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The world changes fast — including the world of home entertainment — and sometimes it takes a minute to catch up. So if you're still paying for cable TV because you assume it's the only way you can access certain shows, we need to have a little chat. Because chances are you're spending money you don't need to spend.
The days of needing cable are gone. Now, all the good stuff is available via streaming services, and you don’t need a cable box for that. All you need is a streaming device of some kind — like a Roku or an Amazon Fire Stick. Connect the streaming device to your TV, and you can immediately watch movies, series, comedy specials, almost anything.
Not sure which streaming device to buy? Below we detail a few of the best — and we share all the info to help you make the right pick for your household.
Roku Express 4k+
Some of our favorite streaming devices are also some of the most affordable, made by Roku. The software is easy to use, it’s compatible with a ton of different streaming services – we’re talking Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and more – and the searchability is top-notch. The Roku Express 4K+ in particular packs a ton of features at a great price. It’s one of the cheapest streaming devices with 4K HDR capabilities, and it supports Apple’s Airplay format too.
“I am so incredibly impressed!!!" exclaimed a happy five-star review. "I have an old, large Samsung TV in my bedroom my dad got for free. I’ve had this tv with an older Roku for years, it began not working right and began really laggy. I went out and bought a new smaller Vizio tv, and it performed terribly, I returned it in a day. I decided to try this Roku on my old Samsung TV, all I have to say OMG. This made my TV perform like new and saved me a ton of money. If you are in a similar situation as me or looking for a great alternative, don’t hesitate, try this Roku. It’s incredible for the money, the picture and quality are like a brand new, and it performs very fast. I am 21, and I don’t write reviews often, but I had to for this one.”
Roku Streaming Stick 4K+
If you like the Roku but prefer an HDMI stick design, then definitely get the Roku Streaming Stick 4K+. The Streaming Stick offers all the features of the Express 4K+, but it adds Dolby Vision HDR support. It also has a longer-range wireless receiver, so it’ll work in rooms that are further away from your router. We also like the hands-free remote, which lets you shout voice commands to the Roku. No worries if you lose the remote either. You can ask the Roku where it is, and it’ll start beeping away.
One five-star review said: "I went from using my old Samsung smart DVD player with a very limited app selection to this Roku Streaming Stick 4K+ with literally any app I could ever want. I love I can just add apps using my tv, computer, or phone. The stick is out of sight plugged into the HDMI port behind my tv. I didn't realize until I had it delivered that it has to be plugged in for its own power, however, I am able to power it using the USB port which is also behind my tv. The remote is also very impressive. It is simple and easy to use but also very capable. The price is very reasonable especially compared to other streaming devices."
Chromecast with Google TV
The latest Chromecast with Google TV is a fantastic choice for those who live in the Google ecosystem (say, with Google home products). We absolutely love the Google Assistant voice search on Chromecast; you can look up movies and shows by searching the actors' names, for example. We also like that it integrates with Google Photos – you can add your favorite pics to a revolving slideshow! If you like YouTube or YouTube TV, this is the streamer for you.
"I'm quite happy with this product," said one review. "Smart TVs just aren't. They're underpowered and poorly supported. The "smart" bits start out mediocre and become slow and useless in a few months, while the display part is still going strong for years — so just plug in a Chromecast with Google TV, and never touch your TV remote's "menu" button again. The Chromecast is well supported, and you can either "cast" content to it from your phone, tell Google Assistant to display on it, or use the Chromecast remote to navigate."
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max
If you live in an Alexa household, you might want to go with a Fire TV product instead. Our favorite of the Fire TV devices is the Fire TV Stick 4K Max. It supports Dolby Vision and has a neat picture-in-picture feature for viewing your security camera feed. Of course, it works with Alexa’s voice command and search features. This is the streaming device to get if you’re a big Amazon Prime fan.
"The new fire stick is a major improvement compared to the older versions," said one five-star review. "Easy to install, easy to move your content from your old fire stick. The price is great, I advise doing a trade-in of the older version; once trade-in is complete the price isn’t bad at all. Highly recommend upgrading all older versions of Fire Stick for the new and improved version. WiFi 6 is a great enhancement, no buffering issues thus far! 4K HDR looks amazing on my brand new 65” LG! Completely happy with this new fire tv stick. Remote has major changes! Easily access Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and of course Amazon Prime Video. Voice recognition is great, Alexa finds it for you."
Apple TV 4K (2021)
For those who simply must have everything Apple, the Apple TV is a must. The interface is much sleeker than that of the competition, and the remote has been updated for easier use. You can also ask Siri “what did they just say?” while watching a movie, and it will replay the scene with subtitles. Apple TV is also best for those who want to play games via Apple Arcade or if you want native support for Apple’s Fitness+ workout program.
"This Apple TV seems like a great upgrade over my previous Apple TV model," said one enthusiastic shopper. "At first glance, the speed is much smoother, and heavier apps like YoutubeTV are running much more smoothly. I can't speak on TV quality but everything does look a bit crisper in comparison. Loading of video is much smoother and is a glaring improvement over previous models. Already enjoying this new model!"
The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.
Looking for more great Amazon deals? Check these out:
Home theater deals:
Hisense 55-inch Class R6 Series Dolby Vision 4K Roku Smart TV, $310 (was $600), amazon.com
Headphone, earbud, smartwatch and tablet deals:
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, $150 (as $200), amazon.com
Tozo T10 Bluetooth 5.3 Wireless Earbuds, $22 with on-page coupon (was $40)
Apple AirPods Pro, $190 (was $250), amazon.com
Tablet and tech deals:
Moto G fast, $150 (was $200), amazon.com
Apple Watch Series 3, $200 (was $229), amazon.com
Motorola One 5G Ace, $300 (was $400), amazon.com
Video game deals:
Elden Ring for PlayStation 5, $50 (was $60), amazon.com
YoLink Mini Plug, $22 (was $30), amazon.com
Kasa Smart Plug Power Strip, $47 (was $80), amazon.com
Skoy Scrub, $7 (was $17), amazon.com
Mellanni Queen Sheet Set, $35 (was $50), amazon.com
Command Picture Hanging Strips, $3 (was $6), amazon.com
Health and Wellness:
Lawn and Garden:
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