With Netflix and Amazon creating amazing new shows seemingly every other day, coupled with the commercial filled madness that is traditional TV, you may be looking to cut the cord and buy yourself some sort of streaming media device. But what exactly should you buy and why? A few years ago the market was pretty thin, and your choices were limited. Today however, there are multiple high-quality devices designed to brings the wonders of the internet to your television screen.
The best device for you will depend on your TV, your upgrade plans, what content you enjoy the most and what services you may already be invested in. Let’s cover some of the best and most popular options for getting digital content to your screen.
Roku is one of the oldest names in the realm of standalone media streamers, and their expertise shines through in their current offerings. With no less than five standalone devices and embedded technology deals with TV companies like TCL and Phillips, Roku makes some of the best and most well rounded devices on sale today. They support basically every major streaming service available from Hulu and Netflix to HBO Go, YouTube, and DirecTV Now.
If you want something small and easy to hide, the Roku Streaming Stick and Streaming Stick Plus options are solid choices. They plug directly into your TV, so they are ideal for wall-mounted setups to reduce cable clutter. With a cost of $50 for the Stick and $70 for the Stick Plus, they are some of the most affordable units on sale. If you are a standard HD TV owner and don’t have any plan to upgrade to a 4K TV, the Stick is all you need. The Stick Plus adds HDR and 4K compatibility, so it’s the choice for anyone looking to get a more future-proof unit.
If you need a device for someone who is new to streaming technology, or someone who has a much older television, the Roku Express devices could be what you need. These small devices are designed to sit on a TV stand, so they are a bit more familiar to users. At a price between $30 and $35 depending on your unit, the price here is unbeatable. The advantage of the Express Plus is an included adapter that converts the HDMI from the Roku into the older RCA composite connection, making it usable on nearly any TV made in the last three decades.
Finally, for the most powerful and feature-filled Roku experience, the $99 Roku Ultra is the answer. It supports SD cards for local media playback, all the streaming services you could ask for, 4K resolution with HDR playback, and it comes with smart extra features like a headphone jack on the remote that lets you listen to your shows without disturbing anyone else.