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Best streaming device in 2021

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Best streaming device in 2021

Thinking of getting a new device to connect to yours TV to video streaming, but not sure which one? You have come to the right place. This guide will help you find the best streaming device, something that you will probably use every day for hours to watch TV shows and movies. We have reviewed almost all transmission device and the leading 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 add-on streaming devices often have simpler remotes, more apps, better search, and more frequent updates than the intelligence built into your TV.

Roku, the biggest name in streaming hardware, now has a $ 40 option called Roku Express 4K Plus which has ranked first on our list. It’s $ 10 cheaper than the Streaming Stick Plus, our previous favorite, but just as capable.

At the higher end of the market, Apple’s latest version of its Apple TV 4K The streaming box retails for $ 179 and comes with a couple of nifty upgrades, including an all-new Siri remote (the company also sell the remote separately for $ 59).


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Which one should you buy? Here are our favorite streaming devices available now.

Read more: Best streaming service of 2021

Sarah Tew / CNET

Roku is our favorite streaming system, with the most streaming app options, the simplest interface, and the best search. It also has a content-independent platform that doesn’t push any one streaming media service provider, like Amazon Prime Video or Apple, over another. The new Express 4K Plus is one of the cheapest TV streaming options with 4K HDR. (Even if your current TV doesn’t support those formats, the next one probably will.) Thanks to the AirPlay update, this Roku device is one of the least expensive ways to connect your iPhone or other Apple device to your TV. At $ 10 cheaper than the company’s Streaming Stick Plus and other 4K HDR streamers, it’s our top pick.

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

David Katzmaier / CNET

The Chromecast with Google TV isn’t as good as the Roku Express 4K Plus, but this TV streaming device comes closer than any other device on the market. It surpasses that device by adding Dolby Vision support; To get that on Roku players, you’ll need the $ 100 Ultra, but its biggest strength is Google Assistant’s voice search, which works well for finding things to watch. We also like the impressive integration with other Google services, such as Google Photos and YouTube TV. The interface looks more evolved than Roku, but ultimately we prefer Roku’s simpler approach and sensible search results. That being said, the new Chromecast is a better option for those already living in the Google world.

Read our Chromecast with Google TV review.

Sarah Tew / CNET

The Roku Streaming Stick Plus may be three years old, but it’s still a good option. Our previous first pick, the device is a bit sleeker than the Express 4K Plus and can be hidden more discreetly behind wall-mounted TVs. Is it worth the $ 10 difference compared to its new sibling? We don’t think so, but with Roku devices on sale frequently, it’s not a bad option if you can get it at a discount.

Read our Roku Streaming Stick Plus review.


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Which Roku is the ideal? We break it down


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The perfect complement to the affordable 4K streamers above, the new Apple TV 4K still costs $ 179, but it’s the best option for people who want to check all feature boxes, or who just want an Apple device to use Apple Arcade for gaming. or take Make the most of your Apple One subscription packages. Video purists will appreciate its flexible HDR and TV calibration feature, while those with older Apple boxes will love the new and improved remote.

For most people, though, Apple’s venerable streamer just isn’t worth it, especially now that Roku has just about every major app and AirPlay. If you really want Dolby Vision, you can find it on the Roku Ultra at almost half the price.

Read our Apple TV 4K review.

Let’s get this 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 the Lite beats the Express in features for the money. The biggest advantage of this Fire TV device is a remote with built-in voice control and search (the cheapest Roku with voice remote is the Streaming Stick Plus) thanks to Alexa. The Fire Stick remote doesn’t need a line of sight to work either. If you can’t happen to be a $ 50 gamer, the Lite is your best option.

Read our Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite review.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Roku’s pricier streamer costs more than twice the price of our top pick, but you might appreciate its extra features enough to want the upgrade. It offers more conveniences, including a headphone jack and programmable hotkeys on the remote, as well as our favorite feature, a remote finder in case you lose your clicker on the sofa cushions. It also offers Dolby Vision video, faster responses, improved Wi-Fi, and a wired Ethernet port, particularly welcome if your home Wi-Fi is overloaded.

On the flip side, you can upgrade any Roku for an even more gimmicky remote, and the new Express Plus 4K also works with wired Ethernet dongles. Adding both to the Express plus 4K still costs less than an Ultra.

Read our Roku Ultra (2020) review.

Sarah Tew / CNET

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

Read our Roku Express (2019) review.

Sarah Tew / CNET

I don’t like it as much as the other two $ 50 streamers on this list, but Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K makes perfect sense for people who are already immersed in Amazon devices. Like the Lite, it bakes Alexa right on the remote. You can use voice control to search for videos on Amazon or turn on the lights. Or both at the same time. Throw in a massive selection of Amazon content, as well as Dolby Vision HDR, and the Stick 4K is still a great option.

Read our Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K review.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Onboard streaming soundbars may be a relatively recent development, but Roku’s new Streambar nails it. It has the Roku interface that we know and love, complete with 4K HDR with enhanced sound for any television, especially dialogue. It’s smaller and more affordable than its predecessor, the Roku smart soundbar, but we think the new Streambar makes more sense for most people.

Read our Roku Streambar review.

Sarah Tew / CNET

05-streamers-2020

Sarah Tew / CNET

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