Apps vs Dongles or Boxes: Which is Best?

Hand pressing remote of smart tv

When it comes to streaming TV and movies, we’ve never had more choice – and that goes for the devices we use too. There are plenty of plug-in dongles and streaming sticks available that’ll let you enjoy your favourite shows and movies.

But our cheap smart TVs come with all those same apps built-in; so what’s best, a separate streaming device or your TVs built-in apps?

What are the benefits of built-in apps on smart TVs?

It all boils down to how you’re planning on using your TV. For the vast majority of us, the apps that come with our smart TVs give us everything we need – and you can always add more if the app you want isn’t there. On a smart TV, you’ll find all of the usual apps like YouTube, ITV HUB, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime and Netflix.

They’re easier to set up

Fewer devices mean less to set up. All you’ll need to do when you get your new TV is to turn it on and connect it to the internet. Streaming devices, on the other hand, need a separate power supply which means additional wires and connections – and usually an extra remote.

You can switch to streaming services faster

Most smart TVs include a dedicated Netflix button on the remote (some also come with a Prime button) which lets you jump straight into your streaming service from your regular TV viewing. No need to hunt for the other remote and wait for the device to start up.

Apps get regular updates

Whether it’s a Samsung smart TV, Sony smart TV, LG smart TV, or any other top brand, the apps will get regular updates to make sure you’ve got the latest version. This isn’t always the case with streaming devices, depending on the type of device and how old it is.

You don’t need a separate device to cast to your TV

A good example of this is watching YouTube videos on your TV. You don’t need to spend ages fumbling around with your TV remove searching for the content you want. Just find it on your phone, hit the ‘cast’ icon and choose your TV.

As long as they’re both connected to the same Wi-Fi network, your video will play instantly. This will also work with other services like Netflix, iPlayer and Prime. Why not take a look at some of our cheap TV deals and find a smart TV for you?

Rear view of family watching tv in living room

What are the benefits of using a plug-in streaming device?

While simply using the built-in apps on your TV is the preferred option for most of us, there are certainly a couple of benefits to using a plug-in device. Streaming devices come in all shapes and sizes, from set-top boxes to small plug-in dongles.

Turn your non-smart TV into a smart TV

If you have an older TV which doesn’t have a Wi-Fi connection and has no smart features, connecting a streaming device is an affordable way to add those extra services and effectively turn it into a smart TV.

But bear in mind that, even if your device is capable of streaming 4K content, it’ll only display in 4K if you also have a 4K (or UHD) TV. Check out our cheap 4K TVs to find the right one for you.

Take your shows with you

The great thing about devices like Chromecasts, Fire TV and Roku sticks is that they’re easy to unplug and take with you. Handy if you want to watch a Netflix movie at a friend’s house, or you’re going on holiday and still want to be able to entertain the kids with their favourite YouTube cartoons. It’s worth noting, however, that you’ll need to be able to connect your device to Wi-Fi for it to work.

So, in summary, streaming devices can be useful if you have an older TV or you want to take your TV and movies with you but, for the most part, a smart TV does a better job and is far more convenient.

Why not take a look at our range of cheap OLED TVs, cheap 3D TVs, and cheap curved TVs? We’re confident that you’ll find the TV you’re looking for in our vast stock. Get in touch with us if you have any questions about our services or about any of our products.

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