Media Streamers:

Best media streamers of 2016

Updated

With the rise of excellent streaming-media services like Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, Sling TV and Pandora, it's easier than ever to ditch your discs and embrace streaming content directly to your TV. Below are our top streaming-media device picks. We've limited the list to standalone streaming boxes and sticks, but be aware that lots of other home theater products are competent streamers these days, from Blu-ray players to game consoles to TVs themselves.

Best streaming device for the money

Roku Streaming Stick 2016

The new Roku Streaming Stick is the best value in streaming-video hardware, period.

Price: $49.99 Check prices

5 stars Spectacular Small, speedy, affordable Roku stick is all the streamer you need

Best streaming experience, plus apps

Apple TV 2015

The new Apple TV's awesome remote and voice control make it one of the best entertainment devices, especially for anyone who already owns plenty of Apple gadgets.

Price: $129.45 - $149.00 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Best streamer with voice search

Roku 3

Voice search makes the Roku 3 the best video streamer in its price class, but it's no longer as good a value as the Streaming Stick.

Price: $84.97 - $99.99 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Best 4K streamer

Roku 4

The Roku 4 is the best way to get the most 4K video today, but isn't worth the extra money for most buyers.

Price: $119.88 - $129.00 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Best value for Apple users

Apple TV

While it's a step behind the Roku and less cutting-edge than the 2015 Apple box, the older Apple TV remains an excellent streaming box, especially for those invested in Apple hardware and the iTunes ecosystem.

Price: $64.99 - $69.00 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Best value for those who prefer wired over wi-fi

Roku 2

The Roku 2 is an excellent streamer, but unless you need an Ethernet port you should get the cheaper Streaming Stick instead.

Price: $62.99 - $69.99 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Best value for Amazon fans

Amazon Fire TV Stick

While it doesn't match the app selection or search capabilities of Roku, Amazon's Fire TV Stick's solid performance and travel-friendly features make it easily worth the $40 price.

Price: $34.99 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Best value for phone-centric users

Google Chromecast (2015)

The innovative Chromecast might be the ultimate living-room accessory for your phone or tablet, but more traditional streaming devices deliver a better streaming experience.

Price: $36.00 Check prices

3.5 stars Very good

Best streamer for Amazon fans

Amazon Fire TV (2015)

The Fire TV is a formidable streamer with 4K capability and oodles of features, but it tries too hard to serve up Amazon's own TV shows and movies.

Price: $99.99 Check prices

3.5 stars Very good

Best for gamers and tech nerds

Nvidia Shield

The Nvidia Shield's 4K video and solid gaming chops will appeal to geeks, and software updates have made it more stable, but app shortfalls and a relatively high price limit its appeal.

Price: $199.99 Check prices

3.5 stars Very good
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