What is the best video streaming box available? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question, as it really depends on what features you are looking for.
So let’s take a look at all the most popular devices on the market, so that you can make an informed decision.
Video Streaming Device Reviews
- Chromecast: Google lets your TV access your PC or phone with Chromecast, an affordable HDMI adapter that turns any TV into a Smart TV. If you want an open-platform device that effortlessly integrates all your content spread on your multiple devices, then it’s Chromecast all the way.(Chromecast Review)
- Roku Streaming Stick: Roku or Google: which one is better? At the end of the day, it really depends on what you’re looking for in a streaming device. If you’d rather have a no-hassle, ready-to-go out of box experience, then Roku is the device for you. (Roku Review)
- Amazon Fire Stick: This powerful little stick connects to your TV’s HDMI port just like the Roku Stick and Chromecast. All you need to do is plug it in and you can enjoy Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube.com, Pandora, and much more. (Amazon Fire Review)
- AirTV: Developed by a company called Echostar, this streaming device works in conjunction with your Sling TV account and your OTA to provide a uniquely integrated experience. Online TV merged with OTA TV is something cord cutters have been dreaming about for years. (AirTV Review)
- Roku Streaming Players: All current Roku models allow you to instantly stream tons of entertainment on your TV. Watch over 100,000 movies and TV shows from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and more. Even though the Roku doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some other players, its prices and user-friendliness makes it a great buy. (Roku Review)
- Amazon Fire TV: We think this quote best sums it up: “In reality, the Fire TV is a small, flat, matte black Trojan horse intended to sell you even more Amazon goods than you already buy. I prefer streaming that is content-neutral, or that at least allows me to find the best deal. This is not that box.” Molly Wood, The New York Times (Amazon Fire Review)
- Apple TV: A digital media receiver that allows consumers to use an HDTV set to view photos, play music and watch video. The bottom line: the low price makes this a very popular impulse buy for people looking to bring Netflix into the living room, but it is best suited for people that are already invested in Apple products (iPhone, iPad, Macbook).
- iView Multi-Function Digital Converter Box with Recording and Media Playback: Attach a USB 3.0 1TB HDD for $90, and you’ll have a cheap DVR setup that is basically the modern equivalent to a VCR.
- Silicondust HDHomeRun: A digital television tuner box that connects to your network, allowing you to stream video (including an OTA signal) to all your internet-connected devices.
- Hauppauge: A TV tuner that allows you to pause, record, and of course watch an OTA signal on your screen of choice. Available as an internal PC card, external PC stick, or Xbox One stick.
Are they the future of home entertainment? Everything is getting smarter today – home security systems, phones, TVs. The new generation of TVs available today come ready to go without a cable connection, stocked with Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and other apps.
Roku TV: The Roku TV is a smart TV that brings the Roku experience to your television with no cable bill required. (Roku Review)
Set-Top Boxes That Offer Free Content
Concerning the legality of set-top TV boxes that stream content for free, that is otherwise only available through subscription pay services:
In short, it is safe to say that anyone accessing content from a pirate site is involving themselves in unlawful behavior.
A few years back a spokeswoman from the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) said: “If a device provides access to that content without a valid subscription from the recognized provider, then anyone using that device needs to be aware that they are accessing that content unlawfully.”
“Our strong advice to the public is to steer clear of any service other than the recognized provider which appears to be offering access to these channels and programs at a discounted cost.”
Because the jury is still out on this topic, we have decided to take the high road and not promote or discuss devices that seem to profit from providing access to illegally obtained content.
** If you don’t see the box you are looking for, please tell us about it in the comments section and we will do our best to add it. Also make sure you check out our Streaming TV Scams page, as there are a lot of Streaming Boxes hitting the market that our readers have reported issues with.
Rather go DIY and use your laptop? Check out our guide for how to connect your laptop to your TV.
Ditch “Big Cable” Now — 3 Simple Steps to Cutting the Cord
- Pick the right streaming service
- Supercharge your internet provider
- Protect yourself and power your streaming with the best VPN.
That’s it — you’ll save money, gain control, and enjoy TV more!