There are many ways to watch online content on your TV. Your television itself might have apps, or you might have a Blu-ray player or game systemconnected with built-in streaming services. If neither case applies, or if your TV, Blu-ray player, or game system doesn’t have the exact media features you want, you can get a dedicated media streaming hub. Most media streamers allow you to set up your TV with any online or local media streaming services you need for well under $100.
Among the media streamers currently available, five platforms stand out: Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Google Cast, and Roku. All of these platforms except Google Cast have on-screen menu systems and dedicated remotes so you can view whatever you want from the couch, without a mobile device to control everything. Google Cast is a bit different, as it relies on a PC, smartphone, or tablet, with Cast-compatible apps to stream content. No matter which you choose, they each give you access to many of the most popular music and video streaming services available.
Resolution is another big factor to consider. All of the platforms mentioned have options for ultra high-definition (4K) and HDR content. In the list above you’ll find the top-rated media streamers we’ve tested. Below is a closer looking at the top media streaming platforms.
What about 8K, you might be wondering? Don’t worry about it. Seriously, there’s no consumer 8K streaming service, or even consumer 8K media, available. 8K TVs have only started to trickle out, and they won’t be much more than novelties for early adopters for at least two more years.