All products and services are curated by our editorial staff. If you click on a link, we may earn a commission. Learn More We may earn a commission on link or button clicks. Learn More

One perk of writing a blog about cord cutting is that you end up with a lot of cool devices. Over the years here at, we've reviewed products from Amazon, Google, Nvidia, and Roku, to name just a few. HQ is full of a mix of devices, which is cool – but also annoying. Because while each (well, most) of these devices has its own unique appeal, they're also running a wide variety of different operating systems and media platforms while drawing on a bunch of different app libraries. That means more updates and more app downloads, more power cords and external storage devices and approved file formats.

There's no saving us, unfortunately. We have to live with the madness, because we need all the devices to test streaming services on each of the platforms our readers might use. But you don't have to live like we do here at In fact, you shouldn't. For all the great diversity in the streaming tech world, my recommendation is that you use just one major streaming platform in your home.

Why One Streaming Platform Is Better Than Two (or Three, or Four)

I've already laid out a few of the reasons that having all different streaming platforms is annoying. These apps don't get along — until recently, you couldn't watch Amazon content on Apple TV at all! Each streaming box and smart TV surfaces different on-demand, rental, and purchase options. Each uses a different remote and most draw on different app stores.

But it's not just that using a bunch of different platforms has drawbacks – it's that using just one has benefits.

The most obvious perk of using just one platform is that it unifies your billing and your apps. If you've ever bought a new iPhone or an iPad after owning an old one, you probably noticed that all your app downloads and purchases reappeared on your new device as soon as you logged in with your Apple ID. The major streaming platforms do this, too, which means that buying your second Fire TV or a second Roku will make setup a breeze compared to, say, buying your first Fire TV or a first Roku. You can still customize things, of course – deleting an app from one device doesn't take it away from the other – but at the start, you'll get synchronized apps, logins, billing, and other basic settings.

Add-Ons and Apps

One great thing about using a streaming box is that you can buy content and manage subscriptions through it. It's easy to add a Showtime subscription to your Amazon Prime subscription through your Fire TV or to rent a movie on Roku. But if you want to finish it in another room, it can be a bit of a headache to locate the content you just paid for on a different brand of device (if you can get it at all). Using just one device funnels these purchases into the same interface just as it funnels the related charges into just one bill. Easy!

It's not just subscriptions that streaming boxes offer as perks. They often also have their own apps – as with Roku, whose app I've sung the praises of before. But if (like me) your smartphone is constantly complaining about lack of storage space, it's nice to have to only have one streaming box-related app (or, at least, I assume it is – unfortunately, I'll never know).

And it's nice to have compatible power cords, too, and compatible remotes. In fact, just about every accessory, add-on subscription, or piece of purchased content is made a little nicer when you stick with just one brand for every TV in your home.

Where You Can Diversify

To be clear, I'm only talking about one level of your streaming life: the streaming box (or smart TV) that gets everyone onto the big screen. I'm not necessarily saying you can't get different brands of antennas, or add an OTA DVR, or tack on any number of different devices from different brands that aren't streaming boxes. In fact, doing this is easy, because you'll only have to worry about compatibility with one family of streaming devices. If you have nothing but Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks in your home and are thinking about getting a Tablo, you don't have to worry about whether or not the Tablo TV app is available on Roku or Apple TV – you only have to care about Fire TV (I know, I know, Tablo is available on all three).

(It's worth noting that some non-streaming box accessories will have extra benefits for the particularly brand-loyal. For instance, Amazon is increasingly integrating its Alexa-enabled Echo devices with its Fire TV line, Google has an audio version of the Chromecast, and iPhones and Android phones play nicer with Apple TVs and Chromecasts/Android TV devices, respectively. It's a bit early to make a lot of this sort of cross-device line brand loyalty, but you can expect this to become a bigger deal as time goes on.)

Anyway, once you've got your platform of choice, you can be as diverse as you want with the actual apps you use. You can even download platforms on your platforms by adding Plex or Kodi to your device (though that does kind of run counter to my simplicity argument, don't you think?). But if you at least stick with just one type of streaming box-level device in your home, each app will look exactly the same no matter which TV you're using it on.

With just one type of device on each TV in your space, you'll only have to know one platform, download things from one app library, and so on. You'll make it easy to take your content with you from room to room, and Grandma won't grow increasingly confused by all the different user interfaces. It's not that each of the streaming boxes aren't great in their own way, because they (mostly) are – it's just that they're better for your family when they're surrounded by their own.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *