Dec 26 2016
Let’s take a look at the top 14 best streaming media players for 2017. I have chosen what I think are the best of the best to cut the cord and save some cash in the upcoming new year.
This device is being rated #1 because of several different factors. For one, Roku plays nice with all the different streaming services such as Amazon, Google, Netflix and SlingTV. Besides having the most options for streaming services, it also is 4K HDR compatible. What does that mean to you? If you get a new 4K TV or already have one you do not need to worry about buying a new streaming media box. This Roku also comes with a wired Ethernet port and MicroSD slot which are also essential to being rated #1.
Right behind it’s big brother is the standard Roku Premiere. What separates the two devices? It lacks HDR an Ethernet port along with no MicroSD slot. If you want to really take advantage of the 4K capability than you will need to have a router with 802.11ac. This device is somewhat future proof with the faster Wifi and 4K streaming. Averaging about $20 dollars less than the Plus makes it worthwhile to consider.
Amazon Fire TV
This streaming media box has a lot going for it and could easily be the number one pick except for the fact that is does not support the Google play store. This device supports 4K, has the faster 802.11ac WIFI and even the built in Ethernet port and MicroSD slot. Besides the impressive specs it supports the Amazon ecosystem and Alexa remote.
With so many Apple fans out there, you might be wondering why this device is so far down on the list for best streaming media device? One word: limitations. There is no Amazon Prime app or Google Play store app available on the Apple TV. There are ways around it but it is more inconvenient than what it is worth. That being said the Apple TV also lacks 4K playback. There were so many deals this past Black Friday on 4K TV’s, why wouldn’t you want a device that can support 4K? On the plus side, 1080P is still great to watch on most televisions and Apple TV does have Siri support and some home automation features built in.
Roku Streaming Stick 3600R
This is a great inexpensive way to cut the cord and get started saving money. You might be on the fence about giving up your big cable TV packages but with this device you can afford to try. All the great apps and the fact that it is easy to use make’s this hard to pass up.
Amazon Fire TV Stick w/ Alex remote
Just as powerful as the Roku stick with a quad core processor but still missing the Google play store. Again, that is a deal breaker for me but if you are a prime member this might be a better deal for you. Fully optimized for the Amazon ecosystem and taking advantage of Alexa voice control.
This is about as entry level as you can get into the world of streaming devices. The express still has the great interface that you come to expect from Roku. If you have someone who is new and not very tech savvy I would completely recommend starting them out with this device.
Xiaomi Mi Box MDZ-16-AB
Just because this box is fairly low on this list does not mean that this still is not a great device. This streaming device is built on the Android TV platform. It works very similar to your Google phone and even has voice commands on the remote. The one big advantage is that you can download something called Kodi onto your device and get 1,000’s of live TV programs and other shows you wouldn’t normally find. The downside is it does lack the Amazon Prime app for the device. I would say this is the best alternative for someone who doesn’t want to subscribe to any services.
Even though this box is a little bit higher priced it does have Android TV and Kodi 16.0 fully programmed and ready to go. This device really is for people who are more tech savvy and patient with using Kodi. The specs are also great and this should be great for you out of the box for quite awhile. It does lack some traditional apps but makes up for it with Kodi.
SkyStream One Android TV Box
What does this thing do and why is it so expensive? Besides streaming it can do gaming and surfing all in one box. The device has the power to play android games and run most of the latest apps right from the Google Play store including Kodi. This is definitely an all in one device and not just a streaming media player.
If you haven’t noticed I love the Roku’s but for the price this one just isn’t worth spending the extra money. It does offer some gaming features and a remote finder but it is not justified for almost $30 dollars more. Save the money and get the Roku+ Premiere.
Nvidia Shield TV
If you want top of the line hardware along with the ability to be able to do gaming besides just streaming your favorite shows than I highly recommend this device. Built on Android with built in Chromecast features and Kodi this is worth considering for the techie people of the world. The downside seems to be a lack of product currently available.
Chromecast really is more of an interface between your tablet or smartphone than a dedicated streaming media player. This plugs into your TV’s HDMI port and mirrors/ streams content right from your smartphone to your TV. For the price, this is a cool product to have and play with but I do not recommend it as your sole streaming device.
I did not want to leave this entry out but at the same time the biggest issue I have with the Tivo Bolt is that is does require a subscription. It does not just play streaming content to your TV it also records TV shows from your cable provider or HD antenna. If it wasn’t for that extra monthly subscription this would be rated much higher.
There you have it, the top 14 streaming media players for 2017. If you think I have missed something or have some suggestions for the list let me know below in the comments.