chrome directly to your television using a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Chromecast works with devices such as Android smartphones and tablets, iPhones and iPads and Google Chrome for Windows. These devices take the place of a remote control and allow you to control playback of your media.


Roku offers a series of set-top boxes for streaming media to your television. Like Google Chromecast, the Roku works with the included remote, a smartphone or a tablet. Roku presents choices from 31,000 available movies and more than 1,000 channels of television.

Roku even offers a streaming stick to be used like the Google Chromecast. In this case, you are using the stick to plug in to an available HDMI portal on your television. Use your smartphone or tablet (or the included remote control device) to control your programming on your television.

Apple TV

Apple TV derives from another set-top box set-up about the size of a hockey puck that provides access to movies, television, music, photos and more. Choose from thousands of high-definition movies and television shows that you can watch from the comfort of your own home. Access content from Netflix, Hulu Plus, You Tube, Vimeo or play music or movies from your iTunes library. With Airplay, Apple TV allows you to stream content directly from your iOS devices onto your TV screen.

TiVo Stream

TiVo Stream allows you to simply stream and download programs wirelessly from your TiVo DVR to any of your iOS devices. It does this quite well, the drawback being that you are limited to watching programs on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. This can be done without interruption to what is playing on your television. So if you don’t mind huddling around a mobile device to enjoy great programming, then the TiVo Stream is the streaming device for you.

You can see how the streaming media model is quickly challenging the traditional cable and satellite television model enjoyed by millions of entertainment subscribers. Streaming media puts control of programming in your hand instead of the service provider’s. With media providers like Netflix, You Tube, Hulu Plus, and Google Play Movies and Music, the entertainment you want (when you want it) is as far away as the tip of your fingers and the press of a button.

Which media streaming service do you use?

– By Tim Alan

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