The 5 Best Streaming Devices For Your TV In 2023

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As if deciding which TV to buy isn't complicated enough, once that's done you may need to choose a streaming device to go with it. Smart TVs don't always carry all the apps you want, necessitating a separate device. It's also easy to travel with smaller streaming devices or to carry them from room to room, so wherever you go you have the same TV viewing experience. Like TVs themselves, as well as the apps you plan on streaming, the number of streaming devices to choose from can seem overwhelming.  

As more and more consumers upgrade to 4K in their homes, 4K capability is becoming a deciding factor in which streaming stick you should buy. Other features to consider are price, size, user interfaces, and how they fit into your ecosystem of other accounts and devices. To help decide which is best for you, here's a list of the best streaming devices for your TV in 2023.

Roku Streaming Stick 4K

In general, most 4k-capable Roku devices are high quality and good options, but the Roku Streaming Stick 4K is the cream of the crop, thanks in part to its Dolby Vision capability. Dolby Vision offers TV viewers very high-quality HDR frame-by-frame, but there are still a lot of TVs and streaming devices that don't offer it. Somewhat ironically, however, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K lacks Dolby Atmos, so the audio won't match the video in terms of top quality.

Other perks of the Roku Streaming Stick 4K include a very quick startup, long-range Wi-Fi, and support for Apple AirPlay 2. The latter makes this a tempting option for Apple users who can stream straight to their TVs from their Macs, iPhones, iPads, and other Apple devices. The Roku remote includes TV and voice controls, and the use of wireless headphones allows you to easily watch TV quietly and privately without disturbing other members of your household. If portability is important to you, the stick is small and light, weighing 7 oz. While Roku offers over 26,000 apps to use, its live TV integration could use some improvement. But when considering everything else it has to offer, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K is a solid choice, and with a $50 price tag, is relatively affordable.

Chromecast with Google TV 4K

In a lot of ways, Chromecast with Google TV 4K is very similar to its Roku counterpart, and choosing between the two may come down to your taste in Google's interface and ecosystem. Both cost $50. The Chromecast is a comparable size and weight to the Roku Streaming Stick 4K, and like the latter, it includes Dolby Vision, HDR, and HDR 10+. However, it also includes Dolby Atmos, so audiophiles may prefer a Chromecast device over a Roku.

The Chromecast with Google TV 4K boasts a user-friendly, stylish remote, but it's the software, including Google TV, that really makes the streaming device stand out. Google TV includes a personalized home screen as well as curated playlists, so you'll have plenty of movies and TV shows to choose from the moment you turn on your TV. The "Continue Watching" list will allow you to pick up right where you left off on any recent shows you've been binging. Another way to save lots of button pressing and screen loading is by using Chromecast's integrated Google Assistant. Using your voice, you can get straight from the home screen to a particular movie or series, or ask for suggestions based on genre, specific actors or directors, and more.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max is one of the cheapest options you find. Its sticker price is $35, and given how often Amazon will discount its own products, you'll likely have many opportunities to buy the Fire TV Stick for even less. But don't let the low price fool you — the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max offers many if not most of the same features as its Roku and Chromecast counterparts, including Wi-Fi 6, HDR10, and Dolby Vision. It even has Dolby Atmos. Other points in its favor include countless apps to choose from, painless live TV integration, and an all-around fast and smooth performance.

If you're a person who reads on a Kindle, uses an Echo, and listens to Audible, then you'll probably feel quite at home within the Amazon ecosystem. But even then, the constant ads, like on the Fire TV Stick's screensaver, can feel intrusive and cumbersome. Between that and Amazon doing who-knows-what with all your viewing data, its low price may not be worth going with the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max.

Apple TV 4K (2022)

Apple's line of Apple TV products had a rocky start, but its newest generation of devices released in 2022 are very impressive, thanks in part to its powerful A15 Bionic processor. Despite this big leap in processing power, the 2022 Apple TV 4K is $50 cheaper than previous models, though still more expensive than simpler streaming sticks offered by its competitors. The basic model is $129, while for $20 more you can include an ethernet port for faster internet and 128 GB of storage, compared to the basic model's 64 GB. Both come with an upgraded Siri Remote that conveniently uses a USB-C connection, rather than the Lightning port Apple is likely phasing out.

Users who are already immersed in Apple's ecosystem are no strangers to premium prices and will find that the higher cost is worth how easily Apple TV integrates with Apple's other devices and services, like Apple Music, Apple Arcade, and Fitness+. The no-fuss sharing of passwords between devices also makes Apple TV an attractive option for power users.

Xbox Series X

The previous generation of Xbox gaming consoles was called Xbox One because it was Microsoft's launch of an all-in-one entertainment device, something that didn't just play AAA video games but also streamed movies, music, YouTube, and more. Its next generation, the Xbox Series X, dropped the "One" from the name but still aims to serve that lofty goal. Unlike the other streaming devices that have a much more specific use case, the Series X is of course a lot bigger, heavier, and more expensive, at $500 (at the time of this writing), and that's if you can even find one at all.

It's not just playing "Halo" that makes the Xbox an attractive streaming option. The Xbox Series X also includes 12 teraflops of processing power, both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, a 4K Blu-ray player, and offers more 4K streaming options than the PlayStation 5. The cheaper, slightly easier-to-find Xbox Series S doesn't have a disk drive, but it can also stream the major apps in 4K. The Xbox's user interface is clean and intuitive, and is especially easy to navigate using an Xbox controller, though other remotes are available. If you're a gamer, you likely have more than one controller lying around, which also comes in handy when the remote goes missing under your couch.