The best streaming devices to keep you entertained while you’re stuck at home
Catch up all the shows you’ve missed out on with any of these streaming devices.
It’s starting to seem like going outdoors is canceled for the near future, with companies requiring working from home, schools shutting down and the end of most sporting seasons also getting shelved to combat the spread of the coronavirus. With all that time being spent at home, you’ll need a steady stream of content to watch to stave off the eventual cabin fever.
That means you’ll need something to stream to, especially if you’ve got an older TV without smart functionality. We’ve used most of the media streaming devices on the market so here are our favorites.
Apple TV 4K 32GB ($179)
If all you want is the best device to stream 4K content on, grab yourself an Apple TV 4K. The UI is slick, it’s got all the streaming services you could ask for, and as a bonus, you get a free year of Apple TV+. Sure, it’s more expensive than most of the other streaming boxes, but like most Apple devices, it’s worth the upsell. It’s got Dolby Vision, great voice control, a sweet remote and flexible upscaling that will get the best out of whatever content you throw at it.
Roku Ultra ($99)
This might not be the cheapest Roku, but it’s the best option if you want extra shortcuts on your remote. There are two assignable ones to expand your shortcuts, and another button on top of the Roku Ultra to find your remote if it gets lost. The included Ethernet port is great if your home WiFi is spotty, and there’s a good reason that there are so many Roku devices on this list – the UI is super easy to use.
Fire TV Stick 4K ($50)
If you’re heavily into the Amazon ecosystem, this is the streaming device for you to get. For $50, you get 4K Ultra HD, Dolby Vision, HDR, and HDR10+, easy access to Amazon Prime streaming, and a huge catalog of other streaming services and even games. The Alexa-enabled remote is a joy to use, and it’s also got Dolby Atmos on supported content, so it’ll sound just as good as it looks.
Nvidia Shield Android TV ($150)
There’s one clear reason to grab the Nvidia Shield Android TV over the rest of the list, and that’s compatibility with GeForce NOW game streaming. Sure, you have to add a controller for $60, but then you have one of the most feature-packed streaming solutions on this list. Play all your existing PC games, stream video from Google Play Video, VUDU, Netflix, or any of the streaming services you subscribe to. It’s even got inbuilt Chromecast 4K so you can cast anything off your mobile devices, works with Steam Link, and has access to Android’s catalog of games.
Xbox One S All-Digital 1 TB ($160)
It’s been a while since the Xbox One S was released but it’s still one of the best media streaming devices on the market. Sure, you lose the Blu-ray drive if you buy the all-digital version, but you also don’t have to pay the price premium and also, who’s buying Blu-rays nowadays anyway? Tap into a world of gaming, content and other time-wasters with one of the best controllers and console experiences you can have.
Chromecast Ultra ($69)
Google’s latest Chromecast device is the Ultra, and it’s packed with goodies. Cast nearly anything from any of your home devices to it in 4K goodness, or pair it with a controller and play Google Stadia on your TV. It’s got dual-band AC WiFi, an inbuilt Ethernet port, and is powered via USB so you can run it from the USB port on your TV if you prefer to not snake cables everywhere.
Roku Soundbar ($180)
Watching all your favorite content is great, but don’t forget about the audio part of the equation. I mean, the speakers on most TVs are terrible, so it really pays to have an external set or a soundbar. Roku combined the best streaming player UI with a soundbar and then gave it a price that’s a steal. Add the wireless subwoofer to really get the best out of your content.
TCL 50 inch Roku TV ($270)
If you don’t want to deal with wires, and your TV is due a refresh, check out one of the 2019 crop of TVs from TCL’s partnership with Roku. Roku’s UI is great, so using it as the smarts on a smart TV makes perfect sense. Even better when that TV has a 4K panel with HDR, and the usual confusing TV remote is replaced by a customizable Roku remote.
Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Tablet ($200)
If you need to keep the kids entertained before they climb the walls, this is the best tablet for you to grab. It’s got a 1080p resolution for clear content watching and comes with tons of extras like a “Kid-Proof Case,” a 2-year worry-free guarantee, and a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited for free. That’ll give your kids access to over 20,000 apps, games, books, videos, Audible books and more, with a heavy emphasis on educational content.
New Apple iPad 10.2-Inch ($280)
The best iPad of recent years is one of the best mobile content consumption devices to boot. It’s got a 10.2-inch Retina screen, Touch ID for security, a back-facing camera for those all-important FaceTime calls in these housebound days, and up to 10 hours of battery life so you don’t have to stay tethered to a wall socket. WiFi AC keeps that content coming smoothly, and there’s the whole of the App Store to play with, especially the gems in Apple Arcade.
- All The Streams (kinda) gives viewers free access to all of the major streaming services
- Netflix rolled out a top 10 list of its most-watched content – here’s how to access it
- NBC’s Peacock streaming service will be strutting its way to your screens on July 15
- It looks like 4K streaming is now rolling out for Google Stadia
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