So you want a new device to connect to your TV and stream video, but you’re not sure which one? We’ve got you covered.

We’ve reviewed all the major streaming media devices on the market today, along with every major smart TV system. With the exception of TVs that actually run Roku’s or Amazon’s software, TV streaming devices are better than the smarts built into your set. They have more apps, better search, simpler remotes and more frequent updates.

So if your current media streamer is getting long in the tooth, or you’re looking for the best streaming device to go with that new 4K HDR TV, chances are you’ll be more than happy with one of these.

Roku Streaming Stick Plus

CNET rating: 5 stars out of 5 (spectacular)

The cost: $50 at roku.com

The good: The Roku Streaming Stick Plus delivers 4K and HDR video in a compact package for an affordable price. Its dead-simple interface puts every streaming service on a level playing field. Roku’s responses are lightning fast, its video quality as good as any streamer, and its remote can control your TV’s volume and power.

The bad: The menus can seem dated compared to rivals, it lags behind Fire TV for voice support and it doesn’t stream in Dolby Vision.

The bottom line: With its simple design and focus on features you’ll actually use, Roku’s most affordable 4K HDR streamer is one you should consider.

It flogs Amazon content too much to beat Roku, but for Alexa fans or 4K HDR TV owners who insist on Dolby Vision, the Fire TV 4K Stick is a great value. (Sarah Tew/CNET/TNS)
It flogs Amazon content too much to beat Roku, but for Alexa fans or 4K HDR TV owners who insist on Dolby Vision, the Fire TV 4K Stick is a great value. (Sarah Tew/CNET/TNS)

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

CNET rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 (outstanding)

The cost: On sale for $35 at amazon.com

The good: Better streaming format support than anything in its price range. Voice features are best-in-class, and Echo and Dot owners can control it with Alexa. Its app and game selection is superb, responses are lightning fast and video quality is as good as any streamer. The remote can control volume and power on TVs and sound bars.

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The bad: The user interface pushes Amazon content too aggressively. The selection of 4K, HDR and Dolby Vision TV shows and movies is worse than on Apple TV 4K or Roku.

The bottom line: It flogs Amazon content too much to beat Roku, but for Alexa fans or 4K HDR TV owners who insist on Dolby Vision, the Fire TV 4K Stick is a great value.

If you can swing the price and want the best streamer available today, get the Apple TV 4K. (Sarah Tew/CNET/TNS)
If you can swing the price and want the best streamer available today, get the Apple TV 4K. (Sarah Tew/CNET/TNS)

Apple TV 4K

CNET rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 (outstanding)

The cost: $179–$199 at apple.com

The good: The Apple TV 4K delivers the best streaming video available to compatible 4K, HDR and Dolby Vision TVs. It offers the most polished streaming experience today, the best remote on the market and excellent Siri voice options. It’s just $30 more than the non-4K box.

The bad: The Apple TV 4K is expensive. It doesn’t stream YouTube in 4K or HDR. Cheaper streaming devices from Roku and others offer similar image quality and capabilities.

The bottom line: If you can swing the price and want the best streamer available today, get the Apple TV 4K.

The Roku Express 2019 is an excellent streamer. It’s easy to use and offers the cheapest access to Roku’s superb operating system. (Sarah Tew/CNET/TNS)
The Roku Express 2019 is an excellent streamer. It’s easy to use and offers the cheapest access to Roku’s superb operating system. (Sarah Tew/CNET/TNS)

Roku Express (2019)

CNET rating: 4 stars out of 5 (excellent)

The cost: $30 at roku.com

The good: The Roku Express is an affordable, easy-to-use mini streamer with access to thousands of apps. Load times and app performance are quick and reliable.

The bad: Lacks the TV control buttons and point-anywhere voice remote included on the more-expensive Express Plus, as well as on the Amazon Fire TV Stick.

The bottom line: The Roku Express is an excellent streamer. It’s easy to use and offers the cheapest access to Roku’s superb operating system.