The 6 Best Streaming Media Players Reviewed
Gone are the days of waiting for your favorite show to come on, with the advent of streaming getting entertainment on demand became easier than ever. No matter if you’re looking to watch the game, put on your favorite movie, or even listen to your favorite musicians, streaming allows you to relax your way, no matter what time of day it is.
There are countless streaming media players on the market, from the big names like Roku and Apple TV to niche streamers that offer you specific programs you wouldn’t find anywhere else. And with so many options to choose from, it can be hard to pick which streaming media player is right for you and your family. That’s why we’ve gone ahead and put together some of the best streaming media players on the market, so you can narrow down your options and choose with confidence.
To pick the best of the best, we’ve gone ahead and narrowed down the options by price, popularity, customer reviews, available options, convenience, and a variety of other factors so you can rest easy knowing you are choosing the best option for you.
Best Streaming Media Players
Without further ado, here are the best streaming media players of 2020:
If you’ve never heard of the Fire Stick, you’ve never heard of streaming. This device offers you the wide world of entertainment services in one convenient location. Backed by Amazon’s Alexa for easy-to-use voice command options, this streaming service offers you all the options of Amazon Prime in one convenient location. But don’t just think this streaming service only uses Prime, far from it. The Fire TV Stick comes with tens of thousands of channels to choose from, on top of the 500,000+ movies and TV shows available through Prime.
With the Fire TV Stick, you’re not restricted to just movies and TV shows. With access to live streaming platforms, you can catch the latest game, or watch live news and events from the comfort of your home, without messing around with finding the right channel or missing your favorite show. As a bonus, this streaming stick comes with 8 GB of storage, so you can download countless apps and shows without worrying about running out of space. And of course, like any good streaming service, the Fire TV Stick allows you access to countless games for hours of entertainment.
If you’re looking for a streaming media player that gives you the versatility of Alexa with the nearly unlimited options of Amazon Prime, this is by far the best choice out there. Whether you’re looking to watch the game, catch up on your binge-watching, or looking to watch YouTube on the big screen, this media player has everything you need to take your entertainment to the next level. After all, it’s hard to agree with nearly 200,000 customer reviews.
Roku is another unmistakable name in the streaming game, and for good reason. With a line of TVs as well as streaming media players, this company knows how to take entertainment up a notch. The Roku Streaming Stick+ offers you the tried-and-true quality of Roku, with added features like an upgraded range and voice commands, not to mention thousands upon thousands of channels for your enjoyment. Not only is the Roku Streaming Stick+ a great option for anyone looking to streamline their streaming, it is compatible with Amazon’s Alexa, allowing you to control your TV with voice alone. With HD and 4K compatibility, this streaming stick makes sure you never have to compromise on video quality.
What gives the Roku Streaming Stick+ a leg up over a Roku TV is that this streaming stick is compact and ready for travel, meaning you can bring it with you to hotel rooms or on vacation, allowing you to take the comfort of home wherever you go, without having to worry about lugging around heavy equipment or countless Blu-ray discs. This streaming stick is also a dream for the new parent, as the convenient mobile app allows you to customize the volume of your TV show without blasting through your speakers, allowing you to ditch the captions without waking up the baby.
If you’re looking to expand your entertainment options without driving your cable bill through the roof, this is an incredible streaming media player option that’s sure to be loved by your whole family. And with over 15,000 reviews, you can rest easy knowing you’re getting one of the best streaming media players out there.
For anyone who feels iffy on Alexa listening in during TV time, the Roku Premiere offers the same benefits as the Roku Streaming Stick+, with a more permanent design. While this program is still optimized to work with both Alexa and Google Assistant, the voice features are not built into the streaming stick itself, giving you that extra level of privacy. Unlike the streaming stick, this streaming media player is built to work with an HDMI cable, similar to most cable boxes. Unlike cable, the Roku Premiere is compact, easy to set up, and offers you thousands of apps and programs at the press of a button, no matter what time of day you decide to indulge.
Like the other Roku product on our list, the Roku Premiere offers thousands of channels, as well as private listening through the mobile app. The premium high-speed HDMI cable that’s included in this package ensures you don’t have to worry about buffering or pixelation while watching your favorite shows, and this product is optimized for HD, 4k, or HDR for sharper resolution and more vibrant colors, no matter what program you’re watching. While it is worth noting this product is not as compact as the Roku Streaming Stick+, it is still travel-friendly and allows you to take the entertainment wherever you go. If you’re looking for a streaming media player that offers you countless options all in one convenient location, the Roku Premiere is where it’s at.
While Apple TV 4K is lower on this list than some of the other options out there, you can’t deny that Apple makes quality entertainment products that are sure to please. Not only does Apple TV come with all of the shows and apps you know and love, but it also gives you access to Apple TV+ for one year, giving you access to tons of original content put out by Apple. This streaming service is made to work with 4K enable TVs and includes the incredible Dolby Vision for jaw-dropping picture quality, whether you’re revisiting the grandeur of Avatar to simply watching the next episode of Breaking Bad. Apple TV 4K also comes equipped with Dolby Atmos for insane sound quality that will help you immerse yourself in the world of your favorite show thanks to theatre-level sound quality that is sure to stun.
