Saturday, March 9, 2024

Best streaming players (according to Tom's Guide)

Tom's Guide recently had a review it called "Best streaming devices in 2024."

I thought they did a good job covering the devices. I don't agree with all the choices, but the selections they made are some I can't really argue, because the devices are still good devices.

Straight to the conclusion first, their overall pick is the Roku Streaming Stick 4K.

Our current pick for the very best streaming device overall is the Roku Streaming Stick 4K. This model added faster performance and Dolby Vision on top of its predecessor. Some of us at Tom's Guide own multiple entries from this list of the best streaming devices, to see how they evolve over time. Not only do we spend hours and hours watching shows and movies from the top streaming services on these devices, but we compare them against those with similar prices, to help you figure out which is best for your budget.

Using all of these devices often shows us the benefits of spending more on your streaming device, as the cheaper Fire TV devices control your whole home screen experience, while the Apple TV has no ads and more customization. ...

That last paragraph shows that there is no one device that has everything everyone wants. It's their pick of the best. I would suggest the Roku Ultra as the best, with the Roku Streaming Stick 4K a close second.

And while it would be good to click through to the entire article, here are their top devices:

  • The best streaming device: Roku Streaming Stick 4K (2021)
  • The best budget streaming device: Roku Express 4K Plus
  • The best for live TV: Chromecast with Google TV
  • The fastest streaming device: Apple TV 4K (2022)
  • The best Android TV streaming device: Nvidia Shield TV
  • The best Fire TV Stick: Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

I have a couple of nits to pick regarding a couple of items. First, the "best for live TV" is an Android TV device, but not the "best Android TV streaming device." How can that be?

Well, although it's Android TV, the Chromecast has the Google TV interface, which is great for live TV, while the NVIDIA Shield doesn't have the Google TV interface. It's a great device, but the interface isn't as good as the Chromecast, or the $20 Walmart Onn Streaming Box.

And, they had to specify specific platforms to get the NVIDIA Shield and any Amazon Fire TV device to top a category. At least Apple TV didn't need an Apple TV category to top a category. Or Roku for that matter.

Don't get me wrong, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is a good device. But it's not the best of any particular category, unless you are specifically looking for a Fire TV Stick. Then, yes, it's definitely the best.

And the NVIDIA Shield is a great device, but I would have picked the NVIDIA Shield TV Pro device, since it also has much better specs. Compare them yourself and see.

The other disagreement is the "best budget streaming device" category. I think Walmart's Onn Streaming Box is the better deal. The specs on the Roku are better, but the Onn device is good, and cheaper.

My Streaming Life has a lot of experience with many streaming devices. But Tom's Guide is usually a very good source for this kind of lists. You won't go wrong with any of the choices they made, but do consider mine as well before you decide anything based on that list.

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