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TV streaming devices |Online streaming services | Chromecast | Apple | Roku 3 | Nexus Player | Netflix

So you've seen all the news about online streaming services and want to get a taste of the future of television.

Unless you have one of the lastest smart TVs you won't have much luck watching on your big screen unless you buy a streaming device.

Televisions are changing with apps becoming more important and their operating systems coming in line with what you use on your phone.

Luckily, streaming devices are pretty affordable, ranging from $61 to $130 and are easy to use. However, since streaming is relatively new here we don't have that many options though if you are prepared to do a bit of extra work you can buy one from overseas.

CHROMECAST 

Streaming apps: Netflix, Quickflix

Price: $61 from major electronic retailers
Chromecast plugs into your television so you can stream movies and shows from your phone, tablet or computer. It essentially turns your television into an app-driven smart TV when paired with a device.
 TV streaming devices |Online streaming services | Chromecast | Apple | Roku 3 | Nexus Player | Netflix
Beck Diefenbach/Reuters
Google Chromecast device easily plugs into televisions for streaming capability.
It works with all Android and Apple devices and computers as well as Windows products.

Google pitches Chromecast as your personal remote control. You use your device to pick what you want to watch and Chromecast streams that content from the internet and displays it on your TV so you can use it for Lightbox or Neon.

It is also possible to buy or rent movies and shows via Google Play.

You can use it to search and browse, play, pause, rewind, control the volume and make playlists.

Some reviewers have complained about a patchy connection which interrupts the streaming.

APPLE TV

Apps: Netflix

Price: $119 from apple.com/nz
Apple's device is small, easy to use and comes with a remote. Currently it only has Netflix but since it's one of the most popular devices the other services are likely to make apps for it soon.
 TV streaming devices |Online streaming services | Chromecast | Apple | Roku 3 | Nexus Player | Netflix
Supplied
Apple TV is small, easy to use and comes with a remote.
It also features AirPlay which lets you wirelessly stream what's on your Mac or iOS device to your television via Apple TV. This means you could stream Neon, or Lightbox via your iPhone or iPad. You can also buy and rent movies and shows from iTunes.

Its best suited for those with Apple devices who use iTunes a lot.

ROKU 3

Streaming apps: Netflix

Price: US$99 (NZ$130) from Amazon.

The Roku has been around since 2008 and has consistently been the highest rated streaming device on the market despite launching after Apple TV.

Users love it's easy-to-use interface and neat features such as being able to plug headphones into the remote and voice search, which is available on the most recent model.

The downside is that of the streaming service available to Kiwis it only has Netflix. It has other apps too such as youTube but as it not sold in stores in New Zealand it's unlikely to get Lightbox or Neon any time soon.

Buying a device designed for a different country means the setup may be tricky so be prepared for a bit of work.

NEXUS PLAYER

Streaming apps: Netflix

Price: US$78 (NZ$100 from Amazon)
This is the new kid on the block and has just gone on sale in Australia so we may get it here soon. It has similar functions to its sibling Chromecast but also includes Android TV operating system.
 TV streaming devices |Online streaming services | Chromecast | Apple | Roku 3 | Nexus Player | Netflix
Beck Diefenbach/Reuters
Google Nexus synchronises your television and tablet.
It also features voice control and games along with an optional game controller. Some Kiwi users have said they've had problems with using apps with a NZ account so the same warning for the Roku applies here.

Now that Netflix has a New Zealand service you can expect more streaming devices to be sold here.

OTHER OPTIONS

Microsoft's Xboxes (Netflix and Quickflix) and Sony's PlayStations (Lightbox, Netflix and Quickflix) have been able to stream for a while so if you have one of these then it'd pay to use it instead of buying another device.

The Amazon Fire TV is another streaming device but it only works with an US address and credit card.

If you want to use TVNZ and TV3's streaming apps on the big screen you are limited to Samsung smart TVs or casting them from your mobile device with Chromecast or Apple TV.

WHAT YOU NEED

Check you have a broadband speed of at least 4Mbs (go to speedtest.net to check) along with a strong wi-fi signal that reaches your television. Make sure your router is within eyesight of your streaming device.
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