For the longest time, whenever one thought of the best media streamers, Apple TV was always top of the list, not anymore. However, the fact that it dominated the media streaming market does not mean that there were no worthy competitors seeking to gain their share of the lucrative market. Chromecast Ultra the media streamer made by Google is just the newest competitor that Apple TV now has to contend with.
Power and Look
Analyzing the two designs makes it clear that they could not be any more different. The Chromecast Ultra media streamer is a streaming stick that you can use the same way you use a USB stick though, you connect it to the TV through the HDMI port. Once you plug it in, the stream is delivered to the TV through a wireless connection. Since many of us are used to streaming out HD content through cables, it is understandable that streaming the 4KUHD content on the wireless Chromecast would feel weird. As such, Google includes an Ethernet cable with your streaming stick, just in case you are uncomfortable streaming from a wireless connection.
On the other hand, the Apple TV media streamer is a more conventional device that is in the shape of a box that is convenient to handle and setup. While it retains the more traditional aspects of external media players, it provides great performance that many consider it one of the best media streaming devices on the market.
The Chromecast Ultra’s Wi-Fi adapter has 802.11 ac 1X2 SIMO capabilities, which ensure that you get high speeds and stable connection. The stick weighs in at about 47 g and measures 58.2 X 13.7 X 58.2 mm. The overall design is rather minimalist with the device in a plain black plastic case. What makes the Chromecast one of the best media streamers is that it supports the latest hi tech capabilities such as HDR, and 4K UHD, the Chrome Ultra is also twice as fast as its predecessor.
The Apple TV box is made of a black plastic case measuring 100 X 100 X 33. It supports connection with a wide range of connectivity modules including USB-C, Ethernet, and HDMI all of which have connection ports on the device. You can also get more out of your Apple TV box by connecting it to your headsets or speakers via Bluetooth. A 64-bit chip similar to those found in Apples popular devices such as the iPad Mini 4 tablet, and the iPhone 6 and the Plus model of smartphones has been used on the Apple TV media-streaming device. Even so, while the device is one of the most powerful devices in the market, the competition is coming up with better devices to meet the demand for 4K. This new fact is making Apple TV’s best offering of 1080p, look decidedly inferior.
Features and Software
The essential utility provided by Google Chromecast is that it makes it possible for the user to find content using their mobile device, and after finding it, proceed to watch it by streaming it through the device connected to a TV through Chromecast. This explains why Google did not bother to make an interface for the device or even a remote control as compared to Apple TV. Besides, the more popular media apps such as Spotify, YouTube, Netflix, the BBC and their affiliates now come with a Chromecast button. A user can conveniently press the Chromecast button on the app, and stream the media to their television set whenever they feel like it.
Unlike Google’s Chromecast, Apple TV has a remote control and an interface. Its remote control comes with a touchpad that makes it easy to swipe through the channels in addition to voice command capability through Siri integration. The Apple TV interface provides a variety of choices in media content through proprietary apps, which are easily accessible from the device interface.
As the best media streamers both of these devices have their positives and negative aspects. If you seek a media-streaming device in the mold of the more traditional devices, then the Apple TV would be your best bet, given its classic features such as the remote and dedicated user interface. If you would rather have a more modern and less cumbersome device, then Google’s wireless Chromecast Ultra would be appropriate. Another important consideration is your need for better image clarity and performance; Chromecast generally scores better on this aspect.