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Streaming Media Player Showdown: Chromecast vs. Roku Premiere

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Digital entertainment offers all the convenience fixings for a relaxing day (or night) in. Whether you watch flicks on a computer, tablet, or TV, binging on the latest Netflix series or Hulu exclusive series is a good excuse to skip brunch and other weekend festivities. For the ultimate binge-watching experience though, investing in a good streaming media player is key.

There are two companies you might want to consider for streaming media players: Google and Roku. Google’s Chromecast increases streaming speed and offers voice control ability when paired with a Google Connected Home device, while the Roku Premiere provides 4K HD (high definition) picture quality and a Roku Remote with channel shortcut buttons. Even though the Chromecast and Roku Premiere share a similar objective, which is to upgrade binge-watching sessions, each model has different perks and drawbacks when it comes to digital entertainment.

Ready to watch movies, TV episodes, and exclusive series without streaming hiccups? You’ve come to the right place. From basic specifications to streaming perks, here’s what you need to know if you’re deciding between the Chromecast and the Roku Premiere for your binge-watching needs.

Basic Specifications

With speedy streaming, easy access to digital content, and voice control capabilities, Google’s Chromecast will take your binge-watching sessions to the next level. At $35, this streaming media player is one of the more affordable models on the market, yet it provides many streaming perks at a fraction of the price. 

This device weighs 1.41 ounces and its dimensions are 2.04 x 0.54 x 2.04 inches. It comes with a circular shape and HDMI plug that seamlessly fit behind your TV. When you buy the Chromecast, you’ll get the following: a Chromecast streaming media player, a power adapter, and a power cable.

Chromecast (Photo Credit: Google)

The Roku Premiere is a great streaming media player if you would like movie theater settings right in your living room. High-quality 4K picture and audio, access to free digital content, and a Roku Remote with channel shortcut buttons to Netflix, Hulu, and Sling are a handful of benefits offered by this small device. Even though it’s slightly more expensive ($57), the Roku Premiere gives you most of the tools you need to create an above-average streaming experience.

Compared to other streaming media players, the Roku Premiere has a tiny USB stick shape. Its dimensions are 1.4 x 3.3 x 0.7 inches and it weighs 1.28 ounces, so it won’t show behind your TV. Each Roku Premiere set comes with a Roku Premiere streaming media player, a premium high-speed HDMI cable, a USB power cable, a power adapter, a remote with pre-set channel shortcut buttons, a removable adhesive strip, two AAA batteries, and an owner’s manual.

Roku Premiere (Photo Credit: Roku)

Ease of Setup

Some streaming media players can be challenging to setup, but the Chromecast and the Roku Premiere have easy assembly instructions.

To get started with the Roku Premiere, connect it into your HDTV’s HDMI port, plug it into the wall outlet, and place it near your HDTV to connect to your home Wi-Fi. Then, use your TV remote to turn on the HDTV, select the input, and insert batteries inside the Roku Remote. Lastly, create a Roku account to start streaming content.

Chromecast setup is also seamless, and you’ll be able to watch digital content in a pinch. First, plug the Chromecast into your TV, go to chromecast.com/setup to download the Google Home app on your smartphone or tablet, and connect the Chromecast to your Wi-Fi network. Then, tap the Cast button in a Cast-enabled app (via smartphone or tablet) to use Chromecast on your TV.

Streaming Differences

Roku Remote (Photo Credit: Roku)

After covering specifications and setup, we can now get to the good stuff: the streaming benefits. Even though the Chromecast and Roku Premiere share some similar streaming benefits, there are some key differences to note.

Chromecast has one leg up on other streaming media players: its fast streaming speed. When you use the Chromecast, it streams 1080p at up to 60 fps (frames per second). You won’t have to worry about buffering issues or pixilated images when you’re watching flicks on TV. Speaking of TVs, the Chromecast works well with many TV models. All you need is a TV with a HDMI port to start streaming. The Chromecast doesn’t come with a remote, but you can stream from other devices and connect it with another Google Home device for easy voice control.

