The best streaming devices 2019: Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and more

Our pick of the best streaming devices will let you have Netflix, Now TV, Amazon Video and all the rest at your fingertips. Oooh, just think: Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and more...

The best streaming devices

You'll be on the lookout for the best streaming devices if you're a fan of streaming services such as Netflix, Now TV, Amazon and all the res. Use them to optimise your viewing experience, and you can ensure you never miss out on your favourite box sets again.

After all, sometimes the usual FreeSat and FreeView channels just aren’t enough. Plus, if you own a TV that doesn’t boast an in-built smart hub or offer up Wi-Fi connectivity, you'll need a streaming device to bridge the gap.

With offerings including Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and more, we've rounded up our pick of the best streaming devices to ease the buying process. Not sure why you'd need one? Find out with the help of these 10 reasons why you need a smart streamer.

Looking to build a more extensive smart technology system for your living room? Take a look at our guide to the best smart tech for living rooms. The, for more advice, information and handy buying guides, take a look at our technology hub page. 

What is the best streaming device?

In our opinion, the Google Chromecast Ultra is still the best streaming device currently available, primarily thanks to its ease of use. This handy device enables users to stream almost anything – including Netflix and YouTube – directly from their phone to the TV, simply by plugging this small, and handy device into the HDMI port round the back of the TV.

With a variety of third party apps available, it's never been easier to stream TV, music, films and more. Plus, if you have a 4K TV, it's possible to stream compatible content in that quality, too.

Tempted by a TV upgrade, too? Browse our handy buying guides:

  • The best TV deals - our round up of the best deals currently available, perfect those seeking better viewing quality on a budget
  • The best 4K TVs - as mentioned, many streaming devices offer compatible content
  • The best Smart TVs - don't fancy faffing around with a streaming device? Opt for the Smart TV and benefit from having your streaming services built-in

How to buy the best streaming device

In order to ensure you're buying the best streaming device to suit your needs, you may wish to bear the following factors in mind:

Internet connection 

The quality of your streaming service is dependent on the quality of your internet connection, so you may wish to ensure the quality of your connection is capable of withstanding the demands of a streaming device.

Not sure it will? Browse our pick of the best fibre broadband deals for an upgrade that won't break the bank (we promise).

Consider what you want from your streaming device

Are you simply looking to stream films and TV in the best quality possible? Or are you looking for the best streaming device to support gaming, too? Look into the capability of each streaming device before committing to a purchase.

Will a specific streaming device better suit your needs?

Those with Android devices may be better suited to an android enabled model, such as the Google Chromecast Ultra, to fire across to the TV whatever they’re viewing on their phone or tablet, while those with iPhones may want to look into the Apple TV 4K to keep all devices synced up.

Will you be using your streaming device while abroad? 

Don't let work trips, holidays and gap yah's get in the way of you and your favourite series. If you're away regularly, it may be worth investing in a VPN.

Put simply, a VPN allows you to get around geo-blocking by changing your IP address so you appear to be in another location. So, if your favourite series is only available in the UK, you can change your location to get around the limitations.

We'd recommend investing in ExpressVPN, currently the tried-and-tested number one best rated VPN available. Accompanied by a 30 day money back guarantee and compatible with Smart TVs, Fire TV sticks PC, Mac, iPhone, Android and more.  

Google Chromecast Ultra an example of the best streaming devices

1. Google Chromecast Ultra

Best streaming device: broadcast films, music and games from your smartphone to your TV

Specifications
Streaming quality: 4K Ultra HD
Internet connection: Wi-Fi or ethernet
Power: USB
Remote: No
Reasons to buy
+ Convenient to use + Optimises content in accordance with your TV’s capabilities 
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn't come with a remote

If you don’t already have smart apps like Netflix or YouTube on your TV, picking up a Google Chromecast will allow you to stream almost anything you want directly from your phone to your TV. All you have to do is plug this into your HDMI port on the back or side of your TV and connect it up to your home internet.

There is a variety of third-party apps that have Google Chromecast support so you can then stream TV, movies, music and more directly from your phone up to your TV with ease. Want to watch the latest episode of that BBC iPlayer drama you’ve been bingeing? You can do that from your phone or tablet with a Chromecast Ultra.

Plus if you have a 4K TV, the Google Chromecast Ultra will be able to stream compatible TV shows and movies in that quality too. You’ll need some very strong internet to get all of the benefits of this, but it’s possible and one of the best ways to watch TV online in the best quality possible.

It should be noted that it doesn't come with a remote control, your phone is used as the remote which could be hugely beneficial for some, but not so much for others.

Try AO for more streaming devices

amazon fire TV with ultra HD an example of the best streaming devices available

2. Amazon Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa Voice Remote

Best smart streaming device: smart home owners should take a look at the Amazon Fire TV

Specifications
Streaming quality: 4K Ultra HD
Internet connection: Wi-Fi
Power: Micro USB
Remote: Yes
Reasons to buy
+ 10,000 channels and apps + Control with Alexa voice remote 
Reasons to avoid
-Small may not be ideal for some

As a good all-rounder, you can’t really go wrong with the Amazon Fire TV. With heaps of channels and apps to choose from, there’s enough content for hours and hours of entertainment.

