Pros & Cons of Using a Gaming System as a Streaming Device
Fun fact: most Canadian households have game consoles, making them natural options for streaming TV. Here are the pros and cons of using gaming systems to stream TV.
Pro: Game Consoles Are Becoming All-Round Entertainment Centres
Once upon a time, the only thing you’d do with a PlayStation is play PlayStation games. This is changing. Modern consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One stream TV, play Blu-rays, listen to music, and let users surf the net in their living room, essentially becoming all-in-one entertainment hubs. When considering whether or not to buy a console, how many games you play isn’t the only question to ask. Do you need a Blu-ray player? A streaming device? A way to run Spotify?
Basically, a game console is a good choice for streaming TV because they can do so much more than stream TV.
The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One start at $300, and the price goes up with more digital storage space, controllers, and other bundled items. The Nintendo Switch starts at $400. If you’re looking for a streaming device and don’t play so many video games, something like a Chromecast (starting at $45) or Fire Stick (starting at $30) makes way more sense.
Pro: Lots of Streaming Options
The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One support all major streaming apps, such as Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon, Disney+, Hulu, and more. PlayStation also has its own streaming service, PlayStation Vue.
However it’s important to note that the Nintendo Switch currently only supports the Hulu app. Netflix is considering an app for the Switch, but this hasn’t happened yet.
Con: The Sharing Situation
If your household is home to a fairly obsessive gamer and other family members who have a Netflix addiction, relying on a game console as the only streaming device might not be the best idea. Fortunately, inexpensive devices like the Chromecast or Fire Stick make streaming on secondary screens a breeze.
Pro: Solid Technology
In general, video games require more computational power than simply streaming video. As a result, game consoles have more processing power than most smart TVs, never mind stand-alone streaming devices. They also support 4K resolution, HDR, live TV, cable, and come with beefy storage options.
Con: (Possibly) Redundant
If you have a smart TV—that is, a TV with an internet connection that supports apps like Netflix or Amazon Prime—you don’t need a streaming device. Your TV is a streaming device. The percentage of TVs on the market that are smart TVs is growing every year, and the price difference between smart TVs and regular TVs, which was about a hundred bucks last year, is diminishing. Of course, smart TVs may offer other features like 4K resolution and additional HDMI ports, so you’re getting more bang for your buck.
All this is to say that if you have a smart TV or plan on upgrading your TV in the next year or so, worrying about the ideal streaming device is a moot point.