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Best Streaming Players

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  • Set-Top-Box
Last response: in Streaming Video & TVs
April 28, 2014 2:02:06 PM

If you want to stream Netflix, Hulu or Amazon to your TV, you need a streaming media player. Here are the top picks for 2014.

Best Streaming Players 2014 : Read more

More about : streaming players 2014

December 5, 2014 8:10:10 PM

With the exception of the "G-Box Midnight MX2," which is outdated right now, what the author does not tell you is that he is not being too specific about these media form factor devices that are on the market right now. That is either because the author is unfamiliar with this, or because he chooses not to be clear about it, or because he thinks that if it is not paid video watching it is not worth it. What he should have called the article is : "The best paid video content media players." There is a whole new market for media streaming boxes that can not only act as second choice desktops but do media streaming and much more as part of their function. These are boxes such as the Probox2 EX, the MINIX Neo X8, the Rikomagic MK902II ,etc. These type of media streamers are much more powerful then this restricted, low functionality, low power boxes in the article. The form factor that I am talking about will become even more powerful once they start using google's new mobile operating system Lollipop.

What the boxes such as Apple, Roku boxes excel at is streaming paid video and not much more while the media boxes that I mentioned offer you the use of unrestricted applications use, the streaming of media through applications such as XBMC (KODI) ,and a lot more interaction with your media.

Many of these boxes have quad-core processors and powerful video processors that put Apple and Roku boxes to shame in terms function and even usability.

So, tech reviewers will soon be forced to make a distinction between specialized video
watch boxes and real media streaming boxes.
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December 14, 2014 12:03:43 PM

ROKU 3 is problematic to a small degree.. But the worst part of ROKU is that there is NO real CARING Customer support... For example... Failure to play files which are stated as playable (MKV and MP4 both H.264 Audio - NO Other Formats!!!) MKV if set to 5.1 will have no sound and many newer MP4 files will freeze the unit causing reset.... ROKU's answer.. CONVERT the File and to same format and try again... IN FACT Most questions are about failures to operate correctly are answered via FORM LETTER.
The Problem ROKU is hardwires the decoder.. NO upgradable Codecs are used.. thus any updates to Converter's Coders can not be upgraded to ROKU, and this unit is already years out of date.. Older files may work, but don't count on downloading newer files and having them work... THIS WILL ONLY GET WORST!
Next Problem: RESETS.. Seems that ROKU will on occasions.. especially in USB mode.. FREEZE and RESET..... This will drive you crazy.. Again.. Primary software is hardwired and very little update capability was put into this old unit...

BOTTOM LINE.. The ROKU 3 you by today is IDENTICAL to the units built 4 years ago.. Some minor software is updated as is the software in these older units.. but Major changes CAN NOT BE CORRECTED by software due to design. Considering inexpensive microprocessors and min. memory used. RODU could have used a software system that was fully upgradable also a good Upgradable Decoder COULD HAVE BEEN USED along with CODECS instead of limited hardwired Codes.. This would have allowed for ALL formats to be played and upgraded as changes are made...BASICALLY: They saved a buck in this $99 unit at the consumers COST!

I FEEL THAT PLACING this old unit at the top of the list is irresponsible of this site.. SIMPLE SELLS NuMBERS does not make the Better Product....
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January 15, 2015 8:06:29 PM

you don't mentioned Fire Tv that its completly wrong in my opinion is one of the best so far.
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January 19, 2015 8:00:49 PM

This review is for this media players that they are calling the best are the most basic and waste of money unit the more you use them the more you wish they could do and most of the unit listed can do half of what a good player can do for instance kdlink hd700 hd700 or a200 is listed and the are most definitely in the top 10 so I assuming top ten units you can pick up in Walmart or best buy
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February 1, 2015 2:53:31 PM

Good grief, nothing whatsoever here about devices optimized for file playback.

Move along... move along...
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April 15, 2015 10:26:46 AM

I cut the satellite cord a month ago and went with the ROKU3. I am loving it !! The only problem that I have encountered was I could only get a fragmented lined homepage a few days ago. I unplugged it from the power source and it reset. We had a power outage in my area that night. I'm not sure if that played a part but I've had no issues since. I'm glad I am no longer under Directv's thumb!!
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May 29, 2015 12:28:11 PM

Any android player with a decent processor can stream any game with the Limelight/Moonlight app as long as you have an Nvidia graphics card. I can stream any game with my Fire TV.
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May 31, 2015 3:33:14 PM

Quote:
you don't mentioned Fire Tv that its completly wrong in my opinion is one of the best so far.

