Watching a popular TV show or one of your favorite movies is a widespread pastime activity. And no one wants it to be spoiled by bad picture or sound quality. Thus, it’s always wise to take care of your leisure time comfort and get one of the best streaming devices with a top-notch performance.
How to choose the best streaming device
Whatever functions you would like to have, everything starts with TV you’ve got. Old TVs are compatible with Roku Express+ but if you are a lucky owner of 4K HDR TV then it’s better to have a look at Apple TV 4K, Roku Ultra or any other high-grade model.
Pay attention to the sources you get most of your content from. Different streaming devices can offer different sources. So, if your streamer doesn’t support iTunes, for example, and you need it then there is no sense in buying Roku streamer and it’s better to get Apple TV 4K.
Wired or wireless
Some of the streamers support both types of connection while others are suitable for a wired Ethernet or wireless connection only.
The general level of streamer performance depends on the supported type of resolution. Not all of the offered devices have 4K and HDR. What is more, some of them are not provided with Dolby Atmos audio that is responsible for immersive sound. Additional micro SD card slot is also an important feature, and if it’s absent then there’s a high chance that you will have a lack of memory.
Almost all modern streamers can offer a remote control. Still, all of them include a different spectrum of available options. The updated versions of streaming devices have Siri or Alex voice control.
If you need a streamer not only for movies but also games then pay attention whether your streamer has got any gaming options. In this case, the best example of perfect gaming streamer is NVIDIA SHIELD TV.
Best Media Streaming Devices in 2018
Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa Voice Remote
Best Media Streaming Device Overall
This updated streaming device for TV has got a wide spectrum of options, what makes it a multifunctional product suitable for different occasions. Fire TV supports 4K Ultra HD as well as HDR. In case you want to get the speed and reliability of wired internet you’d better buy optional Amazon Ethernet Adapter.
You will like its picture quality which makes you almost feel the fragrant aroma of your favorite dish when watching it being prepared on TV. And that’s all thanks to vivid 4K Ultra HD with up to 60 fps. The same is with the sound, which has an access to Dolby Atmos audio.
We really appreciate its Alexa Voice Remote. It’s so comfortable just to use your voice to control Fire TV content. By the way, you can pair Fire TV with an Echo device for hands-free content control too.
Fire TV offers a great number of channels and apps. So, we can easily call it as one of the best streaming devices for Netflix, HBO, STARZ, YouTube, etc.
- Alexa Remote Control
- 4K Ultra HD
- Dolby Atmos sound
- access to plentiful video/audio sources
- live TV
- quick start guide
- No SD card port
- short HDMI cable
Another Great Streaming Device for TV
It’s a new 2017 model with a hefty quad-core processor that shows a nice wireless performance. As well as the previous streaming device, this one has an improved HD streaming, powerful 4K and HDR. Note whatever resolution your TV has Roku Ultra will optimize it to get the best picture.
There’s also a voice remote control, which you can also use to find a show with your favorite actor or actress. If you want to be isolated from the surrounding noise then you can use headphones that are also included in Roku Ultra packet.
Except for a wireless connection you can always get wired streaming too as there is the Ethernet port for such case. Roku Ultra has a range of more than 500,000 movies and TV shows to choose from. There is also an access to live-streaming and the Roku Channel that offers Hollywood hits.
Roku Ultra has also a mobile app for iOS or Android devices. This app lets you control Roku player and look for the necessary film by actor using a voice search.
- fast performance
- Voice Control
- 4K, HDR, HD resolution
- private listening
- wired Ethernet connection
- micro SD card slot
- night listening mode
- gaming buttons for video games
- remote control is unstable
Roku Streaming Stick+
Great Streaming Device to Replace Cable
Here’s another example of best TV streaming device. Though both Streaming Stick+ and Ultra are representatives of the same Roku family, they have certain differences you should be aware of when choosing the most suitable product that corresponds to your needs and requirements.
So, Roku Streaming Stick+ is also a new 2017 model with great 4K, HDR and HD resolution. Still, unlike Ultra model this one is a wireless receiver only. It means that if you want to have a wired connection then Roku Ultra is the best option for you. But if you want to have the best streaming device to replace cable then here it is – Roku Streaming Stick+ is a great chance to do that.
This streaming device is great for wall-mounted TVs. You can easily plug the stick into the back of your TV and have a clutter-free setup. What is more, it has a strong streaming signal, so you will enjoy movies even if a router is far away from you.
- portable and compact design
- 4K, HDR, HD streaming
- Voice Control
- powerful streaming signal
- easy setup
- great Wi-Fi connectivity
- no wired Ethernet connection
- no Dolby Vision support
Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote
Best Kodi Streaming Device
Cheap and functional – these are the first words which will come to your mind when you see this Fire TV stick. And that’s one of the reasons why it can be easily called the best media streaming device.
This media stick has an option of Alexa Voice Remote and at the same time, it costs less than $50. Find a movie, play music, order sushi – you can do all this just with a power of your own voice and for a low price. Isn’t it cool?
