1 – Xiaomi Mi Box S
R1,300 | takealot.co.za
It’s a strange thing to notice about the tech industry, but South Africans… really seem to like streaming media devices. If you’re one of those (and let’s be honest, you are) then this is the best of the bunch. Made by one of the major names in tech, this Android-based box is fairly cheap, extremely user friendly, and comes packed with Chromecast support, Google Assistant compatibility, and includes access to the Play Store. If you’re just streaming from the greatest hits, like Netflix and Showmax, you’re covered. And if you’re up for the new stuff… well, you’re covered for that too. Any TV is a smart TV with one of these.
2 – Google Chromecast 3.0
from R800 | incredible.co.za
It’s not a streaming ‘box’ as such, but it’s also the cheapest alternative you’re likely to find in South Africa (that actually does what it advertises). It’ll occupy an HDMI port in your TV and lets you easily cast from your smartphone to your screen. The Google Chromecast 3.0 will turn even the doffest of screens into an internet-powered entertainment powerhouse. That it does so for less than a grand is more or less remarkable.
3 – Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
from R1,700 | leroymerlin.co.za
You don’t have to like Jeff’s company to be almost awestruck by the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K. There are versions both above and below this one (the Max and Lite). You’ll pay more or less, depending on which you opt for. But it’s a decent option if you’re already rocking an Amazon Echo ecosystem in your home. It might get even better if Amazon eventually sets up shop here in SA, but for now it’s perhaps a little limited. As in, some of the features are useless and local support is lacking. Good hardware, though.
4 – Apple TV 4K
from R3,300 | incredible.co.za
Look, if you’re an Apple fan, you don’t need us to tell you how good Apple TV hardware is. You probably already know. In which case, you’ve already bought and paid for one of these, and you know just how well it slots in with iEverything else. But it may dismay you to learn that there’s not a whole lot of difference between this and the Xiaomi box up top. Sure, Apple’s presentation and operating system is slicker. But is it really three-times-the-price slicker?
5 – Mediabox Maverick 4K
R1,600 | incredible.co.za
Here’s something a little closer to home. We don’t mean that it’s made here, just that the company responsible for it is based in South Africa. Based on Android, with the widespread support for the Big New Thing™ you’d expect from the OS, this’ll send video from just about every streaming platform (that works in South Africa) to your 4K screen. Depending on where you shop, you might well pick this one up for cheaper than the listed price.