Should you invest on media streaming devices in 2022? Whether you’re looking to supplement your TV package with an online video service like Netflix, Hulu, or a newcomer like Apple TV+ or Disney+. or you’ve just cut the cable cord, you may consider on of the Best Streaming devices. Standalone streamers such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and the all-new Nvidia Shield TV tend to have bigger app selections, faster performance, and more features, compared to the typical smart TV. Which one should you buy? Know about more in Best Streaming devices comparison chart 2022.
What is the Best Streaming devices in 2022?
Apple TV 4K (2021) – Best streaming device for Apple fan
- Number of Apps: Thousands
- Size: 3.9 x 3.9 x 1.4 inches
- Weight: 15.0 oz
REASONS TO BUY
- +New, improved remote
- +High frame rate HDR streaming
- +Multi-user support
REASONS TO AVOID
- -Not noticeably better than first-gen
The best thing about the new Apple TV 4K is the redesigned Siri Remote. Many (myself included) hated the old remote and its frustrating touch interface. The new remote retains touch and gestures, but adds actual buttons as well as an intuitive jog wheel that recalls the old iPods of yore. Once again, though, the biggest drawback is the price.
The new Apple TV 4K (2021) is great and performs like a dream — yet still may not be worth the upgrade if you already have the previous model. On the outside, the 2nd-gen Apple TV 4K looks identical to its predecessor. The upgrades are all on the inside, notably replacing the A10X chip with an A12 Bionic. Performance seems a few hairs better, plus the Apple TV 4K 2nd-gen supports 4K at 60fps with HDR versus 30fps. Not a ton of apps even offer that level of content right now, mostly sports and other fast-paced action, but it will become more prevalent.
Streaming devices comparison chart 2022 – Apple TV 4K 32GB vs 64GB
|Apple 4K TV 32GB||Apple 4K TV 64GB|
|Max resolution||2160p (4K)||2160p (4K)|
|CPU||Apple 10X Fusion||Apple 10X Fusion|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 5.0||Bluetooth 5.0|
Nvidia Shield TV / Pro – best streaming devices upscale HD to 4K
REASONS TO BUY
- +AI Upscaling
- +Google Assistant built in
REASONS TO AVOID
- -No Apple TV app
- -No USB ports for extra storage
With it, you’ll also get the revamped Shield remote and the latest version of Android TV, which serves as a gateway to Nvidia’s game-streaming service, Geforce Now.
At three times the cost of entry-level 4K HDR streaming players, the Nvidia Shield TV isn’t cheap, but it’s an incredibly powerful streaming player thanks to its cutting-edge AI upscaling tech and its support for both HDR10 and Dolby Vision content.
It has a few limitations – notably it doesn’t offer Apple TV, and it costs a bit more than a Roku Streaming Stick – but you get what you pay for here. The Pro model adds an additional 1GB of added RAM and a larger hard drive, too, though you’re be forking out a bit more cash for the premium model.
But the feature that puts it miles ahead of the competition is Nvidia’s new AI upscaling feature – it’s one of the coolest features in any streaming device right now. It’s powered by a neural network that has been ‘trained’ using thousands of hours of footage and which can hugely sharpen content, making HD content from the last 20 years look like it was shot earlier this year with a 4K video camera. It’s wild.
NVIDIA Shield TV Pro vs Apple TV 4K (2021) – Best Streaming devices comparison chart 2022
|NVIDIA Shield TV Pro||Apple TV 4K (2021)|
|Processor||Tegra X1+||Apple A12 Bionic|
|Operating System||Android TV||tvOS|
|Storage||16GB||32GB / 64GB|
|Voice Control||Google Assistant / Amazon Alexa||Siri|
|Price||$200||$179 / $199|
Roku Express 4K Plus – best streaming budget device
- Size: 3.3 x 1.5 x 0.7 inches
- Max Resolution: 3840 x 2160
- Ports: None
- Remote: Network Voice remote
- Device Type: Box
REASONS TO BUY
- +Excellent 4K HDR performance
- +Decent navigation
- +Improved remote
REASONS TO AVOID
- -Awkward design
- -No Dolby Vision or Atmos
Check out the new Roku Express 4K Plus, which is the replacement to the flawed Roku Premiere. We like this model a lot mmore because of its improved remote. Previously, you needed a direct line of sight — and to point your remote directly at the Roku — for it to work. This way is a lot better, so you don’t need to think when you click the paddle. That, plus UHD image quality and snappy performance means that the Roku Express 4K Plus is the best streaming device for those on a budget.
