Advertisement

  • News
  • Columns
  • Interviews
  • BW Communities
  • Events
  • BW TV
  • Subscribe to Print
  • Editorial Calendar 19-20
BW Businessworld

Best Media Streaming Devices In India For 2021

Here’s a roundup of the best media streaming devices that are available in India.

Photo Credit :

1611548958_GmD04s_Apple_TV.jpg

In a life as busy as the one we are living right now, a good dose of entertainment for relaxing our minds has taken a centre stage. And a major part of that entertainment comes from the popular OTT platforms today, which can be enjoyed using the streaming devices in our homes.

However, with so many options available in the market, we are spoilt for choice and have a hard time deciding which one would be the right one for our needs. Well, we have you covered. The easy access to fast internet connectivity, that makes browsing a breeze, and the growing popularity of streaming services such as Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, and Disney+ Hotstar, have led to majority people becoming hooked to watching these on their smartphones. But now we can also watch those movies, sports matches, web series and TV shows on a bigger screen for a more riveting experience. Media streaming devices have made it possible for us video stream these apps on our TV, giving us a more immersive feel.

The year 2021 is expected to be big on entertainment. With the massive rise in media streaming devices, we can stream music & videos from the internet, play local media files, and even cast content from our smartphones to our TV. We can even repurpose our PC monitor into a smart TV using the best media streaming devices. Here’s a roundup of the best media streaming devices that are available in India. Some of them are based on Android TV, while others use Amazon’s Fire TV UI.

Best Budget Media Streaming Devices in India 2021

Most budget media streaming devices come in the form of a stick and can stream videos in 1080p resolution and have features like screen mirroring, media casting, smart home automation, and digital voice assistants.

Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite with Alexa Voice Remote - ₹2,999

The Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite is the best budget media streaming device in India right now, and that’s for a good reason (various things, actually). Its software is fast and easy to use, has all the streaming apps, and it comes with a remote controller. The Fire TV Stick Lite can stream 1080p content and supports HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG formats. It also features Alexa voice assistant, which now even supports Hindi, so even older people in your home can use it easily. If you want to mirror your smartphone’s screen, you can do that, too. There’s nothing really missing here, at least for its price.

Pros

● Supports Full HD videos and Dolby Audio

● HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG compatibility

● Fast UI, Features Alexa

● Easy-to-use remote controller

● Screen mirroring support

● Affordable

Cons

● Nothing, really.

Mi TV Stick - ₹2,499

If you really need to have Chromecast and Google Assistant on your TV, the Xiaomi Mi TV Stick is your best bet. It runs Android TV 9 Pie, supports 1080p playback, has all the popular audio and video streaming apps, comes with a bundled remote, and tops that up with Chromecast for screen mirroring and media casting. It even features Google Assistant and smart home control. It lacks support for HDR content, though, and its UI feels a little sluggish.

Pros

● Android TV on a budget

● Supports 1080p videos and Dolby, DTS Audio

● Comes bundled with a remote controller

● Simple UI and software

● Google Assistant

● Chromecast for screen mirroring and media casting

Cons

● Feels a little sluggish

● No support for HDR content

Best 4K Media Streaming Devices in India 2021

The best 4K media streaming devices in India are equipped with more powerful processors, have smoother UI, support HDR content playback and Dolby Atmos audio. These media streamers also feature newer Wi-Fi and Bluetooth standards for faster video streaming and come with things like controlling TV volume and power. Some of them are powerful enough to play games.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K - ₹5,999

The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is the best 4K media streaming player in India for most people. It supports 4K 60fps video streaming and playback, with support for various HDR (High Dynamic Range) formats such as Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG. It has a silky-smooth UI, a remote controller that can control the connected TV’s power and volume, and has Alexa.

Pros

● 4K 60fps video playback with Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG

● Dolby Atmos, DTS Audio support

● Fast and silky-smooth UI

● Alexa and smart home controls

● Easy-to-use remote controller

● Screen mirroring

Cons

● Pricey

Apple TV 4K - ₹17,430 Onwards

The Apple TV 4K is the best media streaming player for those who own an iPhone, iPad, or a Mac. Sure, it is extremely pricey, but it ties in well with things like AirPlay 2, Siri, and HomeKit. It has an extremely powerful processor, so you can even play games using either the bundled remote or by pairing the Xbox One or PlayStation DualSense Controller. If you have HomeKit compatible smart home products, you can control them using the Apple TV 4K.

Pros

● 4K 60fps video streaming with Dolby Vision, HDR10

● Dolby Atmos audio support

● Attractive and smooth UI, Siri voice assistant

● Fast processor and support for attractive games

● Great for those who use an iPhone, iPad, or a Mac

● Support for multiple profiles

● Support for picture-in-picture mode, HomePod compatibility

Cons

● Remote controller hard to use

● No support for Miracast screen mirroring

Mi Box 4K - ₹3,999

The cheapest way to stream 4K videos on your TV is to use the Xiaomi Mi Box 4K. It can stream 4K 60fps videos and supports HDR10, but it lacks support for Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and Dolby Atmos. It runs Android TV 9 Pie and supports Google Assistant and Chromecast. It has a neat UI, but its software feels sluggish, and there are a lot of bugs. Moreover, its remote controller feels cheap.

