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TVs are getting smarter by the day, leaving owners of older models behind in terms of available features and services. Today's streaming media players from the likes of Apple, Amazon, Google, and Roku will make your older TV smarter the moment you plug them in. Here are our favorites.
The Apple TV 4K is the best streaming device for most buyers out there. It supports not only UHD resolution, but also both HDR 10 and Dolby Vision content standards for a stunning visual experience with a compatible TV.
You can stream 4K movies from all major streaming services, including Netflix and Amazon Prime. YouTube is the only service that is yet to support the high resolution on the device.
Best of all, Apple won't charge you extra for renting and buying 4K movies. Finding 4K content on the new Apple TV is as easy as asking Siri. Of course, the streaming device will also give you access to an excellent selection of apps and games.
Best Budget Buy
The Streaming Stick+ is not only the best budget-friendly streaming device, but also our favorite Roku player available today. Like its predecessors, the gadget has been designed to plug directly into the HDMI port of your compatible TV or monitor and stay out of sight.
The Streaming Stick+ can stream 4K HDR content from all major streaming services, so it's well-connected, too. Speedy dual-band Wi-Fi and Roku's easy-to-use remote control round up the small gadget's key features.
Best Android TV Option
The NVIDIA SHIELD TV is a sleek Android TV box, which supports 4K HDR content from the likes of Amazon, Netflix, and, of course, YouTube. The streaming player also comes with the Google Assistant on board, allowing you to easily search for content, open apps, and control smart home appliances with your voice.
Thanks to its snappy Tegra X1 chipset, up to 500 GB of storage, and an array of exclusive gaming titles, the SHIELD TV will not only stream content for you, but also fulfill your casual gaming needs.
Best for Amazon Alexa Users
Designed to stay out of sight, the Amazon Fire TV will allow you to enjoy 4K HDR content from all major streaming services, including Netflix and Prime Video. Powered by Amazon Alexa, the streaming player allows you to search for content and control your smart home gadget via a dedicated voice button in its remote.
Even better, you can skip the remote and control the Amazon Fire TV entirely with voice (once you pair it with an Amazon Echo speaker). Support for Dolby Atmos audio is also among the device's key features.
Best for Streaming from a Mobile Device
The Google Chromecast Ultra is a compact and powerful option that can stream 4K and HDR content from the likes of Netflix and YouTube. It hangs from one of the HDMI ports on your TV, and it gives you access to Google's catalog of movies and TV shows.
The Chromecast Ultra can also mirror the screen of your Android smartphone, as well as display content from your Chrome browser. The gadget has no remote control, so you'll need to use your smartphone or tablet to stream content.
Best for Older TVs
The ultra-affordable Roku Express is the best streaming device for older TVs without a 4K display panel. Easy to set up and use, the tiny gadget can stream Full HD content from all major popular services, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, and SlingTV, among others.
Of course, Roku's signature remote is also part of the product's package. The intuitive-to-use accessory has handy buttons for one-touch access to today's most popular streaming services.
Best for the DVR-Obsessed
The TiVo BOLT VOX is a streaming player for those who like to record live TV, as well as access today's most popular streaming services in 4K resolution. Designed to replace your cable box, the device can simultaneously record up to four shows, then allow you to watch them on your own time and seamlessly skip commercials. You can order the BOLT VOX with up to a whopping 3 TB of storage, so you can record hundreds of hours of HD content.
TiVo has updated its signature remote with support for voice commands. The latter allows you to search for any content across all available services with voice. It's important to note that in order to work, the BOLT VOX requires a $15-per-month TiVo subscription.