Finest streaming machine 2022: prime sticks and bins reviewed


From reasonably priced 4K sticks to complete house leisure hubs, the most effective streaming machine will provide you with on the spot entry to an arsenal of arresting telly. Simply plug-in, sit again and put together to please your peepers.

See, binge-watching has come on a great distance from the times of Blu-ray field units. Between gripping Netflix originals and remastered classics on Amazon Prime, entertaining your self has by no means been simpler. However with so many streams to select between, what’s the easiest way to get recent reveals in your display?

Whether or not you need a easy stick for simple 4K streaming or a top-notch content material field with voice management smarts, the record under options our choose of the most effective streaming package – all comprehensively examined from the consolation of the Stuff couch.

Our information to the most effective streaming machine to purchase at present

Chromecast with Google TV

Finest streaming machine all-rounder: Chromecast with Google TV

Google’s Chromecast has gone from a passive receiver to a full-fat streaming hub. You possibly can nonetheless ‘forged’ video from 1000’s of appropriate Android and iOS apps. The newest model, nonetheless, additionally lets you choose reveals straight from Google TV’s house display.

Bringing collectively content material out of your favorite platforms on a single web page, you’ll see personalised suggestions from totally different subscription providers – though it may possibly take a while for the suggestions to really match your tastes. Exhibits are displayed with a useful Rotten Tomatoes rating, in addition to platform and rental information.

The interface is fairly slick, even when there’s generally a delay after urgent the house button. And with greater than 6500 apps supported, you’ll not often come up quick for content material. Navigation is simpler than ever, because of the distant that now comes bundled in. Devoted buttons for YouTube and Netflix make it straightforward to dive proper in, whereas the Google Assistant shortcut places voice management only a press away.

Streaming high quality is slick, with no buffering and impressively sharp 4K HDR at as much as 60fps. Regardless of its plug-and-play simplicity, help for Dolby Atmos, in addition to Dolby Imaginative and prescient and HDR10+, means the Chromecast has the abilities to go well with any cinema room.

Stuff says: ★★★★★

With a real-life distant and slick TV interface, that is the most effective Chromecast thus far, full with full 4K and HDR help


Max decision: 4K • HDR: HDR10/10+, Dolby Imaginative and prescient • Dolby Atmos: Sure • Voice assistant: Google Assistant • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth • Ports: HDMI, USB-C • Inside storage: 8GB • Dimensions: 162x61x12.5mm • Weight: 55g

Learn our full Chromecast with Google TV evaluation

Roku Streaming Stick 4K

Finest worth 4K streaming stick: Roku Streaming Stick 4K

Roku’s newest streaming machine doesn’t reinvent the system. It’s a plastic stick that slots into an HDMI port in your telly, connects to your Wi-Fi and offers you entry to a list of content material providers. However it’s slicker and extra highly effective than any Roku earlier than it, at a really accessible price ticket.

It scores prime marks for usability: the voice management distant is easy, with useful shortcuts for mainstream platforms, plus the choice to request reveals through the built-in mic. It’s not precisely premium, but it surely’s well-built and will get the job finished. You may also use the tidy Roku app for simpler typing.

Setup is a cinch: simply stick it in, connect with the Wi-Fi and also you’re away. And Wi-Fi is likely one of the key enhancements, courtesy of upgraded {hardware}. Roku guarantees longer vary and quicker connectivity – and we didn’t have any buffering points.

You gained’t battle for leisure both. As with different Roku gadgets, nearly all the key video streaming apps are lined – from Prime Video to BritBox to BT Sport – plus quite a few lesser-known names.

Image high quality will finally rely in your TV, however the Streaming Stick 4K nonetheless trumps its predecessors Dolby Imaginative and prescient help, alongside HLG and HDR10/10+, plus DTS Digital Encompass. Should you’ve bought a correct house cinema setup, this stick will enable you take advantage of it.

