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Best Streaming Devices for June 2024

These days, more and more people are streaming TV, and cutting the cord from cable. In 2023, it’s estimated that we streamed 31% more than we did in 2022. A big reason for that is because streaming is cheaper and more versatile. You can easily ditch streaming services and start new ones. However, a big part of that is the streaming device.

When it comes to streaming devices, there are really four different platforms available. There’s the tried-and-true Roku platform, which performs really well and is pretty inexpensive. Then there’s Android TV/Google TV, Apple TV and Fire TV. These are also great, but for different reasons and better for different users. For example, an iPhone user would prefer to use the Apple TV over a Fire TV.

Here are the best Streaming Devices for 2024.

Best Streaming Device: NVIDIA SHIELD TV

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The NVIDIA SHIELD TV is not cheap, but it is powerful and an incredible gaming console

The NVIDIA SHIELD TV is the oldest product on this list. So you’re probably wondering how on earth it made it to be the “best-streaming device,” beating out everything else on this list. Well, it’s pretty simple, NVIDIA has done an outstanding job of updating this streaming device, and with NVIDIA GeForce Now included, it makes it a rather impressive device to use.

NVIDIA has Android TV running on the SHIELD TV, as you might expect. But this is a very powerful streaming device, with the NVIDIA Tegra X1+ processor inside, which is far more potent than anything else on this list. Why is that important? Well, a lot of streamers tend to use lower-end or slower processors in their streaming devices because the software is lightweight. But it results in a poor experience for the user. With the NVIDIA SHIELD TV, I have never experienced a slowdown at all. Another reason for that this the storage. NVIDIA includes 16GB of storage here, that’s double what most others offer.

There’s support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos here, of course your TV and/or soundbar also need to support those to get the full experience. But that sets you up for a really incredible experience in a man cave or your living room. Android TV runs on the SHIELD TV, which is a great experience actually. Google has made loads of upgrades to the platform recently, which have really been impressive.

All that, and we haven’t even talked about gaming. The main reason to get a SHIELD TV over the other options here. Since this is from NVIDIA, it, of course, supports GeForce Now. That’s the company’s cloud gaming platform, which works really well. Imagine having a PC with the latest NVIDIA graphics card on deck without having to pay for it. It’s basically the same thing. There are over 1,000 titles available on GeForce Now, with at least ten more being added every single week.

With the SHIELD TV, NVIDIA decided to change up the design of the device and the remote. Many people were complaining about losing their remote control in different places like the couch. So now, the remote is a triangle shape, making it harder to slide between cushions on the couch or loveseat in your living room. The actual SHIELD TV looks like a long AA battery. Which is cool, but you won’t see it often since it sits behind your TV.

The NVIDIA SHIELD TV is not cheap, however, with a regular price of $149. On top of that, the NVIDIA SHIELD TV rarely gets discounted.

Buy at Amazon

Best Budget Streaming Device: Roku Express 4K+

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Roku does more with less; the Express 4K+ brings in 4K HDR content for under $30

Roku has been a leader in the streaming space for well over a decade. Why? It’s quite simple. Their operating system is very easy to navigate, and their hardware is also pretty inexpensive. Take this Express 4K+, for example. It’s regularly $29.99, and it’s not even the cheapest streamer that Roku sells.

This is a small but mighty streaming device from Roku. It will sit underneath your TV, and provide you with an excellent 4K HDR picture. While it does have HDR, it does not support Dolby Vision, unfortunately. But that is to be expected at this price. Roku does have Dolby Vision included in some of its more expensive streamers. Instead, it uses HDR10+, which is the open-source HDR standard that many other TV makers support – including Samsung.

The Roku platform is pretty much the best platform available right now. Roku keeps it simple, making it the best option for your parents and anyone who’s not tech-savvy. On top of that, Roku also has almost every app that you can think of, on its platform. Even some of those apps that you’ve probably never heard of before. Including AMC+, Disney+, Hulu, Netflix and so many more.

Roku is platform-agnostic too, meaning that if you use Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, both will work on your Roku device. And for the Apple users out there, Roku didn’t forget about you, as it does also have support for Apple AirPlay 2.

