When it comes to streaming content, there’s no shortage of devices to choose from. If you have at least one HDMI port on your smart TV, you are one click of the remote away from a world of entertainment. And with services like Netflix, Hulu and Prime Video pumping billions of dollars into content, there is no better time to say goodbye to cable. As more consumers cut the cord, companies are rushing to provide streaming services with high-res UHD and 4K options that are simple, high quality and cost-effective.
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. In some cases, a Blu-ray player or a smart TV like the Apple TV or Fire TV might be a better fit. To help connect you with the perfect streaming device for your lifestyle, we’re zeroing in on the biggest players and showcasing the pros, cons and (of course) how to get the best deals.
Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote
Retail Price: $39.99 via Amazon
This is a third-generation device and is not much different than its predecessor, but it is a lot faster.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and enjoy HDR and 4K content.It doesn’t support 4K content, which might be a deal-breaker for some. For an extra $10, you can buy the
We often see low prices for Fire Sticks during Amazon Prime Days, as well as Black Friday, so keep an eye out for that this year.
Fire TV Stick with 4K Ultra HD
Retail Price: $49.99
Current Sale Price: $29.99 via Amazon
This device adds 4K video to the popular Amazon Fire format. It also offers support for Dolby Vision, HDR and HDR10+. The 8GB of memory on the stick allows you to store even more apps and games to entertain yourself. Plus, Amazon continues to push exciting 4K content to its Prime Video service.
Since this is one of the most popular and affordable 4K streaming devices out there, it often sells out. Keep your eyes peeled to snag one of these.
Amazon occasionally sends out targeted 50% off coupons for this product, so be patient and maybe you’ll get lucky.
To help you save even more, you can also look into Amazon’s Upgrade and Trade-In program. If you wanted to upgrade to the 4K Fire TV Stick from your standard one, you can save an additional by trading in your old device.
NordVPN can help you make the most of whatever streaming services you already subscribe to. If you connect your home internet network to a VPN, you can browse international streaming content and gain access to a variety of films and TV shows that aren’t available in the U.S. The ultra-secure Wi-Fi connection and enhanced privacy is just an added bonus!
Since NordVPN doesn’t offer a standalone streaming machine, you’ll need to acquire a separate streamer or smart device to use this service. You can use your PC to stream content via Nord, but its still worth considering when planning out your ideal home media setup.
Buy in bulk. If you know you’ll need a VPN for the foreseeable future, you can get up to 72% off with two years of service for $3.29 per month (or $79.00). If you’re experimenting with VPNs, you can also opt for a single year at $4.92 per month (or $59.00). All Nord’s plans are supported by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so if you’re not happy with the results, you can always cancel in the first month with no penalty.
This portion of the article has been sponsored by NordVPN.
Fire TV Cube
Retail Price: $119.99 via Amazon
An infrared extender cable and built-in Alexa functionality make this the perfect hands-free set-top streamer to control your TV, soundbar and more. Alexa works when your TV is off and doesn’t require you to talk into a remote, making the Fire TV Cube a valuable household utility in addition to a home theater device.
The Fire TV Cube’s price is higher than most of the competition.
Roku Streaming Stick+
Current Sale Price: $29.00 via Amazon
Like most other streaming devices, you can use this second-generation Roku streaming stick to access your favorite platforms, including Netflix, Hulu and other apps in stunning 4K UHD. Plus, its quad-core processor makes this Roku streamer one of the fastest streaming sticks on the market today. Like many other Roku offerings, its entry-level price point makes this HDMI streaming mainstay a valuable asset to your budget-friendly home theater setup.
There are so many apps available on the Roku Streaming Stick +, but not all of them are polished or reliable. Sure, the most popular services will be fine (if there’s a button for it built into the remote, you don’t have to worry about it), but it can be frustrating to shovel through loads of useless apps to find the hidden gems you care about. If that is an issue, you might have better luck with a fancier option like the Roku Ultra.
Discounts on the Roku Stick+ have been hard to come by, but right now it’s 36% off at Amazon.
NVIDIA SHIELD TV
The ultimate device for streaming your favorite PC games and 4K content to your TV, NVIDIA SHIELD TV also supports external storage so you can house more movies and/or games via a MicroSD card.
High-end features aside, the price is significantly higher than most other 4K and HDR-enabled streaming devices. Additionally, because it runs on Android, it works best for people who use that ecosystem for content. If you’re used to a Chromecast or other smart products are made by Apple or Google, you may find yourself frustrated when you try to sync everything up.
has offered a $30 coupon before for the last generation SHIELD to anyone who traded in an older eligible streaming device, so check for other trade-in deals before you buy. The NVIDIA SHIELD TV and SHIELD Controller do pop up frequently on our forums, so be sure to keep an eye out (or better yet, set a Deal Alert) for the next sale.Best Buy
NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro
Retail Price: $199.99 via Amazon
Samsung SmartThings. You can control your device using Google Assistant or Alexa for easy hands-free control.The price for the SHIELD TV Pro is up there, but you are definitely getting what you pay for according to the many online reviews. The Pro offers slight upgrades to the specs of the SHIELD TV with more RAM, double the storage and added support for
The SHIELD TV Pro’s biggest improvement is the expandable storage. With the SHIELD TV Pro, you have two USB ports versus the MicroSD Card slots of its predecessor. As you can imagine, this really ups the potential capacity of this device. Besides the specs, NVIDIA has given the Pro a clean design that makes it clear this machine was built for gaming.
If you are looking to just stream TV, the price of the Pro is not justifiable. For those who do intend to take advantage of GeForce Now, the NVIDIA SHIELD Controller is no longer part of the package and must be purchased separately. This adds another $60 to the price tag to use the SHIELD TV Pro to its full potential.
Arguably the biggest hurdle to overcome with the NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro is (for now) finding one. Although an updated model came out in October 2019, it’s often out of stock at Best Buy, Walmart, Target and many of the other major retailers.
Deal Alert page to set up your notifications.Since the NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro sells out quickly, there haven’t been too many notable discounts for it. But every so often, one will pop up — last year, a Black Friday holiday deal knocked $19.99 off the sticker price. If you want to snag a rare deal on a NVIDIA Shield TV Pro, head over to our
Apple TV 4K
Retail Price: $149.00 via Walmart
This is one of the fastest and most capable 4K streaming devices on the market if you’re in the Apple ecosystem. With this Apple TV streaming device, you can quickly and easily share your tvOS on-screen content from most Apple computers, iPads or iPhones.
The Apple TV 4K certainly has an Apple price tag, and might not make sense for people who don’t already use Apple devices or have streaming Apple media within their libraries. Even if you do, a regular non-4K Apple TV might do the job just fine.
Apple products hardly ever go on sale, but you can still enjoy previous models for slightly lower price with similar specs.
With all sorts of holidays and sales to look forward to in the future, the aforementioned streaming devices (as well as Chromecast and other popular streamers) may be due for some deep discounts. To make sure you don’t miss out, head over to our Deal Alert page to set up your notifications.
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And in the meantime, check out this movie deal from our Frontpage:
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