The 8 Best Streaming Sticks
This wiki has been updated 11 times since it was first published in December of 2018. If you want to ditch your costly cable or satellite company without losing access to movies, games, sports and your favorite TV shows, check out these streaming sticks. Any of these tiny devices can provide you with access to all of the most popular services currently available without requiring a bulky box to sit on your entertainment center. Many allow for convenient voice control, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
August 28, 2020:
There are plenty of streaming devices on the market, but some are definitely smaller and more convenient than others. We've assembled here a list of the best such small form factor options, and while they aren't all exactly sticks, most of them plug directly into an HDMI port or are designed to take up significantly less space than most set-top streaming boxes.
Two of the most well known are the Roku Plus and Roku Express, which offer powerful user interfaces and just about the widest media access of any. They're known across the industry for being easy to use. Similarly, the Amazon Fire TV HD and Amazon Fire TV 4K both feature streamlined operating systems, and in fact, if you purchase this yourself through the same Amazon account where you've collected any media, they both come with your personal details pre-loaded, which makes it that much easier to start viewing movies and TV shows.
If you aren't a fan of those proprietary interfaces, the Google Chromecast Ultra and Google Chromecast 3rd Generation are both worth a look. They're significantly different from the others, in that they're designed specifically for screen mirroring, and so they excel at exactly that while some competitors struggle.
There are two others that are both newer and less popular than those, but that have some interesting things about their user interface that makes them worth considering. The TiVo RA2400 creates a single catalog of all the content you have available, but the drawback to this one is that its list of available apps doesn't live up to that of others such as the Roku. Hopefully, TiVo continues to expand the list of compatible services, because we really like the streamlined browsing functionality. The Xiaomi Mi TV, like the TiVo, uses an officially supported version of Android TV, which allows for the loading of various Google Play Store apps. The issue with the Xiaomi is that it's pretty costly for a device that can't display in 4K.
December 27, 2018:
Though the best options for this category all come from the same few manufacturers, I did my best to put this list together with brand diversity in mind. Along with all the latest 4K options from Apple, Roku, and Amazon, I added some budget-friendly options. I made sure to include voice control remotes along with a few pared-down models for buyers less interested in all the bells and whistles.
Kodi TV Forum If you have a collection of Ultra HD content and want to stream it from external storage such as a hard drive or home server, a capable Kodi box might be your best bet. The most important caveat is that they generally require at least a little technological know-how, given that they run on various versions of Linux, but for the savvy computer user, Kodi boxes can provide an impressive entertainment experience. This forum offers a wealth of information on getting started and perfecting your setup. kodi.tv