Unlike the Chromecast and other streaming media players, the Roku Premiere offers 4K HD streaming perks, including high-quality images and audio support for DTS Digital Surround. The Roku Premiere does come with a Roku Remote, where you can pause, play, and launch digital content. There are also channel shortcut buttons to Hulu, Netflix, and Sling TV, so you don’t have to get up from the couch to launch your favorite streaming media service.

Streaming Similarities

The Chromecast and Roku Premiere might have some streaming differences, but they also share similarities when it comes to convenient digital entertainment.

Unsure of what to watch? Both the Chromecast and Roku Premiere can help you find flicks in a pinch. The Chromecast gives you easy access to Hulu, Netflix, and Sling TV, where you can search by genre or title within a few clicks. When you use the Roku Premiere, you’ll have access to more than 500,000 movies, TV episodes, and exclusive programs. Whether you’re looking for a rom com or sci-fi action film, Chromecast and Roku make binge-watching an effortless process.

Smartphone app control is another similar perk between the Chromecast and the Roku Premiere. Streaming on your smartphone is easy with the Chromecast. Hit the Cast button in any Cast-enabled app to control whatever you’re watching on TV. With the Roku Premiere, you can use your iOS or Android smartphone to pause, play, or rewind content. Plus, you can search titles on your keyboard, opt for a private listening mode, or activate voice search with this streaming media player.

The Bottom Line

Still stuck on which streaming media player to buy? Here are some important factors to consider.

If you’re on a budget, the Chromecast provides good streaming perks at a fraction of the price. At only $35, you can get speedy streaming, voice control if synced with a Google Home Device, and HDMI TV compatibility. You won’t get a remote with the Chromecast, but the above-average streaming quality makes up for it.

For all the 4K HD fixings, the Roku Premiere is you go-to streaming media player. When you use this tiny device, you’ll have access to high-quality pictures and sound for a theater-like experience. At $56, the Roku Premiere is slightly more expensive than the Chromecast, but you’ll also have additional features, like access to over 500,000 films, TV episodes, and exclusive series and a remote with direct buttons to Hulu, Netflix, and Sling TV. For the price, that’s definitely worth it to upgrade your home entertainment atmosphere.

Buy Chromecast Here

Buy Roku Premiere Here

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This Emotional Lexus Ad Was Written by an AI

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‘Tis the season to tug at audience heartstrings with tear-inducing commercials (I’m looking at you, John Lewis).

But Lexus took things a step further this week when it introduced the world’s first ad scripted entirely by artificial intelligence.

Trained by IBM’s Watson on 15 years’ worth of award-winning luxury advertisements and human emotional responses, the bespoke AI managed to keep its message original and on-brand.

“When I was handed the script, the melodrama of the story convinced me of its potential,” director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland, State of Play, Whitney) said in a statement.

The minute-long film tells the tale of a Takumi master craftsman, fresh off his latest creation, the Lexus ES sedan.

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Like a parent seeing their child off to college, the engineer releases his vehicle into the wild—only for it to be taken away and threatened with destruction. But at the crucial moment, the car’s automatic emergency braking system kicks in, saving it (and the craftsman) from devastation.

“The fact that AI gave a fellow machine sentience, placed it in a sort of combat situation, and then had it escaping into the sunset was such an emotional response from what is essentially a digital platform,” Macdonald said.

This project is a collaboration between The&Partnership London, Visual Voice, IBM Watson, and the University of New South Wales’ MindX division.

“From the outset, it was almost impossible to know what level of quality or intelligibility the AI would produce,” Visual Voice co-founder Alex Newland said. “To see the project brought together with such a rich finished piece is extremely satisfying and exciting to witness.”

The “Driven by Intuition” film was created using a bespoke AI (via Lexus)

AI-generated text is still very much a work in progress: 2017 produced a handful of trial runs, including a seven-minute movie co-starring David Hasselhoff, a magical new Harry Potter book chapter, and one final Scrubs monologue (performed by Zach “JD” Braff himself).

