The Best Streaming Devices in 2022: The home theater experience keeps getting better, year after year, as new technologies are developed and old ones are refined. As 4K continues to be the standard resolution in many of today’s televisions, it’s no surprise that streaming services have taken off, allowing you to view all your favorite movies and TV shows on your own schedule without having to wait for the next TV episode or movie to be released on DVD or Blu-Ray. With all the options available to consumers these days, we decided to compile a list of the best streaming devices in 2022.
Amazon Fire TV Cube (The Best Streaming Devices in 2022)
The Amazon Fire TV Cube is an excellent option for people who want a simple home theater device but don’t have a lot of extra space on their entertainment stand. The setup process takes no time at all, and after setting up your account and downloading any apps you want, you can turn it on and sit back to enjoy streaming movies, shows, or music. And if anyone else wants to use it, they can sign in to their own Amazon account to access whatever they’ve purchased or rented through Amazon. You’ll need to plug it into your television set using HDMI so that you can watch content through your TV’s speakers; there’s also an optical audio jack if you prefer that route instead.
Roku Ultra (The Best Streaming Devices in 2022)
The market’s best streamer today has only gotten better with time. If your budget is just a little bit bigger, go with Roku Ultra. It offers all of Roku’s killer features—like private listening and 4K support—and adds more power, a microSD card slot, voice control via Alexa and Google Assistant, and enhanced remote tracking so you never lose it behind couch cushions. And yes, it still has headphone jacks on both remote and base to make sure your late-night streaming stays quiet. The Ultra is pretty much perfect at what it does: Provide access to any show or movie you could want to watch on-demand. When you consider its low price (roughly $99), that makes it a fantastic deal.
Chromecast Ultra(The Best Streaming Devices in 2022)
Google’s popular streaming stick, which can connect to any screen with an HDMI port, will get a slight upgrade: It’ll have eight times more RAM than its predecessor. While that won’t make too much of a difference on older TVs, newer sets with 4K resolution and HDR—both of which are likely to be industry standards by 2022—will require more RAM to keep up. The Chromecast Ultra will also support 8K resolutions (though there will be very few sources available). With all these new requirements, it’s not hard to imagine Google adding a costlier version of its device next year.
Apple TV (4th Generation)
Content is king and when it comes to streaming devices, Apple TV has plenty of content. However, if you’re going to splurge on a streaming device then it might as well be an Apple product. And while other devices might offer more bells and whistles (you know, like voice control), we think that Apple will likely continue innovating on their OS and integrating new services as time goes on—meaning your purchase won’t get stale after just a year or two. That being said, there are certainly cheaper options out there (like Roku) but if you have an iPhone or Macbook then investing in Apple TV will make sense down the road.
Android TV Boxes/Pads/Phones with Google Cast
If you already own a Google Chromecast device, it’s worth noting that there are many TV boxes, phones, and tablets that also have Google Cast built-in. You can mirror your screen or stream videos from your device right to your television. If you have a Chromebook or Android tablet, all you need is an app like AirParrot to mirror what’s on your screen to your TV using Google Cast. Apple TV: A new member of my home theater setup is my Apple TV (4th generation). It’s a great little media player that includes Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Pandora Radio apps by default.
Xbox One (Slim, S, X)
The Xbox One is a sleek and powerful video game console that doubles as a great streaming device. In addition to playing games, you can enjoy live TV from your cable or satellite provider, stream shows from services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, play Blu-rays and even listen to your favorite tunes. To enjoy 4K content you’ll need an HDTV with HDMI 2.0 (most new sets include one), but everything else—including HDR support—is built right into the Xbox One S and X. The best part? The Xbox is also compatible with Oculus Rift VR headsets. While we can’t recommend going that far just yet, it’s nice to know it’s there if/when you want it down the road.
Nvidia Shield (Pro & Mini)
Nvidia Shield takes home-theater entertainment to a whole new level. In its first incarnation, it was an Android-based gaming system with a sleek, handheld controller that doubled as a wireless streaming remote. While it wasn’t quite up to par with traditional consoles (read: laggy), more recent versions have been hailed as some of the best streamers on the market. The Pro version has 8GB of memory and a 256 GB hard drive while the Mini offers 4GB and 16 GB, respectively. Both come with HDR capabilities; you can even play PC games remotely through your computer by downloading GeForce Now.
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