Best streaming devices in 2024

The best streaming devices let you access the countless hours of entertainment available online. And while many smart TVs have some of the top streaming apps, most of the best streaming devices have all of them. The other reason why we prefer buying a streaming device is to control the interface, as most television purchases stick you with something you can't control. Roku OS and Apple's tvOS offer definite improvements.

Selecting a streaming device can get pretty tricky, though. That's why we test the heck out of these devices. Not just by watching movies and shows on them, but by timing how long it takes to open apps across the many of the $50 and up streaming devices. We just finished testing the Onn. 4K Google TV Streaming Box, and our verdict is that it's the best cheap streaming device yet.

Our current pick for the very best streaming device overall is the Roku Streaming Stick 4K. This model added faster performance and Dolby Vision on top of its predecessor. Some of us at Tom's Guide own multiple entries from this list of the best streaming devices, to see how they evolve over time. Not only do we spend hours and hours watching shows and movies from the top streaming services on these devices, but we compare them against those with similar prices, to help you figure out which is best for your budget.

Using all of these devices often shows us the benefits of spending more on your streaming device, as the cheaper Fire TV devices control your whole home screen experience, while the Apple TV has no ads and more customization. Here's everything you need to know about the best streaming devices.

The quick list

Here's a quick overview of the best streaming devices you can buy right now based on our testing and reviews. And keep up on scrolling if you want to see our in-depth analysis of all the top streaming devices for every user and budget. 

The best streaming devices you can find today

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The best streaming devices you can find today

The Roku Streaming Stick 4K, plugged into a TV, is the best streaming deviceEditor's Choice

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)
Best streaming device overall

Specifications

Number of Apps: More than 26,000
Size: 3.7 x 0.8 x 0.5 inches
Weight: 0.7 oz

Reasons to buy

+
Relatively affordable
+
Full 4K HDR capabilities
+
Finally has Dolby Vision

Reasons to avoid

-
Dolby Atmos is missing
-
Amazon offers better live TV integration

The Roku Streaming Stick 4K is a small, but noteworthy, upgrade over the Streaming Stick Plus it replaces. The king stays the king, though, because little changed — and only improvements came with. Most notably, we've finally got Dolby Vision on this Roku stick, so your favorite streaming shows will have the right color balance and contrast (provided your TV supports it, too). 

Otherwise, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K is a perfect balance of price and performance, costing $50 and providing snappy navigation and smooth streaming. It's got all the apps you could need, too. Since Roku is a pretty great platform, the only reasons to consider spending any more are for hard-wired Ethernet (if your living space demands it), which is available in the Roku Ultra and Apple TV 4K.

When we tested the Streaming Stick 4K, we saw content crispness jump to 1080p and then 4K in short amounts of time. We also noticed app loading that's comparable to the Chromecast with Google TV. Roku wins overall though thanks to its perfect streamlined interface, which puts apps above content. But the Roku Streaming Stick 4's dominance isn't by the widest of margins, as evidenced by our tightly contested Roku Streaming Stick 4K vs. Chromecast with Google TV face-off. We also recommend this Roku streaming stick for travel, as it's a perfect addition to your next hotel or Airbnb room's TV, while taking up minimal space in your bag.

Read our full Roku Streaming Stick 4K review.

The best value streaming device

The Roku Express 4K Plus, is one of the best streaming devices for its priccebest value awards badge

(Image credit: Tom's Guide/Henry T. Casey)
The best streaming device under $40

Specifications

Size: 3.3 x 1.5 x 0.7 inches
Max Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Ports: None
Remote: Network Voice remote
Device Type: Box

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent 4K HDR performance
+
Decent navigation
+
Improved remote

Reasons to avoid

-
Awkward design
-
No Dolby Vision or Atmos

So, you want to get 4K streaming at the lowest price possible, but you're worried about cutting too many corners? Check out the new Roku Express 4K Plus, which is the replacement to the flawed Roku Premiere. We like this model a lot mmore because of its improved remote. Previously, you needed a direct line of sight — and to point your remote directly at the Roku — for it to work. This way is a lot better, so you don't need to think when you click the paddle. That, plus UHD image quality and snappy performance means that the Roku Express 4K Plus is the best streaming device for those on a budget. 

