With more and more people choosing to stream their favorite movies and television programs in the comfort of their own home, streaming services have become more and more popular. Selecting from such big names like Apple TV, Roku, and Google, customers can purchase a device and TV stick bundle that works with their lifestyle, previous devices (some sink to Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, for example), and technology preferences. The stick is plugged directly into the HDMI port of their television sets, instantly turning them into "smart TV's", complete with an accompanying remote.
Some require no subscription fee (Roku) for its thousands of films as well as free movie channels, while others (Amazon Fire Stick) provide much more content if you’re already paying for Amazon Prime Video. All of them can be set up in minutes, and offer you all your favorite streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video, as well as the opportunity to play games, check the weather, and surf the web with a variety of apps. Here are the best TV stick services currently available.
8 ROKU STREAMING
Roku is one of the biggest heavy hitters in the world of streaming tv sticks. It’s known for packing a powerful punch that won’t punch a hole in your wallet. Access over 500,000 of your favorite movies and television series with its voice remote, including the ability to alter the volume. With its easy-to-use, intuitive navigation, you can easily search hundreds of channels or streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, etc) by voice command, or download the free mobile app for iOS and Android if that’s more your speed.
Wherever you go, Roku goes too, offering you smooth HD picture quality whether you’re overnight at a friend's, traveling on business, or chilling in your dorm room with no subscription fee. Best of all, you can stream local channels without the need for a TV antenna, as well as utilize the Roku Channel directly, with hundreds of free films. It requires an HDMI input and has 1080p HD quality, and up-scales from 720p.
7 ROKU ULTRA
For fans of Roku that want the ultimate streaming experience, look no further than the Roku Ultra. It has all the same great features of the Roku streaming service; a voice remote that also allows you to control volume as well as search hundreds of channels, over 500,000 of your favorite television programs and films, all with no subscription fee. It also boasts some great new additions, like a lost remote finder function, a headphone jack for privacy, a nighttime mode that lowers the volume on explosions and raises the volume on softly-spoken dialogue.
The Roku Ultra is the most high-powered of all the Roku products, streaming in HD, 4K, and HDR, with added connectivity with its dual-band wireless and ethernet port. It also features gaming buttons to play video games, a Micro SD card slot, and a USB port. Stream through all your favorite premium platforms like Netflix, HBO NOW, Amazon Prime Video, and SHOWTIME, as well as news and sports channels.
6 ALEXA FIRE STICK
For those that are fans of Alexa Fire TV’s streaming service, the Fire TV stick will provide the most comprehensive streaming experience. Now with the second generation Alexa voice controlled remote, you can search through hundreds of your favorite channels as well as control the volume and soundbar on your TV. It even has storage capabilities for your favorite apps and games, more than any other stick on the market.
Scroll through Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, STARZ, and CBS All Access, and stream free content with Pluto TV, IMDb TV, and more. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you get access to the thousands of television show and films in its database, as well as the ability to listen to hundreds of songs via Prime Music. Perhaps best of all, you have access to Alexa’s skills, giving you the ability to play games, check the news, access live camera feeds, meal prep, dim the lights, or search the web. It also pairs conveniently with Bluetooth devices, like headphones, for some added privacy.
5 ALEXA 4K FIRE STICK BUNDLE
For fans of the Alexa Fire Stick, this slightly more expensive bundle offers all of the great features of the original Alexa Fire Stick but with the added bonus of streaming brilliant 4K picture quality, as well as arriving with an Amazon ethernet adapter and a 2-year protection plan. The original warrant is only 90 days, so this protection plan covers everything from a damaged or lost remote to any technical glitches you may encounter. The Alexa Voice Remote has also been improved, with quicker response time and more intuitive settings.