It can play back in 4K, great for those who want to make the most out of their 4K TV’s capabilities and you can use the Alexa controlled voice remote to change channels and switch over apps without having to lift a finger.

It works with lots of voice assistants including Alexa, Nest, Hive and TP Link, however isn't yet compatible with Google Assistant.

Browse Amazon for more streaming devices

Roku Streaming Stick Plus an example of the best streaming devices

3. Roku Streaming Stick Plus

Best budget streaming device: the top pick for cheap streaming

Specifications
Streaming quality: 4K Ultra HD
Internet connection: Wi-Fi
Power: Battery
Remote: Yes
Reasons to buy
+ Great Wi-Fi pick up range + Great value 
Reasons to avoid
-A pain if you loose the power cable

It may not carry the big brand name of some of the other smart streamers on our list, but the Roku Streaming Stick Plus is certainly worth a mention.

Thanks to the advanced wireless receiver, it should be able to pick up signal wherever the router is in the house. 

n addition to giving you access to the usual streaming channels such as Netflix and Now TV, there’s also an index of Catch Up apps including BBC iPlayer and ITV Player so you will literally ‘never miss a show again.'

Take a look on Very for more amazing offers on streaming devices

Apple TV 4K an example of the best streaming devices

4. Apple TV 4K

Best streaming device for HDR upscaling: play all of your Apple content and your regular content from one place

Specifications
Streaming quality: 4K HDR
Internet connection: Wi-Fi or ethernet
Power: Mains
Remote: Yes
Reasons to buy
+ HDR technology for high quality viewing + A10X Fusion Chip for a better gaming experience 
Reasons to avoid
-No Amazon video

Playing your Apple content as well as content from Netflix, Amazon and Now TV is just one of the Apple TV 4K’s many tricks.

Those with the latest TVs will love its HDR upscaling and those who want to play the latest addictive app on a bigger screen will love the addition of the A10X Fusion Chip. 

In addition to entertainment, this streaming device enables you to share photos, presentations, websites and music, making it well worth the additional spend. 

Read our full review of Apple TV. Then, browse John Lewis & Partners for more streaming devices

Nvidia Shield 2017 an example of the best streaming devices

5. Nvidia Shield 2017

Best streaming device for PC games

Specifications
Streaming quality: 4K HDR
Internet connection: Wi-Fi or ethernet
Power: Mains
Remote: Yes
Reasons to buy
+ View PC games on the big screen + Built in Chromecast 
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey

The Nvidia Shield is a clever streaming device which has the ability to transmit your PC game from your PC screen to the TV. Thanks to its HDR capabilities, the game’s graphics will be shown in super high quality too, creating an immersive gaming experience.

In addition to gaming, you can view the latest shows and movies, download apps via the Android TV App store and share videos and photos with your family using the built in Chromecast. All in all, a super smart streamer, ideal for pleasing everyone.  

Check out Currys PC World for more options when it comes to choosing the best streaming device for you

Sky NOW TV Box an example of the best streaming devices

6. Sky NOW TV Box

Best streaming device for sports fans: a basic box with some great TV content

Specifications
Streaming quality: Full HD
Internet connection: Wi-Fi or ethernet
Power: HDMI
Remote: Yes
Reasons to buy
+ Sky Cinema pass for latest releases + Watch sports and TV shows with no contract 
Reasons to avoid
-Unusable USB and microSD ports

If you’re tired of not finding anything to watch on regular television, invest in a SKY NOW TV Box. From Nickelodeon to the Discovery channels, you can access lots of additional content that you would otherwise have to tie yourself into a contract for if you bought a Sky box.

In addition, in terms of extra content, there’s all the usual catch up apps plus you can pause and rewind live TV, great if you fancy a cup of tea halfway through watching your favourite programme.   

Take a look at eBay for more deals on streaming devices

Google Chromecast an example of the best streaming devices

7. Google Chromecast

Best cheap streaming device: the little brother to the Google Chromecast Ultra

Specifications
Streaming quality: Full HD
Internet connection: Wi-Fi
Power: Mains
Remote: No
Reasons to buy
+ Cheap and cheerful + Receives video, photo and apps from your phone 
Reasons to avoid
-No remote control

If you don’t own a 4K UHD TV, there’s probably not much point in you paying out for the Chromecast Ultra. Transmitting your phone’s content in HD, the Google Chromecast however, is the perfect smart streamer for second bedroom TVs. While it doesn’t boast an ethernet connection like the Ultra, it has the ability to playback content from a whole host of apps including Netflix and the NOW TV app, plus some games apps are compatible with the Chromecast, too.  

Now TV Stick an example of the best streaming devices

8. Now TV Stick

Best streaming device for kids: another kid’s room alternative

Specifications
Streaming quality: Full HD
Internet connection: Wi-Fi
Power: Mains
Remote: Yes
Reasons to buy
+ Great value for money + All your favourite apps plus contract-free Sky
Reasons to avoid
-No Netflix or Amazon Prime

If you’re not too worried about an ethernet cable or being able to pause and playback live TV then the NOW TV Stick may be the better option.

Costing just under £15, there’s plenty of content available, including additional SKY content plus playback apps including iPlayer and ITV player.

Although Netflix isn’t currently available on NOW TV devices, with Entertainment and SKY Box Office packages available, you’ll never be short on content. 

Browse Now TV for more streaming devices

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