What’s the best streaming stick? From Roku to Fire TV, Chromecast, Apple TV, and something for gamers.
I’ve got you guys coveredand the latest deals on all these stream stickson MattsDailyDeals.
Hi, if you’ve never seen me before, I’m the YouTube Deal Guy Matt Granite.
I’m here to not only advocate for you and help you save as muchcash as humanly possible, but if you’re coopedup at home and you are trying to recreate thatmovie theater experience.
More importantly, if you’relooking to cut the cord finally, there are some great promotions available and I’m here to showyou which ones are best.
So first things first, I’m going to break down each category for thedifferent types of individuals that are watching right now.
And, subscribers, I know thatyou are highly opinionated, very intelligent and easily aggravated by certain streamingplatforms so please feel free to weigh in.
You guys can converse back and forth.
The one thing that I’ll tell you right now is the Chromecast isone of the most popular steaming sticks and also theone that I just don’t love.
My main issue with the baselevel of the Chromecast as I begin my breakdown ofthe best streaming systems, the Chromecast does nothave a remote control.
So your ability to usethis relies upon you downloading an app, using iton a smart phone or tablet.
And of course there are variationsof all sorts of products but the base level of theChromecast and the base level of the streaming sticksis not my favorite pick.
Now, if you guys are unfamiliarwith how streaming sticks works, I’m going to takeyou through all of that, but this is the Chromecast.
You plug this into theback of your television in an available HDMI portand when that is all done and powered you canwatch your favorite shows from Netflix, Prime Video, and we’re going to talk about which platforms are bestfor which types of viewing.
But if there is one baselevel streaming platform, if you guys are unfamiliar with Roku, more than a decade agowhen I cut the cord, Roku was the first forme, or at least the first heavily advertised streaming stick.
And they keep reappearingevery year as one of the dominant ways to cut the cord.
So the best beginner streaming stick is, in my opinion, the Roku Express HD.
It’s generally always $29and unlike the Chromecast, its base level comes with a remote.
Now the remote does have one downside.
It has the channel shortcutbuttons and this always aggravates me on any smartTV or any manufacturer that decides they’re goingto brand the buttons.
What if you don’t watch Hulu? What if you don’t like DisneyPlus or Sling or Netflix? You’re forced into havingthese shortcuts that should otherwise be something thatyou could program on your own.
The problem is, a lot of theways these streaming platforms make money is they aresubsidized through agreements with different servicesand that’s why they appear the way they do.
Let’s take a quick lookat the Roku Express.
You plug this in, youget fast HD streaming.
This is, again, high definition streaming.
It’s 1080p, it’s not 4K.
Not only is this a good beginner system, but if you have lowerbandwidth or slower wifi in your house you’reprobably not going to enjoy the vast majority of the4K programming available.
This would be your key togetting it done for $29.
That is my pick as thebase level streaming stick.
As we move to the mid-level consumer, the mid-level consumeris probably going to go beyond just somethingthat’s plug and play.
You may need some additionaloutputs for Dolby audio, you might need somethingthat has a little bit more of a responsive remote, you might want a faster processor, and of course, you want access to that 4K.
So my favorite streaming systemis not the Fire TV stick, that’s the best base level, but there is something called the Fire TV Stick 4K.
That is the same $39 Fire TV stick except it’s $10 more when it’s not on sale and this gives you 4K HDR capabilities.
The Fire TV Stick 4K isthe Ultra HD, Dolby Vision and also includes theAmazon Alexa voice remote.
Unlike its $10 Fire TV Stick alternative, this is 4K HDR, it’s alittle bit better for gaming, and it’s a lot faster.
So this is how it’s advertised.
The 4K Ultra HD and Amazoncalls it the most powerful 4K streaming stick that they make.
This does allow support fora faster level of bandwidth and wifi, and that 4K UltraHD streaming with that same Alexa voice remotebrings you the true to life picture quality that they are saying.
One additional benefit to Amazon, if you guys are not yeta Prime video member, they do have access to manyfree movies and TV shows built into your Prime membership.
But what you guys mightnot be aware of is you can actually subscribe independently to your favorite channels through Amazon.
