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What Is The Best Streaming Device For My TV

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A Streaming Device Or Smart TV

Top 5 – Best Streaming Devices (2022)

If you already have a great 4K TV, you might want to go the streaming device route. Chances are, though, that your 4K TV already has a smart TV built in, but possibly not all the streaming apps you need.

But if you want a device that has everything, like a Roku Express 4K+, it might be worth the investment. Just plug it into your existing television.

Streaming devices

  • Apple TV: An Apple TV has Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, iTunes, HBO Max, YouTube, Disney+, Sling, and more. And when a new app comes out, it will be available in the app store for you to download to the homepage of your Apple TV device.
  • Roku Streaming Stick: This device works with Alexa and has apps such as Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, STARZ, SHOWTIME, NBC, ESPN, Disney NOW, and HGTV.
  • : Even though its one of the least expensive options, the Fire TV has most of the apps youll need. Watch Disney+, Prime Video, HBO, Netflix, Sling, Hulu, and more.
  • Xbox One: Get two in one with this game console. Play your favorite video games and also stream Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and more.

Smart TVs

If youre looking for a cheaper option, check out our best 4K TVs under $400.

Chromecast With Google TV

Lastly, the Chromecast with Google TV finishes our list of best IPTV boxes.

The Chromecast with Google TV runs the all-new Google TV operating system which means we can side-load our favorite apps for Movies, TV Shows, and more.

With an updated interface and a reasonable price tag, many are opting for the new Chromecast with Google TV as their streaming device choice.

Price: $49.99

Storage: 4 GB Storage Capacity

VPN Compatible? Yes, works perfectly with IPVanish VPN

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4k Max

If you were to only look at the outside of the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max, you probably wouldnt feel like much has changed in its latest incarnation. In fact, if you were to put the 4K Max next to the 4K and tape up the logos, you might not be able to tell the difference between them theyre both flat USB stick-sized devices with an HDMI port sticking out of them.

Once its complete youll see the main user interface for Fire TV thats separated into three tabs Home, Find and Live with a revolving top row of featured shows and movies curated by Amazon as well as some ads. Having ads on the homescreen is annoying, especially considering the first row of apps under the Home section are also sponsored picks.

Recommended Reading: How To Connect Google Home To TV

A Soundbar And Streamer In One

Amazon

  • Add terrific surround sound to most any TV
  • Includes full Roku streaming capabilities
  • Voice remote with personal shortcuts

Cons

  • Lacks Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision support

Who its for: This soundbar fits under your TV and provides surround sound audio and Roku streaming capabilities in one space-saving package.

If you have a 4K TV thats not yet a smart TVand it also needs better soundyou can fix these two issues at once with the Roku Streambar Pro. This awesome sounding soundbar also has the Roku 4K streaming platform built-in, so you dont need a separate streaming device. The soundbar supports Dolby Audio via its four 2.5-inch full-range drivers, so itll nicely fill a room with sound. If you want to supplement the bass, Roku sells a subwoofer separately. To take your sound fully immersive and experience 5.1-channel surround sound, add both the subwoofer and a pair of Rokus wireless speakers to the Streambar Pro.

The vast range of streaming services is the same as that found in dedicated Roku streamers. This model lags a bit in its codec support, though it supports 4K HDR10, but not HDR10+ or Dolby Vision.

How To Pick A Streaming Device

What is Amazon

The most important things to keep in mind when choosing a media streaming device are platform, price and what you already have in your home. Currently, the most popular streaming platforms are Roku, Amazons Fire TV, Apple TV and Google TV . All of them offer a similar selection of streaming services, with the primary differences being the user interface. Roku, for example, has a basic grid layout, while Fire TV and Google TV emphasize personalized recommendations.

The prices for streaming devices typically start at around $30, and can go all the way up to $200 . Sticks or dongles are generally more affordable, while set-top boxes tend to be pricier. The main reason to opt for a streaming box over a dongle is if you need Ethernet connectivity. Some models also have additional features like Ethernet ports and faster wireless connections. Another benefit of a set-top box is that theyre faster than older TV processors and are easier to upgrade over time.

Below are some recommendations for the best streaming sticks and other budget-friendly options. We also included suggestions for set-top boxes and devices geared toward gamers.

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Best Wired TV Streaming Device To Save Your Home’s Wi

Streaming Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Disney Plus or Hulu can occupy your Wi-Fi. Try running an Ethernet connection instead.

Eli Blumenthal

Senior Editor

Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.

David Katzmaier

Editorial Director — TVs and streaming

David has reviewed TVs, streaming services, streaming devices and home entertainment gear at CNET since 2002. He is an ISF certified, NIST trained calibrator and developed CNET’s TV test procedure himself. Previously David wrote reviews and features for Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as “The Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics.”

Ty Pendlebury

Editor

Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.

