Media Streamers:

Best media streamers of 2015

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, period

Roku 3

Although nearing its second birthday, Roku 3 is still our favorite streamer on the market. Tons of content sources, lightning-fast performance, and a great remote outdo the competition.

Price: $79.95 - $85.99 Check prices

4.5 stars Outstanding Roku's speedy streamer is the best box yet

Best streaming stick overall

Roku Streaming Stick (2014)

Roku's Streaming Stick offers tons of apps, a real remote, and a compact design for just $50, making it the best streaming stick and an outstanding value.

Price: $39.99 - $49.00 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Best streamer for Apple users

Apple TV

The Apple TV is an indispensable living room companion for people invested in iTunes content and Apple hardware, but for everyone else it's a step behind the Roku 3.

Price: $84.95 - $99.99 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Best value in a streaming box

Roku 2

The Roku 2 offers tons of content sources and an innovative remote with built-in headphone jack for less, but the faster Roku 3 is still our favorite pick.

Price: $57.90 - $64.50 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Best streamer for Amazon content

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 mastery of Amazon content make it easily worth the $40 price.

Price: $39.00 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Best for casual games, voice search

Amazon Fire TV

A worse value than the Stick, the Fire TV box is still a solid choice for the Amazon faithful who value its extra features.

Price: $99.00 Check prices

3.5 stars Very good

Best for playing local files

Western Digital WD TV Media Player (2014)

While not for everyone, the WD TV's adroit playback of video and music files makes it the perfect living room box for people with large digital media collections.

Price: $89.99 - $104.64 Check prices

3.5 stars Very good

Cheap, innovative alternative

Google Chromecast

Google's $35 Chromecast stick relies on your phone, tablet or PC to do the heavy lifting, enabling some cool functions but also making it harder to use than sticks with physical remotes.

Price: $27.29 - $35.00 Check prices

3.5 stars Very good
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