So before we get to my favorite gaming and then my favorite highend streaming sticks, on Prime Video, for example, you can actually subscribe independently to your favorite channels.
You do not need to go through your cable or satellite providers.
So if you wanted towatch Starz, for example, or the Sundance Channel, youcan subscribe independently to that, HBO or Showtime.
And instead of overpayingfor 10, 000 channels you don’t want to get theten channels you need, you’re doing it allthrough the Prime interface where you can actually turnyour programming on and off, based on whether or not you’re using it.
Shudder is one of myfavorite all horror, thriller and mystery networks whereI’m using a free 30 day trial right now and rather thansubscribing independently through Shudder.
com I’mdoing it through Amazon.
This in tune sends all of my content over to my Fire TV stick.
And of course it’s a greatway to curate your content so it’s all on the same platform.
Generally, all of the streaming sticks that I’m showing you haveaccess to Hulu and Sling, and if you guys want toknow a full breakdown of the best streaming servicesI have that in a prior video and you can look atwhich streaming platforms brings you the best bang for your buck.
But as a streaming stick youwant to be able to access everything, and they all access Netflix, and Prime Video, and so on and so forth.
The best streaming stickfor gamers, in my opinion, is the Nvidia Shield.
Let’s take a look at that.
The Nvidia Shield is an android TV system.
It is a 4K HDR.
It has a price match guarantee of $149 at the time I’m recording this.
And it works with Google Assistant.
It does have that shortcut button on it through Netflix, unfortunately, but I think a lot more people subscribe to Netflix versus Disney Plus, atleast at the moment.
This is a small product where look are a little bit deceiving.
This not only gives youa direct ethernet plug that you can directly hook into here without using an adaptor, but it has a micro SD slot soyou can expand your storage.
Why is this better for gamers? What secret does this hold? This is powered by Nvidia’sTegra X1 Processor.
And it is fast.
It also gives you access to Shield TV which is a powerful androidTV streaming media player.
Gamers are going to findthe speed on this specific product the best for gaming.
For whatever reason, it’sjust tuned for gaming.
It has eight gigs of flash memory so enough memory to not onlystore basic system files but additional storage if you need it.
But you can expand upon thatwith a micro SD memory card so if you are, for anyreason, downloading games you’ve the ability to do so.
A cool bonus to the NvidiaShield is it also provides access to Netflix, PrimeVideo, and all of those other platforms that I mentioned.
In addition to the GoogleAssistant, and Alexa, so you could use it withthe other members of your household even if youdon’t have one dedicated gaming television.
So I do like that.
Now, let’s move on from here to my next favorite streaming stick.
As we discuss the best high end, and then the best overall, I have two that I want to show you.
I think the best of the high end platforms comes down to the question of Apple TV versus the Fire TV Cube, and then I’m going toshow you my final answer.
The Apple TV 4K is a brilliant platform.
It’s free of all of thoseannoying shortcut buttons on your remote.
It works in 4K.
It has Siri built in.
My only complaint is I actually struggle a little bit using the remote.
It’s like this, almost thistouch remote but not quite.
And I always struggle touse it and I was actually one of the first peopleto have an Apple TV when it was that white boxthat sits on top of your television and then it gotsmaller and smaller over time.
Now this isn’t really a streaming stick, it’s more a streaming box, but I think that Appleis charging way too much money for it for $179.
So on the high end of thisI think you can replicate these exact same featuresfor about 120 bucks and that is where theFire TV Cube comes in.
My recommendation on the Apple TV, if you stream a lot of content, even a lot of video onyour iPhone or your iPad and you do a lot ofscreen sharing or you do a lot of presentation, 100% buy the Apple TV 4K.
It’s for you.
But if most of your contentis from other platforms like Netflix and Prime Video, and even Apple TV Plus, which is their streaming service, which you can stillaccess on Roku and Amazon, I wouldn’t get the Apple TV 4K.
I think that’s just way toomuch money for the $179.
So that is my take on that.
If you were going to goto what I consider to be one of the best of the high ends, but not the best overall, the best of the high ends, I think the Fire TV Cube would be my pick.
The Fire TV Cube has ahands free Echo basically built into the 4K streaming.
