Best Streaming Players 2023

Streaming players have become so popular in the entertainment world. In this guide, we shall discuss the best streaming player. Read through this guide, and you will find the right streaming player for you.

What is a streaming player?

A streaming player, or device, is a piece of equipment that takes the streaming content from the Internet and plays it on your regular TV. Some of the popular streaming devices are Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Google Chromecast. Some gaming consoles, home theater systems, and Blu-ray players can be used to stream content to your regular TV. All of these require an HDMI port on the TV for connection. Some Smart TVs have streaming functionality built right into them.

Buyer’s Guide for Streaming Players


In general, set-top boxes are faster than streaming sticks, and the amount you spend correlates pretty strongly with the loading speeds and smoothness you’ll get.

Playback quality and resolution

If you have a 4K or 4K HDR television, you’ll probably want a streaming box that takes full advantage of those capabilities, including Dolby Vision and HDR10+. But these days, you won’t find any modern devices that don’t at least support 1080p resolution.

App selection

Traditionally, this has been the most important factor in choosing a streaming device, but over time app selection has started to look pretty similar no matter which device you choose, at least among major streaming services. Our app showdown chart will help you with any particular service you’re interested in.

Ecosystem tie-ins

Apple apps and services (such as Apple Arcade and Fitness+) are generally only available through Apple TV, although the Apple TV app (good for access to Apple TV+ content as well as purchased or rented videos from iTunes ) has been making its way across a variety of platforms.

Meanwhile, Fire TV devices are the most convenient way to watch Amazon Prime video, and Google’s video and music services are generally best accessed via Chromecast or Android TV. Roku is more of a neutral party, offering apps for Amazon, Google Play Movies & TV, and several other competing video services, but it lacks the sophisticated virtual assistants and smart home controls you’ll get with other platforms.

Content discovery features

Media-streaming devices are starting to evolve beyond a static list of apps. Features like Roku Feed and the Apple TV’s “TV” app help you keep track of new arrivals, while Amazon includes recommendations directly on the Fire TV home screen. Read up on these approaches to decide which one sounds most appealing.

Private listening options

Many devices support Bluetooth headphones for when you don’t want to disturb your spouse or kids. Roku players also support wired headphones through the Roku mobile app, and through the remote control on its pricier set-top boxes.

Captive portal support

If plan to take your streaming device on the road, you may run into Wi-Fi networks that require a web browser for logging in. This is known as a “captive portal,” and not all streaming devices support it.

Remote control features

Some remote controls are loaded with buttons for fast forward, rewind, and other special functions, while others take a more minimalist approach. Some remotes can control your television’s volume, and some include microphones for voice commands. No remote is perfect, however, so take a look at the ones that are included with each box to decide what’s most important to you.

Audio codec support

An increasing number of streaming services are supporting object-based soundtracks, such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, which add height cues to surround sound. If your home audio system can also take advantage of it—and even many of today’s soundbars can—you’ll want to hear it.


Do you plan on connecting a USB storage device, ethernet cable, or sound system via an analog or digital optical audio cable? Make sure your streaming box has the appropriate connections. You’ll also want a device with 802.11ax Wi-Fi (or Wi-Fi 6) if you’re worried about bandwidth on an overcrowded home network.


Roku Streaming Stick 4K

  • Number of Apps: More than 26,000
  • Size: 3.7 x 0.8 x 0.5 inches
  • Weight: 0.7 oz

Roku Express 4K Plus

  • Size: 3.3 x 1.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Max Resolution: 3840 x 2160
  • Ports: None
  • Remote: Network Voice remote
  • Device Type: Box

Chromecast with Google TV 4K

  • Number of Apps: Over 6,500
  • Size: 6.4 x 2.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Ports: HDMI, USB-C
  • Supported HDR formats: HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision

Nvidia Shield TV (2019)

  • Number of Channels: 5,000
  • Size: 6.5 x 1.6 x 1.6 inches
  • Weight: 4.8 oz

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

  • Number of Channels: More than 12,000
  • Size: 4.3 x 1.12 x 0.6 inches
  • Weight: 1.7 oz

Amazon Fire TV Cube (2019)

  • Control the TV with your voice
  • Endless entertainment
  • Hands-free entertainment

Apple TV 4K (2021)

  • Connector Type: HDMI Type A
  • Resolution: 4k
  • Supported Internet Services: Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+
  • Controller Type: Touch Control

Roku Express

  • Connectivity Technology: HDMI
  • Supported Internet Services: Netflix, Hulu, Vudu
  • Item Weight: 0.4 Pounds
  • Compatible Devices: TV

Fire TV Stick Lite with Alexa Voice Remote Lite

  • Supports Full HD videos.
  • Comes with 8 GB of storage memory.
  • Includes HDMI cable support.
  • Features a fast processing unit.

Roku Premiere

  • Dimensions: 3.3 x 1.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Weight: 1.28 ounces
  • Connectivity: Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Control: Voice

Best Streaming Players

Roku Streaming Stick 4K

The Roku Streaming Stick 4K is a small, but noteworthy, upgrade over the Streaming Stick Plus it replaces. The king stays the king, though, because little changed — and only improvements came with it. Most notably, we’ve finally got Dolby Vision on this Roku stick, so your favorite streaming shows will have the right color balance and contrast (provided your TV supports it, too). Otherwise, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K is a perfect balance of price and performance and provides snappy navigation and smooth streaming. It’s got all the apps you could need, too.

