The 2020 cord-cutter awards: Greatest streaming companies, gadgets, and extra

Whereas the circumstances have been hardly excellent, 2020 was a giant 12 months for wire chopping.

Streaming companies like Netflix and Disney+ noticed their subscriber numbers soar as folks appeared for tactics to cross the time at dwelling, and the short-term suspension of dwell sports activities accelerated the decline of conventional pay TV bundles. Whereas not coronavirus-related, this 12 months launched two main new streaming companies in HBO Max and NBC’s Peacock, and we noticed some daring makes an attempt to rethink the streaming gadget with Google’s new Chromecast and the TiVo Stream 4K.

I’ve been scripting this weekly column (and newsletter) on cord-cutting by all of it, so in accordance with annual custom, I’d wish to cap off 2020 by recounting my favourite developments of the 12 months. Listed here are TechHive’s fifth-annual cord-cutter awards:

Greatest new streaming {hardware}: Chromecast with Google TV

googletvhomedec Jared Newman / IDG

Firstly of the 12 months, I wrote that unified streaming TV guides could be one of cord-cutting’s biggest trends, and no streaming gadget delivers on that concept fairly just like the Chromecast with Google TV.

As a substitute of constructing us look by every streaming service’s catalog one-by-one, the brand new Chromecast presents a unified information with content material from Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, and extra. And as an alternative of shunting this information off to some separate menu, Google made it the point of interest of its complete interface. You may nonetheless launch particular person apps on the brand new Chromecast, however to take action would miss the purpose.

Having a birds-eye view of all of your streaming companies is a revelation, resulting in films and exhibits you in any other case would possibly’ve missed and serving to you get extra worth out of your subscriptions consequently. It ought to be mannequin for different streaming gadgets to comply with, even when the recently reduced level of Netflix integration is a bummer.

Runner Up: TiVo Stream 4K, whose strategy to aggregation is analogous even when its execution is a little less polished.

Most overdue gadget improve: Amazon Hearth TV Stick

ftvstickhero Jared Newman / IDG

Amazon likes to level out that the Hearth TV Stick is its best-selling streaming device, which could clarify why the corporate waited 4 years to provide it extra processing energy. With the brand new $40 Fire TV Stick, customers now not must endure by excessively lengthy load instances and herky-jerky menus. The Hearth TV Stick 4K continues to be the higher purchase at $10 extra, however the usual Stick is a nice various for folk who aren’t shopping for a 4K TV anytime quickly. (Simply be certain that to keep away from the cheaper “Lite” model and its less-functional distant.)

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