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How-To Pick The Right Set-Top Box After Leaving Cable

Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash
So you've decided to get rid of your cable tv subscription. You've packed up the cable boxes, paid your last bill, and decided to take control of your tv viewing experience. So what now? This quick and easy guide will spread out all of your options as far as replacing your cable boxes. 

The Hardware -- Set-top Boxes

The set-top box will be the piece of hardware that provides the service. You have to use something to replace your cable box. There are many different options you can go with here, so I'll list the best in their categories that cover most services. 

Amazon Fire TV
Starting Price: $69.99
Supported Content: Hulu TV, Netflix, CinemaNow, Sling TV, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, Showtime, Starz, and more
Pros: Alexa smart assistant built-in, 4K HD, Comes with remote
Cons: Doesn’t support Youtube
Low-quality games
No access to Local Channels

Android TV (Nvidia Shield)

Supported Content: Hulu TV, Netflix, CinemaNow, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, Showtime, Starz, Google Play Movies, Youtube TV, and more 
Pros: Google Assistant built-in remote, 4k HD, High-Quality Gaming Capabilities
Cons: Large and bulky, Not much cheaper than a game console, High-Quality games require separate monthly subscription

Apple TV
Starting Price: $179.99 
Supported Content: Hulu TV, Netflix, CinemaNow, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, Showtime, Starz, Youtube TV, iTunes, and more 
Pros: Siri Assistant built-in remote, 4k HD, Sleek, and small, 
Cons: Siri Assistant is of the worst Assistants, Expensive compared to competition, Fragile remote

Chromecast Ultra

Starting Price: $69.99 
Supported Content: Hulu TV, Netflix, CinemaNow, HBO, Showtime, Starz, Google Play Movies, Youtube TV, and more 
Pros: Smartphone is your remote, 4k HD, Small and easily hidden behind TV, Works with Android and iOS
Cons: Doesn't use regular remote, Same features as a Smart TV, Requires Downloading apps on phone

Chromecast

Starting Price: $35.00 
Supported Content: Hulu TV, Netflix, CinemaNow, HBO, Showtime, Starz, Google Play Movies, Youtube TV, and more 
Pros: Smartphone is your remote, Quick and Easy Setup, Small and easily hidden behind TV, Works with Android and iOS
Cons: Doesn't use regular remote, Same features as a Smart TV, Requires Downloading apps on phone

Roku Premiere+
Starting Price: $99.99
Supported Content: Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV, Hulu TV, Netflix, CinemaNow, HBO, Showtime, Starz, Google Play Movies, Youtube TV, Roku Store, and more 
Pros: Great design buttons on remote, 4k HD, Dedicated Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV buttons
Cons: Expensive compared to the competition, Lackluster gaming apps, Lack of Voice Assistant

These are the top set-top boxes that I recommend to fully replace your cable box. All of them are great, but individually provide something special. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email about any one of these boxes at michael@thedecipher.co.


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