Best Streaming TV Devices in 2020
The cord-cutter movement started just a few years ago and shows no sign of slowing down. Every year, millions of Americans say goodbye to traditional cable or satellite TV and “cut” the cable cord. Instead of Spectrum Triple Play services, subscribers are happy to just pay for internet instead of phone and TV as well. Landlines are a dinosaur, but how do people survive without TV? The answer is through streaming TV devices. These devices make use of your internet connection to offer you the ability to stream content on your TV. So which one should you buy?
The Best Streaming Devices in 2020
TV streaming devices have only been around for a little while, but they are constantly improving. Each successive generation of streaming devices proves to be faster, better, and stronger than the last one. Giants like Google and Apple realize the cord-cutter movement is here to stay, which is why they have started manufacturing streaming devices as well. There are a large number of streaming devices readily available both online and at your local electronics store. But for our discussion, after due research and comparisons, we have shortlisted the 5 following devices with price and specifications of each device type below would help:
|Google Chromecast 3||Dongle/Stick||HD||$35|
|Nvidia SHIELD TV||Set-top Box||HD, HDR, 4K||$169|
|Apple TV 4K||Set-top Box||HD, HDR, 4K||$175.99|
|Amazon Fire TV Cube||Set-top Box||HD, HDR, 4K||$119.99|
|Roku Ultra||Set-top Box||HD, HDR, 4k||$72.93|
Now that you know the basics of each type of device, let’s examine each of the devices on our list in more detail.
Google Chromecast – For Budget Streamers
The Google Chromecast 3 (third-generation) is the best option for budget streamers on the market. It supports HD resolution and attaches directly to the HDMI port on your TV. Chromecast connects wirelessly to your home network and allows you to cast content from your laptop, tablet, or phone. Since it is manufactured by Google, you can bet on smooth integration with other Google devices in your home.
The third-generation Chromecast is a vast improvement over its predecessors. However, it selectively blocks you from casting content from non-Google apps like Prime Video. However, you can easily cast most media from your iOS or Android device easily. Unfortunately, since it is a budget option, Chromecast 3 does not support HDR or 4K. It also does not support Dolby Vision, which you get with Chromecast Ultra. For a simple, bare-bones streaming setup, the Chromecast should work well. If you are a serious TV-viewer, however, we suggest trying one of the other devices on this list.
Nvidia SHIELD TV – For Hardcore Gamers
The Nvidia SHIELD TV is a powerful device built for gamers who like to squeeze in a little TV time between games. The device, based on the Android TV platform, also supports 4K and HDR. It comes with its own controller, as well as micro USB and SD card ports. The premium version also comes with over 500GB of storage space. You can get an excellent streaming selection of more or less every service that has an app on the Google Play Store.
However, at its heart, the SHEILD is a device for hardcore gamers. The performance is as good, if not better than, any other device on this list. However, in terms of price, it is a very costly option. It almost costs as much as the Apple TV 4K device. If you’re a serious gamer, this is the device for you. But if you are just a casual streamer, you may be better off with another device.
Apple TV 4K – For Apple Fanatics
The Apple TV 4K set-top box is a favorite among Apple aficionados. You can connect it using either a wireless or wired home network. While the device is significantly pricier than others on this list, Apple fans will love that it integrates seamlessly with Siri and Apple. It has a much better picture quality and resolution than most devices on our list. This is in part thanks to its blistering-fast A10X Fusion chip. The problem is, Apple TV 4K does not have as much depth in channels (or apps) as others on this list. So you may need to give up on a few streaming channels. This device supports HD, HDR, 4K, Dolby Vision and HDR10.
Amazon Fire TV Cube – For All Streaming Apps
If Alexa is your trusty sidekick, then perhaps a good addition to your Amazon home ecosystem would be the Fire TV Cube. It is a set-top box that you can connect both wirelessly as well as with a wired connection. It supports 4K and HDR and integrates well with Amazon devices in your home. In fact, it has Alexa built in, so you don’t have to worry about controlling it with a remote. Your voice commands are sufficient. The best thing is that the Fire TV Cube does not discriminate against apps that are non-Amazon. This means everything (except iTunes) is going to work on your new device. Including premium content like HBO. All through the power of your voice.
Roku Ultra – The Ultimate Streaming Device
We have saved the best for last. The Roku Ultra is, in fact, the ultimate streaming set-top box currently in the market. The manufacturer has been in the streaming business ever since streaming devices started emerging. Even today, Roku continues to be a leader in the field of streaming TV devices.
The sleek box has a very 21st Century feel to it and supports both 4K and HDR. You can connect it to your TV using an Ethernet cable as well as wirelessly. In terms of content selection, it doesn’t get any better than this. It has the largest selection of channels (or apps) in its library. There are over 3000 channels in total, which makes Roku Ultra our top choice.
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