Best Streaming Devices Reviewed & Rated for Quality
Everything has suddenly moved into the future. This is even true of the classic of sitting on the couch to watch television. You might have cable, but there are so many more options to watching the television that you want to watch. Enter the streaming device. It gives you more options and more control over your watching. There are more and more options for finding the streaming packages that you want. Everyone knows about Netflix, but what about everything else, like Crave, Hulu, and Amazon? A streaming device is a great way to get all of your options in one convenient place. There are also streaming devices for other things too, like gaming and music. No matter what it is that you want to be able to enjoy, there is a streaming device for you. This list has ten of the best that you can find.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research
Works with most TVs
Looks really good
10 Best Streaming Devices
1. Roku Streaming Stick+
Works with most TVs
Looks really good
Roku channel runs ads
Roku has made their name as the streaming device to own, and a lot of that is owed to the success of the Streaming Stick+.
The Streaming Stick
All you need to do to get the streaming stick to work is plug it into the HDMI port of your choice. This will open up the doors to thousands of TV shows. There is a Roku channel to get you started with a few of the popular shows and movies of the day, but the real good stuff is all the channels and streaming services that you can access through the Roku experience.
The Streaming Stick+ has some other clever features that make it the right choice for anyone who wants to join the world of streaming. It has a wireless receiver at the end of it that makes it easy for your streaming device to pick up the WiFi signal from anywhere in the house so you always have a good signal. It also adapts to your TV to give you the best possible visual quality.
Cost and Value
This streaming stick does a great job at giving you everything you need to set yourself up with streaming. It can be attached to most any television that has an HDMI port. It is a great investment if you want to enter the world of streaming. The stick doesn't cost very much at all, and is quite a deal for what you get out of it.
2. Fire TV Cube
Lots of functionality
Can be attached to other devices
Lots of streaming options
Takes some time to get just right
The Fire TV Cube is the most convenient streaming choice from Amazon. It is perfect for being able to run all the streaming channels you could hope for.
Streaming with Amazon gives you many options that will make your life even more convenient when it comes to getting comfy with your television. The Cube is supported by Alexa, and works very well through voice commands. This means you can just tell your cube what you want to watch, and have it react by connecting to all your other smart appliances.
The Cube has lots of other features that make it a great choice for anyone's house. It can connect to your TV and gives you many other options, too. It can connect you to the internet on your TV, but it can also be asked about the weather, and other convenient things. This streaming device does a lot more than just provide you with TV.
Cost and Value
This is a good choice if you want the added convenience of not even needing a television remote to do all the things you want with streaming. It really adds a stream-lined experience to using a streaming device. The Cube does cost a little more than the Roku, but it will really embed itself in your house in a lot more ways than just by aiding with your evening streaming.
3. NVidia Shield Gaming Edition
Comes with a controller
Works with Alexa
Lots of options
Need good internet for gaming
The Shield can be used as your home's streaming device, but it also gives you some great options when it comes to streaming games, as well.
Stream Games Too
The big advantage to buying the Shield over any other streaming machines is that it also allows you the ability to stream games. You can use the shield to access cloud servers across the country to transform this little device into a computer that rivals the best gaming PCs. You'll be able to play games much better looking than you are used to.
The Shield doesn't just stream games, though. You can use this bad boy to do so much more. It is a great choice for anyone who wants to be able to stream TV too. It can even connect to other streaming services for music and other things. The Shield gives you lots of options when it comes to how you want to enjoy your home theater.
Cost and Value
The Shield is a great choice if you are someone who finds themselves enjoying media in all of its different forms. The Shield's best asset is that it will make it much easier for you to be able to enjoy everything in one convenient place. The Shield costs more than the other options on the list so far, but it does come with a controller to make up for the mark up.
4. Fire TV Stick 4K
Voice control enabled
Easy to use remote
Designed for 4K
Missing some apps
If you want to get your streaming options from Amazon, but don't need the added connectivity of the Cube, then think about getting the Fire Stick 4K.
Powerful Streaming Stick
One of the biggest issues when it comes to converting your life to the world of streaming is making sure that you are getting the best video quality to go along with it. It takes a fast internet connection to make sure that you are streaming in the highest quality available. The Fire Stick 4K is specifically designed to make sure that all your streaming is in the highest quality that's possible.