The bad news is that you’ll need to run wires from your router to your TV for streaming, but if you’re stuck at home it makes a good weekend project, and Ethernet cable is cheap. During high-use times you might be OK running a temporary wire that you can remove later.

Roku Streaming Stick 4k Review: Design

The Roku Streaming Stick 4K is designed to never be seen again. Identical to its predecessor , the Roku Streaming Stick 4K is primarily a 3.7 x 0.8 x 0.5-inch dongle with an HDMI plug that goes into the back of your TV. But it’s got a little extra in its USB power cable: a 3.3 x 0.6 x 0.3-inch long-range Wi-Fi receiver. Editor’s Note: this review won’t explain how much that improves things, the furthest testing can be done from our router is 8 feet away.

Also in the box, you get the Roku Voice Remote with TV power and volume buttons , and a power adapter. You could opt to forego that power adapter, and plug the USB power cable into your TV, but I found that this means the Roku Streaming Stick 4K is turned off when my relatively-recent LG TV. And I don’t enjoy waiting for the Roku boot-up animation to finish, when it could just be on standby.

The is a slightly larger rectangular dongle while the is even larger . But, as I said before, these all just exist in the limbo behind your TV.

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How We Test Streaming Devices

We testing streaming players by looking at both the content they can provide and how they deliver said content. Any streaming player worth its salt can load a HD stream, but only a good one possesses straightforward navigation, robust search features and a wide variety of content to suit all tastes.

The first thing we evaluate is the setup, to see how quick and simple it is. From there, we take the user interface for a spin to see what content gets highlighted, what gets hidden, and how easy it is to navigate to our favorite channels. As live TV service integration becomes a bigger feature in streaming devices, we look at how these sticks and boxes can place your favorites within closer touch.

We’ll also watch a few different shows on a variety of channels to gauge the quality of the video and audio, to make sure they look good regardless of if you have one of the best TVs or not. That said? Check out our guide to the best cheap TV deals if you need a discount.

After that, it’s onto the extra features, like gaming, voice search and screen mirroring. These factors don’t weigh quite as heavily toward the final score, but they’re nice to have if they work well, and extremely distracting if they don’t.

How To Choose The Best Streaming Device For You

New Roku Ultra Unboxing and Review

Figuring the right streaming device for your needs is pretty easy. While everyone should start with the Roku Streaming Stick 4K, your mileage may vary. If your budget is tight, the Google Chromecast can bring a lot of content to your TV without adding the clutter of a remote.

If you own a lot of digital media that you want to watch on your TV, the Roku Ultra makes that process super easy, so you’ll never need to think about what a media server is. But if you’re a performance first type, and watch a lot of 4K UHD content, the Nvidia Shield TV is where you should start.

Lastly, folks who already treat Alexa like a member of the family should consider the 2nd Gen Fire TV Cube, which makes controlling your entertainment as easy as talking. That being said, it’s quite expensive, and the Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus remote also supports voice commands, you just have to click the microphone button, whereas the Fire TV Cube is hands-free.

If you like the Amazon ecosystem and want a cheaper device, consider the Fire TV Stick.

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Chromecast With Google TV 4k: Streaming Services

You wont be wanting for streaming services: The Chromecast with Google TV 4K includes YouTube, YouTube TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, Disney Plus, Hulu, ESPN, Sling, HBO Max, CBS All Access, Starz, Peacock, Peloton, Tubi, PBS, and more.

And add one more to the list: in early 2021. as well.

Apps and services can be installed directly from the device, or you can head to Google Play on your phone and .

The device can stream content at resolutions up to 4K/60 fps, and supports HDR, including HDR10, HDR10+ and recently gained support for Dolby Vision as well. Audio-wise, it supports Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby Atmos.

Chromecast with Google TV 4K Roku Streaming Stick 4K
Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby Atmos DTS Digital Surround, Dolby Audio, Dolby ATMOS Dolby Atmos

Narrow Down The List To A Few Finalists

With so many products on the market, it can be hard to know which one to choose. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s best to narrow down your options to a few finalists before making a purchase.

That way, you can compare the features of each product side-by-side and make an informed decision. Start by reading online reviews and watching product demonstrations. Once you’ve narrowed your list down to a few contenders, it’s time to do some hands-on testing.

If possible, try out the product in person or borrow it from a friend. Once you’ve had a chance to use it for yourself, you’ll be able to decide if it’s really the best live tv streaming services for roku for you. With a little research, you can be confident that you’re choosing the best product for your needs.

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Find Something To Watch

When it comes to streaming TV, there are two main types of services available: live and on demand. Live TV streaming services are like cable replacements. They air the same channels, have the same commercials and you pay a premium compared to other streaming services. On-demand streaming services like Hulu and Netflix dont have any live content you can watch their shows and movies whenever you want.

