The streaming platform you pay for monthly, and even some free options, may have become your best companion in recent months. However, to fully enjoy your programming, you must have some of the best streaming devices. And that is what we want to help you with today.
The Amazon Fire TV Cube is our favorite among the best streaming devices on the market because it offers an almost unlimited collection of services, including Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and Hulu. You can control it using the powerful virtual assistant Alexa.
The latest model supports 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos – everything you need to transform your living room into a true streaming paradise. But our suggestions are not exhausted on the Amazon device.
With 4K resolution and High Dynamic Range (HDR) standard included in virtually all new televisions, the device you choose must support these features.
You also want to make sure that the streaming services you are interested in (and the content you want to watch) can be easily found without having to scour the web for hours. Next, we show you a detailed list of the best devices to view your streaming programming.
1. Amazon Fire TV Cube
The Amazon Fire TV Cube is the home theater control center we’ve been waiting for decades. Why should you buy it? Because not only is it a great device, it can also control your entertainment system better than your remotes. For whom it is? For those looking for a simplified, Alexa-led home entertainment experience.
Because the Fire TV Cube has taken over the crown of the streaming device realm, we know that some might be surprised. The truth is that it is loaded with powerful technology and features that allow you to control almost everything in your entertainment center with the minimum need for remote control.
Thanks to the ports compatible with HDMI CEC and HDMI ARC and an infrared emitter included, you can use voice commands to turn on your TV, switch between applications, and even switch the inputs to other connected devices, such as game consoles, Receivers, and Blu ray players.
You can walk into your living room and signal Alexa to “play Stranger Things, ” and the Cube will turn on the TV and sound system, and immediately begin streaming the series on Netflix, all with zero remotes.
Using the Cube in this way is almost the closest thing to talking to the computer on a spaceship. While Alexa will require specific out-of-the-box voice commands, the artificial intelligence assistant will learn to recognize your input style.
Amazon has also promised to continually update Alexa’s recognition capabilities and adjust the assistant to meet user needs. This means that simple and even vague speech can be recognized as more people use it.
Its nature as a home theater control center may be its most significant selling point, but the Cube is also an excellent transmitter. It is capable of 4K and HDR playback and comes with an Ethernet adapter for the most reliable data connection possible, lacking on other Fire TV devices.
Speaking of updates, the Fire TV Cube features a much more open and platform-independent interface than what we’ve seen from other Fire TV devices. The singular bug we can find with the Fire TV Cube is its current lack of support for Dolby Vision. Other than that, it’s better than we imagine it could be.
2. Roku Streaming Stick +
The Roku Streaming Stick Plus offers 4K and HDR, plus several unique features that you won’t find in other similarly priced products.
Why should you buy this? Because it is the best streaming device on the market, and it is inexpensive. For whom it is? For anyone who wants to stream 4K and HDR through one easy interface.
Because the Streaming Stick + offers one of the best feature/price ratios among streaming devices out there, you can watch 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos Audio videos through this small device that looks more like a USB memory and is easily hidden behind the TV.
Its understated design extends beyond just your physical profile. Thanks to the robust 802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless support, you can install it anywhere within your home’s Wi-Fi range, without the need for Ethernet.
The only real requirement is a TV or any display with an HDMI and USB port. Afterward, you have to meet the Stream Stick + in the HDMI port and the power cable in one of its USB ports (or an adapter if you don’t have one), and voila.
One of our favorite things about Stick + streaming is a feature shared by all Roku devices: a fantastic user interface. Roku OS uses an application-independent approach to find the best place to see what you want more comfortable than with almost any device on the market.
3. Roku Ultra Streaming Box
The Roku Ultra is a powerful 4K streaming box that doesn’t cost a fortune. Why should you buy it? It’s a powerful and complete set-top box streaming box bolstered by Roku’s excellent interface and app support. For whom it is? For those who want the Streaming Stick + features, but want a little more power and stability.
The Roku Ultra brings with it several incredible features. Like any high-end streamer, it supports 4K and HDR (although Dolby Vision is not currently supported), but that’s just the beginning. The Ultra has an Ethernet port to help improve connection speeds and a MicroSD card slot to store even more applications or work as a source for images and video.
It also has a USB port so that you can view content from any compatible device. The box also includes a ‘remote loss’ button that will activate a tone from the remote (though we all know it’s under the couch), and the remote has a headphone jack for private listening and power/volume buttons. To control the audio level of the TV, depending on the model.
One of the novelties of the 2019 model is the remote control, which incorporates two direct access buttons that you can easily customize: you must say a command while holding down the microphone button and then press the direct access button until you hear a beep.
The Roku Ultra is compatible with smart speakers from Alexa and Google. Plus, Roku’s Featured Free menu option lets you quickly find free content.
The night listening mode automatically adjusts the volume to avoid waking up children. The included JBL headphones also offer better sound. As you probably guessed with the Streaming Stick +, we are fascinated by the Roku operating system.
There is no competing digital ecosystem from the robust library of applications (known as “Roku channels”) to the functionality to find channels.
