So you’re looking for a streaming device to connect to your TV to watch your videos and TV shows, but there are too many options, and you’re not sure which one to go for. Worry not; you’re in the right place. This guide will help you find the best streaming device — one you’ll use every day to stream your favorite TV shows and movies.
We’ve analyzed every popular smart TV system and best-performing streaming devices out there today, including Roku, Amazon, Google Chromecast, and Apple TV. Here are our favorite streaming devices available now in 2021.
Best Streaming Device
Roku Express 4K Plus (Best streamer overall)
Roku is undoubtedly one of the best streaming systems out there this year, with the most straightforward interface and the best search with the most streaming app selections. It also features a content-agnostic program that doesn’t push anyone’s media streaming service provider, like Amazon Prime Video or Apple, over another.
The Roku Express 4K Plus is one of the most affordable streaming TV options with 4K HDR. In addition, thanks to the AirPlay update, this Roku device is one of the cheapest ways to connect your iPhone or other Apple device to your TV. We recommend giving the streaming device a try at $10 cheaper than the company’s Streaming Stick Plus and other 4K HDR streamers.
Chromecast with Google TV (Second-best streamer overall)
The Chromecast with Google TV isn’t exceptionally as performing as the Roku Express 4K Plus. Still, this TV streaming device comes closer than any other device on this list.
This streaming device outdoes its competitors by adding Dolby Vision compatibility. Roku players have access to this technology, but you’ll need the $100 Ultra. Chromecast’s most significant feature is the Google Assistant voice search, which works great when looking for stuff to watch.
We also like the effective integration with other Google services such as Google Photos and YouTube TV. In addition, Chromecast’s interface is more immersive than Roku. Still, ultimately Roku’s more straightforward approach and more superficial search results make it the top contender. That said, the new Chromecast is a far better choice for google users.
Apple TV 4K (Best for Apple fans)
While the Apple TV still costs around $180, it’s the better choice for users who want to check every streaming box or just want an Apple device to take full advantage of their Apple One subscription deals or use Apple Arcade for gaming.
Video quality formalists will enjoy its flexible HDR while voice-activation fans will dig its Siri commands. However, for most people, Apple’s top-quality streamer just isn’t worth the money, especially now that streamers like Roku have similar apps at almost half the price.
Apple users who feel the need to have every Apple device, the new Apple TV 4K features an improved version, a new remote, and support for high frame rate video. In addition, the latest calibration feature lets you use your iPhone to help enhance color precision on your TV.
Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite (Best budget streamer)
Let’s get this straight: If you prefer the simple integration of Roku’s app-based lists, you might like the Roku Express better (below). But the Lite defeats the Express when it comes to budget.
Amazon’s Fire TV Stick’s most significant advantage is its remote with built-in voice search and control. Moreover, the Fire Stick’s remote also doesn’t need a clear line of sight to work (which is pretty cool if you’re prone to walking around the house). So if you’re short on funds but still want a reliable device to watch your shows and movies, the Lite is your best bet.
Nvidia Shield TV (Best for gamers)
Nvidia’s Shield TV is an inexpensive media streamer perfect for gamers. But, of course, the coolest part about this streaming device is the added game controller. In addition to a streaming media system with 4K streaming and HDR, it offers a comprehensive library of games, Steam Link, NAS access, Plex server capability, built-in Google Assistant with smart home control, HDHomeRun integration, and so much more.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (Best for 4K streamer for Amazon Users)
WhileAmazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K is not better than the two other $50 devices on this list. Still, Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K is ideal for people knee-deep in Amazon’s world. Like the Lite, it features Alexa’s voice-activated system right into the remote control. So you can use voice control to search for a video on Amazon or turn on the living room lights. Or the air conditioner. Toss in a massive selection of Amazon content and Dolby Vision HDR, and the Stick 4K is an excellent choice for users on a limited budget.
Streaming devices are the central commands of your home entertainment system. Sure, smart TVs come equipped with some apps like Youtube, Netflix, HBOGO, but the right streaming device gives you access to every service out there and more.
With just a simple stick or box, you can join all of your preferred streaming services into your TV and never run out of shows and movies to watch or games to play. Ultimately, any device here is an excellent choice for streaming content on your TV, but the choice is yours!
More from Tech Realm: