The availability of high-speed internet in most areas of the U.S. has paved the way for streaming to become a national favorite pastime. A recent study shows that over 83% of the U.S. population has access to streaming or Video On-Demand (VOD) services – with almost a 10% increase in the last five years alone. Though cable TV’s standing is not exactly threatened by streaming platforms and devices, it is no secret that the acceptance of the latter is increasing every day.
In this article, we talk about some of the most popular media streaming devices that you can get for your home in 2023. We hope it will help you take your entertainment experience to the next level. So let us jump right in!
A media streaming device is something that plugs into your TV and turns it into a smarter version — complete with all your favorite streaming services. A streaming device is plugged into the HDMI port of your TV, which then transforms it into a much more fulfilling variation. It uses your internet connection to get you all the streaming content you want, such as live TV, on-demand, and even streaming services. However, you must have a subscription to any paid service to access the channels, movies, or TV shows found on that platform.
Plus, a streaming device is not dependent on the TV and has its very own software; portable enough to be carried around and used on different television sets. This is definitely one of the biggest advantages that you have of owning a streaming device.
Although there are many different devices out in the market today, we have categorized this list so it is easier to follow.
The Chromecast with Google TV (HD) is by far the cheapest streaming device you can get for your home. Priced at only $29.99, this HD streaming device is perfect if you want one, and does not break the bank.
Unlike other cheap streaming devices, Google does not skimp on any of its features, just to make the product more affordable. On the contrary, you get to enjoy a speedy device that does not lag and the remote does not need a line-of-sight to work. You can use your Chromecast to control your TV’s volume, inputs, and even turn it on or off. It also comes with a voice activation feature and pulls up the Google Assistant at the push of a button.
This is a very good budget option if you have a standard TV at home and want an HD streaming experience. However, it only outputs at 1080p and does not support Dolby Vision – which is why it is not the ideal choice for 4K TV models. However, Chromecast with Google TV also offers a 4K device at a slightly higher price point for those who want it.
Roku has many streaming devices in its arsenal, but the best streaming device is the Roku Express 4K Plus. Despite Roku’s more advance-featured alternatives, this devices is still bagging one of the highest ratings in the market currently.
The Express 4K Plus not only gets you fast Wi-Fi performance and smooth streaming but also has one of the largest libraries of content that you can enjoy. Only for $39.99 with free shipping when you purchase from the Roku store.
With Roku Express 4K+ you can unravel the full entertainment experience, complete with 4K picture quality and wireless streaming on multiple screens. Take your pick from the many streaming services, such as Hulu + Live TV, Disney+ and ESPN+, and even Paramount+. You can also connect your iPhone or other Apple devices to this TV via the recent AirPlay update, making it compatible with most households.
Finally, you also get full control of your TV with one convenient remote that also has premium voice integration for hands-free navigation. The remote comes with a headphone jack for private listening, which is a game-changer in many ways. Plus, there are options to customize your device as you see fit which is just one of the many perks you get to enjoy with Roku Express 4K Plus.
The Amazon Fire TV Cube (3rd Gen) is the most innovative streaming device yet. It comes with more features than you can count and is priced around $140, which may seem expensive until you look at the value of things you get with the service.
The latest Amazon Fire TV Cube is the best streaming device for smart homes. Hands-free Alexa connects to your automated system within seconds and follows your voice commands to show you the camera, turn up the heating, call your friends, and so much more.
As it is primarily a media streaming device, you get access to 4K streaming, complete with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos audio for the best experience. Plus, this model of the Fire TV also comes with an in-built HDMI port so you can connect your cable box and toggle between live TV and streaming – controlled even with voice commands.
The Wi-Fi 6E support along with Ethernet port on the Fire TV Cube also ensures that you get the smoothest streaming experience ever. And, you can even use it for gaming with a subscription to Luna – Amazon’s very own cloud gaming subscription.
For those hard-core Apple fans who really want an exclusive streaming experience, Apple TV 4K is the way to go. Apple TV 4K comes in two versions: Apple TV 4K with Wi-Fi + 64 GB storage and Apple TV 4K with Wi-Fi + Ethernet + 128 GB storage.
Ever since AirPlay and the Apple TV app became more widely available, this streaming device has lost some of the charm it had before – especially when you take into consideration the $129 price tag — $149 if you require the Ethernet version with higher storage.
However, for those who prefer the Apple Home Hub for their home ecosystem, Apple TV 4K is a good choice. It is not only a streaming device that supports 4K and Dolby Vision but also acts as a smart home hub connecting all your home devices. Plus, it is the only media streamer that comes with a Siri voice assistant.
If you lose the remote, you can quickly find it with your iPhone. For those who have an iPhone can use it to enjoy Apple Music, and other Apple apps. Plus, you also get access to all the favorite streaming services you love, including Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and YouTube TV. And as a bonus, you can get Apple TV+ for free for a limited time upon buying the Apple TV 4K device.
When it comes to picking a streaming device for your home, the most important thing is to understand what you and your family need. Is it perhaps a smart home that can do with a central hub? Or do you just need a portable streaming device that you can travel with? Each household is different, as are the needs and wants of the people within it. Once you get what you are looking for, the rest becomes easier. If you are looking for a streaming device to replace cable TV, however, you may have to look for something like DIRECTV – so you can also access live TV along with other streaming options.
Do remember that the internet makes up a very important part of your streaming experience, so make sure you invest in a good one. Fiber internet is the best option to choose if you want to go for smooth and seamless streaming, but other high-speed internet options would do as well. Some of our favorite internet providers for streaming include Xfinity, Spectrum, and AT&T Fiber. To learn more, check out our streaming internet guide, or reach out to our experts at 855-349-9328.
There’s no definitive answer with so many media streaming devices available in the market in varying price ranges, features, and compatibility level. However, the Roku Express 4K Plus is one of the highest-rated streaming devices and that too at a reasonable price range.
You can buy media streaming devices from various retailers, such as Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, etc. You can also buy them directly from the manufacturers' websites, such as Roku, Google, Apple, and Amazon. However, before you buy a device, make sure to check its compatibility with your TV, internet connection, and streaming services.
Roku is a brand for media streaming devices that let you stream content on your TV. Roku offers several streaming devices in different price ranges with varying features, such as 4K, HDR10, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, voice control, and AirPlay. The higher the price point, the more features you have, resulting in a better streaming experience.