Streaming devices can turn an ordinary television into a smart TV, capable of streaming shows and movies, playing music, and offering hands-free control. But with so many options on the market, choosing the right one can feel overwhelming.
Life is complex, but your tech doesn’t have to be. Here at Asurion, our experts make your day a little easier by unlocking and simplifying the power of home technology—whether you need to speed up your slow laptop or your PS4 won't turn on. Here's their guide to everything you need to know about streaming devices.
How to choose the best streaming device
Here's a breakdown of some of the most popular choices so you can decide what works for you. While features vary across these streaming devices, all offer access to large content libraries with exclusive titles.
Chromecast with Google TV
Retail price: $49.99 | Connects via HDMI | Streams HD and 4K video | Includes voice remote
Chromecast® with Google TV™ lets you easily stream the shows, movies, and music you love. Just plug it into your TV's HDMI port and connect to Wi-Fi to start streaming. And if you already use a Google Assistant®–enabled speaker, this device allows you to control your TV hands-free. Even if you don't have this option, the Chromecast with Google TV is a great value at an affordable price for those who want to stream movies and shows.
Amazon Fire TV Stick
Retail price: $49.99 | Connects via HDMI | Streams HD and 4K video | Includes Alexa voice remote
Another good, affordable streaming device is the Amazon™ Fire TV™ Stick. It lets you stream movies, shows, and live TV with ease. Plus it's transportable, so you can take it with you on vacation or move it to another television in your home. This could be a good option for Amazon Prime® members, or someone considering subscribing, since your membership gives you access to extra features.
Amazon Fire TV Cube
Retail price: $119.99 | Connects via HDMI | Streams HD and 4K video | Includes Alexa voice remote
A Fire TV Cube™ offers all the great features of an Amazon Fire TV Stick. The main reason it's more expensive: It also gives you hands-free control of your television via Alexa, the Amazon virtual assistant, even when your TV is off. If you want to do more than stream your favorite shows and movies on Amazon and other services, and don't need to easily move the device between multiple televisions, this may be a great device for you.
Roku Express 4k
Retail price: $39.99 | Connects via HDMI | Streams HD and 4K video | Includes a voice remote
One of the most affordable options on the market, the Roku® Express 4K is a simple way to stream live TV, shows, and movies. All you have to do is connect the box to the TV with the included HDMI cord and sign onto Wi-Fi. While the box isn't big, it's not as easy to take on the go as a USB stick, so it's a better option for those looking to hook it up and leave it.
Roku Streaming Stick 4K+
Retail price: $69.99 | Connects via HDMI | Streams HD and 4K video | Includes a voice remote
Like the Amazon Fire TV Stick, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K+® is easy to transport and makes streaming shows and movies simple. It's more expensive than the Roku Express 4K because it offers a wider range for Wi-Fi connectivity—so if you have weak wireless internet in some places, this may be worth the extra money.
Retail price: $99.99 | Connects via HDMI | Streams HD and 4K video | Includes a voice remote
The most powerful Roku player, the Ultra, comes with all the streaming capabilities of its other devices, plus a lost-remote finder, headphones, and Cinematic Dolby Vision® picture and Dolby Atmos® sound. It's a good option for those who want more convenience and features rather than just a way to stream shows and movies.
Retail price: $129.99 | Connects via HDMI | Streams HD and 4K video | Works as a standalone Bluetooth® speaker | Includes a voice remote
With 4K streaming and premium audio in one, the Roku Streambar® is great for music lovers and audiophiles, allowing them to enjoy their favorite tunes and stream video from a single device that's equipped with a Bluetooth speaker. If good sound and picture quality are really important to you, this may be worth the price tag.
Retail price: $179 | Connects via HDMI | Streams HD and 4K video | Includes Siri voice remote
The Apple® streaming box offers most popular entertainment apps and services so you can enjoy live TV, movies, and shows. You can also use it to play games on Apple Arcade® and stream Apple Fitness+℠ workouts on a big screen. It's great for Apple loyalists and smart-home techies since it can serve as a HomeKit® hub, which lets you control your smart home appliances with all your Apple devices.
Xbox One S
Retail price: $299.99 | Allows online gaming & streaming | Streams HD and 4K video
Perfect for the gamer who doesn't want to keep track of another device, the Xbox One® S doubles as a streaming device. It's the most expensive option on the list, so you may want to stick with a streaming stick or box unless gaming is what's most important to you.
Stream without hassle
Protect your streaming device—plus all your other favorite home tech—for less than $1 per day with Asurion Home+®. You'll not only get fast repairs when needed, but also access to our trusted tech experts, who can answer questions about anything from troubleshooting your device to installing streaming apps. Learn more about Asurion Home+® coverage and how you can get peace-of-mind electronics protection.