2021 Cord Cutter Awards | TechHive

For cable cutting, 2021 was a year of dust settling.

The television industry has begun to accept the constant decline of the cable, and most of the major media and technology companies have entered the streaming war with services like Disney +, Apple TV +, HBO Max, and Peacock. 2021 was more about taking advantage of those services than launching new ones.

Likewise, our streaming devices and smart TVs haven’t reinvented the wheel or come up with compelling reasons to update what you already have. With the latest Roku, Fire TV, and Apple TV devices, the improvements are largely incremental.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t find any milestones worth celebrating. After one more year of writing this weekly column (and Newsletter), let’s keep up with the annual tradition and recount the best of what lace cutting had to offer in 2021:

Best New Streaming Hardware: Apple TV 4K

appletv4k2021hero Jared Newman / IDG

Apple didn’t have to do much to cement the Apple TV 4K’s position as the best premium streaming box you can buy, but it made the adjustments that count. This year’s update includes a far superior remote, with a sturdy aluminum casing and thank goodness a proper directional pad. The new remote control complements Apple’s speedy hardware, while tvOS remains blissfully ad-free and packed with useful features. If you have $ 180 to spend on a gearbox, this is the one to get.

Runner-up: UHD streaming box from Walmart, a surprisingly great 4K HDR streaming player that it’s only $ 20 right now.

Honorable Mention: The Roku Streaming Stick 4K, which has firmly established itself as the best mid-range streamer for most people.

Best New Streaming Service: Discovery +

discoverypluschannels Discovery

This year didn’t bring any other major contenders to the streaming wars, so Discovery + gets the nod by default. That said, the service fills a useful niche in the cable-cutting landscape, providing an extensive library of reality shows – or comfort food television, as they say, for $ 5 per month, or $ 7 per month with no ads. Perhaps that explains why Discovery’s direct-to-consumer business has exploded to 20 million subscribers this year.


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