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May 31, 2015 3:34:12 PM

I agree. I am looking at the Fire TV. It looks pretty good. Also, just today I saw a samsung device.
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June 21, 2015 8:40:37 AM

what's TOTALLY missing from the market is a simple web browser url locator to view ANYTHING so I can surf the net on my TV without a laptop and view hulu free version!!! Remember the good old days of WebTV?
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September 11, 2015 8:54:47 AM

Chromecast now supports HBO Now.
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October 28, 2015 6:51:36 AM

I use MCPlayer to stream with Chromecast on my Smart TV. Good quality and Dolby sound 5:1.
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December 4, 2015 1:18:05 PM

Too bad Roku is the WORST if you need anything after you buy it. Hours and hours and hours of put a gun to your head BS just to get simple answers if you are even lucky enough to get to someone. Do not expect any call backs if promised or any replies if you use their reply back system.
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January 14, 2016 6:55:44 AM

These kind of devices are very difficult to rate as it's so subjective. Someone who is heavily invested into the Apple universe with TV shows, movies and music all bought from Apple would benefit from an Apple TV. Someone who enjoys tinkering and playing around with their device might prefer a Raspberry Pi.
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February 23, 2016 4:28:04 PM

Chrome 2 has always done me right.
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May 16, 2016 10:19:36 PM

Important to know that Roku Streaming Stick for 2016 isn't supported and doesn't work with Time Warner Cable I was told here in Honolulu. But the fact that it takes the place of the "Digital Adapter" that is rented with a monthly fee of $10, covers the Roku 3 purchase price over a course of a year
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May 27, 2016 12:31:12 PM

this appears to be an ad. there is no mention at all about all the devices that have kodi.
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January 14, 2017 10:19:02 AM

I don't understand how comments from as far back as 2014 are on an article from 2017.
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January 14, 2017 12:27:56 PM

Viktoree said:
I don't understand how comments from as far back as 2014 are on an article from 2017.

The article gets re-written each year, but keeps the same URL and the same comments.
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March 17, 2017 9:03:22 AM

I don't see how Xbox One could be a better streaming box when Sony has Playstation Vue in its back pocket, ALONG WITH, more than likely, the same lineup of streaming apps.
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April 11, 2017 2:15:09 AM

How about the best 4K video streaming devices for Netflix, Hulu or Amazon streaming 4K video to your TV?
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April 19, 2017 3:53:07 AM

FannieJane said:
How about the best 4K video streaming devices for Netflix, Hulu or Amazon streaming 4K video to your TV?


Nvidia Shield.
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April 22, 2017 6:15:58 AM

Can the chomecast device be used as a stand alone streaming device? I don't think you can compare between Roku, the Shield and a connetting device like a chrome cast can you?
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April 25, 2017 8:57:30 AM

Looking into DirectTV Now as an alternative to Sling. Reports indicate that DirectTV Now will become compatible with Roku sometime during the first quarter of 2017. Does anyone know the status of this DirectTV Now/Roku marriage? Thank you!
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June 9, 2017 2:03:02 PM

The Roku remote is a battery hog. Using the headphones you will likely get no more than 10-12 hours life out of the two AA batteries - that adds up to about 4-6 batteries a week using Duracells.
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July 17, 2017 7:12:38 PM

If I'm not mistaken, the Apple TV is a less desired option due to the lack of 4K?
That certainly makes sense. However, in my household, we have not upgraded to 4K TVs, yet (it's very hard to find 73" or bigger TVs for a reasonable price: Our nine and ten year old 73" DLPs still work amazing).

