7 Reasons You Should Rethink Buying a Streaming Device Today

Tired of juggling remotes? Looking to finally watch that buzzed about Netflix show? Before you grab another Roku, Fire Stick or Apple TV, there are some important points to consider first. While streaming devices provide seemingly endless on-demand content, they can also contribute to clutter, higher power bills, and unhealthy fixation.

Weigh the following 7 factors before impulse shopping for an upgrade. Identifying what you already own and being realistic about viewing habits allows smarter decisions ensuring streamer features enhance life rather than complicate it.

1. Smart TVs Offer Direct Streaming

Integrated streaming platforms built into internet-connected smart TVs provide the most convenient content experience, no secondary device required. Major brands like Samsung, LG, Sony, Hisense and TCL now offer robust systems with all the top media apps preloaded.

According to Park Associates, over 80% of TV sets shipped globally in 2022 included smart platforms. They project almost all sets will have streaming functions by 2025, negating the need for dedicated media players as models turn over.

While some smart TV software remains convoluted like early generations, LG‘s webOS, Samsung‘s Tizen OS and Google‘s Chromecast UI now provide exceptional integration simplifying searching and queuing shows. Voice assistants directly built-in along with TV tuners, ports and speakers also limit device clutter.

2. Cable Boxes Also Stream

Many cable subscribers overlook the fact their set-top boxes already stream plenty of content besides standard channel packages. Major providers integrate popular services right into DVR menus meaning one less remotes battling for coffee table space.

For example, Xfinity Flex boxes support apps from Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Peacock, Amazon Prime video and more. Plus providers continue expanding available programming as network licensing deals adapt to the streaming era.

One survey by Frank N. Magid Associates found 56% of participants actually preferred viewing Netflix and YouTube through their cable box rather than switching inputs to a Roku or game console.

3. Don‘t Forget Rising Content and Bandwidth Costs

Raw hardware prices seem less expensive with streaming sticks and pint-sized pucks staying under $100, even for 4K models. But buyers should factor additional ongoing expenses before swiping cards to unleash endless entertainment.

Monthly fees for just a few popular services add up quickly, especially if sharing one account across households gets restricted further. Plus families may want to subscribe to different platforms based on preferences.

Annual Cost for Top Streamers

ServiceMonthly PriceAnnual Cost
Netflix Premium 4K$19.99$239.88
HBO Max w/Ads$9.99$119.88
Paramount+ Premium$9.99$119.88

Table data source: Official provider websites

Additionally, streaming high quality 4K HDR content requires major internet pipe expansion many households lack, costing hundreds per year depending on speeds. So buyers should consider overall streaming expenses, not just hardware sticker shock.

4. You Likely Already Own Streamers

From smartphones to discs players, internet connectivity now comes standard on essentially any electronic. Tally all the devices in your home actually capable of streaming before assuming another gadget fits the bill for any viewing gaps.

Modern video game consoles particularly offer full streaming platform support while boasting more power for snappy response compared to budget streamers. Media apps on PlayStation and Xbox download straight from device stores just like on tablets or phones.

Both platforms allow seamless casting from hundreds of apps through system menus or voice commands rather than juggling device remotes. This expands options beyond built-in programming from cable provider or Smart TV ecosystem.

And media player capabilities come standard on supporting both physical disc and digital ownership models. Discs offer higher quality than compressed streaming comparable to downloads. This ensures console buyers enjoy the best programming possibilities covering all bases.

5. Health Risks Deserve Consideration

While researchers continue assessing long-term impacts from media overindulgence, evidence clearly links binge watching and internet addiction to negative mental health consequences. Easy access to an infinite stream of captivating series enabled by dedicated media devices facilitates unhealthy behavioral patterns for some viewers.

A 2022 study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found binge watching 3+ hours daily doubled depression risk compared to viewers watching less than an hour. Lead author Yongjun Zhu explains "prolonged and unhealthy binge-watching should be recognized by the public as a potential health threat."

So ensuring intentional, mindful viewing habits seems prudent when evaluating a dedicated device purchase intended solely for maximizing personal on-demand programming.

6. Ownership Still Offers Upsides

In 2019, the streaming content market reached peak fragmentation with media giants like Disney, Warner Bros, NBCUniversal and Paramount launching exclusive subscription services to rival Netflix. This complexity sparked a surge in media device purchases allowing access across scattered platforms.

However, licensing deals and platform availability continue shifting making it hard to guarantee reliable access to preferred programming long term. Subscription churn has since slowed 50% as cost and confusion mounting according to Kagan research.

Fortunately, transactional digital purchase and rental options continue expanding through services like Vudu, Google Play and iTunes. This allows buyers to own physical media or permanent digital copies of favorite series secured indefinitely regardless of streaming uncertainty.

Paramount Global now offers new theatrical releases like Smile for $20 digital the same day they hit cinemas. So streaming devices become less essential to those embracing ownership complimenting short-term subscriptions.

7. Buy Refurbished, Not New

If absorbing the above information still leaves you wanting upgraded streaming functionality above smart TV or cable set-top box capabilities, consider certified refurbished devices rather than new in box options.

Sites like Amazon, Walmart and Newegg sell thoroughly inspected Roku, Fire and Apple TV models at substantial discount with standard return policies protecting buyers. This allows those on budgets to avoid full price while reducing e-waste piling up in landfills from discarded streamers.

For example, Roku‘s high-end Ultra LT streaming box starts at $80 brand new. But Walmart offers the virtually identical certified refurbished version for only $62 right now. Such savings really add up for large families needing multiple devices without performance downsides.

Smart Alternatives Beyond Dedicated Streamers

Given the practical, financial and ethical concerns covered with streaming devices, what alternatives serve households wanting to cut cords without new gadget commitments?

Smart Display – Compact smart screens like the Nest Hub Max double as digital photo frames and streaming devices thanks to Chromecast abilities built-in. Voice control through Google Assistant allows quickly queuing programs.

Blu-Ray Players – Models starting around $70 integrate essential media apps while maintaining disc playback. This simplifies home theaters avoiding surround sound and TV having to juggle multiple HDMI devices.

Game Consoles – As outlined earlier, Xbox and PlayStation media abilities rival dedicated streamers while providing interactive gaming and fitness applications.

Smart Lighting – Budget light strips and bulbs sync screen backlighting to content for superior immersion through bias and flood scene illumination.

Projectors – Portable projectors now feature smart platforms enabling big screen viewing on any wall without expensive TVs. The Xgimi Aura under $1,500 streams while delivering ultra short throw 4K 3D video.

Tablets and Phones – Casting and screen mirroring allow existing mobile devices to beam shows, movies and other content to compatible smart TVs wirelessly.

Antennas – Surging interest in free over-the-air channels offers another path to ditch cable boxes while accessing news and local programming streaming devices ignore.

Key Takeaways

Considering another Roku or Fire Stick? Take a breath and ensure your needs align with their realities highlighted above. Still want to talk it through? Let‘s have a deeper discussion on spending wisely and developing healthier viewing habits. The goal remains enriching free time, not just maximizing screen quantity.

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