March 5th, 2019 | Updated on November 2nd, 2020
To stream online content directly to your TV, there are lots of streaming devices – streaming boxes, sticks, and cubes. And, this bevy of choices makes choosing the best TV streaming device a more complicated than ever before.
Which Media Streaming Device Is Best For You?
The single most important factor to buy a media streaming device is to make finding the shows and movies you want to watch easier and faster. Whether you’re hoping to stream your favorite TV shows, or just kick back with some YouTube videos, these are the best TV streaming devices you can find.
1. Roku Ultra
Looking for ultimate streaming player? Meet the new Roku Ultra for HD and 4K Ultra HD TVs. It comes fully loaded and delivers a powerful streaming experience with a quad-core processor, 802.11ac dual-band wireless, and the latest streaming technology.
Immerse yourself in the action with brilliant 4K* Ultra HD at 60fps for ultra smooth video, or stream full 1080p HD. See incredibly rich and realistic color detail with vibrant HDR. Stream just about anything with access to 4,500+ paid or free channels. And get incredible features like a lost remote finder and a point anywhere remote with voice search, gaming controls, and headphones for private listening.
The 4K experience requires a compatible 4K TV and 4K content. HDR requires a compatible HDR TV and HDR content. Such content will not be available on all channels. Check with the 4K channel partner for specific bandwidth requirements to access its 4K content.
Roku Ultra almost sets a new high bar for streaming video players, though it’s shown up by its more cost-effective cousin, the Premiere+. If you don’t mind paying a bit more for a few neat, but somewhat impractical features, the Roku Ultra is for you. If not, we recommend you save some cash and pick up a Premiere.
2. Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
Choose from over 500,000 movies and TV episodes. Enjoy favorites from Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, YouTube, STARZ, SHOWTIME, CBS All Access, and others. Stream live news, sports, and must-see shows, plus thousands of titles in brilliant 4K Ultra HD, HDR, HDR10+, or Dolby Vision.
With more power, a lightning-fast processor, support for 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and a new antenna design, Fire TV Stick 4K allows you to enjoy a more complete 4K Ultra HD streaming experience.
Prime membership unlocks a world of entertainment on Prime Video, with exclusive and award-winning Originals, popular movies and TV, live events, sports, and more—all at no extra cost and available to watch on practically any device. Prime members can also add 100+ channels like STARZ, SHOWTIME, HBO, and Cinemax with Prime Video Channels—no cable required, and no additional apps to download.
Amazon’s Fire TV streaming devices have always had the same mission: Turn any TV into a smart one for cheap — and with Amazon services front and center.
The new Fire TV Stick 4K bundles plenty of streaming sources with a new Alexa voice remote that incorporates the same kind of infrared (IR) blaster on most TV remotes. And it supports almost all of today’s formats: Dolby Vision, HDR, and HDR 10+.
3. Roku Premiere
Incredible picture with an even more incredible value. The new Roku Premiere is the simple way to start streaming in HD, 4K Ultra HD or HDR. Just plug it into your TV with the included Premium High-Speed HDMI Cable and connect to the Internet.
With a short step-by-step setup and an easy on-screen experience, you’ll be watching in minutes. Use the simple remote to search for your favourite shows and discover thousands of free and paid channels to stream almost anything, including hit movies, popular shows, live TV, news and sports. Plus, with access to hundreds of free channels, there’s plenty to stream without spending extra.
If you have a relatively inexpensive 4K TV that lacks HDR (high dynamic range), particularly one with an anemic selection of built-in streaming apps, the Premiere is worth considering. It’s cheaper than any other 4K-capable streamer on the market…If you’re a 4K TV owner who just wants Roku’s great app selection in a single device, and wants to save as much money as possible, the Premiere is worth checking out.
4. TiVO Bolt OTA
Catch live TV, like comedies, dramas, award shows, sports, local news and more, all broadcast for free, with TiVo BOLT OTA for antenna and an HD antenna (sold separately). It’s the all-in-one live, recorded and streaming TV device that makes the most of your TV experience.
Access the popular apps like Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, YouTube and more.2 Skip entire commercial breaks with a single tap.3 And search across channels, recordings and apps to find what you’re looking for, faster. And because there’s no cable TV subscription required, you could save more than $800 over three years.1 Say goodbye to cable TV. Say hello to a better way to watch.
TiVo Bolt OTA box axes the cable card slot so it can only receive antenna-based channels. The company believes some users who haven’t gone full cord-cutter yet may be willing to take the plunge if some channels remain available to them at first…The Bolt OTA lets users connect an antenna as well as stream content from services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.
5. Roku Streaming Stick+
Powerful. Portable. Enhanced voice remote. The Roku Streaming Stick gives you smooth streaming with channels that launch in a snap. Easily hide it behind your TV or move it around the house, you can even take it to a friend’s.
No more juggling remotes, our new voice remote lets you easily control your TV with buttons for TV Power and volume. Use your voice to search across top channels by actor, show and more.
Enjoy 500, 000 Plus blockbusters, award-winning original Series, kids’ shows, live network TV, and more.
Review: The Verge
The new Streaming Stick Plus seems like the culmination of everything Roku’s been building toward: a tiny device that can plug into any TV setup, completely replace the interface and controls with a single remote, and provide access to a huge catalog of content across a range of services. This is the new default Roku — and by extension, the new default choice for people buying a media streamer for now-common 4K TVs. In most situations, it’ll be fine, but if you’re thinking of upgrading just to watch 4K HDR movies, or you’re trying to get the most out of your home theater, you’ll quickly run into some pretty serious limitations.