We wish it were a little heavier, though, as you may wind up spending a minute fiddling with its HDMI cable to make it sit flat on a surface. The Roku Streaming Stick Plus doesn't have that issue. And if you love A/V standards such as Dolby Vision or Atmos Audio. you may need to look elsewhere. Want something cheaper? Our Roku Express (2022) review dives deep on its performance gains.

Read our full Roku Express 4K Plus review.

The best Live TV streaming device

The Chromecast with Google TV with remote and power cable in the background, is one of the best streaming devices for its valueEditor's Choice

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best streaming device for people in the Google ecosystem

Specifications

Number of Apps: Over 10,000
Size: 6.4 x 2.4 x 0.5 inches
Ports: HDMI, USB-C
Supported HDR formats: HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision
Supported audio formats: Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby Atmos

Reasons to buy

+
Free & live TV integrations
+
Lots of streaming services
+
Remote included (finally)

Reasons to avoid

-
Performance leaves a little to be desired
-
Continue Watching row doesn't always work right

The Chromecast with Google TV 4K makes the company's traditional streaming device a whole lot more complete. It also features excellent live TV integration, with a whole section for free TV and select paid live TV streaming services (YouTube TV, Sling and Philo). It also packs with 4K UHD streaming with support for HDR and Dolby Vision, for excellent picture quality, and Dolby Atmos for immersive sound. And Google TV means an interface and operating system that supports the over 6,500 Android TV apps.

While it's not the minimalist streaming device that the Chromecast 3 was, the new Chromecast remote could even replace your TV's remote. It's got the power and volume controls you need to turn on your TV, plus a TV Input button for switching to other devices, such as gaming consoles. Also, we really like the feel and build quality of the Chromecast remote, as it fits nicely in the palm of the hand and the buttons have a good click. Also, there are minimal branded app buttons, with just Netflix and YouTube. The Roku and Fire TV remotes offer too many, and should take notes.

The only thing to ding this Chromecast for is that its menus can sometimes be a little slow to navigate - though they're trying to fix that with updates. And, thanks to a new deal, the Chromecast with Google TV now features over 800 free TV channels. If you don't need 4K, though, and you're looking to spend a lot less, but still want the Chromecast experience, Google has a new Chromecast with Google TV HD (which is on this list below).

Read our full Chromecast with Google TV 4K review

The best streaming device for iPhone users

The Apple TV 4K (2022) is one of the best streaming devicesEditor's Choice

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey / Tom's Guide)
Best streaming device for Apple device owners

Specifications

Number of Apps: Thousands
Size: 3.7 x 3.7 x 1.2 inches
Weight: 7.3 - 7.5 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
A15 delivers faster app load times
+
More affordable price (plus more storage)
+
Excellent Apple ecosystem integration

Reasons to avoid

-
Still expensive
-
No Find My remote feature

We absolutely love the Apple TV 4K (2022) at $129, which is $50 lower than before. Yes, that price is still a bit high for the industry — the above $50 picks stream in 4K too. But this price drop makes one of the best streaming devices (especially for Apple users) even more accessible. But that's just the beginning. Apple's super-charged the Apple TV 4K with the new A15 Bionic system-on-chip, delivering some of the fastest load times we've seen on any streaming device. For example, it beats the latest Fire TV Cube and Roku Ultra on loading Netflix, YouTube, Disney Plus and Spotify.

On top of that, HDR10+ finally arrives (if your TV supports it), and the remote finally charges over USB-C and not Lightning. Smart home enthusiasts will be excited for the inclusion of the Thread support for Matter, and some may be annoyed you need to spend $20 more for an Ethernet port. The Roku Ultra, for example, includes one by default at $99. That said, one of the best reasons to get the Apple TV 4K is tvOS, which is still the cleanest interface out there. But as much as I love the Apple TV remote, I've recently come into a weird problem where it stops being able to use my TV's volume controls. Check out our guide on how to fix an Apple TV for how I solve it.

