The 10 Best 4K Streaming Devices
This wiki has been updated 12 times since it was first published in December of 2018. If you want to join the legions of cord cutters abandoning their expensive cable services in favor of more flexible entertainment options, you're going to want one of the 4K streaming devices from our list. They can run your favorite media apps, like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video, and some can even interface with your home automation systems, making them easier to set up and use than ever. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
August 21, 2020:
When it comes to 4K streaming, it's often best to avoid generic TV boxes or anything running open-source Android TV because they tend to not perform well or have certification for use with some important streaming services. The Ematic Jetstream is one that appears to be yet another copy of one of these, but in fact it does feature Widevine DRM certification and is a great choice for using with Kodi.
All the rest of these cord-cutting devices come from well-known and respected brands. The TiVo RA2400, for example, comes from one of the first companies to bring digital, non-physical home media to the mainstream many years ago. Today, the Roku Ultra, Roku Premiere , and Roku Streaming Stick+ all have the kind of brand recognition that TiVo did so long ago, and for good reason - their operating system is repeatedly lauded for its ease of use. The Streaming Stick+ is the best choice for most users, but sticklers for menu performance and advanced features might want to invest int he Ultra. Anyone willing to make an even more significant investment should consider the Apple TV, which is often regarded as the most streamlined, but is about the most expensive.
The Google Chromecast Ultra is an interesting choice because of its simplicity, although it's not quite as streamlined as the rest. The Amazon Fire TV Stick is easy to use and quite inexpensive; while it doesn't have quite the same app library as many others, it's a perfectly good choice for most users. Again, those who demand higher general use performance should consider the upgraded Amazon Fire TV Cube.
However, it's hard to top the Nvidia Shield Pro. Yes, it is costly, but if you want one high-powered device that can do an impressive amount of things well, this is the one to choose. It has far and away the most powerful hardware inside of any on our list, and it's a great choice for gamers who want to stream titles from their high-end PC to their living room TV.
January 09, 2019:
The heavy hitters in this category come from brands we expected to see, with Roku, Amazon, and Apple among the top ranks. NVIDIA's Shield system remains rather viable as well, while a few of the more suspicious KODI boxes stand out from within a sea of comparable brand-X options. Despite having better specs in some cases, these tend to have issues with their open source software bugging out on people.
Microsoft Xbox Series X The Xbox was the original platform of the Xbox Media Center, now Kodi, and remains a great choice for streaming all sorts of media. Releasing in November of 2020, the latest generation of Xbox is also one of the most powerful gaming-focused devices ever released, and promises hours of interactive fun, though at a considerable price. xbox.com
OSMC Vero 4K+ If you're comfortable configuring your own hardware, this TV box was built to run Linux, and works particularly well with the Kodi suite and a Linux fork called LibreELEC. As you might imagine, though, it's not meant for beginners, and it lacks support for popular apps such as Netflix in Ultra HD. osmc.tv