Western Hunter Magazine July/August 2019 #70 - Page 93

manufacturers to license their Fire TV user inter- face in smart TVs for an all-in-one package. Perhaps an even better example of this is Roku. They have seven different devices, plus their li- censed Roku TV lineup. AMAZON Dolby Voice Storage Device Device Cost 4K Atmos Command DVR Capacity Fire TV Stick $39.99 Fire TV Stick 4K $49.99 Fire TV Cube Fire TV Recast $119.99 • • • • • $189.99 - $229.99 • 8GB • 8GB • • 16GB 500GB - 1TB • • APPLE Dolby Voice Storage Device Device Cost 4K Atmos Command DVR Capacity Others yet, like Apple TV, are working on their 5th generation of devices already. These examples are a few of the most popular, but they are by no means the only devices available. Apple TV HD Apple TV 4K $149.99 $179.00 - $199.99 • • • 32GB 32GB - 64GB • ROKU Dolby Voice Storage Device Device Cost 4K Atmos Command DVR Capacity ROKU Express $29.99 16GB Google’s Chromecast devices, Microsoft’s XBox consoles, and Sony’s PlayStation consoles are all capable of streaming on-demand and linear video. With so many devices competing for their share of the marketplace, we narrowed our scope to those offered by Amazon, Roku, and Apple. These three companies seem to be the most pervasive and we are merely attempting to establish a baseline of information on the topic. With that in mind, there are still plenty of dif- ferent features and capabilities among the devices in our list. Every device offers a myriad of features that may or may not benefit the user depending on what they value in a home entertainment platform. Features like DVR allow users to record live shows – something that might not be particularly valuable to someone with exclusively on-demand service (think MOTV) and not linear service (think Sling or Fubo). Resolution is another feature to pay close at- tention to, as people are often misled on this topic. Devices capable of 4K output (also called UHD or 2160p) will not be useful to someone with an HD television (1080p or 720p) unless they plan to up- grade to a 4K television in the near future. Similarly, audio compatibility varies among these devices, with some devices offering standard Dolby Digital and others with the more advanced Dolby Atmos. Above all, it’s important to remember that, when discussing audio and video, the resulting quality will only be as good as the weakest link. info@westernhunter.net ROKU Express+ $35.99 ROKU Premiere $39.99 ROKU Premiere+ $49.00 ROKU Steaming Stick $49.99 • ROKU Steaming Stick+ $59.99 • • • ROKU Steaming Ultra $99.99 • • • • • A key piece of hardware that many people for- get to consider when they’re investing in home the- ater equipment is the cable. Using the same HDMI cables that were connecting equipment for HD content will most likely not be able to handle the data transfer speeds required for 4K HDR video and Hi-Fidelity audio. The content itself must also be available in the desired format (4K video, HDR, Dolby Atmos audio, etc.) or the resulting image and sound quality will be reduced. Voice commands are another popular feature many of these devices offer, allowing users to play, pause, and search for content by speaking to the device. Advanced devices expand the capability of voice control by allowing connectivity to multiple devices so users can do things like ask for weather reports or lower the volume of a soundbar. 500GB - 1TB • • • • Choosing a Service The terminology surrounding these different services and technologies can be cumbersome, so the important thing is to avoid getting hung up on what all the acronyms stand for. Instead, focus on the type of platform (on-demand vs. linear), con- tent (what shows are offered), cost, and features. To make this a bit easier, we’ve created a visual aid. A quick note before delving into these services: most app-based services can be accessed on most tab- lets, phones, laptops, and desktops in addition to one of the aforementioned media players. If you travel much, this might be something to take into consideration.* SERVICE OPTIONS ON-DEMAND MOTV app – $9.99/month & $98.99/year LINEAR Sling TV app – $30/month (Sling Orange or Blue $25/month + Heartland Extra Package $5/month) DirecTV XTRA Package – $55/month Fubo TV app – $59.99 (Standard Package $54.99/month + Adventure package $5/month) Dish America’s Top 250 Package – $89.99/month Ultra High Speed 4K HDMI Cables are needed to handle the data transfer speeds required for 4K HDR video and Hi-Fidelity audio. PURCHASE OPTIONS VHX – $59.99 DVD – $59.99 *The information is current at the time of writing. WESTERN HUNTER 93