WHAT’S ON THE BOX?

ANY­THING YOU WANT, WITH NEXT-GEN ME­DIA STREAM­ERS CAST­ING THE NET WIDER THAN EVER.

GQ (Australia) - - THE LAB -

1 Ama­zon Fire TV with 4K Ul­tra HD

This is a fast de­vice with over 3000 apps, and un­like the oth­ers can han­dle 4K (or ul­tra HD) con­tent. We just had a cou­ple of gripes: the voice search func­tion pri­ori­tises re­sults from Ama­zon and we were never able to suc­cess­fully cast a Youtube video from our hand­set to the screen. Also, why do they not sup­ply an HDMI ca­ble? $142; ama­zon.com

WIN: 4K STREAM­ING. FAIL: PRI­ORI­TISES AMA­ZON SEARCH RE­SULTS.

2 Google Chrome­cast

Judge the Chrome­cast on its own terms. It’s not a fully equipped me­dia streamer in the man­ner of Roku or Ap­ple TV (Google’s older Nexus Player ful­fills that func­tion) but it achieves the same re­sult at a frac­tion of the cost by stream­ing me­dia from your phone or tablet. It took four sec­onds longer to load an iplayer stream than the Ap­ple TV, but we loved the de­vice’s compact size and ‘tuck-away’ clip. $49; store.google.com

WIN: NO FRILLS, HIGH QUAL­ITY. FAIL: HAVE TO PAIR WITH AN EX­TRA DE­VICE.

3 Ap­ple TV 4

It’s the most ex­pen­sive on test and can’t han­dle 4K video, so why is it our favourite? Let us ex­plain. All th­ese devices are pretty good at play­ing apps such as iplayer, Netflix and Youtube on your liv­ing room TV – the dif­fer­ence is at the mar­gins. For us, the touch-sen­si­tive re­mote was such a joy to use, and the rich voice search so im­pres­sive (ex­am­ple: ask it for “that Friends episode with Brad Pitt” and Siri will not only iden­tify it cor­rectly, but also present a range of sources from which to play it) that, com­bined with the best in­ter­face of the group, we had a win­ner. From $269; ap­ple.com/au

WIN: GAME-CHANG­ING VOICE CON­TROLS. FAIL: LACKS 4K CA­PAC­ITY.

4 Roku 3

The Roku could have been great. It has a de­cent amount of apps (over 1700), of­fers voice and ges­ture con­trol and view­ers can plug head­phones into the re­mote to lis­ten in pri­vate. But it fell short of its po­ten­tial. That head­phone mode is plagued by an­noy­ing stut­ters; it restarted ran­domly when we close iplayer, and it can’t stream di­rectly from an iphone. Ap­prox. $195; smarttv­works.com.au

WIN: GREAT RE­MOTE. FAIL: GLITCHY EX­PE­RI­ENCE.

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