TechGraphs’ Monthly Streaming Device List — September 2015

With the NFL season kicking off tomorrow, MLB in the middle of the playoff hunt, and of course college football and other sports already going on, it’s time to kick off a monthly series highlighting some of the best cost efficient ways of catching sports broadcasts and more. From set-top boxes to HDMI dongles to consoles, count on seeing an updated list here at TechGraphs every month. As more and more devices and channels are released, count on this list changing, especially as we approach the holiday season. It feels weird saying “holiday season” in September, but some of my local stores are already posting Black Friday store hours.

There is no shortage of options available, but I’ll be limiting the list by two criteria: they have to be available in the United States, and there has to be separate hardware involved (I’m looking at you, SlingTV, Pluto and Plex). I’ve also specifically chosen Google’s Nexus Player, though there are many more other Android TV boxes. Some streaming options such as WatchESPN, HBO Go and NBC Sports Live Extra require a cable subscription, however all devices can be more than adequate for those looking to cut the cord. Given the rising demand of streaming, particularly among Millenials, all of these devices can play in a role in fulfilling your entertainment needs, be it sports or other stream options.

Streaming Devices
Box/Dongle Opening Price Point Notable Channel/App Compatibility
Amazon Fire Stick $39.00 MLBtv, HBO Go/Now, WatchESPN, FOX Sports Go, Twitch
Amazon Fire TV $99.00 MLBtv, HBO Go/Now, WatchESPN, FOX Sports Go, Twitch
AppleTV $62.99* MLBtv, NBA League Pass, NFL Game Pass†, NHL Gamecenter, MLS, HBO Go/Now, WatchESPN, CBS Sports, MLS Live
Google Chromecast $28.99* MLBtv, HBO Go/Now, NFL Game Pass†, WatchESPN, La Liga TV, 120 Sports, MLS Live
Google Nexus Player $69.99** MLBtv, HBO Go/Now, NFL Game Pass†, WatchESPN, La Liga TV, 120 Sports, MLS Live
Microsoft Xbox One $349.99 MLBtv, NFL Game Pass†, NBA League Pass, NHL Gamecenter,ESL, Major League Gaming, HBO Go
Nvidia Shield $199.99 FOX Sports Go, CBS Sports, HBO Go/Now†, Twitch†
Roku Stick $49.99 MLBtv, NBC Sports Live Extra, WatchESPN, MLS Live, NBA Game Pass, NHL Gamecenter, Golf Channel
Roku 3 Player $99.99 MLBtv, NBC Sports Live Extra, WatchESPN, MLS Live, NBA Game Pass, NHL Gamecenter, Golf Channel
Slingbox M1 $139.99* Any currently subscribed TV channel
Sony Playstation 4 $399.99* MLBtv, HBO Go/Now, NBA Game Pass, NFL Sunday Ticket, NHL Gamecenter

*Amazon Prime price
**Best Buy Online price
†Coming soon
Also of note, the Amazon Fire TV is currently off of the market apparently due to selling the entirety of the stock. There is speculation it could be relaunched in a 4K resolution shortly.

With the national mean cable bill at nearly $100 per month according to Leitchman Research Group, up 39 percent from 2010. The soaring recurring costs of TV make one-time payments for top boxes and streaming services such as MLBtv or NBA League Pass more and more enticing. Between my MLBtv and Fox Soccer 2 Go via Chromecast (plus Netflix and Amazon Prime), I’m personally spending less than the near $1,200 per year that I might with cable. I’m admittedly in the minority as a cord cutter, but our numbers are rising, and for good and simple reason. It makes sense.

(Header image screencapped from my season 2 DVD of The Simpsons, specifically episode 13, Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment)

You can catch David spouting off about baseball, soccer, esports and other things by following him on twitter, @davidwiers.

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8 years ago

should probably add Big Ten Network to the Roku (at least the stick and probably more)

David Wiers
8 years ago
Reply to  Abe

Good point. I was iffy on where to draw the line for notable channel/apps, but yes, BTN is a big one.

8 years ago

I know soccer wasn’t mentioned in your writeup, but for anyone looking for other European Soccer not on NBC Sports, BeIN Sports carries a lot of those matches and there’s a pay streaming service at that’s impressive.

David Wiers
8 years ago
Reply to  Jack

Another good option!

Jeff in T.O.
8 years ago

Amazon Fire TV + KODI.
You’ll never pay for cable again, though you still will want to subscribe to mlbtv, because it is just all kinds of awesome.

8 years ago

Thank you. This is very helpful.

I think the place where I get most confuzzled and just throw up my hands is in keeping straight which notable channels/apps are a separate subscription, which ones require a cable subscription, and … well, any other requirement I don’t know about.

I don’t know whether you can include that without making your chart unreadable, but I submit it for your consideration.

8 years ago
Reply to  Scooter

Great suggestion. I’ll play around with the table and see what looks best.