Smart TVs are the first thing that we think about whenever there is a conversation around content streaming but those are not the only way to go. The market has plenty of streaming devices to offer that can connect to any TV with an HDMI port and make them smart.
They offer access to all the leading content streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, and more. They further have apps across different categories including music streaming and video games. In this article, we will talk about the best streaming devices that you can choose from based on your need and budget.
Note: Prices mentioned for each device are at the time of writing this piece.
Chromecast with Google TV
The Chromecast with Google TV is the most feature-rich streaming dongle released by Google since it started offering this years ago. Google TV in the name represents the newly-revamped Android TV interface that takes the user experience to a whole new level. It makes it easier to browse apps as well as find content to watch.
It supports 4K HDR with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos for a completely immersive media consumption experience. There is integrated Google Assistant support for performing tasks by using just your voice and Cast compatibility means you can stream local content from a phone or tablet too. It comes with 8GB of onboard storage which should be enough for installing your favorite streaming apps.
Price: $39.99 via Google Store
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max should be your choice if you want something from Amazon’s stable. This is specifically beneficial for Prime members as it offers content from both Prime Video and Prime Music.
It also happens one of the fastest streaming dongles with almost instant app launch times. There is support for WiFi 6 so that you can also have the fastest possible WiFi connectivity. It supports 4K content with all modern HDR standards including Dolby Vision. It features Alexa as the voice assistant which also powers Amazon’s Echo lineup of smart home devices. However, you will see ads in the user interface which can be annoying for some.
Roku Express 4K Plus
If you want something beyond Google and Amazon, Roku’s Express 4K Plus is undoubtedly the best streaming dongle that you can get. It is an ideal choice even if you compare it with what the aforementioned tech giants have to offer. Its user interface and an always-on voice command-supported remote control aka Roku Voice Remote Pro are its strongest points.
It supports 4K content with HDR, although not as diverse standards as other players. It further provides a bunch of free movies and TV shows to stream along with all the major streaming apps like Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and Sling TV.
Apple TV 4K (2021)
The Apple TV 4K (2021) is the best streaming device for all the Apple fans out there. It gives you access to all the content that Apple has to offer. It means you can enjoy Apple TV+, Apple Music, and Apple Arcade services in the best possible quality. There is 4K content support with all the latest HDR standards including Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos for audio.
This is similar to the older Apple TV in terms of appearance but has a few improvements. It is powered by a comparatively newer A12 Bionic chip for snappier performance. There is a new remote control with Siri and HomeKit compatibility.
NVIDIA Shield TV Pro (2019)
The NVIDIA Shield TV Pro (2019) is a streaming device that not only provides content streaming but also game streaming. It supports 4K content along with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos so that you can enjoy your favorite content in the best possible quality.
The game streaming is supported up to 4K HDR and through GeForce Now cloud gaming (only on the Pro model). Although, you will need to buy that membership separately. The device does not come with a game controller either and offers the traditional TV remote. The good thing is that it does support PlayStation and Xbox controllers.