Along with the 4K streaming and the new Wi-Fi antenna optimized for your Ultra HD experience, your favorite streaming platforms are still accessible (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, etc), as well as the ability to stream free content on Pluto TV and IMDb Freedive. Your favorite television programs and films will also sound their best with the Dolby Atmos immersive sound. Like the original Alexa Fire Stick, you’ll also have access to all the Alexa skills, such as checking the weather, surfing the web, listening to podcasts, or watching fitness videos.
4 APPLE TV 4K
Apple TV is one of the biggest streaming competitors besides Roku and Alexa Fire TV, and thanks to Siri, has all the same voice remote control functions. It has the added bonus of being synced up with your iPhone and iPad, allowing you to broadcast the photos and videos you access onto your television. In fact, by downloading the Apple TV 4K app, you can turn your iPhone and iPad into a remote control if you want a more tactile sensation over your Siri remote.
Experience your favorite streaming formats like Netflix, iTunes, Hulu, and ESPN, as well as thousands of Apple apps in 4K HDR, which offers a clearer, brighter picture than 4K alone. Your favorite movies and television shows will sound like you’re at the cinema with the Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 surround sound, while the A10X Fusion chip provides ultra-fast graphics and powerful performance. And if you have HomeKit-linked devices, the app for Apple TV allows you to shut the garage door, check the locks in your home, and access your home’s heating and air-conditioning devices.
3 GOOGLE CHROMECAST ULTRA
A titan in the realm of streaming services, the Google Chromecast Ultra gives you everything you love about your Chromecast and then some! It’s renowned for not locking customers into a single platform. With the use of your phone, tablet, laptop, or any other device, you can control what you watch, as well as the volume, from anywhere in your home. If you have Android 4.2 or higher, Mac OS 10.9 or higher, Windows 7 or higher, or iOS 9.1, you can enjoy all your favorite television shows and movies when you want, wherever you want. Even enjoy Youtube, photos, and live tv from a variety of devices.
Like Alexa Fire and Apple TV, Chromecast has apps that provide you with videos, games, sports, music, and of course Netflix, HBO NOW, and all your favorite premium streaming services. Coupled with Google Home, you can access your content with voice command, and while it optimizes 4K HDR compatible televisions, it will automatically upscale the picture quality on your television to be optimal.
2 RIKOMAGIC MINI PC
For some, the big streaming devices aren’t for them, and they want something that connects more intuitively with their television based on devices they already have. They may even use them in conjunction with Roku or Google Chromecast, appreciating the freedom they afford. The Rikomagic Android Mini PC Media Player gives you many of the same features of the biggest streaming devices, but without locking yourself into their accompanying products.
The RKM Android Mini PC Media Player will turn your “dumb” television into a smart TV with the use of the HDMI port of your existing television. You can then sync it up with all of your devices, such as tablets, laptops, and smartphones. It has brilliant 4K picture quality, as well as 2 GB of RAM and 16g of ROM, and includes a Wi-Fi Gbit Ethernet cable and Bluetooth 4.0 capabilities. It comes with several pre-installed apps, such as Netflix and Hulu, but more can be downloaded from any app store, such as Google Play.
1 ANDROID 9.0 TV BOX
For those that want even more freedom from streaming devices, but all the same features, as well as ultra-fast response time and lots of internal storage, look no further than the Android 9.0 TV Box. It comes with the latest Android 9.0 OS, and is powered by the Allwinner H6 Quad Core Cortex high-frequency CPU, which makes sure to load movies, images, and games with zero buffering time. It supports 2.4G/5G Dual-Band Wi-Fi and gives a strong, sturdy signal with its built-in dual antenna. Bluetooth 5.0 technology also means you can access something from more than 20 meters away without glitches.
The Android 9.0 TV Box comes with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of ROM, providing lots of storage for any apps you want to download. The 64 bit CPU means you’ll never have to wait for them to load and can get straight to streaming your favorite movies and television shows. Enjoy them in 4K UHD, with H.265 decoding technology saving 50% bandwidth, which means even less buffering time for you.
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