Another issue I would take with Apple TV is that as of today, July 17, 2017, it does not have Amazon streaming. While it's easy enough to stream from an iPhone/iPad/Mac, it's not integrated. When that happens, later this year, then to me, Apple TV will be tops.
Perhaps it will come with Apple's usual fall upgrade line up, and the Apple TV will also have 4K? THEN, it will be a force to be reckoned with!
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August 6, 2017 8:46:25 AM

Failing to mention Sony's PlayStation game console was a serious omission, especially when you consider Sony's streaming TV service PlayStation Vue. The service was originally designed for the PS3 and PS4 game consoles, but it now works on several other platforms including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Windows/Mac computers, and others. Although Sling TV (among others) can be used on an XBox, Microsoft never developed its own native streaming application as Sony did with Vue. Because of the channel line-ups (including local channels), feature set, user interface, DVR service, and other factors, Vue has become one of the top-rated cord cutting alternatives. The PlayStation game consoles also support Blu-ray, other streaming services (e.g., Netflix), web browsing, etc.

In terms of performance, I've found the Amazon Fire TV and Roku 2 to be about the same. They both have various streaming issues, even when used with a wired Internet connection. The Amazon user interface strikes me as more refined than the Roku. My Roku TV only works with a WiFi connection, so it's streaming issues are the worst among my devices. All of my other streaming devices can connect via wired or wireless, so TCL blundered in its design of the Roku-enabled TV.
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October 18, 2017 11:08:17 AM

I am just looking for a easy to use WITHOUT INTERNET CONNECTION streaming device.
I currently have Roku's at home with an internet connection and the Roku's work fine enough.
But we have a cabin in the mountains that I loaded a NAS with movies.
The NAS is connected to a wireless router and I set up the Roku's while at home to connect to the router.
Took everything up to the cabin and set it up.
Again, works OK......until I want to do any changes (I wanted to remove all the channels but PLEX and Roku Media.
Can't do that without an internet connection!!

Basically my question is, is there a wireless streaming device that is stand alone?
No internet connection needed to make changes, and supports either PLEX or another app similar to that.
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October 18, 2017 3:13:23 PM

If you allow it to connect to the NAS via SMB rather than a streaming server (like Plex), Kodi (previously XBMC) works very well.

No internet required, runs on any PC and most android devices.
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October 19, 2017 9:26:51 AM

Wouldn't that mean that every 'non-smart' TV would have to have a PC attached to it?
This is why a small streaming device is so appealing.
Attaching a device like a 'stick' is so clean.
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October 19, 2017 4:08:24 PM

You can get sticks pre-loaded with Kodi, and there are plenty of Android ones for which it's just a case of installing it from the Play store.
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March 31, 2018 12:24:14 PM

I was treated to a performance by rveal. Easy to set up,outstanding versatility and quality but pricey. In my opinion this is a no brainer. Why don't I see any mention of this device? Is there something just as good for a much lower price?
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April 1, 2018 8:42:44 PM

emilchak said:
I was treated to a performance by rveal. Easy to set up,outstanding versatility and quality but pricey. In my opinion this is a no brainer. Why don't I see any mention of this device? Is there something just as good for a much lower price?

Looks like it's yet another Android box, pre-loaded with Kodi, and a bunch of pirating add-ons.

Not really worth paying for and more than questionable legally.
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April 2, 2018 5:11:12 AM

If its bordering on illegal, how can they advertise the device on line?
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April 3, 2018 4:02:48 AM

emilchak said:
If its bordering on illegal, how can they advertise the device on line?


You sweet summer child.
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May 3, 2018 11:20:49 PM

As of April 2018, the "best streaming media player overall" is the Roku Streaming Stick +, yet the "best streaming stick" is the Google Chromecast 2. How does that make sense? The Roku is a streaming stick, and you've deemed it better overall than the Chromecast, so why isn't the Roku also the best streaming stick?
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May 15, 2018 12:31:24 AM

Very strange. I got an email saying I received a reply but I can't see it anywhere on the page, except... in the upper right corner I see "Hi [my name]..." and a few links I can click, but none of them reveal a reply. I'm very new to this forum but I've used forums before. I have no idea where the reply is. Logically it should be obvious and right under my post. I don't like being puzzled! :pfff: 
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August 10, 2018 8:30:52 AM

I am an Apple Device User, and can say with authority that Apple TV is NOT 'Best for Apple Users'. They censor content based on political agenda. You can find all major news networks on Apple TV except FOX News. That alone makes them 'Best for SOME Apple Users' and a total failure for people that want to decide for themselves what major networks to view. I currently have 2 Apple TVS and 3 Roku's. I will be replacing the Apple TVs soon with either Roku or thinking about giving Fire-stick a try.
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