Your Choice Way

Best Streaming Stick & Box For 2022

Best Streaming Stick & Box For 2022 - Your Choice Way

If you want to stream the biggest entertainment apps such as Netflix and Disney+, here are the best media streamers and boxes you can buy right now.

What's The Best Media Streaming Box You Can Buy?

If you want access to all the biggest streaming apps such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video and more, then you don't need to fork out loads for smart TV. All you need is a little gadget that plugs into a HDMI socket. 

They go by many names - streaming sticks, streaming boxes, media players and more - but they all do the same thing. Plug into your TV via HDMI and connect to the internet so you watch a wealth of content. Many of them also have the ability to run other apps and even games.

With many devices costing under £50/$50, they are one of the best value smart home devices you can get.

Here, we round up the best media players and streaming sticks and boxes you can buy that let you watch endless TV shows and films.

1. Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

1. Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max
Pros
  • Broad range of apps
  • Alexa support
  • Dolby Vision and Atmos support
Cons
  • Lots of Amazon self promotion
  • PiP only works with Ring doorbells
$54.99

The 4K Max is the best Fire TV Stick yet, with improvements including Wi-Fi 6, a faster processor and support for picture-in-picture. If you have a Ring doorbell, the video will appear when someone presses the button, too.

It will deliver 4K resolution at 60Hz, with support for Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos and other HDR and surround-sound formats.

The 3rd-gen remote adds more buttons for more TV control, while behind-the-scenes improvements (such as an upgrade to the underlying Android version) mean you’ll now get Atmos from Netflix, and you can control the volume of Bluetooth headphones and speakers using the remote control.

It doesn’t have hands-free Alexa like the more expensive Fire TV Cube, but for only £5/$5 more than the 2018 Stick 4K, it is the best choice if you have a 4K TV. If you only have a 1080p panel, opt for the 3rd-gen Fire Stick. 

There are ads on the home screen, and heavy promotion for Amazon-owned content from Prime Video and IMDb TV. But, with a well-stocked app store containing all popular streaming services, it’s not difficult to recommend.


2. Roku Streaming Stick+

2. Roku Streaming Stick+
Pros
  • 4K streaming for less
  • Smooth performance
  • Great remote
Cons
  • No HDMI extension cable
  • No headphone jack
  • No Dolby support
$59.99

The Streaming Stick+ from Roku brings 4K streaming for an affordable price. The device has a lot going for it including upgraded wireless, smooth performance, and a decent remote that is easy to use, with controls for both the volume and power and voice support. 

Roku also offers thousands of hours of free content with The Roku Channel, and a huge range of streaming apps such as Netflix and Disney+. 

The Streaming Stick+ doesn't have a headphone jack directly on the remote, and the lack of a HDMI extension cable may make setting up a little tricky.

This particular Roku doesn't have support for Dolby Vision or Dolby Atmos, making it not quite as competitive as the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max. 

3. Chromecast with Google TV

3. Chromecast with Google TV
Pros
  • Slick interface
  • 4K with wide HDR support
  • Google Assistant
Cons
  • Can't switch users
  • No headphone jack on remote
$49.99

The Chromecast with Google TV is the firm's best ever streamer. It's now up there with the best from Amazon. Even if you're not considering rivals, it's worth upgrading from an older Chromecast - especially considering that this now has support for Dolby Atmos. 

The remote control with Google Assistant and the excellent Google TV interface combine to create a great way to browse and discover content from a range of services and in 4K with wide HDR support, too. In addition, 

In addition, the device now has support for Google Stadia, so you can use it for gaming as well as streaming. 

Whilst the remote doesn't have a headphone jack, you can connect Bluetooth earphones for private listening. You also can't switch users on this device. 


4. Apple TV 4K (2021)

4. Apple TV 4K (2021)
Pros
  • Redesigned remote
  • Slick OS
  • Improved processor
Cons
  • Expensive
  • No increased storage
  • Not all apps support remote functions
$179

If you have an iOS device, then the latest Apple TV 4K is a compelling choice. The upgraded A12 Bionic chip brings support for high framerate HDR content, and the OS is simple and slick. 

