The Best Media Streaming Devices

The Best Media Streaming Devices

Our pick

Roku Streaming Stick+

Roku Streaming Stick+

A future-proof and affordable media streaming device

Improved Wi-Fi, support for 4K HDR, and Roku’s excellent interface and search features make this an easy choice as the best all-around streamer.

Buying Options

$50* from Amazon
$48 $40 from Best Buy

You save $8 (17%)

*At the time of publishing, the price was $30.

The Roku Streaming Stick+ offers an impressive feature set for its low price. It supports the latest 4K, HDR10, and WCG video formats and Dolby Atmos for audio. Its redesigned Wi-Fi antenna supports faster 802.11ac and also improves reception compared with previous models. Its RF remote has dedicated power and volume controls for your TV, works through walls and cabinetry, and lets you search with voice. Roku’s iOS or Android app lets you watch shows and movies with headphones to avoid disturbing others. Finally, this HDMI stick is super easy to set up, has a convenient design, and gets all the power it needs from your TV’s USB service port.

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Upgrade pick

Apple TV 4K

Apple TV 4K

A better interface, with Dolby Vision and iTunes support

Apple’s tvOS has the best user experience, and this model supports Dolby Vision, iTunes, and AirPlay. But it’s more expensive, and the search falls a bit behind Roku’s.

Buying Options

$180 from Apple
$226 from Staples

The Apple TV 4K’s clean, easy-to-use, customizable interface provides the best overall user experience of any media streamer. It supports all the major streaming services, and it displays 4K video with HDR, including Dolby Vision, which the Roku products don’t support. If you have prior iTunes purchases, Apple will upgrade those to the 4K versions for free if available. For cord cutters, it supports all of the streaming TV services and can integrate an over-the-air tuner quite easily. However, the Apple TV is much more expensive than our main pick, and searching across multiple services with it is harder.

Also great

NVIDIA Shield TV (2019)

NVIDIA Shield TV (2019)

The best Android TV box

The Nvidia Shield TV is well ahead of other Android TV streamers, with superior upscaling of non-4K content and a fast, clean interface.

Buying Options

$150 from Amazon

If you want an Android TV streamer, the Nvidia Shield TV is far ahead of the pack. It’s much more responsive than competing Android TV boxes, and Nvidia has a superb track record of providing frequent updates. The Shield TV has excellent upscaling to make non-4K streaming content look better, it supports Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, and it comes with Google Assistant built in and a nice backlit remote control. If you want to watch local media from USB drives or run a Plex server, we recommend the larger and slightly pricier Shield TV Pro, which has all the same features but adds more RAM and two USB ports to connect external drives and devices. We think the Roku and Apple TV platforms are easier to use, but if you like Android TV, this is the box to get.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Roku Streaming Stick+

Roku Streaming Stick+

A future-proof and affordable media streaming device

Improved Wi-Fi, support for 4K HDR, and Roku’s excellent interface and search features make this an easy choice as the best all-around streamer.

Buying Options

$50* from Amazon
$48 $40 from Best Buy

You save $8 (17%)

*At the time of publishing, the price was $30.

Upgrade pick

Apple TV 4K

Apple TV 4K

A better interface, with Dolby Vision and iTunes support

Apple’s tvOS has the best user experience, and this model supports Dolby Vision, iTunes, and AirPlay. But it’s more expensive, and the search falls a bit behind Roku’s.

Buying Options

$180 from Apple
$226 from Staples

Also great

NVIDIA Shield TV (2019)

NVIDIA Shield TV (2019)

The best Android TV box

The Nvidia Shield TV is well ahead of other Android TV streamers, with superior upscaling of non-4K content and a fast, clean interface.

Buying Options

$150 from Amazon

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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