Also, Apple TV Plus-broadcasted sports for MLS and MLB games will — on the Apple TV 4K — now allow you to watch up to four streams at once. Look for the grid icon button in the interface to add multiple streams. 

Read our full Apple TV 4K (2022) review.

The best Android TV streaming device

The Nvidia shield tv 2019 is one of the best streaming devices for its capabilitiesEditor's Choice

(Image credit: Gia Sergovich/Tom's Guide)
Best Android streaming device

Specifications

Number of Channels: 5,000
Size: 6.5 x 1.6 x 1.6 inches
Weight: 4.8 oz

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent game-streaming
+
Quick rendering of UHD content
+
Lots of great apps

Reasons to avoid

-
AI upscaling doesn't add that much
-
Somewhat expensive

The Nvidia Shield TV is a power user's Android TV device. But it doesn't just look unlike any other streaming device we've ever seen (it's more like a mobile power charger), it's also one of the best streaming devices, period. This tube for your tube is great at speedily spitting out UHD 4K content, and its thousands of apps means you're getting practically everything you could watch. And it's so slight in size that it fill fit discretely into the ever-crowded space around your TV.

This Shield TV also includes a remote control, rather than a game controller. We love this remote because it illuminates when you pick it up in the dark, so we're not only relying on remembering where buttons are and what shape they are. You won't miss the lack of a packed in controller, thanks to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One controller support. That all adds up to the best streaming device for those willing to spend more.

Read our full Nvidia Shield TV 2019 review.

The best Amazon Fire TV streaming device

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max, one of the best streaming devices, plugged horizontally into TVEditor's Choice

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)
Best Amazon streaming device under $100

Specifications

Number of Channels: More than 12,000
Size: 3.9 inches x 1.2 inches x 0.55
Weight: 1.5 oz

Reasons to buy

+
Fast navigation and content launches
+
Supports almost all apps
+
Wi-Fi 6E support

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than competitors
-
Excessive promotion of Amazon content

The Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2nd gen) inclusion is noteworthy in its inclusion in this list. In our testing, we saw that Amazon improved performance and speed, especially in load times for certain apps. It also supports tri-band Wi-Fi 6E, which is great ... if you have an advanced router. 

The Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2nd gen), otherwise, isn't a huge upgrade. It has all the apps you need, the matte black dongle is nearly invisible and picture quality is top-notch. We just wish it was slightly less expensive (which it might be during sales events) and the interface featured less blatant and constant Amazon content promotion. Still, those who want an Amazon Fire TV streaming device should go with this model. It may cost a little more, but it's worth it.

Read our full Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2nd gen) review

(R, L) The onn 4K Google TV streaming box and remote

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey / Tom's Guide)
The best cheap streaming device

Specifications

Number of Apps: Over 10,000
Size: 3 x 3 x 0.5 inches
Ports: HDMI, microUSB
Supported HDR formats: HDR
Supported audio formats: Dolby Atmos

Reasons to buy

+
Cheapest 4K streaming device ever
+
All the same apps in the Chromecast with Google TV
+
Decent performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Awkward, cheap-feeling design
-
Remote app is inconsistent

While it may be hard to find in stock at the moment, the onn 4K Google TV streaming box is actually pretty great for its price. The first $20 4K streaming device — and that's the price before any sale — this little puck offers Ultra HD streaming at a shockingly low price. 

It also offers the same apps you can get with the Chromecast with Google TV. The only problems are that its Google Home remote app integration is a little inconsistent, and we wish the Google Assistant search options were a little smoother.

Read our full onn 4K Google TV streaming box review.