We wish it were a little heavier, though, as you may wind up spending a minute fiddling with its HDMI cable to make it sit flat on a surface. The Roku Streaming Stick Plus doesn’t have that issue. And if you love A/V standards such as Dolby Vision or Atmos Audio. you may need to look elsewhere.
Best Streaming devices comparison chart 2022 – Roku Ultra HD/4K/HDR vs Streaming Stick Plus
|Roku Streaming Stick+ | HD/4K/HDR with Long-range Wireless and Voice Remote||Roku Ultra Streaming Media Player 4K/HD/HDR 2019 with Premium JBL Headphones|
|The most popular streaming channels||✓||✓|
|Connect to TV via||HDMI (cable included)||HDMI|
|Picture quality||4K Ultra HD with support for HDR, HDR 10, HLG, 1080p HD||1080p HD, 4K UHD up to 2160p at 60 fps, HDR 10, HLG|
|Internet connectivity||802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless||802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless|
|Lost remote finder, personal shortcut buttons, headphone jack||✓|
|Voice remote with TV controls||✓||✓|
|Supported Audio||DTS Digital Surround, Dolby Audio and Dolby ATMOS pass through over HDMI, Digital stereo over HDMI||DTS Digital Surround, Dolby Audio and Dolby ATMOS pass through over HDMI, Digital stereo over HDMI|
|Works with Alexa and the Google Assistant||✓||✓|
|Free Roku mobile app to control your player, watch The Roku Channel, use private listening||✓||✓|
Fire TV Stick 4K
- ✓ 4K, Dolby Vision compatible picture
- ✓ Discrete stick lets you plug it in without needing shelf space
- ✓ Fantastic price for the features
- ✗ 2018 model means there might be a new model that makes this outdated soon
- ✗ Amazon-focused UI skips on some popular movie rental services
Fire TVs are a popular choice for many, and if you enjoy Amazon’s layout for its streaming services, you’ll want to grab the Fire TV Stick 4K.
For not much more than the Fire Stick Lite, you get a Fire TV Stick that’s 4K capable, as well as a voice-controlled remote that has dedicated TV controls. You’ll get all the other benefits from Fire TV, including access to all of the major streaming services and easy access to Amazon Prime Video.
The downfall with the Fire TV Stick, and the Fire TV UI itself, comes with streaming movie rental services. Amazon Prime Video lets you rent a movie for a few days or buy it outright and have it added to your library without hoping it’s on a streaming service you have already. It’s a great concept, but Amazon Prime Video isn’t the only one that does it.
If you’re on a Fire TV UI, though, you’d think they were. The Fire TV Sticks don’t include other popular rental options like Google Play or Vudu, which will make the Fire TV Stick 4K less than ideal for those who enjoy renting.
There are some ways around this, but given the competitive pricing of other streaming devices, it might be better to go with another option if you’re a movie renter. If you’re looking for just streaming, though, the Fire TV Stick 4K is still a great choice.
Best Streaming devices comparison chart 2022 – Fire TV Cube vs Fire Stick
|Fire TV Stick||Fire TV Cube|
|Included remote||Alexa Voice Remote (3rd Gen)||Alexa Voice Remote (2nd Gen)|
|Remote with TV controls (power/volume buttons)||Yes||Yes|
|Audio support||Dolby Atmos Audio||Dolby Atmos Audio|
|Best for||Streaming essentials plus TV control||Hands-free voice control of entertainment|
|Hands-free with Alexa||Yes|
|Picture quality||Up to 1080p Full HD with support for HDR, HDR 10, HDR10+, HLG||Up to 4K Ultra HD with support for HDR, HDR 10, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision|
|Storage||8 GB||16 GB|
|Optional Amazon Ethernet Adapter||Yes||Full Ethernet support|
TiVo Stream 4K – A compelling UHD streamer
- Number of Apps: 5,000
- +Size: 3 x 2 x 0.6 inches
- Ports: HDMI, USB-C, microUSB
REASONS TO BUY
- +Speedy 4K streaming
- +Supports most if not all services and apps
- +Remote offers easy access to live TV
REASONS TO AVOID
- -Constrained live TV offering
- -Poor recommendations
A ton of applications? Check. An affordable price? Check. Support for your own media on external storage too? You bet. The Tivo Stream 4K is a great streamer that deserves a place in this hall of the best streaming devices. And unlike some streaming devices, it has HBO and Peacock. Sling users will appreciate its live TV integration, and the Google Assistant is there to follow through on your voice commands.