The Fire Stick has other great features that will get you excited to buy it. It comes with a very easy to use remote that gives you options to control the streaming device, the TV, and the sound system. This is great for letting you do all these things in one place, instead of owning multiple remotes. The Fire Stick can also be attached to Alexa so that you can do all this through voice commands.
Cost and Value
Something great about the Fire Stick is that it is very cheap. Of course, you will need to pay for your streaming packages, but don't worry too much about how much this will cost. It is one of the cheaper options on the list, but it will also give you the highest quality that you could hope for. The Fire Stick is a good choice if you don't want to do too much investigating and just want a solid streaming device.
5. Roku Premiere +
Gets you cheap options
Remote comes with headphones
Good all around experience
Need multiple remotes
The Roku + is a great choice if you are a fan of what Roku is doing with streaming devices, and want the best experience you can get from them.
Premiere Streaming Stick
The Premiere + is designed as Roku's upgraded option for streaming. It is designed to make sure that you are always getting the fastest streaming speeds in the highest visual quality. It is designed to be able to handle both 4K resolution, as well as Ultra High Definition picture. You will always have the best image when streaming from a Roku Premiere +.
The Roku is a good choice because it doesn't come with some of the biases that come from using the other streaming companies. In some ways, streaming services have become a little bit of a battleground for companies. Roku does not have a horse in that race, so it will only offer you the cheapest streaming packages that can be found.
Cost and Value
The Roku Premiere is a good streaming stick for lots of reasons. It gives you tons of options for your content, and it does a good job of making sure that all the at content is at the highest quality visuals that can be mustered up. The Premiere is a good choice for anyone who has not bought into a streaming package yet, and wants to get the good stuff for the cheapest price.
6. ACEMAX Amlogic
Lets you choose
Good deal of memory
Hard to navigate
The ACEMAX is a good choice if you want a streeaming device that you can custom fit to what you want.
Custom Streaming Device
The thing that sets the ACEMAX apart from its competitors is that it lets you install anything that you want to it. This Android box connects to your television, and lets you do anything that you want. You can install all kinds of apps, including the streaming apps for all the other devices. This lets you choose whatever you want to work through your TV.
The ACEMAX has lots of storage so that you don't have to worry about running out of spac.e That is just one of the things that make it such a good choice. It also has its own processor, which is good for turning your TV into a smart TV. It comes with a convenient display on the front that lets you know important things like how powerful your internet connection is.
Cost and Value
The ACEMAX is a good choice for anyone who wants to be able to turn their TV into a Smart TV. It lets you do anything that you want when it comes to installing and using apps. That means that the ACEMAX can be used for streaming TV shows, but also things like games and music. The ACEMAX is also very cheap.
7. Roku Express
Easy to set up
Free mobile application
Affordable price tag
Intuitive to use
Lots of ad-supported content
Clearly, Roku is one of the leaders in the world of streaming devices. This option, the Roku Express, is similar in function to the other products from the same brand but with a few stark differences.
Easy to Use
The Roku Express is an incredibly intuitive little device that consumers will find very easy to use. The included remote is also so simple to use that even the most technology-illiterate person would be able to operate it.
Tons of Streaming Choices
This device has over 500,000 movies and television show episodes to choose from, allowing users to search over 1000 of the top channels in the world. If you prefer to use streaming services, the Roku Express will allow you to access Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and HBO, just to name a few.
Cost and Value
We loved the affordable price tag of this product so much that there was no way we couldn't include it on our list even though two other Roku devices have already made their way into our buying guide!
8. Sonos Play:1
Connects to lots of streaming services
Easy to hook up
Needs an Alexa for voice activation
The Sonos is a smart speaker that you can use to play music anywhere in your house. It is a convenient way to fill your home with music.
The Sonos is a portable speaker that also works as its own streaming device, which is great for not needing to mediate between your phone and portable speaker to get your music to work. It cuts out the middle man and can be connected right to your favorite music streaming site. It can be used with just about any of them.
The Sonos has lots of other things that make it a good choice for anybody who wants to listen to music. It can be used with voice commands, which means that you can just tell the Sonos to play any song that you want, and then listen away, without any of that pesky or annoying browsing. It also has a very high quality level of audio, and will enrich your home.
Cost and Value
The Sonos is a good choice for anyone who wants a convenient option for their music streaming. It can let you stream music from anywhere. It is also very portable and powerful, so you don't have to worry about not having music everywhere that you go. It costs a bit more than the other streaming devices on this list, but that it is because of the quality of the speaker attached to this one.
