If you are short on time, but you are in desperate need of a new media player, we are here to help. After doing the research on the topic by reading specialized reviews and comments left by previous buyers, we have reached the conclusion that the Roku Ultra 4K is the product that you should invest in. This model can stream 4K, HDR and HD files. Moreover, this compact device can read numerous USB media formats. On top of that, it should be mentioned that the model comes provided with a practical remote that you can use to turn on/off the actual TV. Also, this remote is voice-activated so that you can find it easily. If this model is out of stock, feel free to consider the Amazon Fire TV as it is another product that has received outstanding reviews from those that have used it so far.
How to Select a New Media Player
Currently the gold standard for devices that can stream your favorite movies, TV programs, sports, video games, music and more, streaming media players look like smaller versions of video game consoles. These set-top boxes have continuously posed a serious threat to cable and network TV, with more high-quality options made available for modern entertainment. The following aspects make streaming media players best for excellent home cinema experience.
At least some form of initial setup is required by every streaming media device. All the requisite cables should be readily on hand, along with your Internet password. The device is most likely to require you to set up an account, install the apps you prefer, and also download system updates. It is not quite easy to determine how difficult the setup process will be before you purchase any specific model or product. However, the initial setup should not prove to be too difficult for a user who is not completely tech-savvy. Whenever possible, the device should be equipped with WiFi protected Setup (WPS) so there will be no need to enter a password manually. With just a press of a button on the router plus another button on the player, you have a securely connected setup that plays everything.
Right connections and organized apps
If you’re looking into getting a streaming box for TV, check out the model’s available connectivity options. All models from different brands are equipped with built-in WiFi. Some feature an Ethernet jack to facilitate wired connections to a router or modem. HDMI connections allow TV hook up. Other models still carry analog-video connections that can be used with older TV models that do not have an HDMI input. Some models have USB ports so you can play your own media, including photos and music using the streaming media player. When equipped with Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), the device can access content, including photos, music and movies, from other devices connected to the same network.
It would be a nice touch if you can delete or organize apps as well as organize the home screen since more channels have become available on this type of device. This is ideal for large libraries of apps so you won’t need to waste time scrolling through options that are infrequently used.
Search and streaming performance
A streaming media player that can search across multiple services enables you to find sources without being partial to just a single service compared to others. Thus, the unit is great for Android use while ensuring that you have a device that plays MKV as well. With dual-band WiFi, video streaming is assigned to the higher 5GHz frequency band so interference from other home devices is minimized since the 2.4GHz frequency is heavily used by common home gadgets such as microwaves and cordless phones. For faster and stronger signals, you may want to go for newer models that support the 802.11ac standard, if your wireless router is compatible with it.
The remote control links you to your streaming media player, so make sure it carries all the features you like. Your streaming media player remote basically looks and acts the same way as any TV remote. The remote of some models is equipped with built-in microphones that can be used to do voice search, which can be more convenient than typing on an onscreen keyboard. Easy access is possible on the most used services by utilizing dedicated buttons. With backlit buttons, searching is easier even with the lights off. Devices that do not come with a remote enable use via a downloaded app to a mobile device such as a laptop, tablet or phone, which can then serve as the remote. However, a dedicated remote offers a traditional control style that many people prefer. Some models even feature a built-in headphone jack.
It is not easy to purchase a streaming media player, since there are a great number of models and brands on the market. We encourage you to check out the information provided in the above buying guide to facilitate easier decision making. We also showcase the best products on the market below for a guided shopping experience.
Roku Ultra 4K
If you want to invest in a product that can cater to your needs, the Roku Ultra | 4K/HDR/HD might suit you. This device allows you to stream in 4K, HDR, and HD from the comfort of your home.
This model is highly intuitive and very fast, which is why many seem to recommend it. As a plus, the 2017 device has wired network connections, and it features a headphone jack in the remote. Still, the included voice search that it also incorporates is said to be somewhat limited.
The most significant advantage of the product is that there are many streaming apps and services that you can use with it. Also, given its specifications, this is a budget device that many are able to afford.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($89)
Amazon Fire TV
This streaming device has also received plenty of favorable reviews from buyers. The item is very compact, and it has a classic, elegant design that will surely catch your attention. On top of that, it supports HDR, and it will also be relevant in the years to come because it is compatible with Dolby Atmos.
Besides, the Amazon Fire TV comes shipped with a remote controller that is very easy to use and practical. This device is very quick, and it has a stable connection most of the times. Also, this choice can output 4K video at 60fps at a high dynamic range. Moreover, this product is well liked by those that have invested in it so far.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($69.99)
Roku Streaming Stick
Although maybe not as reliable and fast as many of the newer models, the Roku Streaming Stick is another option that you should check out. This choice has an ultra-compact design, and it can be used to stream Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.
As expected, this model comes shipped with a practical remote controller that you can use to adjust the TV’s power and to turn it on/off. As reviews point out, this option reacts rather fast, and it has a simple menu that is not difficult to navigate.
What is more, the product is not very expensive and, thus, it can be bought by many that want to have access to this type of technology. The interface of the model is customizable.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($48.4)
Micca Speck G2
For convenient playback of all common and the most advanced video, music and photo formats on any TV or HDTV with up to 1080p full-HD resolution, the Micca Speck G2 is bound to take your media entertainment experience by storm. This streaming media player simplifies delivery of clear and sharp video and audio with its 1080p HD output in composite AV output for use with older analog TV models as well as in purely digital format for HDTV use. Small and sleek, the media player features an extra portable design that can fit into any space. It can even play movies on in-car video systems for awesome entertainment on the go, with easy control via the supplied infrared remote.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($39.99)
With wireless performance made to be dual band and of extended range, the Roku 3 4200R Streaming Media Player proves to be everything it’s been advertised to be in best media player reviews. The Roku 3 4200R lets you find your favorite TV shows and movies from popular TV and Movie streaming services, with more than a thousand channels that continuously expand to include more. The media player comes with in-ear headphones for a more personal viewing experience. Get fast media streaming and up to 1080p quality videos with the 4200R!