Fire TV Stick also offers thousands of channels YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, Disney, HBO NOW and is one of the best devices for Kodi. Even if you don’t have cable or satellite you can watch a movie as there are live TV and sports from FOX, HGTV, AMC or any other channel with a subscription to Sling TV or Direct Now.
Apart from this, you will be also allotted ad-free listening to songs on Prime Music. And you can always watch your favorite TV episode when traveling – just plug the stick into TV HDMI port, connect to Wi-Fi and enjoy a movie.
- Alexa Voice Remote
- plentiful channels
- Prime membership
- compatible with Amazon Ethernet adapter
- mobile Alexa version needs improvement
- unstable Wi-Fi connection
- unreliable live streaming
Best Streaming Device for Netflix
The next representative of the best video streaming devices is Chromecast Ultra. It shows fast performance thanks to built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Still, in order to enjoy wireless performance you need to have a wireless router which doesn’t come together with Chromecast Ultra.
With Chromecast Ultra you can enjoy 4K Ultra HD or HDR. In fact, whatever type of resolution you’ve got this streaming device will optimize it to show the best picture you can get of it. Besides, it offers not only TV shows and movies but also songs, games and sports from more than 1000 channels such as Pandora, Netflix, YouTube and HBO NOW.
We also like its remote control option. You can just use your phone to control the volume or pause a movie. And the main thing here is that at the same time you can call or text a friend. As well as many other TV streaming devices this one allows you to control content using your voice – Chromecast Ultra works together with Google Home.
- Voice Control
- 4K Ultra HD/HDR
- plentiful channels
- fast wireless connectivity
- simple setup
- only for 4K TVs
- blue tint exposure on TV
- no remote control
- no Amazon Instant Video support
Apple TV 4K
Best 4K Streaming Device
This is not only the best but also the most expensive 4K streaming device on our list. Apple TV 4K delivers top-notch streaming video and is compatible with 4K, HDR and Dolby Vision TVs. It also uses Siri Remote Control to make your experience more exciting.
Having the A10X Fusion chip Apple TV 4K shows super-fast performance for all your apps and games. You will have an access to the content from iTunes, Hulu, Netflix and ESPN. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to enjoy YouTube in 4K or enjoy Dolby Atmos audio. And here comes the main question – is it worth the money you pay for it?
Still, if you want to have premium 4K quality and you are ready to spend a pretty penny on it then why not to purchase Apple TV 4K? Its streaming quality is smooth and polished. Its performance is always fast. So, if you’ve got a powerful 4K TV then it will be a real crime not to get this high-grade streaming device.
- 4K/HDR/Dolby Vision
- smooth streaming
- fast performance
- Siri voice control
- no Dolby Atmos audio
- no 4K for YouTube
Best Cheap Streaming Device
This is a nice budget option for those who want to experience fine picture quality and have an access to a wide range of movies. Roku Express+ isn’t as powerful and functional as Roku Ultra but still is one of the best cheap video streaming devices.
Roku Express+ is compatible with TVs that have HDMI or a composite cable. The list of movies isn’t as numerous as the pre-cited streaming devices can offer and reaches up to 350,000 TV episodes and shows. Still, there are more than 3,500 paid and free channels such as Hulu, Vudu and Netflix.
Note that there is no wired Ethernet option but it’s the only way to get Netflix or Hulu if you have an old TV. And keep in mind that if you want Roku Express+ to show its best performance then you should supply it with a reliable Wi-Fi signal.
- suitable for old TVs
- easy setup
- durable quality
- no wired Ethernet option
- no 4K
- no app store
NVIDIA SHIELD TV
Best Streaming Device for Gaming
Unlike Roku Express+ NVIDIA SHIELD TV is more suitable for up-to-date TVs. Thanks to 4K HDR Powerhouse you can enjoy Netflix and Amazon Video in smooth 4K HDR. All other channels such as YouTube, VUDU and Google Play Movies & TV are available in 4K.
Thanks to Connected Google Life you will have an access to all your Google content. Besides, Google Assistant provides smart home features, so you can easily share your Google photos in 4K and cast apps to your TV with Chromecast 4K.
Gamers will be pleased to learn that this example of best video streaming devices offers NVIDIA-Powered Gaming. It means that you can cast games from your GeForce-powered PC to your TV in 4K HDR with 60 fps. What is more, you can get NVIDIA-powered cloud gaming on demand with GeForce NOW.
Such option as voice control is available too. This streaming device has Smart Home Ready, and you can also add SmartThings link to get a wireless connection to the lights, speakers or thermostats.
- Connected Google Life
- NVIDIA-Powered Gaming
- Smart Home Ready
- Hands-free Google Assistant support
- GeForce Now streaming requires additional purchases and a subscription
We all love quality. Streaming devices aren’t an exception. A good product will make your TV more functional and powerful, the best one will make it show its best performance ever. Find a streaming device that will suit your TV. Then check whether it has all options you are looking for and hurry up to enjoy your favorite movie or TV show.