Pros

● 4K 60fps video streaming with HDR10

● Neat UI

● Affordably-priced

● Google Assistant for voice commands

● Chromecast for media casting, screen mirroring

Cons

● No support for HDR10+, Dolby Vision

● No support for Dolby Atmos

● Sluggish and buggy UI

● Cheap-feeling remote controller

Microsoft Xbox One S - ₹30,990 Onwards

Great For Gamers

The Microsoft Xbox One S is a gaming console that’s also great for streaming media to your TV. It supports 4K HDR10 videos and has apps for almost every popular audio and video streaming services. It even has a Blu-ray Disc player, so if you are a media nerd, you would love the Xbox One S. It has at least 500GB of storage space so that you can store a lot of media and games on it. It even has screen mirroring support as well as Dolby Atmos.

Pros

● Supports 4K 60fps video streaming with HDR10

● Dolby Atmos audio

● An extremely powerful processor that’s suitable for gaming

● Hundreds of games to choose from

● Xbox Game Pass is great for gamers

Cons

● Extremely pricey

● The remote controller is not easy for media playback

● UI is slightly confusing

Best DTH Boxes in India With Android TV

Even DTH boxes are coming with Android TV these days, and they offer a great combination of regular DTH channels, smart operating system, and media streaming apps. There are options from two major DTH operators in India: Airtel and Tata Sky. The only caveat is that you need to have an active DTH subscription to use it, but if you are looking for something like this, it is a great solution.

Airtel XStream Box - ₹2,499

The Airtel XStream Box has all the things that one would want from a modern-day media streaming box. It can stream 4K HDR videos, runs Android TV, has Chromecast, and features Google Assistant for voice commands. It even features Airtel’s XStream media streaming service and comes with an easy-to-use remote controller. Of course, you get access to all the DTH channels. Its UI is slow, though, which is the only real downside of the Airtel XStream Box.

Pros

● 4K 60fps video streaming with HDR10

● Android TV 9 Pie with Google Assistant

● Chromecast

● Has access to all DTH TV channels

● Great remote controller

● Affordable

Cons

● Sluggish and slow UI

● Some bugs with some HDR TVs

● No support for Dolby Vision, HDR10+

Tata Sky Binge+ - ₹2,999

The Tata Sky Binge+ is Tata Sky’s Android TV-based smart media streaming player. It lets you watch DTH channels and use media streaming apps like Disney+ Hotstar, Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, and many others. It has Chromecast and Google Assistant. Similar to the Airtel XStream Box, the Tata Sky Binge+ feels slightly sluggish compared to standalone media players.

Pros

● 4K 60fps video streaming with HDR10

● Android TV 9 with Google Assistant

● Has access to all DTH TV channels

● Comes with a subscription for various media streaming services

● Great remote controller

● Chromecast for media casting and screen mirroring

Cons

● No support for Dolby Vision, HDR10+

● Slightly sluggish

How We Choose the Best Media Streaming Devices in India?

To choose the best media streaming devices in India, we had set some feature requirements, both in terms of hardware and software. We paid attention to things like media streaming services that are available on a particular device, the presence of a smart voice assistant, compatibility with smart home products, and the software experience. Following are the requirements that we had for choosing the best media streaming devices in India:

1. Video Streaming Resolution: 1080p or 4K 60fps video playback. Preferably, support for at least one of the following HDR formats: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision.

2. Audio Format: Dolby Audio, 5.1-Channel. Preferably Dolby Atmos with 7.1-channel audio.

3. Software Platform: Android TV 9 Pie (or newer), Amazon Fire TV, Apple tvOS 14 (or newer), or Microsoft Xbox UI.

4. Wireless Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi b/g/n. Better if it features Bluetooth 5.0 and dual-band Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac.

5. Ports: HDMI 2.0. Better if it also features Optical or 3.5mm audio out port.

6. Screen Mirroring & Screen Casting:AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast Built-In, or Miracast.

7. Remote Controller: It should have a Bluetooth or IR connection and dedicated buttons for power, volume (better if it also has a mute button), navigation keys, and voice assistant/voice command key. It should also feature either AA or AAA batteries or USB Type-C port/Lightning Port for charging.

8. Shape & Size: The media streaming box should have a small size so that it fits within tight places below or around the TV.

9. Media Streaming Apps & Services: It should have apps for the following media streaming services: Amazon Prime Video, Discovery+, Disney+ Hotstar, Facebook Watch, Netflix, SonyLIV, Spotify, Voot, YouTube, YouTube Kids, and ZEE5. The more, the merrier.

10. Warranty: At least a one-year manufacturer warranty in India.

Thanks to the introduction of smart operating systems like Android TV and Fire TV, you can now buy some of the best media streaming devices below ₹5,000. No matter which media streaming devices you end up buying from this list, you would definitely get a good media streaming experience on your TV.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Sunil Gandhe

The author is Chief Service Delivery Officer, Onsitego

More From The Author >>