Best Android TV Streaming Stick

ROKU Streaming 4K Smart TV Stick Fast Delivery

Picture Quality: 4K UHD at up to 60 fps | HDR Support: HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision | Voice Support: Google Assistant | Storage: 8GB | Ports: HDMI, USB-C

Chromecasts have long been a great way to add a bit of smartness to your TV. They let you use all your favorite smartphone apps to choose what you want to watch and then have the Chromecast stream that choice to your TV. Now, the Chromecast with Google TV has made Google’s option for smartening up your TV a whole lot better. It has its own Android TV-like interface built-in, so you can install your favorite streaming apps directly onto the device, and then get smart recommendations for what to watch from Google. It’s also easy to see where certain things are streaming, so you don’t accidentally select an option only to find you’re not subscribed to the service.

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Amazon Fire TV Stick 4k

Amazon has several devices for under $50 at the regular price: Fire TV Stick Lite, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Stick 4K.

If you want to stream in 4K, thats obviously the one to buy. But since I dont stream much 4K content, I was fine purchasing the third generation of the Amazon Fire TV Stick.

This device has an Alexa voice remote and TV controls like the other players on my list.

The biggest thing that stands out to me about the new Amazon Fire TV Stick is the speed. Its much faster than the two previous Fire TV devices Ive purchased dating back to 2018.

You get Alexa, so voice search is a definite pro. But Amazon Fire TVs menus are more complicated to sort through compared to Roku.

is $49.99 at the regular price.

Best Streaming Device For 202: Our Picks From Roku Google Fire TV And Apple

There are tons of streaming devices available, but which one is right for you? We’ve reviewed them all in order to help you choose.

Eli Blumenthal

Senior Editor

Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.

David Katzmaier

Editorial Director — TVs and streaming

David has reviewed TVs, streaming services, streaming devices and home entertainment gear at CNET since 2002. He is an ISF certified, NIST trained calibrator and developed CNET’s TV test procedure himself. Previously David wrote reviews and features for Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as “The Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics.”

Ty Pendlebury

Editor

Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.

Sarah Lord

Associate Writer

Sarah Lord covers TVs and home entertainment. Prior to joining CNET, Sarah served as the tech and electronic reviews fellow at Insider, where she wrote about everything from smart watches and wearables to tablets and e-readers. She began her career by writing laptop reviews as an intern and subsequent freelancer at Tom’s Hardware. She is also a professional actor with many credits in theater, film and television.

  • Price alerts on for NVIDIA Shield TV

Read Also: What Controllers Work With Apple TV

Tl dr These Are The Best Streaming Device:

Picture Quality: 4K UHD HDR at up to 60 fps | HDR Support: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision | Audio: DTS Digital Surround, Dolby Atmos, Bluetooth | Voice Support: On remote, Google Assistant, Alexa | Ports: HDMI 2.0b, Ethernet, USB, 3.5mm audio

If you want the best streaming device sitting under your TV, you need the latest Roku Ultra. This box comes at a reasonable price, and the new rechargeable Voice Remote Pro adds some cool capabilities. You still get the normal button controls, voice search, and 3.5mm headphone jack for listening to the TV without disturbing others, but now finding your favorite movies and shows is simpler than ever. You get hands-free voice control by yelling Hey Roku, giving you the power to turn on the TV, search for content, and make other adjustments. And when you inevitably lose the remote in your couch cushions, you just call out to it, and itll play a sound. This extra control is super convenient, but it still doesnt have all the features of voice assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Though, through a smart speaker, those smart assistants can also control your Roku, while Apple Airplay compatibility makes sharing content from your Apple devices a breeze.

$9999 $5999 At Amazon

Tech Tips Remote: How to set up a streaming device.

We previously named the 2019 version of the Roku Ultra CNN Underscoreds best overall streaming device. With the 2020 version of the Ultra, Roku took another winning approach and made it even more attractive. From the moment you switch it on, the Roku Ultra presents one of the most seamless experiences of any streaming device we tested.

It was easier and quicker to locate preferred apps and services and to move those used most to a higher spot for even quicker access compared to other devices we tested. We were able to open Netflix, select Parks and Recreation and be in the world of Pawnee, Indiana, in about 10 seconds flat.

That swiftness is thanks to its quad-core processor and improved Wi-Fi, which makes the Ultra noticeably faster than other streaming devices we tested. Comparatively, the Roku Premiere takes a handful of seconds to open up an app and a few more seconds to start a stream.

Roku Ultra automatically upscales content to the highest resolution your TV can handle, up to 4K, and calibrates it to make sure its optimized for your screen. So if youre streaming 720p content on a 1080p TV, it will upscale to that resolution, or if you have a 4K TV, it will deliver it at a full 4K resolution.

Roku has access to some of the most popular streaming services: Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Sling TV, AT& T TV, Philo, Disney+, Apple TV+, Peacock, HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video are all supported

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