(R to L) The Chromecast with Google TV HD and remote

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey for Tom's Guide)
The best HD streaming device

Specifications

Number of Apps: Over 10,000
Size: 6.4 x 2.4 x 0.5 inches
Ports: HDMI, USB-C
Supported HDR formats: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
Supported audio formats: Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby Atmos via HDMI passthrough

Reasons to buy

+
Same great Chromecast with Google TV... now in HD
+
One of the best streaming device remotes
+
Hides easily behind TV
+
Supports HDR

Reasons to avoid

-
Continue Watching row continues to confuse
-
No 4K limits use cases

The Chromecast with Google TV HD is a streaming device that sort of explains itself. It's just like the recent 4K Chromecast, but it's not outputting video in 4K. Instead, it tops out at 1080p. These days, that means you're primarily buying it to smarten up a 'dumb' TV or display, or because you'd rather save $20 than stream in 4K. 

That means it still has the same great new Chromecast design, and the new Chromecast remote. The Chromecast with Google TV HD is no slouch, either, as it still packs HDR (high dynamic range) support for better contrast — which the Roku Express does not. Performance-wise, it's comparable to all the other devices at its price range. Speaking of which, we prefer the Chromecast with Google TV HD over the $29 Amazon Fire TV Lite (which also has HDR) because the Chromecast's home screen packs fewer ads. So, if you want a $29 streaming device, we'd push you in this direction. It also packs Nest support for controlling smart home devices.

Read our full Chromecast with Google TV HD review.

The Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus, plugged into a TV, is one of the best streaming devicesEditor's Choice

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)
For $20 more the best streaming device gets a better remote

Specifications

Number of Apps: More than 26,000
Size: 3.7 x 0.8 x 0.5 inches
Weight: 0.7 oz

Reasons to buy

+
Voice Remote Pro eliminates batteries
+
Snappy 4K HDR streaming
+
Gains Dolby Vision

Reasons to avoid

-
No Dolby Atmos
-
Not a big upgrade from previous model

So what if you want the best streaming device with the best remote Roku makes? Then you can save $10 with this bundle, which takes the Roku Streaming Stick 4K and pairs it with the Roku Voice Remote Pro. The remote's big perks include — as its name implies — always-on voice commands, so you can control your TV even if you can't find your remote. It just needs to be within a shout's distance. Also, this remote is rechargeable, reducing the need for batteries. Plus, it's got a headphone jack for private listening over wired headphones, and programmable buttons so you're not stuck with just the four branded app buttons on the remote.

And as we said with the regular Streaming Stick 4K, this is a fantastic streaming device by itself already. You've got Roku's simple, customizable interface, snappy performance and a ton of apps (everything you could ask for, though YouTube TV is buried in YouTube at the moment). The big upgrade on this model is Dolby Vision, which will have your content looking as it should. 

Read our full Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus review.

The Roku Ultra (2020), is one of the best streaming devices for its performance

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best streaming device for finding your lost remote

Specifications

Number of Apps: Thousands
Size: 4.9 x 4.9 x 0.9 inches
Weight: 8.0 oz

Reasons to buy

+
Great performance
+
Inventive remote control
+
Dolby Vision HDR

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Not much has changed since last year's model

The new Roku Ultra is pretty much still the great streaming box it's always been, just with a couple of tweaks — and keeping most of the perks you'd expect for $100 (4K HDR video and fast performance for starters). For example, they've also added Dolby Vision, a must for those streaming high-quality movies and TV shows. Plus, it's still got a USB port which allows for folks to play back their own library of movie files on their TV. Yes, you don't even need to learn what a media server is, or how to set one up. This year's model also offers a faster processor and better wireless streaming. It even packs a button on the side to make your remote chirp when you can't find it.

The other big boon of this model is that you can program the Roku remote's two customizable buttons to open your favorite channels, in addition to the pre-programmed ones for Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV and Vudu. The included earbud headphones sweeten the deal, as they plug right into the remote control for private listening. This is highly important to those who want to watch TV without disturbing the other person in the room.

Recently, Roku finally added the Voice Remote Pro to the Roku Ultra.

Read our full Roku Ultra (2020) review.

A close-up of the Fire TV Cube (2022), is one of the best streaming devices for its voice controls

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey / Tom's Guide)