Google's Chromecast, Roku's Streaming Stick, Amazon Fire TV Stick. Little, 3 inch dongles that plug into an HDMI port on your TV and stream digital content without cables or wires or another box on a shelf. Each one, under $50. But which one is for you?
Chromecast $35: Stream content from your PC or mobile device to your TV. There's no remote, so you control the screen from your PC, laptop, tablet or phone. It supports Netflix, Hulu, HBO-Go, Pandora, YouTube, and, of course, Google Play, as well as some others. It also is capable of sharing your screen, so its great in a business for making presentations. Any device on the same wifi network as the Chromecast can access it.
Roku Streaming Stick $49.99: Unlike Chromecast, the Streaming Stick does not require a PC or mobile device to operate. It is a stand alone unit and comes with a remote. Stream from Netflix, Hulu, HBO-Go, M-Go, Amazon Instant Video, and many more Roku streaming apps and channels you already enjoy on your Roku Box.
Amazon Fire TV Stick $39 (but sold out on Amazon until January 15) : Similar to the Roku and Chromecast, it streams from several of your favorite online services lik Netflix and Hulu, and, for Amazon Prime members, the Prime Video and Prime Music libraries are at your fingertips. The only real difference between the Roku and the Fire is HBO-Go...Fire TV Stick doesn't support HBO yet, but it is supposedly in the works.