Now I know I mentioned allof the other streaming sticks have the Alexa voice remote, so that when you speak andcan say to the Amazon Alexa voice service, openYouTube, and she’ll do that.
But you actually needto hold the button down for that to work.
The Fire TV Cube isbasically like always having an Echo on where you cancontrol your television.
Let’s take a look at this.
So this really is more of a streaming box than a streaming stick but it does plug in to the back of your televisionthrough an HDMI port.
It’s 4K Ultra HD and it is fast.
This also gives you someadditional support for all of your programming needs.
The Fire TV Cube givesyou a way to control a wide range of devices through the cloud.
Infrared and HDMI CEC, what does that mean? Well, there’s a lot ofvoice control capability where you could use a soundbar with this, you could use different Dolbyaudio equipped platforms, and then on top of thatthis is a smart television device control that will alsotake care of your lights.
You can control your thermostats, you can actually see whatgoing on on your doorbell or surveillance camerasby simply speaking that and then this Fire TV Cubewhich I said is basically like an Echo and a FireTV Stick had a baby.
You’re going to do really well.
This has a hexa-core processorversus the quad-core, so it’s even faster.
It also has 16 gigs of storage on it.
This has double the storage, it’s Dolby compatible with Dolby Atmos, and it is a really good product.
This will also hard wire to your ethernet.
I think it is better bang foryour buck than the Apple TV.
Now, if you’re doing a lot ofstorage for whatever reason, your storing programmings or you want to occupy a little bit more hard drive space, you’re gonna notice this justhas 16 gigs of flash storage, and the Apple TV has 32.
But for the average personthat just relies upon the output resolution, thespeed, the internal 2 gigs of ram, you’re going to doreally well with this processor.
It’s fast, it’s small, andit is highly functional.
I also prefer the designof this, personally, compared to the Apple TV cube.
That, though, in my opinion, is not the best overall.
For 100 bucks, or at least atthe time I’m recording this, 87, in my opinion, the best overall, which takes into accountall of the characteristics of speed, 4K capability, and some cool add ons, I’m going to with the Roku Ultra.
Why am I going to go with the Roku Ultra? So first things first, this gives you the 4K HDR, and premium JBL headphones.
So if you don’t want to disturb someone and you want to watchtelevision, or watch sports, or watch a scary movie and you don’t want all of that noise tobother the many people that are all at homesimultaneously in your household, this remote comes brilliantly equipped with a headphone jack.
I realize the Fire TVstick and the Apple TV and other platforms allowyou to wirelessly pair bluetooth earbuds, butthe fact that you get a wired connection that you can use if you want is tremendous.
Now, this does have a branded remote, but it also has a voice remote.
And then the ability to enjoytrue to life HDR programming.
Similar to the Apple TVand the Fire TV Cube, you get support for DTS digital sound, Dolby Audio, Dolby Atmos.
You can really integratethis into a stereo system if you so choose.
And this also works withboth the Amazon Alexa voice service and Google Assistant.
And, similar to the other platforms, you can subscribe independentlyto your favorite channels.
You can use their apps onthis and then enjoy your channels through Rokurather than your cable or satellite provider.
So I think if I wanted to spend under $100 and I wanted to go high endit’s definitely the Roku Ultra.
If I had a lot of disposablecash and I was heavily invested in Apple’s streaming platforms, and I share a lot ofcontent where I want to mirror it from my phone to the television, Apple TV is a really good way to go.
Especially if you are aheavy iPad or iPad Pro user.
And I think if it really comes down to it, and I was just looking tobreak into the streaming world, the $29 Roku Express versusthe 39 you would have to pay Amazon to get theequivalent, is the better way to go, in my opinion.
So, whether you spend $29 or $179, at least on the higher endof my streaming spectrum, you’re going to do well.
And you’re going to findthat all of these platforms provide access tobasically the same services with different levels ofspeed, bells and whistles.
The one distinction factorthat I really want to make sure you guys are awareof is there’s two versions of the Fire TV stick whichconfuses so many people.
There’s the $39 which is just 1080p and then there’s $49 which is the 4K HDR.
So one versus this, which is just what I want to make sure of.
If you like the content you saw, on MattsDailyDeal.
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