Video-on-demand (VoD) devices offer access to more streaming services than your typical smart TV – not to mention serious sofa time. By Adam Turner.
With a streaming video player in your lounge room, you’ll never be searching for something great to watch when you flop down on the couch at the end of the day.
These tiny players put Netflix, Presto and Stan’s vast libraries of movies and television shows at your fingertips, plus you can rent new-release movies, enjoy Australia’s free catch-up TV services and watch YouTube.
Along with tapping into a world of online entertainment, you can share images and videos from your computer, tablet or smartphone. This makes it easy to flick through holiday snapshots, watch home movies and play games on the big screen.
The Chromecast keeps things simple; it doesn’t even have a remote control. Instead, you drive everything from your smartphone, tablet or computer. To play video on your television, just tap on the Cast icon in subscription video and catch-up TV apps or the Google Play Movies app to hire new releases. Chromecast’s device also enables the mirroring of any Android gadget or computer display directly to your TV screen.
Here’s one for the fans of free-to-air television. Telstra TV ensures you’ll never miss your favourite show again – it has online catch-up TV from all five major broadcasters along with subscription video and BigPond Movies rentals. Simple menus and a remote control make it the easiest to use of the bunch. As a bonus, you can play video files from a USB stick, stream files across your home network and mirror the screen of some Android and Windows devices.
This is definitely the streaming box for Apple fans, bringing the best of iTunes to your living room with its vast collection of music, movies and TV shows to buy or rent. You can also kick back with subscription video and catch-up apps or mirror the screen of your “iGadgets” or Mac. At $269, the latest-model Apple TV also grants you access to the App Store, with more video apps and a wealth of TV-friendly games you can play by waving around the Wii-style remote.
Want one with the lot? Fetch TV is it. Not only can you tap into catch-up TV and subscription video and movie rentals, this is an old-school digital TV recorder. Available from selected internet providers as well as selected retailers, it records up to four channels at once, offers basic pay-TV packages and plays video files from a USB stick or across your home network. It frees you from the shackles of the couch, letting you stream recorded television from the Fetch TV box to your handheld gadgets so you can watch your favourite shows tucked up in bed. ￼
Top image: Fetch TV's minimalist set-top box.