A number of popular streaming apps, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime, are almost certainly built-in to your smart TV. However, if your TV isn’t “smart,” or if you want to go beyond Netflix, the next step is to get a high-quality 4K streaming device to view your favorite movies, whether they’re on Netflix or elsewhere.

4K Streaming Device

Dedicated streaming devices not only have more apps and functionality than a standard smart TV, but streaming services frequently enable new formats (such as Dolby Atmos) on these devices before they are added to TVs. They can also add useful features such as Apple AirPlay and Google Chromecast.

In this article, we’ll go over the best streaming devices from companies like Amazon, Apple, Roku, and Nvidia, highlighting the best solutions for different budgets. We’ve tried them all and know which ones work best for particular scenarios, so you’ll be well on your way to improving your home watching experience in no time.

Chromecast with Google TV

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  • Playback: 4K UHD at up to 60 fps
  • HDR Support: HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision
  • Voice Support: Google Assistant
  • Storage: 8GB Ports: HDMI, USB-C
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Chromecasts have long been a terrific way to smart capabilities to your TV by allowing you to choose what you want to watch from all of your favorite smartphone apps and having the Chromecast deliver that choice to your TV. Google’s option for smartening up your TV has just gotten a whole lot better with the Chromecast with Google TV.

The new dongle still uses an HDMI connection to connect to the back of your TV, where it can produce a 4K/60Hz video stream with HDR. You can still use your phone to cast media to it, just like prior Chromecasts, but it now has its own Android TV-like UI built-in. With Google TV, you can install your favorite streaming apps straight on the Chromecast, and Google will provide smart recommendations for what to watch. 

You can pair the Chromecast with Google TV with a Bluetooth speaker. The included controller, which can be set up to handle the Chromecast, your TV, and sound systems, offers tons of convenience. It also has Google Assistant, which can be used to operate smart home devices.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

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  • Playback: 4K UHD at up to 60 fps
  • HDR Support: HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, HLG
  • Audio: Dolby Atmos
  • Voice Support: Alexa
  • Ports: HDMI (male connector), micro USB
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For about $50, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is the cheapest option to start streaming 4K content. It’s a basic stick-shaped gadget that you insert into one of your 4K TV’s HDMI ports, connect to a USB power, and that’s all there is to it. Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV, HBO, and other streaming services are all available through one easy streaming stick.

You can ask Alexa to locate TV shows and movies or control playback without having to pick up your remote, just like you can with any other Amazon device. Alternatively, you may ask Alexa questions or operate your smart home with the Alexa integration. Because the Fire TV Stick doesn’t have much of an App Store and doesn’t have access to the Google Play Store, Amazon controls which apps you can install. This is the greatest streaming device for those on a budget if you don’t mind having a little less choice over which apps you may use.

Apple TV 4K

Tech Reviews - 2021 Apple TV 4K - Tech News

  • Playback: 4K UHD HDR at up to 60 fps 
  • HDR Support: HDR10, Dolby Vision 
  • Audio: Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 
  • Voice Support: Siri 
  • Ports: HDMI 2.0a, Ethernet
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You’ll want the new Apple TV 4K under your television if you have an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple HomeKit accessories. The inclusion of an Apple A12 Bionic chip, which significantly enhances performance, gives this current model a significant performance gain over its predecessors.

You’ll be able to watch 4K UHD material at 60 frames per second with HDR compatibility, including Dolby Vision, on the new Apple TV 4K. That’s great news for iPhone 12 owners because that’s the precise spec its cameras can record, ensuring you’ll have the best platform for viewing your captured footage. The Apple TV 4K can also automatically calibrate its output video to tweak the color, contrast, and brightness for better viewing on your TV, thanks to the smarts of the Apple TV 4K and the powerful sensors in Face ID-enabled iPhones.

The Apple TV 4K also comes with a new and updated remote that makes it easier to navigate your favorite streaming apps, and you can always pair it with a Bluetooth controller to play games on Apple Arcade and other apps.

Nvidia Shield TV

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  • Playback: 4K UHD at up to 60 fps
  • HDR Support: HDR10, Dolby Vision
  • Audio: DTS-X surround, Dolby Atmos
  • Voice Support: Google Assistant, Alexa
  • Ports: HDMI 2.0b, microSD, Ethernet
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The Shield TV from Nvidia isn’t cheap for a streaming box, but it’s the greatest 4K streaming device on the market. It’s one of the few, if not the only, streaming devices with built-in upscaling. The Shield TV can upscale any video to 4K using a technology called “AI-enhanced upscaling” by Nvidia. Everything from blockbuster films to Twitch streaming and YouTube videos fall under this category. Because it runs on the Android TV platform, it supports a variety of streaming services and has full access to the Google Play Store. It also works as a Chromecast, allowing you to stream content from your phone or tablet to your TV.

You can also play games on it in two ways: if you have an Nvidia graphics card, you can stream games at 60 frames per second from your gaming PC to your 4K TV. Alternatively, you can use GeForce Now to stream games directly from Nvidia’s servers, giving you the power of a Turing-based desktop over the air.

Roku Ultra

Tech Reviews - roku ultra - Tech News

  • Playback: 4K UHD HDR at up to 60 fps
  • HDR Support: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision
  • Audio: DTS Digital Surround, Dolby Atmos, Bluetooth
  • Voice Support: Google Assistant, Alexa
  • Ports: HDMI 2.0b, Ethernet, USB, 3.5mm audio (on remote)
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You’ll want the Roku Ultra if you want the greatest streaming gadget to sit under your TV. This box comes in at a reasonable price, which boosts its value significantly. Because its HDMI 2.0 connector enables 4K UHD video output with HDR at up to 60 frames per second, the Roku Ultra is ready for your high-end 4K TV. You’ll also gain support for HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision HDR formats, which should ensure compatibility with your TV’s technology.

DTS Digital Surround and Dolby Atmos are two high-quality audio formats supported by the Roku Ultra. You can also use Bluetooth to connect it to a speaker setup if you like. The remote is one of the best features of the Roku Ultra. It makes navigating the Roku interface simple, and it supports voice commands to make finding your favorite entertainment even easier. The remote also contains a 3.5mm headphone port, so you can plug in your headphones and watch TV without disturbing the rest of your family.


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