The latest from Lexus, however, may help push machine learning to the forefront of entertainment and marketing.

“I thought I’d be writing an ad with the assistance of AI,” Dave Bedwood, creative partner at The&Partnership, said. “Instead it took over and wrote the whole script: a machine telling the story of a machine coming to life.

“Much AI work to date has been interesting because of the process itself,” he continued. “This has been because the end product is good in its own right.”

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Elon Musk Renames SpaceX’s Monster Rocket–Again

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When you own four companies and are the 54th-richest person in the world, you can do whatever you want—including change the name of your space-bound rocket.

Elon Musk this week announced he is “renaming” SpaceX’s Big Falcon Rocket (also known as Big F*****g Rocket, or BFR) to Starship.

He tweeted the news on Monday, later clarifying that “Starship” is the name of the spaceship itself; the rocket booster will be called Super Heavy.

Fans responded with requests for more information, queries about the change, and a few choice words for the South African entrepreneur.

One eagle-eyed follower pointed out that the name is erroneous, “unless this ‘starship’ is sent on a mission to another star system.”

“Later versions will,” Musk wrote in a response, teasing a future in which the spacecraft may leave the Solar System. Our closest known neighbor is Alpha Centauri, some 4.3 light-years from Earth.

Another suggested this may not be the last time this spaceship is rebranded.

The BFR, er, Starship, is designed to be a sustainable interplanetary spaceship.

A whopping 387 feet tall, the monster vehicle could one day make obsolete the rest of SpaceX’s fleet.

Built for up to 100 people, its first trip will carry only a skeleton crew—including Yusaku Maezawa, the first private citizen to travel beyond low-Earth orbit.

The 42-year-old Japanese billionaire will assemble a band of virtuosos—painters, photographers, musicians, film directors, fashion designers, architects—to accompany him on a round-the-Moon mission.

“All our resources will turn toward building BFR,” Musk said in 2017, estimating the company will need about $5 billion to get the ship off the ground. An undisclosed chunk of that money comes straight from Maezawa’s ticket.

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Americans Are Checking Their Phones More Than Ever

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Like most people, my smartphone is an extension of me: It’s the first thing I see after I wake up and one of the last things I see before I go to sleep. It sits on my desk as I work, in my pocket while I travel, and in my hand when I make a cup of tea.

And I know I’m not alone.

According to consulting firm Deloitte, Americans are viewing their smartphones more often than ever before—on average 52 times per day, up 6 percent from last year.

The unsurprising data was revealed as part of the UK-based firm’s 2018 Global Mobile Consumer Survey, which confirms the central role of handsets in the connected ecosystem.

One of the only gadgets (aside from smartwatches) to gain market penetration over the last year, smartphones have become a primary form of online access for 20 percent of U.S. adults.

After all, who needs traditional broadband service when you’ve got a mobile connection and Wi-Fi?

“This year’s survey really advances the story of smartphones as the true center of our lives, both inside and outside the home,” Deloitte Vice Chairman Kevin Westcott said in a statement.

“The smartphone remains the go-to device for consumers,” he continued, “enabling them to do anything they desire: communicate, work, socialize, consume entertainment, stay fit, or take take of things at home.”

But the first step is admitting you have a problem. And many people have.

Nearly 40 percent of Americans think they use their smartphone too much, Deloitte said; a whopping 60 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds concede to mobile overuse.

And while 63 percent of folks claim they’re trying to limit handset usage, only a little more than half are succeeding.

“While smartphones are becoming the nerve center of our homes, our businesses, our families, and our lives, consumers are craving more speed and responsiveness as their usage patterns mature,” according to Mic Locker, a managing director in Deloitte’s Technology, Media, and Telecommunications industry practice.

“It will be interesting to watch the availability of 5G networks and 5G-enabled smartphones over the next year to see if consumers’ yearning for better performance is satisfied,” she added.

That’s not the only thing smartphone-addicted Americans desire: A majority of folks also worry about keeping their personal data private.

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