What is the best tv streaming device?

Published on 23 Apr 2021

In 2020, video steaming app revenue in the United States was USD 24.1 billion. YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video were the top streaming apps in the country[1]. According to Wistia, thanks to an unprecedented number of people staying home with a lot more free time on their hands, 2020 was a big year for video. The platform tracked 12.2 billion minutes of time spent by consumers watching videos hosted on their platform [2]. Consumers are hungry for content and are consuming it on their laptops, smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs. There is often a lot of discussion about streaming apps and services, but equally important are the devices used to stream these services.

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What are tv streaming devices?

A TV streaming device is a plug-and-play device that will allow you to get access to a wide variety of streaming services and apps. Very easy to use, all you need to do is plug the device into your flat screen tv and connect it to your wi-fi network. These devices make it possible to turn old flatscreens into smart TVs. If you are looking for a solution to get access to quality streaming services and content without investing in a smart TV, then a streaming device is an ideal choice.

Not all streaming devices are created equal, the list of services you have access to and the quality of sound and picture delivered will vary from device to device. Intense competition and a wide variety of choices make it difficult to answer the question what is the best live tv streaming service of 2021? Your budget and internet connection will also impact your experience with a device. For example, to stream 4k video, Netflix recommends having a stable 25 MBPS broadband connection. If you don't have good internet, you won't be able to enjoy the 4k experience even if you have a streaming device that supports it. In this article we try to answer the question:

What are the best streaming devices for 2021

Roku Streaming Stick

Though launched only 3 years ago, the Roku streaming stick has become a powerhouse. Its affordability and wide range of content options have made it a top choice for streaming devices. The Roku tv stick can be plugged directly into your TV and be used to stream services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc as well as Roku's own content library. The device comes with free channels like Crackle, Tubi., Roku Channel, and more. So if you don't want to pay for streaming services, you can still watch content on your device. There is no monthly fee for using the Roku stick or the free channels, users only have to pay for subscription services like Netflix, Hulu, etc.

Amazon Fire Stick Lite

If you are looking for a budget streaming device with voice control, the Firestick lite is ideal for you. Thanks to Alexa, the Firestick Lite includes a voice search-enabled remote. The downside of the lite remote control is that it doesn't do much else. The remote does not have volume, mute, or power buttons. You will need to use your TV's remote to control sound and power. Like the Roku, the Amazon fire stick comes with free channels, so you won't be without content even if you don't sign up for a subscription service.

Chromecast with Google TV

The Chromecast will be a top contender for any list of best tv streaming devices. The interface of the Chromecast is better than that of the Roku. The Chromecast also comes with Google's voice assistant which makes it easier to find content to watch. If you are someone who is part of Google's ecosystem then this is the device for you. The Chromecast integrates very well with Google photos and YouTube TV. The device is powered by Google's operating system and hence is bug-free and handles very well. If you are looking to watch Apple TV content, then this is a device to avoid as no apple content is available with Chromecast.

Apple TV 4k

Just as Chromecast is the recommended choice for Google lovers, the Apple TV 4k is the top choice for fans of Apple. This is an expensive tv streaming device, one that comes packed with all top-of-the-line features. The latest version of the Apple TV will launch on the 24th of May. It will support high frame rate videos and have a brand new Siri remote. The new remote has a dedicated Siri button on the side, making voice search simpler. The new remote will also make it easier for users to rewind and forward streaming content. If you are an Apple fan then the new Apply TV 4k is the choice for you, for many though the price point of this device is just not worth it.

When to choose a smart TV?

A smart TV also referred to as a connected TV is the convergence of a flat-screen TV, set-top boxes, and a computer. If you have a smart tv you typically won't need a streaming device. Unless you have specific content demands that require a streaming device. For instance, android smart TVs do not have an app for Apple TV. You could use a tv browser to access this content but that may not work and can be a big hassle. In such a situation, getting the Apple TV 4k might be a better solution. The long answer to this question is that you will need to examine your content needs. Depending on what you want to watch and how much ease of use you need. You can determine if you can access that content directly from the TV or if you need a separate streaming device.

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1. Mar 2021, D. Curry, "Video Streaming App Revenue and Usage Statistics (2021)", Business of Apps, [available online] available from: https://www.businessofapps.com/data/video-streaming-app-market/#1 [accessed Apr 2021]

2. n.d., "2021 State of Video Report", Wistia, [available online] available from: https://wistia.com/about/state-of-video [accessed Apr 2021]