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Jon Mann

[Editor’s Note: Jon Mann is a design director at Artefact, the Seattle-based technology product design firm. This post and graphic are republished with permission from the company’s blog.]

Remember when your choice of a TV service provider was your cable box or a set of rabbit ears? Life was simpler, less than 10 years ago….

With news that Netflix is in talks with cable providers to get its app on cable set top boxes, Samsung releasing its own set top box and rumors that Amazon may be next, the range of smarter TV choices is becoming richer but also more confusing. The line between the traditional cable box and the smart TV on one hand and the cord cutter device and the gaming console on the other, is becoming more and more blurred.

Yet while each of the solutions on the STB spectrum has its advantages, we are still waiting for that silver bullet device that brings all the content, apps, connectivity, ease of use into a user experience that cannot be beat.

Drawing from Artefact’s research and design work in the smart TV space, we summarized what we think are the highlights of some of the most interesting consumer choices out there. Beyond content and price, we looked at apps and usability to help people navigate the set-top box universe.

The chart is by no means comprehensive—our goal was to be representative rather than exhaustive of the options. Click on the image below to compare features, capabilities and user experiences. Still can’t find what you are looking for? Just wait a few months…


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