The remote that is included with the Roku Express+ is pretty good too. It is a rounded shape, making it tougher to slide in between couch cushions. It also has a power button, directional buttons, and even a voice button. So you can activate Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant from the remote.

Buy at Amazon

Best Google TV Streamer: Google Chromecast with Google TV 4K

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Chromecast gets taken to a whole new level with Google TV

The Chromecast with Google TV is by far my favorite streaming device, period. It’s not perfect, but it does a lot of things right. This runs on Google TV and has 4K HDR support for $49.99. Google also ships a 1080p model that will cost you $29.99.

This streamer first came out in 2020, so it’s a bit old at this point, but still a great option. And Google isn’t replacing it in 2023, so it’s going to be the newest for at least another year or so.

This particular Chromecast takes what we all know and love about Chromecast. Which is the simplicity of being able to “Cast” content from our phones onto the TV and bring in Google TV. The company announced Google TV in late 2020, as a sort of upgrade to Android TV. The biggest change here is that it’s using more recommendations. So if you’re someone that relies on recommendations more than anything, for something to watch, then this is going to be perfect for you.

As you might have expected, Google TV does support all of your favorite apps. These include Hulu, Netflix, Paramount Plus, and many more. Google Assistant is also supported, but not Amazon Alexa. That shouldn’t be a huge surprise, since this is a Google dongle and not an Amazon one.

Google’s remote that is included with the Chromecast is a pretty good one. Unlike some of its competitors, Google has not opted for a lot of advertising space. On some other remotes, you might find four different buttons for different apps, some of which no longer exist after a few years. Google is stuck with two apps that everyone uses and is very unlikely to go anywhere: YouTube and Netflix. The remote is also rounded, like the Roku remote. Making it harder to lose. It also has a directional pad at the top, and there’s a dedicated button for the Google Assistant, which is also a different color and raised. So you know that you’re pressing it without even looking. In an interesting move, Google put the volume controls on the side, like a smartphone.

If you are deeply integrated into the Google ecosystem, then the Chromecast with Google TV is a great purchase. Especially if you have any Nest products. You are able to stream Nest cameras on your TV and get alerts when someone is at your door.

Buy at Amazon

Best Budget Google TV Streamer: onn. Google TV Streaming Box

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This is a great Google TV for those that want something that’s cheap

Walmart has continued to expand its own store-brand electronics portfolio, called “onn.” and that includes offering a new Google TV dongle, that is just $19.88. This Google TV dongle is actually really impressive for this price. It offers 4K resolution, but not HDR. Of course, at this price, Walmart had to cut some kind of corners.

Internally, Walmart has included 2GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. Surprisingly, that’s more RAM than a lot of other streaming devices on this list. But the same amount of RAM as most. So that is rather unfortunate.

With Google TV included on this streaming box, you’re getting access to over 100,000 apps, as well as over 800 free channels with apps like Tubi TV, Pluto TV, and more. Google Assistant and Chromecast are both included here, giving you a very similar experience to the Chromecast with Google TV, but for a bit less. With this streaming device, you are getting a rather basic remote, but it surprisingly has a lot of buttons available. Including four buttons dedicated to YouTube, Netflix, Disney Plus and Paramount Plus. So it’s a really good experience.

Buy at Walmart

Best Apple TV streamer: Apple TV 4K (2022)

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Perhaps the best streaming device in general, the Apple TV 4K is perfect for iPhone and iPad users

Apple has really nailed the TV experience with the Apple TV 4K. While many of you may not agree, once you use the platform, you’ll really understand why I’m saying this. Now, the Apple TV 4K is not cheap. We’re looking at $129 as a starting price. However, Apple does include 64GB of storage. That’s the most starting storage of any streamer on this list. And trust me, that storage is going to be put to good use.

I was always a hater of Apple TV, until they added a proper D-Pad on the remote. Prior to the current remote, Apple used a touchpad on the remote that was a real nuisance to navigate the operating system. In fact, I hated it so much that I returned my Apple TV the same day I bought it. Then, Apple revamped the remote, and now it’s 100x better.

