Esto también se puede leer en español.

Leer en español

Don't show this again

Grammys 2020 Boeing's 777X completes first flight Coronavirus death toll rises SNL brings back Adam Driver iPhone 12 rumors Best on-ear headphones for 2020
CNET editors pick the products & services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

Best streaming device of 2020: Roku, Apple TV, Fire Stick, Nvidia Shield and more

Plenty of hardware options exist for streaming Netflix, YouTube, Amazon and the rest. Here are our picks for the best.

05-streamers-2020
Sarah Tew/CNET

So you want a new device to connect to your TV and stream video, but you're not sure which one? We've got you covered.

We've reviewed all the major streaming media devices on the market today, from Roku to Amazon to Chromecast to Apple TV, along with every major smart TV system. With the exception of TVs that actually run Roku's or Amazon's software, TV streaming devices are better than the smarts built into your set. They have more apps, better search, simpler remotes and more frequent updates.

Most media streamer options are super-affordable, especially given how much you'll likely be using them -- like, every day, often for multiple hours at a time to watch movies and TV.

So if your current media streamer is getting long in the tooth, or you're looking for the best streaming device to go with that new 4K HDR TV, chances are you'll be more than happy with one of these.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Roku is our favorite streaming system, with the most streaming apps, the simplest interface, the best search and a content-agnostic platform that doesn't push any one media streaming provider, like Amazon Prime Video or iTunes, over another. The Plus is one of the cheapest streaming TV options with 4K HDR, and even if your current TV doesn't support those formats, your next one probably will. Its accent on practical features, like a remote control that can control your TV's volume and power, seals the deal. Read our Roku Streaming Stick Plus review.

Read more: Best universal remotes of 2020

Now playing: Watch this: How to buy a Roku streamer in 2019
7:19

Read more: Best live TV streaming services for cord cutters in 2020

The perfect foil to the Roku Streaming Stick Plus, the Apple TV costs over $100 more but is the better choice for people who can appreciate its advantages. Those include compatibility with Dolby Vision HDR, flexible upconversion, superior voice control features, a better remote and a smoother, slicker user interface. The Apple TV 4K is so good, its even makes sense if you're not an "Apple person." Read our Apple TV 4K review.

Read more: YouTube TV vs. Sling TV: Which live TV streaming service is best for you?

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sure, it's expensive at $150 -- and that's before adding a game controller -- but if you want a Jack-of-all-trades video media player, the Shield is it. In addition to a streaming media player in 4K and HDR, it offers a robust library of games, both console-level and Android, Steam Link, built-in Google Assistant complete with smart home control, NAS access, Plex server capabilityHDHomeRun integration and much more. Read our review of the Nvidia Shield TV.

Read more: This is the best cheap live-TV streaming service for cord cutters

Sarah Tew/CNET

With Alexa, Amazon has done more than any other company to integrate voice commands into the ways we consume media. The Fire TV Stick 4K bakes Alexa right into the remote, and you can use voice control to search for Gremlins or turn on your Christmas tree. Or both at the same time. Throw in a massive selection of content with an easy-to-use menu and the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K represents excellent value for money. Read our Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

For the price of a Blu-ray movie disc, you can get a whole media streamer, which comes with plenty of free content. The Express delivers all of the goodness of Roku's platform, and it includes a remote, an HDMI cable and a little sticker to keep it in place. Read our Roku Express (2019) review.

Read more: Best AV receivers of 2020

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Chromecast is one of the cheapest ways to get video to stream on your TV, but unlike the other streamers here it doesn't come with a remote. Instead it works in combination with a phone or the Google Assistant for voice control and voice search. The latter method is great for calling up shows on Netflix or Disney Plus. Read our Google Chromecast 2018 review.

Read more: The best Google Assistant and Google Home devices of 2020

Sarah Tew/CNET

Soundbars with streaming onboard may be a relatively recent development, but Roku's Smart Soundbar came fully formed out of the gate. With excellent sound, the Roku interface users know and love and an affordable price, this a great option for a bedroom or holiday house. Read CNET's review of the Roku Smart Soundbar.

Sarah Tew/CNET

At $100, this the most expensive Roku, but if you must "have it all" then the Roku Ultra has a lot to offer. While the image quality and operating system are indistinguishable from the Streaming Stick Plus, the Ultra is especially handy for the forgetful among us. The Ultra offers both a remote finder and two extra customizable shortcut buttons for your favorite services. Read our Roku Ultra (2019) review.