Best Media Streamers for 2018

Our editors hand-picked these products based on our tests and reviews.
If you use our links to buy, we may get a commission.

  • $59 at Amazon
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    CNET's Rating

    • 9 Design
    • 10 Ecosystem
    • 9 Features
    • 9 Performance
    Roku Streaming Stick Plus
    Best streamer overall

    Lightning-fast responses, oodles of apps and a dead-simple interface help propel Roku's streamers to the top of our lists. This 4K HDR streamer is so good and affordable you might want one even if you don't (yet) own a 4K HDR TV.

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  • $50 at Walmart.com
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    CNET's Rating

    • 9 Design
    • 10 Ecosystem
    • 8 Features
    • 8 Performance
    Roku Premiere Plus (2018)
    Best streaming value

    If your 2.4 GHz connection is solid and you want to save $10, the Premiere Plus makes more sense than the Streaming Stick Plus. It even includes Roku's great point-anywhere TV control remote.

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  • $35 at Amazon
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    CNET's Rating

    • 9 Design
    • 8 Ecosystem
    • 10 Features
    • 9 Performance
    Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
    Best voice controls

    The Fire TV Stick 4K is very good for everyone, but the best reason to choose it over Roku is if you have an Alexa speaker and want to use its superior voice control in your system.

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  • $179 at Apple
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    CNET's Rating

    • 10 Design
    • 10 Ecosystem
    • 10 Features
    • 9 Performance
    Apple TV 4K
    Best high-end 4K HDR streamer

    With more features and capabilities than you'll ever use, as well as Amazon video (finally!), Dolby Vision capability and overall superb performance and design, the Apple TV 4K is the best streamer on the market for those who want to afford it.

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  • $29 at Amazon
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    CNET's Rating

    • 8 Design
    • 10 Ecosystem
    • 8 Features
    • 8 Performance
    Roku Streaming Stick 2017

    The Roku Streaming Stick is an excellent choice if you couldn't care less about 4K and want to declutter your coffee table of remotes.

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  • $29 at Amazon
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    CNET's Rating

    • 6 Design
    • 9 Ecosystem
    • 5 Features
    • 7 Performance
    Roku Express (2017)
    Best basic streamer

    You expect a streamer this cheap to suck somehow, but the Express does not. It's plenty-fast, packed with apps and unlike Chromecast, actually includes a remote control. All you need to stream, nothing you don't.

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  • $25 at Amazon
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    CNET's Rating

    • 7 Design
    • 7 Ecosystem
    • 8 Features
    • 9 Performance
    Amazon Fire TV Stick With Alexa Voice Remote
    Best budget streamer with voice

    Want to talk to your TV, and have your TV talk back? If yon have a 4K TV, choose the higher-rated Fire TV above. But if you're on a tight budget and don't care about 4K, the basic stick is a great choice.

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  • $119 at Amazon
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    CNET's Rating

    • 8 Design
    • 8 Ecosystem
    • 9 Features
    • 8 Performance
    Amazon Fire TV Cube
    Best for whole-system voice control

    While it's not quite a Harmony remote replacement yet, the unique Amazon Fire TV Cube is worth the investment for people who want an full-featured streamer that can also use Alexa voice commands to control their TV, sound bar and AV receiver.

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  • $199 at Amazon
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    CNET's Rating

    • 8 Design
    • 9 Ecosystem
    • 10 Features
    • 10 Performance
    Nvidia Shield (2017)
    Best streamer for geeks, gamers

    Sure it's relatively expensive, but the do-it-all Shield belongs in the same conversation with other top-tier streamers. And if you can use its myriad other gaming, file-sharing and similarly geeky functions, it could be worth the extra money.

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  • $35 at Walmart
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    CNET's Rating

    • 6 Design
    • 9 Ecosystem
    • 6 Features
    • 7 Performance
    Roku Express Plus (2017)
    Best streamer for old TVs

    If your TV lacks HDMI inputs, you don't have very many choices in streaming device. The Express+ is the best, delivering Roku's superb app ecosystem, ease of use and even free cables.

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  • $35 at Walmart
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    CNET's Rating

    • 8 Design
    • 7 Ecosystem
    • 6 Features
    • 8 Performance
    Google Chromecast (2015)
    Best value for phone-centric users

    If you can watch it on your phone or tablet or computer, the dirt-cheap Chromecast can probably put it on your TV. The downside? There's no separate remote, so you'll need your phone or tablet or computer to use it. Or your Google Home speaker.

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