6. Amazon Fire TV Cube
Fire TV Cube is the first hands-free streaming media player with Alexa, delivering an all-in-one entertainment experience.
From across the room just say, “Alexa, play Billions” and Fire TV Cube turns on your TV and starts playing the Showtime drama, allowing you to control your entertainment with voice commands.
Watch as thousands of movies and TV episodes come to life with vibrant colors and detailed contrast in 4K Ultra HD and HDR.
Review: Digital Trends
Amazon Fire TV Cube puts Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant in a Fire TV device for the first time, but thanks to HDMI CEC and an IR blaster, the Fire TV Cube also makes you master of your entire entertainment system (even if it’s complicated) using the power of your voice. On paper, it sounds great. In practice, it’s far better than we expected.
7. Fire TV Recast
Fire TV Recast is a DVR that lets you watch and record over-the-air TV at home or on-the-go with no monthly fees.
Watch at home with a Fire TV or Echo Show, or take your shows with you with the Fire TV mobile app on compatible iOS and Android devices or Fire tablets.
Amazon’s Fire TV Recast is a small black box with up to four tuners and spaces for up to 150 hours of recorded content that streams your local OTA programming directly to a Fire TV or mobile device…Amazon’s Fire TV Recast just works. It’s a cliche catchphrase that’s typically muttered about Apple products but is applicable here. It’s easy to set up and it works seamlessly with Amazon products. But remaining dependent on Amazon products is something that not everyone is going to want to deal with, and that’s understandable.
8. Roku 4K
The next-generation Roku Ultra is our most powerful player, with a quad-core processor and our best wireless performance. A great choice for avid streamers and users of cable replacement services such as DirecTV NOW, Sling TV, and more. Whether your TV is 4K or HD, Roku Ultra will optimize your content for the best picture resolution possible.
Experience the visual rush of crisp details and rich HDR color. Plus, the Roku Ultra is fully loaded with features you’ll love. Our new voice remote lets you easily control your TV with buttons for TV power and volume. Headphones let you listen in private.
And no more tearing the family room apart with our lost-remote finder. Plus, enjoy 500,000 Plus movies and TV episodes, including blockbusters, award-winning original series, kids’ shows, live network TV, and more-across thousands of free or paid channels like Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO NOW, and PBS KIDS.
The Roku 4 delivers 4K video, promising the best-quality video streams available today. It has more 4K-capable apps than other devices and makes 4K TV shows and movies easy to find. The remote has voice search, a unique headphone jack for private listening, and a finder function in case it goes missing in the couch cushions. Roku’s platform is the best, with the most apps, comprehensive search results arranged by price, and a simple interface that doesn’t favor one service over others.
9. NVIDIA Shield
NVIDIA Shield TV is the most advanced streaming media Player that provides endless entertainment and is the perfect fit for your google-connected lifestyle. Play your favorite shows In up to 4K HDR, share your photos, stream The latest songs, display your calendar, dim the lights, and so much more, All with just your voice. With shield, it’s more than TV.
It’s your life—smarter and more connected. Enjoy Netflix, video, and Voodoo in stunning 4K HDR and YouTube, Google Play movies & TV, and more in up to 4K. Cut the cord with apps like YouTube TV, Sling TV or PlayStation Vie. Cast your favorite apps to your TV with Chromecast 4K built-in.
Add smart things Link to turn shield into a ZigBee and Z-Wave smart home hub to wirelessly connect and automate hundreds of compatible smart devices, so they can all work together with voice commands and automations. Even use shield as a Plax media server and stream your personal media collection to any device, anywhere. NVIDIA game stream harnesses the power of your GeForce GTX graphics card to let you cast your games from your PC to your TV.
NVIDIA Shield TV is a set-top box that’s powered by the Android TV operating system, with hardware built from NVIDIA. They bill it as a “4K HDR Streaming Media Player,” which it is…So what’s good about NVIDIA Shield TV? First, it’s powerful. Really powerful. There is a lot of graphics power in this little box. So alongside all the Android TV awesomeness — including just about every streaming app you could think of — you get a whole lot of games. And like every other Android TV device, it’s also a proper Chromecast target.
10. Apple TV 4
Apple TV 4 is a smaller, more expensive unit but retains the polished interface that has made Apple’s products some of the best-selling devices. The 1.66-ounce unit features incredible voice search from Siri, an excellent selection of apps and AirPlay for unsupported apps.
Apple TV supports many of the same services as the Roku but adds the ability to play back content from your iTunes library. Throw in mirroring from your iPhone, iPad or Macbook through AirPlay and you’ve got a whole lot of possibilities.
Apple’s previous media streamer, the Apple TV (3rd generation), was one of those products that got better and better, thanks to some fairly hefty software updates. With the 4th generation Apple TV, it’s clear that Apple plans follow exactly the same process. In fact, since the product was first launched, Apple has released a series of updates that have fixed some of the most annoying things about the original release, including making the remote control less sensitive and letting you use voice instead of the slow onscreen keyboard to search. We’ve updated this review to reflect those changes.
11. Google Chromecast Ultra
Everything you love about Chromecast and more. By using your phone, it’s easy to play, pause, control the volume, and more from anywhere in your home.Watch what you want,when you want Shows, movies, live TV, YouTube, and photos. All streaming on your 4K TV. From all your family’s devices.
Into this crowded market comes the Chromecast Ultra, an update to the 2015 version that adds support for 4K high dynamic range (HDR) streaming…The Chromecast Ultra does exactly what it promises to do: reliably stream 4K HDR video to compatible TVs. But the marginal increase in quality, coupled with a dearth of 4K content, means the device is hardly a must-buy.