We just wish that the Stream 4K had a better interface for its Stream app that aggregates content, and that its recommendations were a little more on the nose. Plus, YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV and Fubo TV don’t get the red carpet treatment that Sling gets in the Guide section. If it weren’t for the Chromecast with Google TV, the Tivo Stream 4K would be a lot more interesting, but for now it lives in the new Chromecast’s long shadow.
Best Streaming devices comparison chart 2022 – Tablo Dual HDMI over-the-air DVR
|Tablo DUAL HDMI – TV-Connected OTA DVR for Cord Cutters||Tablo DUAL LITE – Network-Connected OTA DVR for Cord Cutters||Tablo QUAD – Network-Connected OTA DVR for Cord Cutters|
|ATSC TV Tuners||Two Simultaneous Live Streams/Recordings||Two Simultaneous Live Streams/Recordings||Four Simultaneous Live Streams/Recordings|
|Remote Control Included||Yes – IR Remote Included||No – App-Controlled||No – App-Controlled|
|HDMI Connection||Yes – TV-Connected DVR||No – Network-Connected DVR||No – Network-Connected DVR|
|Ethernet / Dual-Band WiFi||1GB Ethernet / 802.11ac WiFi||10/100 Ethernet / 802.11ac WiFi||1GB Ethernet / 802.11ac WiFi|
|Automatic Commercial Skipping (Subscription Only Feature)||✓||✓||✓|
|Out-Of-Home Streaming (Subscription Only Feature)||N/A||✓||✓|
|Whole-Home Streaming||Roku, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV – Subscription Required||Roku, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Mobile Devices (iOS & Android), Web (Chrome/Safari) – No Sub Required||Roku, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Mobile Devices (iOS & Android), Web (Chrome/Safari) – No Sub Required|
|Live TV Grid Guide||✓||✓||✓|
Amazon Fire TV Cube – The Amazon Echo streaming player
REASONS TO BUY
- +Voice Control
- +Built-in Alexa
REASONS TO AVOID
- -Panders to Amazon Prime
- -No HDMI cable in the box
While it can’t match the AI upscaling of the Nvidia Shield or the usability of the Apple TV 4K, the second-generation Fire TV Cube is, by far, our favorite Amazon streaming device – it’s better in so many ways than the Amazon Fire TV Cube that was released in 2017, and every single Amazon Fire TV box before it.
By packing in the smart functionality and speakers of an Amazon Echo, it’s a versatile smart speaker as well as competent media player and streamer. For the 2019 version of the Cube, the processor upgrade and inclusion of Dolby Vision are great new additions and, in spite of a few shortcomings, help to solidify the Cube’s spot as one of the best streaming players to be released this year.
Yes, technically speaking you could do almost everything the Fire TV Cube does with an Amazon Echo Dot and Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, but the hexacore processor-powered box moves faster and creates fewer frustrations. It’s a cliche to say it, but the Fire TV Cube is greater than the sum of its parts.
Google Chromecast with Google TV
Why should you buy this? It’s all of the best parts of Google’s Chromecast, and it’s a full media streamer too.
Chromecast with Google TV
Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, Google Assistant, and Chromecast all in one device. Need we say more?
Who’s it for? Those who want an affordable and capable alternative to Roku, Apple, and Amazon.
Why we picked the Chromecast with Google TV:
Google’s $70 Chromecast Ultra was a pretty good pick if you wanted a no-nonsense 4K HDR streaming device, but the new Chromecast with Google TV totally changes what we’ve come to expect from a Chromecast device — and what we expect to pay for it.