  • Full 4K HDR capabilities
  • Dolby Atmos is missing
  • Relatively affordable
  • Finally Dolby Vision

Roku Express 4K Plus

The new Roku Express 4K Plus, is the replacement for the flawed Roku Premiere. We like this model a lot more 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.

  • Excellent 4K HDR performance
  • Awkward design
  • Decent navigation
  • Improved remote

Chromecast with Google TV 4K

The Chromecast with Google TV 4K makes the company’s traditional streaming device a whole lot more complete. It starts with 4K UHD streaming with support for HDR and Dolby Vision, for excellent picture quality, and Dolby Atmos for immersive sound.

An update has added Dolby Vision support to the Chromecast with Google TV(opens in a new tab) for even better picture quality. Also, it’s got Google TV, an interface and operating system that supports over 6,500 Android TV apps. That means you get everything from HBO Max to Disney Plus to Peacock — plus Netflix. Even Peloton’s in there. A lot of other streaming devices can’t boast as much.

  • Lots of streaming services
  • General Google searches are poorly formatted
  • Remote included
  • Sensible layout

Nvidia Shield TV (2019)

The 2019 Nvidia Shield TV doesn’t just look unlike any other streaming device we’ve ever seen (it’s more like a mobile power charger), it’s also one of the best streaming devices, period. This tube for your tube is great at speedily spitting out UHD 4K content, and its thousands of apps mean you’re getting practically everything you could watch. And it’s so slight in size that it will fit discretely into the ever-crowded space around your TV.

  • Quick rendering of UHD content
  • AI upscaling doesn’t add that much
  • Excellent game-streaming
  • Lots of great apps

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

The original Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K has been a great buy for a couple of years now. Making it more “Max” just made it that much better. The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max now has newer internals with a faster processor, Wi-Fi 6, and support for Dolby Vision. It ships with the latest Alexa Voice Remote, which doesn’t include hands-free voice access but does have proper television controls.

  • Includes the new remote control
  • Built on an aging version of Android
  • Better processor and Wi-Fi
  • Still extremely affordable

Amazon Fire TV Cube (2019)

The second-generation Amazon Fire TV Cube improves on the media streaming capabilities and hands-free Alexa controls from the first version with faster performance and expanded HDR support.

The Amazon Fire TV Cube is aging a bit, but even after this number of years, it’s the most powerful Fire TV media streamer available. It has one big advantage over the Fire TV Stick 4K that helps justify its twice-as-expensive price compared with the stick: its far-field microphones. The Fire TV Cube lets you use Alexa hands-free, which is much more convenient than picking up the remote, holding the voice button, and speaking into it.

  • The infrared blaster can control your home theater by voice
  • Expensive compared with smaller 4K media streamers
  • Supports all major HDR formats
  • Hands-free Alexa voice support

Apple TV 4K (2021)

The Apple TV 4K (2021) is a slick streaming device, which can play 4K video in HDR and Dolby Vision. It also supports high-frame-rate HDR to make fast action and sports look smooth and clear. During our testing, we felt that the new A12 processor definitely ups Apple’s game here, with improved pictures and power for TV and games alike (great for Apple Arcade subscribers who like playing in their living room).

The revamped Siri remote is also a pleasure to use, and there are plenty of small but handy features, such as multi-user support and the ability to tweak your TV’s color balance automatically.

  • High-frame-rate HDR support
  • Expensive compared to rivals
  • Redesigned Siri remote

Roku Express

The Roku Express is a marvel of a streaming stick. While it’s capped at Full HD streaming, it still packs in a huge range of streaming apps on the excellent Roku platform at an incredibly inexpensive price.

The Roku remote is quite iconic these days: nowhere near as sleek as the Alexa Voice Remote that ships with the Amazon Fire TV Stick, but pleasingly straightforward in its own way, featuring chunky and highly visible buttons. The Roku remote was featuring dedicated shortcuts to key apps long before Amazon, too.

  • Great app support
  • Basic IR remote
  • Roku TV interface
  • Super cheap

Fire TV Stick Lite with Alexa Voice Remote Lite

The Fire TV Stick Lite with Alexa Voice Remote Lite has quick voice connectivity options included with the product. This device comes with a one-button Alexa configuration to stream and watch your favorite pick through voice operations.

Another impressive feature about the Fire TV Stick Lite with Alexa Voice Remote Lite is that the stick is compact and can stay hidden right behind your TV sets. As a result, it does no damage to your room decor or TV cabinet appearance and you can operate it quite well.

  • Features free cloud storage option.
  • No TV control is present.
  • It is easy to set up.
  • Micro-USB support.

Roku Premiere

Roku Premiere with decent configuration helps a lot in getting immediate access and features. It comprises popular voice assistance. As a result, you can always expect a great result. You can control the device with a second remote.

  • It comes with the Roku mobile app.
  • None
  • This device has a fast configuration.
  • The setup is perfect.


In conclusion, streaming players are worth it, as these devices could give you top-quality entertainment. You should select the player that suits you best and go for it with no waste of time.

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