Esto también se puede leer en español.

Leer en español

Don't show this again

Reddit outage Watch Trump impeachment hearings Joker sequel Baby Yoda Walmart Black Friday 2019 Early Black Friday Deals
CNET editors pick the products & services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

Best media streamer gifts for the holidays

Give them the gift of streaming Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and everything else on their TVs, starting at just $30.

Roku Streaming Stick Plus
Sarah Tew/CNET

In this age of streaming video, cable TV cord cutting, Netflix and YouTube, there's plenty of ways to get that video onto your TV. But the cheapest is a dedicated media streamer from a company like Roku or Amazon Fire TV. These little devices make great gifts too, because they're easy to use and open up access to a whole world of entertainment, both free and subscription-based.

If you're planning on buying that someone a media streamer this holiday season, the main thing they'll need is a solid Wi-Fi connection at home, ideally one near the TV. That, and enough money for all those subscriptions. Here's our favorite choices.

Read more: Best live TV streaming services for cord cutters in 2019  

Sarah Tew/CNET

For less than the price of a decent dinner, the tiny Express covers the basics beautifully, has quick response times and Roku's dead-simple interface. And Roku's app access is second to none, with all the big names they expect, from Netflix to the Apple TV app, and thousands of smaller ones too. And if they have an older TV without HDMI inputs, the Express Plus is a great choice.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Roku has a better, simpler menu system but the entry-level Fire TV has the edge in features -- its remote controls TV volume and power, and it lets you talk into the remote to use Alexa, to search for video, get the weather, or turn off the lights.  Read our Amazon Fire TV Stick with all-new Alexa Voice Remote (2019) review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If your gift recipient would rather control the videos with his or her phone, get a Chromecast. It utilizes the Cast function on iPhones, Android phones and other devices to control video from most major apps, including Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and thousands more. The big downside? No remote or on-screen menu system, so you need your phone to use it. Read our Google Chromecast 2018 review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Plus has all the Roku goodness of the Express and adds 4K HDR video output. If your gift recipient has a 4K HDR TV, or could get one in the near future (note: pretty much every new TV is 4K these days), this is a better choice than the Express because it takes advantage of the best video quality from services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. And the Plus also has a point-anywhere remote with the ability to control TV volume, mute and power. It's our favorite all-around streamer. Read our Roku Streaming Stick Plus review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

One again, we prefer the Roku version for its superior menus, but this Fire TV stick has its advantages. In addition to superior voice support (Alexa), it offers Dolby Vision HDR compatibility, something missing from Roku players. That's hardly a must-have, but if your gift recipient has a Dolby Vision TV and wants to make sure it gets that format, Amazon's stick could be the better bet. Read our Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

All of the streamers above will do the job well for half as much as the Ultra, but maybe you feel like laying a little luxury on that special streaming someone. Roku's best player has most of the extra features in its remote: a built-in headphone jack (so you can watch TV without disturbing anyone else), a remote finder (for when the clicker gets lost in the couch cushions) and a pair of voice-programmable shortcut buttons. And along with the Apple TV 4K, it's the only device on this list with an Ethernet port, so you have the option of going wired instead of Wi-Fi. Read our Roku Ultra (2019) review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Want to give the very best? The Apple TV 4K has it all: 4K HDR compatibility with Dolby Vision, a slick, touch-sensitive remote and full integration with Apple's other gadgets and services, including Apple Arcade (complete with Xbox and PlayStation controller support). With the arrival of the TV app and iTunes on Roku and Amazon, it might have lost some appeal for Apple fans on a budget, but it's still a top choice if you're feeling generous. Read our Apple TV 4K review.