Undeniably, 2020 has been the best year for the streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and more, as a majority of individuals were busy with their streaming devices, whilst being restricted indoors. However, with work from home adopted as a more permanent concept in the new normal and newer shows coming to the streaming platforms with ease passing day, the streaming juggernaut is expected to continue even in 2021.
That said, not every individual has a smart television to stream relevant shows and this is why it becomes more than obvious to rely on streaming devices like Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV 4K, and more. However, instead of getting overwhelmed with choices, it is necessary to get hold of the best streaming device for the job.
In the subsequent sections, we shall enlist some of the best and most sought after streaming devices, based on the overall functionality, ease of usage, diversity of offerings, and other relevant factors. Regardless, each of these devices has the potential to connect the existing television into a resourceful smart TV, whilst allowing you to enjoy the best streaming shows, regardless of the platform.
Best Streaming Device Overall
If your priorities include watching Wonder Woman: 1984 on HBO Max, simplistic interface, and the best search option on a streaming device, ROKU is the best gadget to rely on. For starters, Roku also boasts a typical content-agnostic platform that prioritizes device-centric streaming content, instead of relying on Amazon Prime and more.
Besides, the cost-effectiveness of ROKU is unmatched as it offers 4K HDR output at the lowest possible rate. Therefore, despite getting minimal updates, this streamer continues to be our personal favorite.
The concept of Google TV is intriguing in itself. While the feature sets aren’t as good as the Roku stick, the inclusion of Dolby Vision support makes it one of the best options to invest in. Besides, you also get access to the Google Voice assistant, which helps with the overall search.
Best Streaming Device on a Budget
If you have liked the simplicity that ROKU brings to the table, you are expected to prefer the much cheaper Amazon Firestick Lite as well. While the ROKU still boasts a beefed-up specs sheet. The Firestick Lite easily trounces the same when the value for money is concerned. Regardless of the version you pick, the Alexa-powered remote and the integrated voice-search mechanism are nifty enhancements. Besides, the remote doesn’t even require line-of-sight connectivity to make things work.
Despite featuring a slimmer line of specifications, we still liked the innovative Roku Express for its budget-centric approach to streaming. While the remote is an excellent addition, you are expected to experience the innate goodness associated with the existing Roku interface, which is still quite easy to use. Besides, you get access to the micro-USB port and HDMI port alongside the hub followed by the HDMI cable to make it good enough for wired streaming. However, it is the price point that intrigued us the most.
Best Streaming Device from Apple
Apple TV 4K
Despite the higher costs, the Apple TV 4K is one of the more powerful units to consider, especially for an Apple loyalist. While upon purchasing the same you can take complete advantage of the existing subscription bundles offered by Apple One, the pricing often feels a bit too exorbitant for the ROKU and Firestick lovers.
As far as the feature sets are concerned, the flexible HDR support adds to the resourcefulness followed by the availability of Siri-based support.
Other Reliable Inclusions
Needless to say, the ROKU lineup is probably the most extensive one around. However, if you are still interested to delve deeper into the same, in regard to wired streaming, the Roku Ultra is a pretty expensive yet feature-loaded inclusion. While the price point is actually twice that of the Streaming Plus or the vanilla variant, it is loaded with several features, including the convenient headphone jack, feature-packed remote, intuitive remote finder, and support for Dolby Vision.
In addition to these specs, the Roku Ultra is also known for the exceptional Wi-Fi connectivity, faster responses to content requests, and even a wired Ethernet slot for establishing internet connections directly, precisely when the home-network is overloaded with existing connections.
Best 4K Device for Amazon Loyalists
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
If you are inclined towards the Amazon app store and the relevant feature sets or offerings, the Fire Stick 4K is one of the better choices to consider. This device makes a lot of sense if you have a 4K television but not adequate streaming resources. While you can always side-load, root, and even Jailbreak the device to make use of several third-party streaming options, it is best suited for individuals who are neck-deep into the Amazon offerings. Quite appropriately, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K offers truckloads of Amazon-centric content.
Shield TV from NVIDIA
As a gamer, you cannot get hold of a better streaming device when compared to the Shield TV from NVIDIA. While the gadget is on the expensive side, it doesn’t restrict itself as a video streamer. Instead, the Shield TV allows you to experience an extended gaming library with a focus on HDR and 4K streaming. Besides, this is one console-level device featuring Google-assistant and support for NAS. Not just that, the 150-dollar price point is readily justified by the availability of Smart Home support and the Plex Server.
Coming to the newest set of streamers, the Streambar from Roku makes quite an impression. As far as the feature sets are concerned, this media streamer also works as a Soundbar, based on preferences. While the Roku interface is persisted with, the improved sound quality makes it one of the best purchases in 2021. Although each of the mentioned Roku streamers is worth purchasing, the Streambar steals the show owing to the advanced acoustic capabilities.
These are some of the best choices to consider for your streaming preferences in 2021. While we have talked about the wide range of devices, you can take your pick based on the platform of choice, budget, additional specs, and other device-centric capabilities.
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