9. TICTID Smart TV Box
Easy to connect everything
Lots of options
Lots of set up
This is another Android box. It will do a good job of giving you all the accessibility that you want when it comes to watching and streaming anything that you can think of.
Smart TV Box
This Android box has been upgraded to the most modern levels that it can be. You will get the newest edition of the Android store, which means that you'll have lots of options for the kinds of apps that you can download. This will be able to run all of them very well, given the powerful processor and CPU that you can find in the TICTID.
The TICTID has lots of other things going for it, too. It is very easy to hook up. All you need is some HDMI cords and ports. One port is good enough to attach your TICTID to your TV. Something great about this Android box is that you can use HDMI ports in the side of the box to attach your keyboard and mouse, which will give you extra accessibility to the TICTID.
Cost and Value
The TICTID is a great choice for anyone who wants the freedom of an Android box. It does mean that you have to do more for yourself, but it also provides you with more options than you could imagine. This is a very cheap option, and it comes with a one year warranty so that you can feel confident about using it.
10. Roku Ultra
Easy to use
Won't lose the remote
No vents means the device can get hot, fast
What kind of Buying Guide would this be if we didn't complete the top ten list with yet another Roku product? The Roku Ultra is setting the bar high for all streaming devices hitting the market. Let's see why.
Beast of a Device
The Roku Ultra provides users with both 4K and HDR compatibility, proving itself to be one of (if not, THEE) best streaming devices on the market right now. Of course, you need to own a 4K television in order to reap the benefits of the 4K streaming. Not only that,
If your household is anything like any of the other households in the world, chances are you've lost the remote a time or two. Maybe even permanently. A great feature of the Roku Ultra is that it has a remote finder button which means....you guessed it...no more lost remotes. Allelujah!
Cost and Value
For the benefits that you will receive, the Roku Ultra doesn't require much more of an investment than other devices from the same brand. As a bonus, the Ultra also comes with a pair of JBL headphones so you can listen to your shows privately.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The big reason that people buy a streaming device is so that they can be quickly connected to any kind of television that they might want. That means that it is important to be able to use your streaming device to get at any kind of programming you want. Not all streaming devices are equal in this respect, so this category is an indication how likely it is that you will be able to find that show that you want to watch so bad. It is important that your streaming device give you unlimited access to any kind of streaming app available. The more that you can watch on your device, the more you won't have to worry about all the shows that you are missing. Finding your new favorite should be as easy as turning on your TV and searching for something.
Ease of Use
All these streaming devices are designed with your peace of mind in mind. The whole reason people sit down on the couch at the end of the day is so they can unwind. This means that the streaming device that is the vehicle to your relaxation should be as simple and easy to navigate as possible. They all have different interfaces that you have to explore, but they all do a good job of making it easy for you to find what you are looking for. The interface on the device should be easy to use, but it is also important that you are able to use the streaming device easily. This means that it should be easy to use the remote in any way that you see fit. Most of the streaming devices on this list come with a controller, and it is important that that controller does a good job of letting you navigate the streaming device's interface.
The power of your streaming device depends heavily on the power of your internet connection. Some streaming devices do a better job of translating your internet into more power for the device. This means that you can get better visual quality with your stream. The better that the streaming device can translate your internet into a smooth experience, the higher the rating in this category will be. Some streaming devices will do a good job of picking up the signal off your router. Other streaming devices work as their very own signal booster, which makes the connection to your internet even more powerful. This is great if the router is far away from the television. When buying a streaming device, try to remember that it is important to put the streaming device as close to your router as possible.
One of the important things about buying a new streaming device is making sure that it can do a good job of connecting to the other devices in your house. One of the things that will make your streaming device even more convenient is the ways that it can interact with other pieces of technology in your house. The two biggest examples to think of are your phone, and your smart hub. Streaming devices can often connect to your phone to give you a ton of advantages. It might give you the option to stream TV from your phone, which is great for being able to leave the room while still watching your program. Another cool thing that you can do with your phone is use it as a remote, which means you are much less likely to lose the remote and have to go between couch cushions looking for it. The other great feature that you can often take advantage of is connecting the streaming device to your smart hub, like Google Home, or Alexa. This lets you use voice commands to make your streaming even easier.
