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Top 10: We’ve Chosen The Best Streaming Devices Of 2021

Thousands of living rooms around the world are dumping the traditional cable box for a full streaming setup. Most likely, you are ready to stop holding your phone 6 inches away from your face and connect your favorite streaming services to your HD or 4K TV. We want to make that transition as smooth as possible for you, so here are the top 10 streaming devices available in 2021.


Roku Streaming Stick Plus

Price: $47 at Amazon and other retailers
Market Comparison: Best streaming device overall

Although affordable, the Roku Streaming Stick Plus brings in the most value at its price point, making this the best streaming device for most family room TV setups.

The Roku Streaming Stick Plus offers 4K and HDR video in a small package at a low price. Its dead simple interface equalises the playing field for all streaming services. Roku’s responses are lightning fast, its video quality is on par with other streamers, and its remote can control the volume and power of your TV.

Pros

  • 4K HDR
  • Low cost; high-value features
  • AirPlay Update coming soon

Cons

  • Younger, so more updates await
  • No Dolby Vision

Where to buy

Roku Streaming Stick +

Affordable and plays 4K


Chromecast with Google TV

Price: $50 at Best Buy and other retailers
Market Comparison:
2ND best streaming device

See it on Amazon

The world of dongle video streamers is a cutthroat one. Prices are modest, and app options are plentiful, but there is more separating them than just money and subscription services.

The modern Chromecast with Google TV adds no significant services that its predecessors did not already provide. It isn’t any cheaper, either, but Google has prioritised accessibility and consistency in this new update.

The most requested update to the previous incarnation was a remote control, so Google has added a voice-enabled one for those who still want to search for content using Google Assistant.

When you do, you’ll notice that the Chromecast now has its own UI called Google TV – a more recommendation-centric face for the Android TV experience that is set to be available on all Android TV devices by 2022.

Pros

  • Dolby Vision compatibility ($100 extra in Roku TV)
  • Google Assistant voice search
  • Integration of other Google services (YouTube, Google Photos, etc.)

Cons

  • Overly stylized user interface

Where to buy

Google Chromecast Smart TV


Apple TV 4K

Price: $180 on Amazon
Market Comparison: Best for Apple users

See it on Amazon

Apple always delivers high-quality products. However, you’ll have to turn your wallet upside down to experience their contributions. The problem here is streaming devices are pretty straightforward, and the Apple TV 4K doesn’t offer much more than other devices. Still, the value is indisputable for iPhone users.

The latest Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, which is undeniably amazing for the dollar, is the only competitor that comes close to mounting a serious challenge to the Apple TV 4K. But, with its superior performance and unrivalled range of 4K HDR movies, Apple’s streamer more than makes up for the extra cost.

Pros

  • AirPlay is great for Apple users
  • Flexible HDR
  • Siri fans will appreciate voice commands
  • Dolby Vision and Atmos

Cons

  • Super expensive
  • A sizable catalogue of 4K HDR material

Where to buy

Apple TV 4K

King of streaming


Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite

Price: £29.99 on Amazon
Market Comparison: Best for streaming on a budget

Some have insisted that the Roku Express is better for the price. However, the Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite’s Alexa feature makes navigating the UI smooth and straightforward.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite is a new HD streamer for 2020 that includes HDR support and 60fps replay for a good viewing experience. However, in exchange for its cheap price, you would be giving up 4K resolution as well as some TV and volume controls that we would rather not give up if we could.

Pros

  • Alexa… Who doesn’t love Alexa?
  • Among the most affordable on the market
  • Remote does not require line of site to function
  • HDR support

Cons

  • Limited features
  • No 4K

Where to buy

Fire TV Stick Lite

Best streaming gift


Roku Ultra

Price: $90 at Amazon and other retailers
Market Comparison:
Best for connectivity and convenience

The Roku Ultra is among the beefiest of streaming devices here on this list, and for good reason. Its responsive user interface and connection options make it worth the extra buck.

The Roku Ultra builds on its predecessors’ streaming quality by adding Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support, as well as standard features including a voice remote with a headset jack and an upgraded Wi-Fi antenna. Roku’s core user interface isn’t ageing as gracefully as it can, and it has some audio syncing problems, but the current Roku Ultra is a fantastic deal at half the price of an Apple TV 4K.

Pros

  • Enhanced connectivity (Wi-Fi and Ethernet port)
  • Faster user interface responsiveness
  • Dolby Vision video
  • Excellent 4K HDR output
  • Voice remote with headphone jack

Cons

  • Limited availability
  • Roku’s most expensive streaming option

Where to buy

Roku Ultra

Best for connectivity and convenience


Roku Streambar

Price: $115 at Amazon and other retailers
Market Comparison: Best combination of sound and video

See it on Amazon

Soundbars have been a staple of every home entertainment room. Having on that doubles as a streaming device like the Roku Streambar allows you to have your cake and eat it, too.