Click to see the price on Amazon!
With the Western Digital TV Live Media Player, your high definition television instantly gets transformed to a full-scale internet entertainment hub. With the way the WD media player plays your personal media collection, it has readily become everyone’s favorite in top media player reviews. You can literally bring the arcade to your TV with the media player’s ability to stream games via its streaming-ready, high performance WiFi capability. The intuitive interface handles various Audio Formats including WMA, MP3, WAV, DTS and Dolby Digital. The media player also supports image formats such as JPEG, TIF/TIFF, GIF and PNG. MPEG, AVI, MP4, MOV and others are also supported as video formats.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($399.95)
Netgear Neo TV – no longer available
Thousands of movies can be enjoyed on your high-definition TV with what best media player reviews agree is a premium product: the Netgear NTV300-100NAS Neo TV Streaming Player. TV entertainment just got transformed into thousands of possibilities so there is never a shortage of videos, movies, games and shows to enjoy with the family. Built-in WiFi lets you maximize home networking in myriads of ways. The patented NeoTV remote control app works really well for iOS and Android devices. Be simply amazed with what you can experience through the NTV300-100NAS!
Google Chromecast – no longer available
The Google H2G2-42 Chromecast supports a wide variety of media streaming sources including YouTube, Hulu Plus, Plex, Rdio, Netflix, HBO GO, MLB.TV, Flixster and Crackle, to name just a few. You can even select content using the Chrome browser. It is easy to install. Just plug the media player into your High-def TV,connect to your WiFi network, and you’re ready to go. The Google H2G2-42 works with iOS, Chrome for Windows and for Mac, and Android. With the Google H2G2-42 Chromecast, you can enjoy online music, movies, videos and a lot more on your television using a laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Mifanstech MXQ Amlogic S805 – no longer available
The Mifanstech MXQ Amlogic S805 boasts a powerful Quad Core Cortex A5 and 1.5GHz CPU for reliable streaming capability. It has pre-installed Google Play Store and Xbmc/Kodi for the ultimate in entertainment media sources. The media player supports Skype chatting, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and popular online movie streaming services, among others. In addition, it supports external SD cards and USB hard drives for a richer source of entertainment media. You can download apps online, watch videos, play games and do more with just a single device. The unit ships with all you need for out-of-the-box functionality, including an HDMI cable and a remote control, helping you turn your TV into a smart TV. Enjoy shows in your home theater system, bedroom and any place in the house using this innovative entertainment box.
KDLINKS® A300 – no longer available
The KDLINKS® A300 boasts the latest premium quality 4K H.265 quad Core CPU supplemented with 2GB RAM, 8-Core GPU and 16Gb built-in storage for advanced H.265 4K hardware decoding. This lets you leverage the open-standard, flexible video file format that has easily become the file extension of choice to enjoy high definition video on the Internet. It enables you to enjoy advanced features such as multilingual subtitles, alternate audio tracks and chapter points, along with richer cover art, descriptions, ratings and more, for a more enhanced media experience. The tool-free aluminum shell features an HDFD bay and supports nearly all 3.5-inch hard drives. It comes with two USB 2.0 ports plus one USB 3.0 port for greater connectivity and media source options.
KDLINKS HD720 – no longer available
Weighing in at just 3.8 pounds, the KDLINKS HD720 features the most advanced Realtek 1186 3D chipset to capably support 3D movie playback on 3D TV. The unit can double as a USB 3.0 high-speed external hard drive enclosure. It can play almost all formats including: Video files such as ASF, AVI, BD-ISO, BDMV, DAT, DVD-ISO, FLV, M2P, M2TS, MOV, MP4, MPG, MKV, MOV and more; video Codecs such as DivX/Xvid, H.264/AVC, MPEG1/2/4, RMVB and VC-1; Image formats including BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG and TIF; audio formats including Dolby AC3/True-HD, DTS/DTS-HD MA, FLAC, APE,WMA, WA, to name just a few. It supports both 2D and 3D and offers video outputs with HDMI, RCA and YPbPr. There are two USB ports plus 1 SATA. The LCD front panel lets you view information easily, and the infrared remote delivers easy control.
AGPtek Blue – no longer available
The AGPtek Blue features a built-in internal flash that serves as effective USB 2.0 storage. It needs no external power supply to easily connect to any USB host. This streaming media player supports various media formats. It can work with these video format: AVI, AVC, FLV, DIVX, HDMOV, MKV, MOV, MP4, M4V, MPEG, MPG and many more. It also supports various video decoding formats such as MKV, FLV, AVC, MPEG, MPG, WMV and others. For audio formats, the device supports AAC, AC3, APE, ATRA and many more.This highly versatile device can read SD/SDHC cards directly and on a computer, and is able to play r manage files on your TV.
Amazon Fire TV – no longer available
It may just be a tiny box, but the Amazon Fire TV, the best media player 2018, gives you a massive selection of songs, movies, episodes and games to enjoy on your high-definition TV. With this “enormous” box, you can enjoy movie rentals at low cost and connect to Prime Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus and a host of other streaming sources. Get genuine Voice Search that works with the Amazon Fire TV that lets you specify what it is you want to watch on TV, after which it begins playing in seconds. It has a fast quad-core processor complemented by 2 gigabytes of memory and a dedicated GPU.