4. Roku Express
The Roku Express is the most affordable way to give you a modern, easy-to-use streaming experience. It is the best budget streaming device on the market.
Why should you buy it? It has everything you need to stream the best free and premium content for a meager price. For whom it is? People who are not interested in features like 4K or Dolby Atmos and want a simple and inexpensive media streaming device.
If you don’t need 4K, HDR, or even Dolby Atmos, why should you pay extra for a device with these features that you won’t be using? The Roku Express is minimalism at its finest: as easy to use as any other Roku device, thanks to the excellent remote and user interface, it removes all the frills, leaving you with a small device that fits anywhere and with more money. In your pocket.
It offers Full HD 1080p video, which is still of good quality, and with just two cables (one for power and one for HDMI), it’s easy to set up. There are no MicroSD card slots or USB ports or voice commands, but its simplicity is precisely what makes it unique. If you need those features, Roku has other transmitters.
Despite the minimal set of hardware features, it features the software enhancements that have made Roku a leading streaming platform – its free iOS and Android app acts as a remote, streaming device, voice remote, and accessory. To listen. Add to that free streaming content from Roku and other sources, and you’ll understand why your $ 30 will be more than well spent.
5. Nvidia Shield TV Pro
The Nvidia Shield offers an excellent Android TV, 4K, and HDR interface, and features that gamers don’t find on other streaming devices. Why should you buy it? It offers 4K, Dolby Vision HDR, and Dolby Atmos, plus premium gaming features. For whom it is? For those who want streaming and video games on the same device.
The Nvidia Shield can be used to view streaming content in 4K and HDR, but it is designed for gamers. More than 200 video games are available through Android TV, many exclusive to Shield TV. This is a good option for playing video games on your couch rather than on your desktop computer.
The Tegra X1 + processor in the 2019 version provides better performance, as it is 25 percent faster than the X1 chip in the previous model. The Nvidia designed wireless controller for the 2019 model is not included, so you must purchase it separately. However, most users probably prefer a Bluetooth controller, like the DualShock 4 or Sony’s Xbox One.
For watching 4K content, Netflix, Vudu, UltraFlix, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube are supported, with HDR support available on some services. The 2019 model incorporates compatibility with Dolby Vision, a demand of users.
For HD content, there are more options, like HBO Now, Twitch, CBS, Fox, and Vimeo, that is, any service on Google Play. Meanwhile, live television is available through Sling TV and Hulu + Live TV. Many of these applications can be found through the built-in voice search function.
Nvidia’s GeForce Now service allows users to stream games to the device at up to 4K resolution, but performance is dependent on internet speed. Audio-wise, it supports 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound and surrounds sound based on Dolby Atmos objects.
Hi-Res Audio is also supported in some formats natively through a pass-through. If you are a Plex user, you will like to know that the application of this service for Shield is one of the few supporting Dolby TrueHD with Atmos, and is powerful enough to play 4K HDR movies without transcoding on the server.
6. Apple TV 4K
The Apple TV 4K offers support for Ultra HD content and even HDR, although it is slightly pricey compared to other brands. For whom it is? For those who live in the Apple ecosystem.
This was one of the first devices that began to popularize streaming television. However, in recent years Apple TV has become somewhat obsolete. For this reason, in the last presentation that Apple made in September, it announced not only the new iPhone but also a new Apple TV 4K.
Thus, the new Apple TV is compatible with HD and 4K HDR televisions with HDMI. You can also access iTunes content and applications such as Netflix, Hulu, and ESPN. Also, Apple TV 4K offers faster performance thanks to the A10X Fusion chip.
7. Google Chromecast (3rd Generation)
Chromecast is one of the most straightforward and most flexible streaming devices available. Why should you buy this? The Chromecast syncs with your phone or other devices for simple streaming. For whom it is? Anyone who wants a simple and affordable HD streamer.
If you don’t have a 4K HDR-enabled TV, you don’t need to spend $ 50 to $ 100 on a device that streams in 4K. The Chromecast is a small and straightforward casting device that works alongside the tools you are already using, i.e., your phone or tablet.
And while the 2018 update for Google’s old Chromecast HD doesn’t add many innovative qualities, the more former model is no longer available makes this the ideal choice.
The new device has a slightly faster frame rate (60 frames per second) for 1080p content and a new look, but other than that, it’s pretty much the same old Chromecast that offers simple, cheap streaming at a low cost.
Unlike other streaming devices, Chromecasts (including Chromecast Audio and Ultra) use the apps you already have on your phone to control playback and search for content. Just call your supported streaming app, click the convert button, and you’re good to go. Google Home also makes searching more streamlined and convenient than before.
As if that weren’t enough, the Chromecast is deeply integrated into the Google ecosystem and is compatible with the Google Assistant and any Google smart home device. For Android and Google, this will be a crucial feature. However, iOS, Mac, and Windows device users can still get a lot of use from the Chromecast, as each of them supports converting a ton of apps.