The Roku Streambar effortlessly adds decent sound to every TV while still incorporating Roku’s well-known streaming interface and ridiculously simple configuration. This portable lightweight soundbar costs $130 / £130 and is an excellent way to upgrade without having to re-arrange your whole living room.

Pros

  • Soundbar-streaming device in one bar
  • 4K HDR streaming
  • Enhanced sound for any TV
  • Full, clear sound suiting the audiophile
  • Latest Bluetooth connectivity
  • Plug and PLAYROKU Streambar 4K HDR Streaming Player & Soundbar

Cons

  • Can be unsightly in some setups

Where to buy

Roku Streambar

All in one sound player


Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

Price: $50 at Amazon and other retailers
Market Comparison: Best for 4K TV owners

See it on Amazon

Amazon’s Alexa is always a hard sell for any device made by the internet enterprise. The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is a solid addition to anyone looking to set their living area for video streaming.

The addition of 4K support makes the latest Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K a fantastic choice for all of your viewing needs – but a lack of equity across channels ensures that Amazon hasn’t quite reached excellence yet.

Pros

  • Relatively inexpensive
  •  4K video streaming
  • Alexa… Again, who doesn’t love Alex
  • Voice control for home connected devices (AC, lights, etc.
  • Dolby Vision HDR

Cons

  • Interface not as smooth as other options at price point

Where to buy

Fire TV Stick 4K

With Alexa

  • See it now on Amazon

Roku Streambar

Price: $115 at Amazon and other retailers
Market Comparison: Best combination of sound and video

See it on Amazon

Soundbars have been a staple of every home entertainment room. Having on that doubles as a streaming device like the Roku Streambar allows you to have your cake and eat it, too.

The Roku Streambar effortlessly adds decent sound to every TV while still incorporating Roku’s well-known streaming interface and ridiculously simple configuration. This portable lightweight soundbar costs $130 / £130 and is an excellent way to upgrade without having to re-arrange your whole living room.

Pros

  • Soundbar-streaming device in one bar
  • 4K HDR
  • Enhanced  sound for any TV

Cons

  • Can be unsightly in some setups

Where to buy

Roku Streambear

Audio and soundbar

Nvidia Shield TV 4k

Price: £129.98 at Amazon and other retailers
Market Comparison: Best for gamers

The Nvidia Shield TV does it all: Google Assistant, smart home controls, NAS access, Plex server capability, HDHomeRun integration – and unique to streaming devices – console-level gaming.

The Nvidia Shield (2019) is three times the price of entry-level 4K HDR streaming players, but it’s an immensely powerful streaming player owing to its cutting-edge AI upscaling engine and compatibility for both HDR10 and Dolby Vision content. Its Android TV operating system will be contentious, and the lack of a controller is a letdown, but its visual performance is unrivalled in the streaming player category.

Pros

  • Jack-of-all trades
  • 4K streaming and HDR
  • Console-level and mobile gaming
  • AI Upscaling
  • Google Assistant built-in
  • Nvidia Geforce Now
  • Plays 4K content seamlessly
  • Plex server capability

Cons

  • Need to purchase controller for gaming
  • Pricey
  • There is no Apple TV app.
  • There are no USB ports for additional storage.

Where to buy

NVIDIA Shield TV 4K

Amazon Fire TV Cube

Price: £109.99 on Amazon
Market Comparison: Best for hands-free voice control

The addition of Alexa will always be the primary selling point for any Amazon streaming device. Along with that, the Amazon Fire TV Cube allows connectivity to cable boxes. If you haven’t entirely given up on cable, you get the best of both worlds with controls for both streaming services and cable boxes.

The all-new Fire TV Cube is, by far, our favorite Amazon streaming device – better in so many ways than the Amazon Fire TV Cube that was released in 2017. The processor upgrade and inclusion of Dolby Vision are great new additions and, in spite of a few shortcomings, help solidify the Cube’s spot as one of the best streaming players to be released this year.

Pros

  • Very fast performance 
  • Alexa… Yeah, yeah we know. We love Alexa.
  • 4K HDR high-quality picture
  • Native YouTube app
  • Comes with a voice remote
  • TV/AV control panel

Cons

  • No HDMI cable supplied
  • Unsightly for some TV sets
  • Ethernet adapter is awkward

Amazon Fire TV Cube

Best for hands free remote

  • See it on Amazon

What streaming devices do you use?

Let us know below if you have used any of the streaming devices in this list. If not, which ones do you think we missed? Either way, thanks for sticking to the end, and we hope your entertainment room is equipped to your liking.

Also be sure to check out our Top Ten: Best televisions for 2021 where you can use your new streaming stick.

Summary

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