Streaming devices like the Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, and Google Chromecast have exploded in popularity in recent years. Their convenience and low cost make it easy to add smart streaming capabilities to any TV. But there are some compelling reasons you may want to hold off on buying the latest streaming gadget. Here are 7 key factors to consider:
1. Smart TVs Often Have Apps Built-In
Back when streaming sticks first emerged, they added apps to dumb TVs. But these days, smart TVs have tons of streaming options built right in.
For example, Samsung‘s 2022 smart TV lineup runs the intuitive Tizen OS. This provides quick access to streaming apps like:
- Apple TV
- Amazon Prime Video
- HBO Max
With popular apps like these available on the TV itself, do you really need to add another streaming device?
According to Parks Associates, over 80% of TV sets sold in 2022 included smart TV capabilities. And a Statista survey found that 77% of smart TV owners access streaming platforms directly through their TV, no separate device required.
The convenience and wide availability of built-in smart TV streaming options means you may no longer need to clutter up your space and HDMI ports with an additional Roku or Fire Stick.
2. Modern Game Consoles Are Streaming Hubs
Gaming consoles used to just be for gaming. But the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X have evolved into full home entertainment hubs. Their wide selection of built-in streaming apps can replace the need for a separate streaming device.
For example, here are just some of the many streaming options readily available on the PS5:
- Apple TV
- Amazon Prime Video
According to a DFC Intelligence report, an estimated 81% of PS5 owners use the console for streaming TV and movies. And 70% of Xbox Series X/S owners do the same.
With the average US household owning around 2 game consoles, chances are you can avoid an extra streaming stick and access content directly through the consoles you already own.
3. Modern Blu-Ray Players Have Streaming Apps
In our rush towards streaming, it‘s easy to forget about good old Blu-ray disc players. But many newer Blu-ray player models also integrate popular smart streaming options:
For example, the 2022 Sony BDP-S6700 model includes convenient access to:
- Apple TV
- Amazon Prime Video
LG‘s 2022 Blu-ray players also include apps for Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, and more.
According to Leichtman Research Group, around 40% of US households still own a Blu-ray disc player. So if you have a modern player with streaming support, you may already have everything you need.
4. One Less Remote Cluttering Your Space
Let‘s face it, juggling 3 different remotes to control your TV, sound system, and streaming device can get annoying. Relying on your smart TV‘s built-in streaming apps allows you to use just 1 remote to turn on your TV and launch Netflix.
Game consoles and Blu-ray players also utilize simplified universal remotes that control both the device and TV. This avoids the need for an additional streaming stick remote cluttering up your living room.
Research from Savant found that consolidating devices and remotes is a top priority for 87% of homeowners looking to simplify their living space. Skipping an extra streaming remote contributes to a cleaner, less cluttered setup.
5. Streaming Sticks Are a Repeated Cost
Unlike a smart TV or game console that should last 5+ years, streaming devices tend to have a shorter lifespan of around 2-3 years. Their low cost hardware just doesn‘t hold up as long over time.
And technology moves quickly in the streaming device space. Companies like Amazon and Roku constantly put out updated, incrementally improved models to keep up with the latest tech.
This means if you want the newest features and best performance, you‘ll have to replace your Fire Stick or Roku every couple of years. That incremental cost adds up over time.
According to a survey from All Home Connections, 78% of streamer owners end up replacing their Roku, Fire TV, or Chromecast within 3 years of purchase. Avoiding a streaming stick altogether sidesteps this repetitive replacement cycle.
6. Some Streaming Devices Have Privacy Concerns
We live in an increasingly data-driven world, and many streaming devices collect user information. Some companies are much more aggressive than others when it comes to tracking what you stream and targeting ads based on your viewing history.
While streaming devices offer convenience, it often comes at the cost of your privacy. Using a smart TV‘s built-in apps, game console, or Blu-ray player instead means less invasive data tracking.
7. You Likely Already Own Alternate Streaming Devices
Before springing for a new Fire Stick or Chromecast, take inventory of other devices you already own that allow TV streaming access:
- Smartphones – iOS and Android phones can cast and Airplay video to TVs.
- Tablets – The iPad and many Android tablets allow you to stream content to the big screen.
- Laptops – Most modern Windows and Mac laptops have an HDMI or wireless streaming output.
- Media servers – A Plex or Emby media server streams your personal media collection anywhere.
- Smart TVs – Most modern TVs allow you to mirror your phone/tablet screen directly to the TV.
The reality is, you probably have 2+ devices in your home right now that already provide streaming capabilities. Avoid spending extra cash on redundant functionality you can likely achieve with tech you already own.
Given some of the drawbacks, you may still find that adding something like a Roku or Amazon Fire Stick makes sense for your particular situation. Here are some things to think about if you do decide to buy:
Older TV Support – Streaming devices excel at adding apps to older dumb TVs that lack smart capabilities. They allow you to keep using that aging bedroom or garage TV instead of replacing it.
User Interface – Each platform has a different look and feel. Try out the interfaces on Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, and Apple TV to pick what appeals most to your preferences.
4K HDR – Make sure any streamer you buy supports 4K and HDR to future-proof your purchase. Models like the Roku Ultra offer the latest standards.
Channel Selection – Double check each streaming platform has the apps and channels you want. Roku for instance has over 10,000 available channels.
Future-Proof Wi-Fi – Opt for the latest and fastest Wi-Fi standards like 802.11ac so your streamer remains compatible with future routers.
As with any tech purchase, do your homework beforehand and thoroughly understand what you‘re buying. And carefully weigh alternatives like using a smart TV you already own before spending money on duplicative functionality.
There‘s no question streaming devices provide a ton of entertainment in a tiny package. For many, they‘ve become the preferred way to stream at home. But hopefully this overview has shed light on some compelling reasons you may want to hold off on buying the latest Roku, Fire Stick, or Chromecast.
From built-in smart TV and game console apps to privacy concerns and replacement costs, there are some downsides to adding yet another streaming gadget to your setup. Your needs may certainly justify the purchase, but consider what you already own before spending extra.
At the end of the day, convenience and simplicity usually win out. And if that means one less remote and device in your living room, skipping a streaming stick altogether could be the smartest way to go.