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The Pros, Cons, and Prices of the Most Popular Streaming Devices

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When it comes to streaming content, there's no shortage of devices to choose from. As more consumers cut the cord, companies are rushing to provide streaming options that are simple, fast, and cost-effective.

But before you pull the trigger on a new streaming device, you'll want to consider the apps you need, whether 4K is a necessity and, of course, your budget. We're zeroing in on the biggest players and showcasing the pros, cons, and (of course) tips on how to get the best deals.

Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Price: $39.99 via Amazon or Best Buy

Pros: This is a second-generation device with some nice upgrades over the original. The Alexa voice-activated remote gets all the love, as it essentially turns your TV into an Amazon Echo. You can use it to book your next Uber or even order a pizza.

Cons: While the overall speed is superior compared to the original Fire TV Stick, some Slickdealers have reported occasional lagging here and there. It also doesn't support 4K content, which might be a deal breaker for some.

How to find the best deal: We've seen the price on this drop to only $24.99 on Amazon before, as focus has shifted to newer Fire TV devices. Expect even further discounts this Black Friday to clear out the remaining inventory.

Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD

Price: $69.99 via Amazon or Best Buy

Pros: This device adds 4K video to the popular Amazon Fire format. Plus, Amazon continues to push exciting 4K content to their Prime Video service.

Cons: The compact "stick" design is gone, though this new design allows for an ethernet adaptor. Sadly, there are no major benefits over the standard Fire Stick if you don't have a 4K TV -- just a higher price tag.

How to find the best deal: The price was down to just $34.99 this past Prime Day, and we imagine similar savings will appear around Black Friday.

Fire TV Cube

Price: $119.99 via Amazon or Best Buy

Pros: A built-in IR blaster and Alexa make for the perfect hands-free combo to control your TV, 4K streaming content, sound bar, and more. Alexa works with the TV off, and doesn't require you to talk into a remote.

Cons: The price is higher than most of the competition. Plus, some Slickdeals users have reported slow processing speeds when giving Alexa commands or trying to navigate content menus.

How to find the best deal: Amazon, surprisingly, recently dropped the price to an astounding $69.99 after mixed reviews. Plus, you can get up to $35 off if you trade in your current eligible streaming device.

Google Chromecast Ultra

Price: $69 via Best Buy and Target.

Pros: The Chromecast Ultra boasts 4K and HDR capabilities, so you can easily sync it up with your 4K TV for quick, high-quality streaming of all your favorite content. It can also be controlled by your voice when partnered with a Google Home device.

Cons: Unlike many other streaming devices, the Chromecast Ultra does not come with a remote. Instead, you'll have to use a smartphone, tablet, or computer enabled with compatible apps to get it rolling. Apple users will also miss out on certain features, like screen sharing for apps without a built-in "cast" feature. One other downer -- Amazon Video isn't supported by Chromecast.

How to find the best deal: Look out for bundle deals. Target has offered $15 off if you buy Google Home Mini and Chromecast together. Best Buy also promoted a price of $149 for Google Home, Chromecast Ultra, and six months of Google Play Music when purchased together with Visa Checkout.

Roku Streaming Stick+

Price: $69.99 via Amazon or Best Buy

Pros: Like most other streaming devices, you can use Roku to access your favorite platforms, including Netflix, Hulu, and other apps, in stunning 4K Ultra HD. Plus, its quad-core processor makes it one of the fastest streaming sticks on the market today.

Cons: There are so many apps available on the Roku, not all of them are polished or reliable.

How to find the best deal: Discounts on the Stick+ have been hard to come by, with rare deals for as little as $50. Watch for further savings as we head into the holidays.

NVIDIA Shield TV

Price: $179.99 via Amazon or Best Buy

Pros: The ultimate device for streaming your favorite PC games and 4K content to your TV. NVIDIA Shield TV also supports external storage to store more movies or games to your flash storage or hard drive.

Cons: The price is significantly higher than most other 4K streaming devices. Additionally, because it runs Android TV, it really only works best for people who use that ecosystem for content.

How to find the best deal: Best Buy offered a $30 coupon for the Shield to anyone who traded in an older eligible streaming device. The NVIDIA Shield TV and Shield Controller do pop up frequently on our forums, so be sure to keep an eye out for the next sale.

Apple TV 4K

Price: $179.99 via Apple or Best Buy

Pros: This is one of the fastest and most capable 4K streaming devices on the market if you're in the Apple ecosystem. You can quickly and easily share your content or screen from most Apple computers, iPads, or iPhones.

Cons: It certainly has an Apple price tag, and might not make sense for people who don't use an Apple device or have Apple media within their library.

How to find the best deal: The newest Apple TV 4K was offered for free as part of a popular promotion from DirectTV when you paid for three months of service up front. We've also seen deals offering the Apple TV 4K for less than $150, so be sure to set a Deal Alert to stay up to date on the latest offers!

 



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About the Author
Nolan Browning Contributor

Nolan is an avid automotive, electronic, and gadget enthusiast. If it has an engine or a processor, he can't keep his hands off it. He was introduced to Windows 3.1 in the early '90s and has been hooked ever since. Deal alerts include "mechanical keyboard," "smart watch," and "bulk candy."


2 Comments

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This comment has been rated as unhelpful by Slickdeals users
Joined Aug 2009
L1: Learner
23 Posts
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#2
Thank you for the info. I either own or have owned 3 of the newest versions of what you reviwed (didnt have a chromecast) While the Apple TV is the fastest, the remote is a nightmare to navigate apps such as Directv Now. Personally I recommend the Roku 4k Units and on 10/7 there will be a Walmart exclusive quad core Premiere with voice recognition for about 50 dollars. The value there seems unbeatable
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Joined Sep 2016
L5: Journeyman
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Pro
#3
Nvidia Shield is the best and it's not even close. Roku is decent too. The rest are "Meh" at best.
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