When it comes to streaming videos from your computer to your TV, there are many devices to choose from. So, how do you find the best one for your needs, at a reasonable price?
For those of you who want a device for $50 and under, the two top contenders in this category are Google Chromecast and the Roku Streaming Stick. While the Chromecast is a bit lower in cost, the Roku Stick carries Amazon, Vudu and Showtime, as well as a great cross-platform search that scans through major TV and movie services for content. It also comes with an actual remote for an easier, traditional TV experience. So even though it costs $15 more, these extra features make the Roku Streaming stick a better value.
In the $100 category we have Roku 3, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV. Once again, the Roku 3 came out on top in terms of channels and cross-platform compatibility. The main disadvantage of Apple and Amazon is that they both tend to favor content from their respective companies, so your channel options won't be as vast as the Roku 3. As added bonus, it even has a headphone jack so you can watch that late-night movie without waking anyone up.
In the end, it's really about content and how much it's worth to you. If you just want to stream YouTube and Netflix videos for the lowest price, go with Google Chromecast, but if more channels and features are what you need, the Roku 3 and Streaming stick are the best deals for your money.
8 Ways Watching Too Much TV Is Costing You Thousands
Buying the Best TV Streaming Device -- Savings Experiment
Cable and satellite TV can run you a pretty penny -- especially if you fall prey to companies' cleverly crafted package deals. You really adore the programming on Channel XYZ, but you can only get it if you upgrade to the higher-tier package, which is an extra $20 a month and has dozens of channels you never look at. Found another provider who offers a better deal? Get ready to be socked with early termination fees by your current provider -- and for your new provider's fantastic deal to run out once you're not a new customer anymore.
The average American watches five hours of TV a day -- 1,825 hours a year. Think of all the other things you could be doing with that time to earn extra money. You could get a second job, start your own business, go back to school, or improve your skill set so you can qualify for a higher-paying job.
Excessive TV watching has been linked to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, depression and even a shorter lifespan. And the cost of treating a long-term health issue is rarely cheap -- in terms of money or happiness.
Kids aren't the only ones susceptible to the "I want it!" syndrome caused by too much TV advertising. No matter how savvy and impenetrable to marketing you think you are, companies invest millions of dollars in television ads for a reason -- because they work. Being pelted with tempting commercials for products and services takes its toll on your money mindset. It's easy to fall into the consumer trap when you're constantly being shown shiny new things guaranteed to make your life better.
Do you love watching the glamorous lifestyles on "Real Housewives"? Drool over the spacious properties on "House Hunters?" TV is a form of voyeurism that allows us to peek into the lifestyles of those richer and more famous -- and it can leave us dissatisfied with what we have because we get so used to seeing those who have more. This can result in us making purchases we can't really afford because we're trying to keep up with those televised Joneses.
In a similar vein, TV can make us feel dissatisfied with our appearance. Compared to the gorgeous, flawless people we see on shows and commercials, it's easy to find 101 ways our looks don't add up. Seeing nothing but an idealized standard of beauty on screen can drive us to spend tons to try to make our own appearances match, from jumping on the latest fashion bandwagon, buying whatever cream is the new hot development, or even springing for surgery to physically remake ourselves.
Snacking and TV watching often go hand in hand, and when your attention is focused on a show, it can be easy to down a whole bag of chips before you realize what you're doing. Combine that with the fact that TV watching is a sedentary activity, and you've got the makings for a much bigger cost than just that bag of chips. (See No. 3.)
While TV engages our attention, it doesn't engage our brains, at least not the way that reading, continuing education and real-life problem-solving does. It's a largely passive form of entertainment that can leave us feeling lazy, sluggish and unfocused. And that lack of mental energy can take a toll when it comes to things like our job performance, our drive to start that new business, or our willingness to get out and network our way to our next great job.