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Apple TV vs Chromecast: Should you get a streaming platform

(Image credit: Future)

Television used to be simple. You bought the TV, maybe paid for a few extra channels and you were set. While this meant limited viewing options, it also meant far less decision-making. 

Now, with the improvement of the internet, rise of the smart TV and explosion in streaming sites for your favourite shows, there are no easy decisions when it comes to how you should set-up your entertainment system. 

Today, we're going to tackle the streaming platform question: do get one or not, and if you do, which one should you get? 

What are streaming platforms 

Streaming assistants are external tech you buy to deliver your current TV into the 21st Century. 

They allow you to access the internet through your TV, even if you don't have a smart TV. This means you can access apps like Netflix, YouTube and Showmax easily on your TV. This removes the middle man - the HDMI - as you don't need it to link to your computer to have this content show up on screen. 

Different assistants have different focuses. Apple provides you with pre-installed Apple apps with options to access others through the App store. Chromecast is the same but with a focus on Google products. 

Best for Apple addicts

Apple TV is designed like any classic Apple product as its created to integrate into the Apple ecosystem. So a committed Apple addict who has an iPhone and Mac should really consider expanding their Apple universe with Apple TV. 

Apple TV is also really easy to set up, it's a classic plug and play situation, with your Apple TV immediately connecting to the internet once you find your network and putting in your password, no registration required.

Apple TV is also great because you can watch from any iOS device simply through AirPlay. If you have something on your phone that you'd like to show a bigger audience, you can easily send your screen to your TV. 

This option also gives you access to Apple TV content through Apple TV+. While the shows have mixed reviews, having the ability to tap into extra content is always nice when you're over what's on Netflix and Showmax. 

Apple TV is a bit more expensive than other options at R3,119. 

Best for everyone

If you're an Android user then Chromecast will immediately be more appealing. It's a bit more versatile than Apple as it works with iOS and Android, meaning you don't have to change your whole way of life, unlike Apple. 

Chromecast requires a little bit of sign-up work once you plug it in but once you're through you. In addition, it's not designed like Apple TV and doesn't have a beautiful interface. Rather its aim is to allow you to reflect your screen onto the larger TV screen using Google Cast. 

This is a bit more clunky than a smooth app select option but it is a cheaper way to turn your tv into a smart tv without buying a whole new set. 

At R1,299 it is a pretty affordable way to upgrade. 

Leila Stein

Leila Stein is an experienced multimedia journalist and content producer with a special interest in data journalism. she is skilled in news writing, editing, online writing and multimedia content production and have a Bachelor of Journalism  from Rhodes University and an Honours in Historical Studies from University of Cape Town.