This remote is pretty simple. There’s a power button in the top right corner, with the D-Pad front-and-center. Below that, there are buttons for back, home/TV, play/pause, mute, and the volume rocker. On the side is a button for Siri – trust me, you’ll never use it. The remote also charges via USB-C now, it was recently updated from Lightning.

The actual box is pretty small. and can be pushed behind the TV out of the way. It does include Ethernet, as well as an HDMI port, in addition to power, of course. So if you need faster Internet, you can connect it directly to your router.

The operating system on Apple TV is fantastic. You might have noticed there are no buttons specific to streaming services on the remote, and that translates to the software too. While these other platforms have ads all over your TV, Apple TV does not. It instead, has a grid of icons, similar to the iPhone. I was not a big fan of that at first. But it is much easier to navigate compared to Fire TV and Android TV.

Apple’s TV 4K does support 4K HDR resolution, as well as Dolby Vision, HLG and HDR10+. Giving you a fantastic picture, as long as your TV can support that. At $129, it does sound like a lot, when you can get a Roku for just $29. But the important thing to remember here is that you get what you pay for.

Buy at Target

Best Fire TV streamer: Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

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Top-notch performance, mixed with additional storage and a rather cheap price tag. 

Amazon recently revamped its Fire TV Stick 4K and 4K Max models. I reviewed the Fire TV Stick 4K Max this past Fall and found that it offers the best performance for its price, of any streamer. The Fire TV Stick 4K Max does have a starting price of $59.99, but this is Amazon, so it is generally lower than that. At the time of writing this, it’s actually on sale for $44.99.

With the second-generation Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max, the company did revamp the design a bit. It’s not a bit more curved, but still has flat sides. Not that this matters because you’ll never see it once you plug it in. I plugged mine into my TV three months ago, and have not looked at it since. So there’s that.

So what’s new with this one? Well, Amazon claims that it now has a powerful 2GHz quad-core processor, double the storage (16GB now), and it also offers WiFi 6E support for faster streaming. And I can confirm all of that. The performance of the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is truly incredible. Besides the NVIDIA SHIELD TV and the Apple TV 4K, this is the best performance you’ll find on a streaming device.

Of course, as you probably already figured out, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max does include Fire TV built-in. This platform is really impressive, giving you the ability to use Alexa to check on your smart home products, watch your favorite movies and TV shows, and much more. Fire TV does support most of the big apps, like Hulu, Disney Plus, Netflix and YouTube. Amazon also brought over its Ambient Experience from its Omni Fire TVs onto the Fire TV, which, honestly, I was not a big fan of at first. But it’s really great. Basically, you get three small widgets towards the bottom of the screen that show you different things. It’s almost like putting the Echo Show on your TV.

For $59.99, it’s going to be hard to find a streaming device that competes with the Fire TV Stick 4K Max. This has better performance, more storage, and better WiFi support, and it’s relatively cheap, too.

Buy at Amazon

Best Cheap Fire TV streamer: Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite

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All the best parts of Fire TV Stick, now in a cheaper package that is just $29.99

As much as I raved about the Fire TV Stick 4K Max, the Fire TV Stick Lite is also a really good purchase. If you have a TV that is not 4K, this is a great purchase since it does up to 1080p resolution, and it’s under $30. In fact, currently is listed as low as $18.

This is the “lite” version of the Amazon Fire TV Stick, which means that it’s not as powerful and does have just 8GB of storage like a lot of other streaming sticks. If you’re only using a couple of apps, then that’s going to be plenty. But that is something to keep in mind here.

You’ll still get the same great Fire TV experience that you’ll find on other Fire TV Sticks. This includes the ability to watch all sorts of great apps like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, YouTube, and more. Amazon Alexa is also included here, and it’s really great to use on Fire TV. As you’ll get notifications when your Amazon packages are delivered. You’ll also be able to control things like your Ring Video Doorbell, smart lights, and much more right from your TV. It’s such a great experience.

Buy at Amazon

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