Top 20 Latest Media Streaming Devices in The Market
It’s 2017, and everything has gone smart, including TVs. In fact TVs have become so smart and complex that it’s becoming quite difficult to keep up with the technology upgrades. It’s the time of 4K resolution, and the capabilities of a state-of-the-art TV are nothing short of a fully equipped tablet.
As all of this unfolds, what do you do if your TV technology is not very up to date. Let’s say you have big HD TV that doesn’t have smart features. Your best option is to buy a media streaming device that makes any TV smart, and in fact super smart. Hey, why just talk about old tech TVs, even if you have a new TV you will still be confused with all the apps, technologies and services available, from Amazon Prime to Netflix to YouTube to Hulu… the list is growing every day.
The simple answer is to buy a robust media streaming device that when connected to your TV makes it very easy for you to access all the services and also watch in the highest resolution your TV offers, even if it is HDR10.
To help you through the maze of streaming devices available today, we decided to put together a guide that will maneuver you to the best media streaming device for your particular needs. This list is not exactly a ranking, but we have put them in order of the devices we like the most. The one thing that is common to all of them is that they are high quality and good brands, and are rated amongst the top in their categories.
Let us review the 20 best rated media streaming devices in the market today. The list includes all the top brands and devices like Apple, Google, Amazon, Roku, TiVo etc.
The current line-up of Roku devices is Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere + and Roku Ultra. The Roku Premiere + hits the sweet spot in terms of capabilities ad price and is perfect for anyone with an Ultra HD TV with HDR support. The Roku Premiere+ offers everything through a very easy to use and intuitive interface. Roku offers great video quality and a vast array of features. Some of the services that Roku will bring you are Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Crackle, YouTube, HBO Now, Hulu, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and much more. It combines Ethernet and 802.11ac Wi-Fi to deliver good streaming video quality even when the internet connection is not ideal. Additional features include a night listening mode and headphone jack in the remote.
2. Apple TV
The fourth generation Apple TV is a neat option overall to convert your TV into a smart TV, and it is an especially great choice for those wo already own Apple devices like iPads, iPods, iPhones and Apple Macs. It supports Apple AirPlay directly from these devices. It also offers a huge array of streaming services including a direct access to iTunes. A small selection of channels you can watch through Apple TV are iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr and many ore. Apple TV doesn’t yet support 4K resolution but it is still an excellent option for media streaming to your TV.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick comes with Alexa Voice Control and is as fast and efficient as any of the others. It biggest advantage is its comparatively low price. The Fire Stick offers all the usual channels like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, Sling TV and HBO, but it is not at par with a Roku device. The Fire Stick is an excellent choice for those who are sold on Amazon, and also includes a built-in voice remote, but it does not have the width and depth of services that a Roku offers. It is a great option for media streaming at a low cost.
4. TiVo Bolt
The TiVo Bolt is a sleek looking streaming device that has a whopping 1 TB internal storage. With so much space you can record a lot of programs, and in fact it allows you to record up to 4 programs simultaneously. The TiVo Bolt offer all the regular channels and also 4K content. One con of TiVo Bolt is that it cannot access satellite channels. Also there is a subscription that has to be paid for Bolt.
The Chromecast Ultra is the new edition of the Chromecast and is a huge step forward. The Chromecast Ultra supports Ultra HD, 4k and HDR10. It is relatively cheaper than the Roku devices, and has most of the offerings. An ad-on with Chromecast Ultra is Dolby Vision content that has not yet been integrated into the other media streaming devices. One service not yet aligned to the Ultra is the Amazon suite. The Google Chromecast gives you direct access to Google’s array of movies and TV shows. At its simplest, it will mirror the screen of your Android device on to the TV screen, and also show content from your Chrome browser.
The Nvidia Shield TV is a powerful media streaming device which at its core is built to please gamers. The Nvidia Shield TV will stream all the usual content and also a huge array of games, some unique to the Shield. Computer Gamers can cast their screen on to the TV and enjoy a highly immersive computer gaming experience. It supports 5.1 and 7.1 channel sound as well as Dolby AtmosSurround Sound. The NvidiaShiled TV offers 4K streaming of Netflix, Vudu, UltraFlix and YouTube. HD options available are HBO Now, Twitch, CBS, FOX, Vimeo and all the content in the Google Play Store.
Amazon Fire TV is a whole new level of home entertainment, with 4K video support and expandable memory. Amazon Fire TV has the entire Amazon library of content and will stream content from Netflix, runs Android Apps and Android Games. The Amazon Fire TV remote comes with voice search, and Amazon Fire TV runs on the Fire TV OS.
Boxee offers free TV channels like ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, NBC, PBS and many more. You get a free digital antenna for these channels, to receive transmission in high definition and surround sound. Boxee of course offers the usual web enabled channels like Netflix, YouTube, Vimeo, Vudu, Pandora and many more. Boxee offers most of what Roku does and also gives you the option to subscribe to unlimited DVR services.
Also worth exploring are the following media streaming devices that are rated quite high.
The lower cost option to Roku Premiere +, the Roku Streaming Stick offers the largest selection of streaming cost at a much lower cost. It is a very good media streaming device that most people can afford, and has a simple user friendly interface and excellent usability.
A very highly rated and top performing video streaming device, the NetgearNeoTV is a multi-functional home media and entertainment device that delivers a variety of digital content, live TV through Google TV, and the Google app store.
11. Xiaomi Mi Box
A new entrant that delivers 4K and HDR content, has a remote control with voice commands, and support DTS and Dolby Digital Plus audio.
12. WD TV Play
Offering the usual fare and more is the WD TV Play. It plays back video and audio from a computer on a home network, and can directly access content from YouTube, Pandora and Flickr. It can also easily connect to your TV via an HDMI cable, or with an RCA cable.
13. HiMedia Q10 Pro
The HiMedia Q10 Pro is on the expensive side, but it offers a great package of multi format support, massive storage options and good 4K streaming quality.
14. Sky Now TV Box
This second generation Sky Now TV Box, translates into a very good media streaming device. It offers free access to a huge range of Sky content, and numerous other apps like BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub. A big con is that it offers only 720p resolution.
15. Asus Cube
It offers Google TV in a much more intuitive and simpler to access interface. The Asus Cube makes it much easier to use Google TV.
16. XBox One
This leading gaming console is also an efficient media streaming device, which offers most of the major online content players like Hulu Plus, Netflix, Pandora and more. With XBox One you can , toggling between live TV, Internet Explorer, Skype, and your personal entertainment The Xbox is a capable gaming console and home media server. It provides great TV integration
This is the original Chromecast before the Chromecast Ultra came along, and it is still a brilliant device. Though it does not have the advanced resolution and features of the newer Chromecast models, it is a fantastic buy at almost half the price of the latest Chromecast devices.
18. Sky Q
The Sky Q is a robust new TV platform, that gives viewers the flexibility to watch online and offline. It gives the viewer the ability to watch one show and record three others in the background.
19. Android TV
No list can be completed without Android TV. Android TV is an open source system. You only need to purchase a ready to go Android TV device and you can watch the entire library of Android TV content and more.
With such a huge array of devices available for media streaming, it can get confusing to make a choice, however if you really think about what you want, the choice becomes easier. You could think about how important video quality is for you, and the number of channels available or what your budget is.
We hope you found this list of the 20 best rated media streaming devices useful and will love it if you share your experiences with any of these devices, or observations in the comments section below.