Stuff says: ★★★★☆

With enhanced Wi-Fi, Dolby Imaginative and prescient on-board and simple help for each main streaming platform, Roku’s newest stick is well its greatest thus far


Max decision: 4K • HDR: HDR10/10+, HLG, Dolby Imaginative and prescient • Dolby Atmos: Sure • Voice assistant: Works with Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri • Connectivity: Wi-Fi • Ports: HDMI, micro-USB • Inside storage: N/A • Dimensions: 94.5×21.1×11.5mm • Weight: 26g

Learn our full Roku Streaming Stick 4K evaluation

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

Finest streaming stick for Prime clients: Amazon Hearth TV Stick 4K Max

Amazon’s streaming dongles are recognized for being reasonably priced, dependable and versatile. The Hearth TV Stick 4K Max continues that custom. It presents quicker efficiency, improved Wi-Fi and some extra buttons on the distant – all for a value that is still the suitable facet of affordable.

Styled just like the Hearth TV Stick 4K that got here earlier than it, Amazon’s streamer gained’t win design awards. However provided that it lives behind your TV, it doesn’t have to. The distant remains to be a practical plastic quantity, albeit with the addition of 4 new shortcut buttons for Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Music.

Setup is easy, with a straightforward on-screen walkthrough. When you’re on-line and signed in, you’ll discover the Hearth TV Stick 4K Max includes a zippy interface. That is helped by extra RAM and processing energy. The service choice is correctly complete, together with Apple TV+, NowTV and even a full YouTube app. Prime Video remains to be given prime precedence, though the house display could be rearranged fairly simply.

With good content material to work with, the Amazon Hearth TV Stick 4K Max delivers: moreover 4K, there’s help for Dolby Imaginative and prescient, HLG and HDR10/10+, in addition to Dolby Atmos audio. Wi-Fi 6 additionally ensures speedy connectivity with supported routers, so you possibly can get pleasure from your private home cinema with out stuttering. Alexa’s nonetheless round as properly, bettering all of the whereas. In addition to utilizing your voice to find content material throughout all of your apps (which you’ll generally have to specify), the digital helper can be used to manage related good house package.

Stuff says: ★★★★☆

Slightly bit slicker and somewhat bit quicker than Amazon’s earlier sticks, this feature-packed 4K streamer is great worth for Prime clients


Max decision: 4K • HDR: HDR10/10+, HLG, Dolby Imaginative and prescient • Dolby Atmos: Sure • Voice assistant: Alexa • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth • Ports: HDMI, microUSB • Inside storage: 8GB • Dimensions: 99x30x14 mm • Weight: 48g

Learn our full Amazon Hearth TV Stick 4K Max evaluation

Nvidia Shield TV

Finest energy streamer for video games and video: Nvidia Protect TV

Nvidia’s aluminium streaming cylinder sits quietly beneath your TV. Extra distinctive is its Toblerone distant, with a triangular design that stands other than different plasticky zappers. It feels good within the hand and options all of the bodily buttons you possibly can want. The absence of a 3.5mm headphone port is a disgrace, although.

Highly effective processor specs make streaming 4K content material a stutter-free expertise. Assist for HDR10, Dolby Imaginative and prescient and Dolby Atmos means the Protect TV performs good with swanky house cinema methods, serving up stunningly detailed content material. It doesn’t work with HLG although, so 4K HDR from BBC iPlayer poses issues.

Feed in 1080p content material from a wide range of sources – corresponding to Netflix, Amazon Prime or YouTube – and the Protect TV will use AI to reinforce the element in a scene. It’s very efficient at boosting high quality for high-res shows, although you could have to tweak sensitivity to keep away from over-sharpening.

It additionally does a cracking job as a gaming machine. Due to its Android TV interface, you possibly can play Android video games natively on the Protect itself, however you can even deliver your rig into the combo. Streaming from Steam works properly, although outcomes range relying in your community velocity and graphics card.

If all you want is straightforward streaming, the Protect TV is overkill. However when you’ve got the TV and audio setup to benefit from its Dolby Imaginative and prescient and Atmos help – plus a good PC and web connection for gaming – Nvidia’s plug-in stick is a compellingly versatile streaming answer.

