Best streaming device in 2021

Consider getting a new device to connect to yours TV to stream video, but you are not quite sure which streaming platform to choose? You have come to the right place. This guide to streaming devices helps you find the best streaming device – something you’ll probably use every day for hours at a time to watch TV shows and movies. We have reviewed almost all of them streaming device and major smart TV system on the market today, including Roku, Google Chromecast, Amazon and Apple TV. With the exception of smart TVs that actually run streaming software from Roku, Google or Amazon, these added streaming devices often have simpler remotes, streaming dongles, more apps, better search, and more frequent updates than the smart ones that are built into your TV.

Roku, the biggest name in streaming hardware, now has a $ 40 streaming device option called Roku Express 4K Plus which has taken the top spot on our list of the best options for streaming devices. It’s $ 10 cheaper than Streaming Stick Plus, our formerly preferred 4K streaming device, but is just as capable.

At the high end of the market, Apple’s latest version of its Apple TV 4K streaming box sells for $ 179 and comes with a few smart upgrades, including a brand new Siri remote (the company is also sells the remote separately for $ 59).


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Roku is our preferred streaming system with the most streaming app options, the simplest streaming platform interface and the best search. It also has a content analytics platform that does not push any media streaming service provider, such as Amazon Prime Video or Apple, over another. The new Express 4K Plus is one of the cheapest streaming TV options with 4K HDR. (Even if your current TV does not support these formats, your next one will probably do so.) Thanks to the AirPlay update, this Roku device is one of the cheapest ways to connect your iPhone or another Apple device to your TV. At $ 10 cheaper than the company’s Streaming Stick Plus and other 4K HDR streamers, it’s our best choice for the best streaming device in general.

Read our full review of the Roku Express 4K Plus.

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Chromecast with Google TV is not quite as good as Roku Express 4K Plus, but this TV streaming device comes closer than any other device on the market. It surpasses this device by adding Dolby Vision compatibility – to get it in Roku players you need $ 100 Ultra – but its biggest smart device strength is Google Assistant voice search, which works well for finding things to see. We also like the impressive integration with other Google services such as Google Photos and YouTube TV. The interface looks more developed than Roku, but in the end, we prefer Roku’s simpler approach and nonsense search results. That said, the new Chromecast is a better smart streaming device choice for those already living in the world of Google.

Read our review of Chromecast with Google TV.

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Roku Streaming Stick Plus may be three years old, but it is still a good choice. Our previous streaming dongle top pick, the device is a bit slimmer than the Express 4K Plus and can more unnoticed hide behind wall-mounted TVs. Is it worth the $ 10 difference compared to his new sibling? We do not think so, but with Roku devices often sold, it is not a bad remote control smart streaming device if you can grab it at a discount.

Read our Roku Streaming Stick Plus review.


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The perfect foil for the affordable 4K streamers above, the new Apple TV 4K still costs $ 179, but is the better choice for people who want to check all function boxes – or who just want an Apple device to use Apple Arcade to play or take full advantage of their Apple One subscription packages. Video purists will appreciate its flexible HDR and TV calibration feature, while those with older Apple cases will love the new and improved remote.

For most people, though, Apple’s venerable remote streamers are just not worth the money, especially now that Roku has almost all the great apps and AirPlay. If you really want Dolby Vision, you can find it on the Roku Ultra for almost half the price.

Read our Apple TV 4K review.

Let’s get it out of the way first: if you prefer the simplicity of Roku’s app-based menus, you might like Roku Express better (see below). But Lite amplifies Expressen in features for the money. The biggest advantage of this Four TV remote control unit is a remote control with built-in voice search and control (the cheapest Roku with a voice remote control is Streaming Stick Plus) thanks to Alexa. The Fire Stick’s remote control also does not need a field of view to work. If you can’t go up to a $ 50 player, Lite is your best bet on streaming devices.

Read our Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite review.

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Roku’s most expensive streamer is more than double the price of our best streaming device, but you might appreciate its extra features enough to want the upgrade. It offers several amenities, including a headphone jack and programmable shortcut keys on the remote control as well as our favorite feature, a remote control if you lose the clicker in the sofa cushions. It also delivers Dolby Vision video, faster response, enhanced Wi-Fi, and a wired Ethernet port — especially welcome if your home Wi-Fi is congested.

On the other hand, you can upgrade any Roku streaming device to get an even more fooled remote, and the new Express Plus 4K also works with wired Ethernet dongles. Adding both to Express plus 4K still costs less than an Ultra 4K UHD.

Read our Roku Ultra (2020) review.

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We do not like it as much as Fire TV Lite, but it is and Roku. Roku Express delivers all the goodness of the Roku platform, and it includes a remote control, an HDMI port and Micro USB port, an HDMI cable and a small sticker to hold it in place. And it’s often on sale for less than $ 30.

Read our review of Roku Express (2019).

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I don’t like it as much as the other two $ 50 streamers on this list, but Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K media streaming device already makes a lot of sense to people who are knee-deep in Amazon devices. Like the Lite, it bakes Alexa right into the remote. You can use voice control to search for video on Amazon or turn on your lights. Or both at the same time. Throwing a massive selection of Amazon content as well as Dolby Vision HDR and Stick 4K is still an excellent choice.

Read our Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K review.

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Soundbars with streaming on board may be a relatively new development, but Roku’s new Streambar nails it. It has the Roku interface we know and love, complete with 4K HDR with enhanced sound for any TV, especially dialogue. It’s smaller and more affordable than its predecessor, the Roku Smart Soundbar, but we think the new Streambar media streamer makes more sense to most people.

Read our Roku Streambar review.

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Sure, it’s an expensive media streamer for $ 150 – and that’s before you add a game controller – $ 50 less than the Nvidia shield TV pro with 8GB of storage and 2GB of RAM compared to 16GB of storage and 3GB of RAM, but if you want a Jack-of-all-trades video streaming player, Shield is it. In addition to a streaming media player with 4K streaming and HDR, it offers a robust library of games, both at console level and Android, Steam Link, built-in Google Assistant complete with smart home control, NAS access, Plex server function, HDHomeRun integration and much more.

Read our Nvidia Shield TV review.

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