The redesigned Siri remote is easy to use, with a mix of click-based controls and swiping. Siri is also included on the remote, so you can control via your voice. There's also the option to play audio via the HomePod, should you prefer. 

However, there's no escaping the high price, and competition from other media streamers is stiff, too. But, if you're an iPhone, iPad or Mac user, you'll love the AirPlay support the Apple TV offers, allowing you to wirelessly stream content from your phone or tablet to the big screen instantly.


5. Amazon Fire TV Stick (2021)

5. Amazon Fire TV Stick (2021)
Pros
  • HDR & Dolby Atmos support
  • Broad range of apps
  • Alexa support
Cons
  • Lots of Amazon self promotion
  • Not much cheaper than the 4K Max
$39.99

The 3rd-gen Amazon Fire TV Stick is a great-value media streamer if your TV doesn't have all the apps you need.

It has support for HDR10+ and Dolby Atmos content, and has an easy-to-use interface with a broad range of apps, including Twitch - which isn't available on other rivals such as Roku. Of course, Amazon could do with toning down the self-promotion. 

The inclusion of Alexa voice support, volume buttons and power buttons on the remote also give you much more control over your TV than the Fire Stick Lite. That said, there's no 4K support, and the 4K Max Stick doesn't cost much more. 


6. Nvidia Shield TV (2019)

6. Nvidia Shield TV (2019)
Pros
  • 4K@60Hz HDR10 support
  • Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision
  • Google Assistant
Cons
  • Expensive
$149

The Nvidia Shield TV offers the most complete media streamer experience on the market right now, although it’s not the cheapest gadget in our chart by a long shot.

It features 4K@60Hz playback, like its predecessor, but the new Shield TV takes things a step further with AI-based 4K upscaling that makes even 360p content look sharp and crisp. It’s not as good as native 4K content, but it’s certainly the next best thing.

Couple that with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision support across Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, Google Assistant support, access to AAA gaming via GeForce Now and a new triangular remote with backlit media keys and you’ve got a truly premium media streaming experience.


7. Manhattan T3-R

7. Manhattan T3-R
Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Great selection of UK on-demand apps
  • PVR capabilities
Cons
  • No Netflix or Amazon Prime
  • Expensive
  • Limited access to 4K content
Unavailable in the US

If you still primarily watch TV over streaming services, the Manhattan T3-R is a great option. It offers Freeview Play, complete with 85 channels (15 of which are HD), and you'll also find catch-up apps from all the main UK broadcasters if you miss something on TV.

Boasting a 500GB or 1TB HDD, you've also got the option of pausing, rewinding or recording TV shows, with the ability to record two channels while watching a third simultaneously. And, most importantly, the software is simple, easy to use and stutter-free.

The only complaint? The lack of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video apps, meaning there's a lack of 4K content beyond what's available on YouTube and BBC iPlayer.

Read our full Manhattan T3-R review

8. Amazon Fire TV Cube (2nd-gen)

8. Amazon Fire TV Cube (2nd-gen)
Pros
  • Built-in Amazon Echo speaker
  • Hands-free control
  • Dolby Vision and Atmos support
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Prime Video heavy promotion
$119.99

If you're looking to combine your media streamer with a smart speaker, then the 2nd-gen Amazon Fire TV Cube is one to consider. Whilst it's more expensive than other streaming sticks, it has all the apps you need and offers a built-in Amazon Echo speaker, which can be used for multiple things. 

You can navigate your Fire TV interface hands-free (something none of the Amazon sticks offer) and use it to check weather forecasts, get news updates, set timers, reminders, control smart home kit and more. There's also support for picture-in-picture with Ring doorbells. 

Speaker capabilities aside, the Fire TV Cube has support for 4K, Dolby Vision, HDR10+ and Dolby Atmos. The only downside is that it is not really a useful device if you already have an Echo speaker. If that's the case, you may as well save some cash and buy a Fire TV stick instead. 


9. Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite

9. Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite
Pros
  • Affordable Price
  • Clean layout
  • Alexa voice support
Cons
  • Heavy Amazon promotion
  • No power button or volume controls
  • No 4K
$29.99

If you just want all the streaming apps for a low price, then the Fire TV Stick Lite is the one for you. All the main free and paid catch-up and on-demand streaming services are catered for, and Amazon's interface is easy-to-use - even if it is a little heavy on the self-promotion. 

With Alexa voice support directly available on the remote, it's easy to search for what you need. It's also quick and easy to set-up, with a refined design that sits unobtrusively behind your TV. However, there are no volume or power buttons on the remote, something you do get on the more expensive Amazon sticks. 

Streaming maxes out at 1080p FHD at 60fps, so if you are looking to enjoy 4K or HDR10 content instead, look to the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max instead. 


10. Roku Streambar

10. Roku Streambar
Pros
  • User-friendly interface
  • Decent sound
  • Huge range of content
Cons
  • Older TVs without HDMI-ARC/Toslink not supported
  • Expensive
$129.99

If you like the sound of the Roku system with its roster of catch-up TV and streaming apps, games and high-end features like AirPlay 2 support, and also want to upgrade your TV audio system at the same time, the Roku Streambar is a capable and budget-friendly option. 

Offering the capabilities similar to that of the Roku Streaming Stick+, including 4K HDR support, it's a fully-fledged Roku streamer embedded within a great-sounding, compact soundbar that'll sit in front of your TV. It's a huge upgrade over your TV's built-in speakers and, with AirPlay support, it's a particularly great buy for Apple users. 

However, it is at the high end when it comes to streaming boxes. 

Read our full Roku Streambar review

What should I consider when buying a media streamer?
Even if you have a so-called ‘smart TV’, it's likely to offer an inferior experience - not to mention a deficit in content - compared to the media streamers we've reviewed here.

The content available through each streamer is the most important factor for a lot of people. This is why it's crucial to check that the services you want are available. It's rare for one device to offer everything, but many have a wide range, with hundreds or even thousands of apps to choose from. Amazon-owned app Twitch isn't available on devices such as Roku, for example.

Streaming stick vs box
The difference here is minimal but a stick is what you'd imagine; a stick-like device that plugs directly into your TV. Designs have changed a little over time so some, like the Fire Stick, have a small cable and tend to be called dongles.

Streaming boxes like the Apple TV are, well, boxes and they tend to sit underneath your TV and then connect via an HDMI cable.

There are no huge benefits to either unless you have a wall-mounted TV and have nowhere to sit a box. In this case, get a stick so it can be hidden behind your set.
Best Streaming Stick & Box For 2022

Key specs and features
When buying a streaming device, check it has the specs and features you need. Not all support 4K Ultra HD resolution output and you'll also want to check for HDR for a more vibrant picture.

The design of the remote is also something to consider. Some have the ability to control your TV (normally power and volume) and might even have a headphone jack so you can easily listen privately. Others might support voice search via Alexa or Google Assistant. 

Gaming
Gaming is a bonus feature on some media streamers. You can play casual games such as Tetris on Roku and Amazon devices, or opt for the Nvidia Shield TV for something a little more console-esque. You can even buy optional gamepads for some if you're serious about wanting to play like that.

There's also Apple Arcade, which the latest generation of Apple TV 4K is plenty capable of running. Google Stadia is one of the most popular options for cloud gaming, which you can get directly on Chromecast. 

Do Roku devices have YouTube?
Yes - Roku was set to lose YouTube on 9 December 2021. However, a last-minute deal between Roku and Google has reversed these plans and ensured that the YouTube app will remain on Roku streaming sticks and boxes for at least a few years. 

In addition, the new deal reinstated YouTube TV back onto Roku devices - this app had been gone since April 2021. The inclusion of the YouTube app on Roku devices has now been reflected in the order of our chart. 

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Best Streaming Stick & Box For 2022 Best Streaming Stick & Box For 2022 Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Thursday, February 03, 2022 Rating: 5

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