The Siri-equipped remote makes searching for your favorite show that much easier, and don’t think just because you’re choosing Apple over a Fire Stick you’re missing out on Prime. Apple TV 4K comes with Prime Video capabilities, allowing you to watch your favorite shows on-demand. If you’re looking for seamless streaming between devices, Apple TV 4K allows you to screen share from your iPad or iPhone to your TV, giving you that added level of flexibility so you can share what you’re passionate about with your family.
While this product is a bit on the pricier side compared to some of the other streaming services we’ve talked about, the guaranteed Apple quality of this product, as well as access to the Apple Genius Bar for any questions or concerns you may have, make this an ideal streaming option for anyone looking to up their entertainment game. It is also worth noting that you don’t need an Apple brand TV to take advantage of Apple TV 4K, making it that much more accessible to customers.
“But reviewer,” you might think, “You’ve already included a Fire streaming device!” While you are not wrong, reader, it is worth noting that the Fire TV Cube takes streaming to the next level by directly integrating the wonders of Alexa and voice control into your streaming device. Control your TV hands-free, as well as lighting in your home and volume options for your TV. Search countless channels using only your voice, and set up movie night without digging around for the remote. For those worried about leaving the voice commands on, there’s an easy off button to help you maintain your privacy, just make sure to turn it back on before starting your next Friends binge.
This streaming device allows access to countless movies and TV shows, and even comes with a subscription to the Food Network for those culinary enthusiasts out there. With countless HD, HDR, and HDR10+ programs to choose from, and Dolby Vision support, this streaming device allows you to get more out of your TV all with one convenient product. While this is a bit bulkier than some of the other streaming options out there, the combined convenience of Alex and a streaming device in one make this product nearly irresistible, and it’s worth noting that this set comes with a remote so you don’t always have to rely on Alexa to search movies for you. Worried you’ll miss out on Alexa’s features once TV time is over? Think again. This product allows you to use Alexa to play music, search the weather, and more without having to have your TV on, giving you the best of both worlds.
If you’re looking for a high-tech option to help you take your viewing experience to the next level, without having to worry about diving for the remote every time you want to change the volume, the Fire TV Cube is a worthwhile investment that will have you enjoying your favorite shows and movies like never before. If you’re looking for one of the best streaming options on the market, the Fire TV Cube is sure to please.
Google Chromecast (3rd Generation) is a unique product on our list in that it is developed to allow you to stream things from your laptop to your computer from virtually anywhere in your home. If you’re looking to play a video game on the big screen, or are looking to share your favorite Crunchyroll show without having to fuss with the app, Chromecast has you covered. Not only does this device give you access to thousands of streaming apps like HBO, Disney+, and more, this device is compact and unobtrusive, making it ideal for taking with you on vacation or even from room to room. This streaming device comes equipped with voice commands, allowing you to find your favorite shows without diving for the remote, and the convenient streaming service allows you to transfer videos from playing on your phone or laptop to your TV with just the tap of a button.
One of the best upsides of the Google Chromecast (3rd Generation) is that it can be used on older TVs, making it ideal for those looking to jump into the world of streaming, without worrying about having to upgrade their entertainment center. With up to 1080p at 60 fps, this streaming option allows you to watch your favorite shows at high res without worrying about upgrading your equipment. If you’re looking for a seamless streaming option that will have you enjoying your shows like never before, Google Chromecast (3rd Generation) is a great baseline streaming service that offers you the convenience of voice command and the versatility of steaming apps, while also allowing phone and computer compatibility, making it perfect for everyone from busy families to single gamers looking to switch things to the big screen.
Frequently Asked Questions About Streaming Media Players
How Can I Choose the Best Streaming Device?
The easiest answer to this question is to figure out what you’re looking for from a streaming device before you start shopping. Are you looking to entertain your kids? Do you want to watch HBO original series as soon as they come out? Or are you simply looking for an easier way to listen to Pandora or Spotify? All of these are valid options for streaming devices but may influence which product you go for. For things like streaming music, you may be better served to go with Fire TV or Chromecast, while if you’re looking for original series you may want to check Apple exclusives to see which streaming service offers better deals. Generally, most mainstream streaming devices offer many of the same apps, allowing you to watch the shows you desire no matter what product you go with. The true deliberation comes down to personal taste and pricing, as well as the quality of your TV.
Can Streaming Devices Save Me Money on Cable?
In general, the answer is of course yes. Streaming devices allow you to tailor your program preferences to what you watch, and nothing more than that, meaning you can cut back on unwanted programs or bundles that would usually increase your monthly fees with cable companies. Except for some apps or programs (like HBO subscriptions), most streaming apps are largely free, meaning you don’t have to worry about monthly bills, which can significantly cut down on costs. If you’re worried about missing out on local news stations, most streaming devices can get live TV or similar apps, so you don’t have to miss big announcements or events in the world. In general, a streaming device can all but replace your traditional cable service, making it ideal for cutting back on cable bills without giving up entertainment quality.
For more information on cord cutting, watch this great video: