A streaming device instantly transforms your regular TV into a smart TV. All you have to do is plug one of these little devices into the back of your TV, and you’ll be able to watch Netflix, YouTube, HBO, and much more. But with so many streaming media players on the market today, it can be difficult for you to choose the right one. To help you decide which device is best for you, we narrowed down your choices to the best streaming devices of 2019.
The Best Streaming Boxes of 2019
While these streaming devices look like old cable boxes, they come with a lot more features. You can play music from your computer, install streaming services, and cast videos from your phone to your TV. Plus, you don’t have to buy into a costly subscription plan. All you need is a reliable internet connection and a TV with an HDMI port.
Amazon Fire TV Cube
From the outside, this streaming device looks exactly like last year’s Cube-shaped box. However, it comes with an upgraded processor that makes it two times faster than the previous model. This means it will load your shows faster, and you will experience less buffering and better resolution.
The new Fire TV Cube also combines the features of a streaming box with the Echo smart speaker in one device. This means you can control your TV with your voice – so you never have to touch the remote.
All you have to do is say “Alexa play It’s a Wonderful Life,” and your TV will start playing the movie. And, with more than 500,000 movies and TV episodes to choose from, you’ll always have something to watch. You even have access to live stream services, such as AT&T Live Now, fuboTV, Hulu Live TV, Sling TV, YouTube TV, and more.
If you’re a sports fan, then you’ll want to get one of the many sports apps, such as ESPN+, NBA League Pass, NFL Sunday Ticket, MLB.TV, and NHL.TV.
The Fire TV Cube can also integrate with your other smart home devices, which means you can use it to control your smart lights, smart thermostat, or smart coffee maker.
The new Fire TV Cube supports 4K Ultra HD video, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, HDR, HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG.
The Apple TV 4K
If you have more than one Apple device, you might want to consider getting an Apple TV streaming device too. With 4K and HDR (high dynamic range) capabilities, this device lets you watch your favorite movies shows in the highest quality.
On top of that, Apple TV 4K also supports Dolby Vision and HDR10, as well as Dolby Atmos for a superb audio experience. With its WiFi capability, you can stream content from your iPhone to your TV using AirPlay. You can also control your TV using the Siri-enabled remote.
As an Apple user, you can buy or rent over 100,000 movies and shows from the Apple TV app. Or you can stream videos from third-party streaming services, including Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Vimeo, HBO Now, Showtime, Sling TV, DirecTV Now and many more.
As for sports apps, you can access ESPN+, NBA League Pass, NFL Sunday Ticket, MLB.TV, and NHL.TV.
If you want to stream the highest quality videos, the Apple TV 4K has a Gigabit Ethernet port for a faster Internet connection.
The Roku Ultra has been around for years, but it’s still one of the best streaming boxes today. With this device, you can stream 4K videos at 60 frames per second, as well as HDR content.
The Roku Ultra also comes with a remote control, or you can use the Roku voice controls to find your favorite movies and TV episodes. The remote also allows you to plug in your headphones, in case you want to stream and listen privately. It also have a “remote finder” feature, so you’ll never lose your remote again.
As for the Roku Ultra’s wireless connectivity, you can stream 4K movies with dual-band wireless that supports 3.5GHz and 5GHz channels. So this device will work with any router you have.
The Best Streaming Sticks of 2019
If you want a smaller and cheaper streaming device, you should consider getting a streaming stick. These devices are small enough to hide behind your TV, but they come packed with just as many features as a streaming box. Here are the best streaming sticks of 2019.
Amazon Fire TV Stick
If you’re looking for a small streaming device that you can take with you wherever you go the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K has everything you need and more. While this device costs much less than Amazon’s flagship streaming box, it still allows you to choose from more than half a million movies and TV episodes.
The Fire TV Stick is only about the size of a pack of gum, but it gives you more internal memory storage than any other streaming stick on the market. You can also control it with voice commands using the remote or your Amazon’s Echo device.
To set up the Amazon Fire TV Stick, you only need to plug the device into an HDTV port on your TV and into a wall outlet. After that, just connect to the Internet and start streaming from Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, and many more streaming services.
Roku Streaming Stick Plus
The Roku Streaming Stick Plus comes with a voice remote that lets you turn on your TV and change the channels with voice commands. The Roku Streaming Stick Plus can also work with Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa for voice control.
What makes the Roku Streaming Stick Plus stand out is that it allows you to connect between your TV and the Internet from a distance with its advanced wireless receiver. The receiver gives you four times the range, so you can change the channels from the other room.
What’s more, the Roku Streaming Stick Plus also allows you to stream 4K and HDR videos, and it offers more 4K HDR apps than any other streaming stick on the market. You can access most of the popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu. And most movie apps, including Vudu, Movies Anywhere, Google Play Movies, and more.
Google Chromecast Ultra
If you’re looking for an affordable device that can stream 4K videos to your TV, then the Google Chromecast Ultra is your best bet. This streaming device, which actually comes in the shape of a disc, uses a streaming method known as “casting.”
This feature allows you to “cast” content from your phone, tablet, computer, or smart speaker and load it up on to your TV. In other words, it lets you stream videos from any of these devices to your TV.
When streaming videos with the Google Chromecast Ultra, you can use your phone to control your TV wherever you are in your home. You can watch your favorite movies and TV shows from most streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.
You can also use the Ethernet port for a faster and more reliable Internet connection.
Once you have your streaming device, check out our guide on how to make Netflix run better.