When you’re trying to pick a set-top box, content is king. You’re not just picking a box, you’re choosing an ecosystem: If you already buy or rent content from iTunes, the Apple TV seamlessly puts it on the biggest screen in the house. The Fire TV is similarly amazing if you shop for digital media at Amazon, and the Chromecast is great for frequent shoppers of the Google Play Store.
But each box also includes access to dozens of other content sources: Roku and Fire TV have onboard “stores” for finding new channels, but the Apple TV just tosses new channels up on the home screen as they come online. They've been multiplying quickly lately, so we sat down with Apple’s teeny remote and combed through the entire set of offerings. Now you can more easily compare the Apple TV’s selection to the Chromecast and Roku, plus know which channels have free content to watch and which you might as well hide from the menu if you can’t log in with a cable subscription.