The world is changing fast, including the world of home entertainment, and sometimes it takes a minute to keep up. So if you’re still paying for cable or live TV because you assume it’s the only way to access certain TV shows, let’s talk. Gone are the days when you needed cable. Now all the good stuff is available through streaming platforms, and you don’t need a TV box for that.
All you need is some sort of streaming device, such as a Roku or an Amazon Fire Stick. Connect it to your TV and you can immediately watch movies, series, comedy specials, almost anything via a streaming service. Not sure about the best streaming device to buy? Below we describe some of the best – and we share all the information to help you choose the best choice for your smart home theater.
The Roku Express 4K+ offers a ton of benefits and features at a great price. It is one of the cheapest streaming boxes with 4K HDR capabilities and also supports Apple’s Airplay format.
“I am so incredibly impressed!!!” exclaimed the writer of a happy five-star review. “I have an old large Samsung TV in my bedroom that my dad got for free. I’ve had this TV for years with an older Roku. It started not working properly and started very laggy. I went out and bought a new one , smaller Vizio TV, and it performed horribly, and I returned it within a day. I decided to try this Roku on my old Samsung TV. All I can say is OMG. It made my TV perform like new and saved me a lot of money if you are in a similar situation to me or looking for a great alternative don’t hesitate and try this Roku it’s incredible for the money the picture and quality are like brand new and it performs very well I’m 21 and I don’t often write reviews but I had to for this one.”
It also has a longer-range wireless receiver, so it will also work in rooms further away from your router. We also like the hands-free voice remote, which lets you use voice control with the Roku. Even if you lose the TV remote control in the cushions of the sofa, you don’t have to worry. You can search for it with your voice by asking the Roku where it is, and it will start beeping away.
One five-star review said, “I went from using my old Samsung smart DVD player with a very limited app selection to this Roku Streaming Stick 4K+, with literally every app I could ever want. I love that I can just use apps can add with my tv , computer or phone the stick is out of sight plugged into the hdmi port behind my tv i didnt realize until i got it delivered that it needs to be plugged in for its own power but i can provide powers it through the USB port, which is also behind my TV. The remote control is also very impressive. It is simple and easy to use, but also very capable. The price is very reasonable, especially compared to other streaming devices .”
We absolutely love the Google Assistant voice search on Google Chromecast; you can look up movies and shows by, for example, searching the names of the actors. We also like that this Google TV device integrates with Google Photos – you can add your favorite photos to a spinning slideshow! If you like YouTube or YouTube TV, this is the streamer for you.
“This was easy to set up and install!” said a five-star review. “I had a TV that didn’t even have a remote that worked, and it replaced my old Fire Stick, and now I can turn on the TV, watch all my streaming apps, and cast from my phone, both Android and Apple, with ease to the TV! Mute volume etc… Everything works with one device and one remote! If you don’t have a smart TV with casting capabilities… buy this! You won’t regret it.”
It supports Dolby Vision and has a handy picture-in-picture feature for viewing your security camera feed. Of course, the Amazon Fire TV Stick works with Amazon Alexa’s voice command control system and search functions. This is the best streaming device you can get if you are a huge Amazon Prime fan.
“The new Fire Stick is a big improvement over the older versions,” said one five-star review. “Easy to install, easy to move your content from your old Fire Stick. The price is great. I recommend trading in the older version; once the trade-in is complete, the price is not bad at all. Highly recommend to upgrade all older versions of Fire Stick to the new and improved version. Wi-Fi 6 is a great improvement, no buffering issues so far! 4K HDR looks great on my brand new 65″ LG! Totally happy with this new Fire TV stick. Remote control has big changes! Easily access Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and of course Amazon Prime Video. Voice recognition is great – Alexa finds it for you.”
You can also ask Siri, “What did they just say?” while watching a movie, and it will replay the scene with subtitles. Apple TV is also a media streaming device for gamers via Apple Arcade, or if you want native support for Apple’s fitness+ training program.
“My experience with a regular Apple TV has been kind of life-changing,” said one enthusiastic customer, calling it a fantastic Apple product. “Smart TV apps are essentially universally lousy and don’t guarantee 4K quality (at least with LG), so I was instantly thrilled when I got this 4K Apple TV setup. My TV is finally living up to its 4K potential! Setup was amazing simple, as it generally is throughout the Apple product line. The new all-metal design of the remote is thicker and heavier than the older generation and fits well in the hand. The ergonomics of the buttons have also been improved. Great value , great Product.”
Of course, if you have Amazon Prime, you get free shipping. not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for your 30-day free trial here. (And by the way, those without Prime still get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.)
The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.