At just $50, the Chromecast with Google TV is already a great deal if you liked the Chromecast Ultra — it’s $20 cheaper and can do all of the same things. But it does way more too. It’s a fully functional Android TV streamer, equipped with its own voice-capable remote.
That remote can be used to control your TV’s power, volume, and mute, but it’s also how you navigate Google TV — the built-in content curation and discovery interface that acts as the Chromecast’s home screen.
One of the best parts of the Google TV experience — for those who have associated their streaming subscriptions to their Google account — is that it automatically pulls these subscribed services into your home screen, with no awkward and time-consuming entering of account names and passwords.
Google TV can pull content recommendations from over 30 of the top streaming services (as long as you’re a subscriber) but you can add any streaming app that is available for Android TV on the Google Play store. Speaking of
If you’re a YouTube TV subscriber, it gets even better. Under the Google TV Live tab, you can access the full YouTube TV channel guide as well as all of the service’s DVR features.
You can build your own watchlist, with individual user profiles, and these can be accessed on the go via the Google TV app for Android devices.
There’s no lack of media format support — the Chromecast has HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos all built-in. If you’re a gamer, you can now take advantage of Google’s Stadia cloud gaming platform on the new Chromecast.
Doing the initial setup takes some time, especially if you don’t already have the Google Home app on your phone, but once you’re done, the Google Chromecast with Google TV will reward you with a highly engaging, personalized, and future-proofed way to enjoy all that the streaming world has to offer. And at just $50, we can’t think of a better value.
Best Streaming devices comparison chart 2022
|Our Picks||Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K||Chromecast With Google TV||Roku Ultra (2020)||Apple TV 4K (2nd Generation)|
|HDR||HDR10, Dolby Vision||Dolby Vision, HDR10||Dolby Vision, HDR10||Dolby Vision, HDR10|
|Platform||Amazon Fire OS||Android TV||Roku OS||Apple tvOS|
|Voice Assistant||Amazon Alexa||Google Assistant||Search||Apple Siri|
Others Best Streaming devices comparison
Roku Express 4K Plus
Roku is our favorite streaming system, with the most streaming app options, the simplest interface and the best search. It also has a content-agnostic platform that doesn’t push any one media streaming service provider, like Amazon Prime Video or Apple, over another. The new Express 4K Plus is one of the cheapest streaming TV options with 4K HDR. (Even if your current TV doesn’t support those formats, your next one probably will.) Thanks to the AirPlay update, this Roku device is one of the least expensive ways to connect your iPhone or other Apple device to your TV. At $10 cheaper than the company’s Streaming Stick Plus and other 4K HDR streamers, it’s our top pick.
Fire TV Stick Lite
Let’s get this out of the way first: If you prefer the simplicity of Roku’s app-based menus, you might like the Roku Express better (see below). But the Lite trounces the Express in features-for-the-money. This Fire TV device’s biggest advantage is a remote with built-in voice search and control (the cheapest Roku with a voice remote is the Streaming Stick Plus) thanks to Alexa. The Fire Stick’s remote also doesn’t need line of sight to work. If you can’t step up to a $50 player, the Lite is your best bet.
Roku’s most expensive streamer is more than twice the price of our top pick, but maybe you’ll appreciate its extra features enough to want the upgrade. It offers more conveniences, including a headphone jack and programmable shortcut keys on the remote as well as our favorite feature, a remote finder in case you lose the clicker in the couch cushions. It also delivers Dolby Vision video, faster responses, improved Wi-Fi and a wired Ethernet port — particularly welcome if your home Wi-Fi is overloaded.
On the other hand you can upgrade any Roku to get an even more tricked-out remote, and the new Express Plus 4K works with wired Ethernet dongles too. Adding both to the Express plus 4K still costs less than an Ultra.
Soundbars with streaming onboard may be a relatively recent development, but Roku’s new Streambar nails it. It has the Roku interface we know and love, complete with 4K HDR with improved sound for any TV, especially dialog. It’s smaller and more affordable than its predecessor, the Roku Smart Soundbar, but we think the new Streambar makes more sense for most people.
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