Streaming video is nearly ubiquitous thanks to services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO GO, and more. It’s also been pushed by a youth audience that increasingly turns to the Internet instead of live TV viewing. There’s plenty of content to stream thanks to the mentioned services — everything from recent movies in HD to classic films in black and white, as well as many TV series in their entirety and brand new, exclusive TV series like House of Cards.
Of course, the problem with streaming is that you need a bit more than a screen and a cable. You may be able to use your computer or laptop, but getting the full experience on your TV would require more wires and a potential shift around of your hardware to set it up. Streaming boxes and sticks aim to make the process of turning your ordinary TV into a streaming centerpiece a cinch.
Here’s a look the top streaming devices as rated by Consumer Reports, with some insights into what makes them so good.
10. Apple TV (4th Generation)
Apple might make the most popular smartphone, but it’s streaming device comes in a little low in this competition. Still it manages to break into the top 10. With a 32GB ($150) and 64GB ($200) configuration, it’s no cheap streaming device, but it aims to make up for that with great picture quality, Siri integration, and the ease of use people have come to expect from Apple products. It connects to your TV via HDMI to deliver a 1080p signal, and can connect to your internet via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. If you’re already in the Apple ecosystem, you might like the integrations the Apple TV offers with iTunes and iCloud.