The best media streaming devices 2019: reviews and buying tips

It is an excellent time to buy a media streaming device, whether you have cut the cable or are looking to complement your TV package with an online video service like Netflix, Hulu or a newcomer like Apple TV + or Disney + . Compared to the typical smart TV, independent transmitters such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and the new Nvidia Shield TV tend to have a greater selection of applications, faster performance and more features. And with so much competition among device manufacturers, the hardware is becoming faster, more capable and more affordable.

We constantly test all the latest devices, including Roku players, Fire TV devices, Android TV devices, Apple TV and Chromecast. We review each new generation of hardware and constantly review the selection of software and applications so that we can help you determine which platform is right for you. Here are our selections for the best gearboxes and sticks, along with all our latest product reviews. Our recommendations will change over time as new products reach the market.

Updated December 13, 2019 to add our revised review of the Roku Streaming Stick +. We had reviewed this device when it was launched in 2017, but Roku has made a number of improvements to its software that we thought warranted a new look.

The best 4K HDR transmission device

Amazon did almost everything right with its latest transmission device. The Amazon Fire TV 4K, of course, supports 4K streaming, but also offers all the HDR formats you could want (including HDR10 + and Dolby Vision), supports Dolby Atmos soundtracks for truly immersive audio, and It includes hardware-accelerated MPEG-2 video decoding for cable cutters who wish to stream live TV through their home networks.

You will also find Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant on board, and the new remote control can control the power and volume of your TV, including a mute function. It is not absolutely perfect: YouTube TV subscribers will be disappointed to hear that they have been ignored, but it is the best media streaming hardware deal you can buy today.

Runner-up

While it hit the market at this time in 2017, the Roku Streaming Stick + remains a strong competitor, and is a great option for YouTube TV subscribers. You will find many things that you will like in the Roku user interface, its dual band 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter and its remote control. Of course, it is a 4K transmission, but it only supports conventional HDR, not HDR + or Dolby Vision.

If you don’t need the strongest Wi-Fi capabilities offered by the Roku Streaming Stick +, the latest version of the Roku Premiere + offers many of the same features and costs $ 10 less.

The best voice controlled media transmitter

Voice control is the future of the smart home, and Amazon is closer to delivering it in the living room with its second-generation Amazon Fire TV Cube. Could it be even better? Of course, and our review points out how the areas where it still falls short. But nothing else is coming, yet.

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