Streaming devices are surprisingly cheap, which is great for the people who are buying them. This category is a rating of how much quality you are getting per dollar that you will spend. The devices on this list are all quite close to each other in price. None of them are prohibitively expensive in any way. The specialized devices, like the Shield and the Sonos, do cost a little bit more. This is mostly because of the extra technology it takes to make them work, namely a controller and a speaker, respectively. The big thing to remember when considering the value of a streaming device is that the price doesn't actually come from the price of the device itself. All those streaming packages can quickly add up, so try to find the services that do the best job of giving you the shows that you want.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
A good place to start when buying a streaming device is to look for the one that best supports the streaming site that you use. The Chromecast, for example, is designed to support all of Youtube's streaming services the most, while the Fire is going to give you good access to Amazon Prime Video.
One of the quickest ways to turn your streaming device from a replacement cable box to a whole new experience is to attach it to your other smart devices. There's nothing quite as futuristic as being able to watch TV and channel surf without a remote. Voice activation will make your life much easier, and cooler.
Other Factors to Consider
There are a few different styles of streaming device on this list. There are streaming devices for every kind of media imaginable, at this point. The most classic streaming device is of course the video streaming device. This is the thickest field with the most competition. Other media that have their own streaming devices are music and games. Music is the easiest streaming device, and buying a streaming device for your music is a no brainer. It is very easy to have ti coming out of the nearest device, whether it be your phone, or your Sonos. The addition of a speaker to the Sonos makes it a great choice for always having music. The cool thing about the NVidia Shield is that it can stream more than just games, but it has been designed with that in mind. Streaming games is the most demanding on your internet, but it is constantly improving. If you have a good connection, streaming games is the simplest way to play them.
Choosing your streaming device is going to end up being a choice between brands. There are differences between each brand, but the biggest is just what kind of options you are going to get. These companies are competing for your attention, and the best way to do it is by giving you the most content. This means that these devices will often let you use just about any streaming service that you can find, but they might try to hide certain results. This means that if a show can be found at a cheaper price, it might not show up unless you really dig down deep to find it. Roku is arguably the least involved in this competition so it is likely that the most unbiased results will come from its streaming devices.
Streaming is different than other TV, because a lot of its quality depends on the strength of your internet connection. Some streaming devices are designed to help your internet give you the best streaming quality possible, but there is only so much you can do. The most important thing you can do is buy a streaming device that falls in line with the technology you have. Not all streaming devices are designed to stream 4K television, but if you have a 4K TV, then you should make sure that you get one of the ones that do. The other way to make sure you have the best picture possible is to get your streaming stick and your router as close together as possible. This will make it much easier for your streaming device to get the necessary amount of information to keep a strong stream going.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Can I use any streaming service with my streaming device?
For the most part, yes. It is usually very easy to find the right app that is attached to the right streaming service. For all the choices on this list, you will be able to use all kinds of apps so that you can watch whatever you want. The issue is that sometimes it is just a little harder than with other options. The most famous example is that you can't download the Youtube app from the Amazon store. It isn't as bad as it sounds, because you can still access Youtube through its web page, but this is something that you should consider when choosing the streaming device that you want to buy.
q: Do I need internet to use my streaming device?
Some people have gotten the impression that you can use the data on your phone to stream TV at your home. As great as this would be, it is not an option with any streaming devices. 4G is just not strong enough to stream to multiple devices like that. 5G is coming, which might make this a possibility, but it is simply not the case for now. The reverse is true, though. It is very easy to stream on your phone from the internet attached to your TV. The reason many people believe that you can stream on your TV from your phone is that it is often advertised this way by some devices. This misleading language is a ploy to get you to buy their device. As wonderful as cheaper internet would be, or at least the ability to only have to pay for the internet once, it simply hasn't happened yet.
q: How do I hook up my streaming device?
It is very easy to hook up most streaming devices. They need to be attached to an outlet, the TV, and your internet. If all three of these things have occurred, then you are probably ready to stream. The internet can be connected both wired and wirelessly. If you have the room for it, then a wired connection will be more consistent. A wireless connection is easier, though. The attachment to the TV is usually through the HDMI port, which makes it easy to hide the streaming device so it doesn't take up too much space. Finally, and most simply, the streaming device needs to be connected to the wall. As small and compact as most of these appliances are, they do still need power to function.