Thinking about dumping cable and cutting the cord? Many people are choosing to do so given that the costs of cable for the service can be, well, questionable. But you’ll need to find the best streaming device to replace cable. The good news is that there are many tv streaming devices, services, an internet providers that are up for the job.
You’ll need a streaming device, a streaming service, and of course, reliable high-speed internet access. In this guide, we’ll break down what the best streaming device and service is for you, so you can choose the right streaming media player for your needs.
Best Media Streaming Devices In 2018
Here are the best media streaming devices newly available for 2018:
- Roku Streaming Stick Plus ($59.99): Dubbed “Best media streamer overall” by online technology review site cnet.com, the newest installment by market leader Roku delivers 4K and HDR video in a device the size of a memory stick. The stick works with most streaming services and its remote can control volume and power on the TV, a rare capability in streaming devices. The Streaming Stick Plus doesn’t have voice control, but cnet.com says it doesn’t matter.
- Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote ($39.99): One of the least expensive devices that streams most services, the Fire TV Stick doesn’t have 4K but otherwise is comparable to the Roku stick at a cheaper price and offers voice control via the Alexa Voice Remote. Given cnet.com’s criticism that the device pushes too much Amazon content, the Alexa feature is useful for searching all services at the same time.
- Apple TV 4K ($179.00): For those who want the highest quality streaming video available, Apple has the answer. Our friends at cnet.com don’t seem to think it’s worth the price, but that’s a matter of personal taste. If you need a streaming device and you love Apple products enough to pay up, the Apple TV 4K won’t let you down.
Best Streaming Services
Along with your streaming device, you’ll need a media streaming service. We compare streaming services below:
- Netflix: The world’s most popular streaming service, Netflix offers movies and television shows from around the world, including a large and popular reservoir of its own content. It has a variety of plans from $7.99/month to $13.99/month, depending on the number of screens you want to use at one time.
- Amazon Prime: Frequent shoppers would know about Amazon Prime, which costs $99/year ($8.25/month) for free shipping on select products, but also includes free access to Amazon’s Instant Video, with original content, a database of movies and shows, and access to channels such as HBO, Showtime, and many others (at additional cost). For our money, Amazon Prime is the best media streaming service.
- Hulu: Hulu offers access to a wide variety of network television shows for only $8.00/month. If you want to keep up with current network TV without having cable, this is a great way to go.
- PlayStation Vue: This service is the high-end cable replacement service. With packages ranging in price from $50/month for basic to $75/month for everything, PlayStation Vue is the best way to get cable if you’re not price sensitive.
- Sling TV: For as little as $20/month, Sling TV offers a less extensive but quality choice of cable channels, and is the best streaming service for sports. More channels can be added, either as a package or one-by-one, which Sling calls “a la carte TV.”
The Bottom Line
To summarize, you need:
- One streaming device;
- At least one streaming service (many people combine two or three);
- High-speed internet.
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