Stuff says: ★★★★☆

Greater than only a streaming machine, the Protect TV has the facility to deal with your premium video wants – with intelligent gaming smarts besides


Max decision: 4K • HDR: HDR10, Dolby Imaginative and prescient • Dolby Atmos: Sure • Voice assistant: Alexa, Google Assistant • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth • Ports: HDMI, ethernet, energy, microSD • Inside storage: 8GB (expandable) • Dimensions: 40x40x165mm • Weight: 137g

Learn our full Nvidia Protect TV evaluation

Apple TV 4K

Finest streaming machine for Apple TV+: Apple TV 4K (2021)

Apple’s up to date 4K TV field is just an incremental enchancment over the unique, however that also makes it top-of-the-line streamers you should buy. Its A12 Bionic chip is zippy, whereas an HDMI 2.1 port boosts 4K HDR body charges to a slicker 60fps. Wi-Fi 6 improves connectivity too, with a noticeable bump in velocity and stability.

The refreshed Siri Distant is beefier than earlier than, however stays a sophisticated controller. It additionally comes full with a common energy button that may zap each your TV and your private home cinema.

In relation to content material, all of your favorite apps are there – from Netflix to Prime Video to Disney+. And so they all help 4K HDR, Dolby Imaginative and prescient and Atmos. Apple Music’s Spatial Audio works properly, too. Watchers with AirPods (third technology), AirPods Professional or AirPods Max also can get pleasure from Atmos content material with dynamic head monitoring.

Image high quality is invariably glorious, even in definitions decrease than 4K. Full HD reveals get assist from HDR processing. The Color Steadiness characteristic, in the meantime, makes use of your iPhone’s digital camera and lightweight sensor to optimise your display’s saturation in opposition to ‘trade requirements’. It’s not Dolby Imaginative and prescient, but it surely’s neat.

The Apple TV 4K is undeniably pricier than most streaming gadgets. However Apple followers gained’t discover a extra handy 4K media hub: from Apple Arcade to iTunes to AirPlay, the field brings all of it collectively seamlessly.

Stuff says: ★★★★☆

A minor replace, however nonetheless top-of-the-line – and best-looking – 4K streaming hubs you possibly can stick subsequent to your telly


Max decision: 4K • HDR: HDR10, Dolby Imaginative and prescient • Dolby Atmos: Sure • Voice assistant: Siri • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 • Ports: HDMI 2.1, Ethernet, energy • Inside storage: 32/64GB • Dimensions: 98x98x35mm • Weight: 425g

Learn our full Apple TV 4K (2021) evaluation right here

Amazon Fire TV Cube

Finest streaming machine hub: Amazon Hearth TV Dice (third Gen)

Technically a cuboid, Amazon’s binge-watching field is a winner for high-res telly addicts, and it’s essentially the most highly effective, quickest iteration but, because of a quicker octa-core processor, coupled with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.

Specs apart, it’s visually extra interesting too, with a smooth material protecting that’s simpler on the eyes than its predecessor’s uncooked plastic end. And whereas we’ve but to evaluation it (watch this house), we count on visuals to shine. As with all streaming gadgets, it gained’t match the extent of element you’d get from 4K Blu-ray, thoughts, however materials streamed from Netflix and Amazon Prime Video on the earlier mannequin look gorgeous, so we have now excessive hopes. Assist for Dolby Imaginative and prescient and HDR10+ additionally means you get the very newest visuals, too – so long as your Wi-Fi is fast sufficient.

On that observe, the third-generation Hearth TV Dice additionally has Wi-Fi 6E, for even quicker community speeds. You’ll want a more recent Wi-Fi 6 router to benefit from it in fact, however even should you don’t have one but, it’s all the time good to have somewhat built-in futureproofing. Around the again, connectivity is taken care of with a built-in ethernet port, together with each an HDMI enter and output, with the previous letting you management third-party tools along with your voice.

Without end dropping the distant? With Alexa constructed into the field, one vocal request is all it takes to load up a present, navigate apps and even management your good house. Sure features gained’t work with each set – corresponding to input-switching with a Philips TV – and Alexa can’t dig out content material from the likes of BBC iPlayer. All the identical, the flexibility to manage the telly along with your voice transforms the expertise and makes the brand new Hearth TV Dice into a real leisure hub.

Roku Express 4K (£40)

Finest finances 4K streamer: Roku Specific 4K

For a tenner lower than Roku’s Streaming Stick 4K, the Specific 4K is a formidable but accessible approach to eat 4K content material. It’s feature-packed, but undercuts each 4K streamer on this record.

Not one to cover behind your field, the dinky domed receiver goes beneath your TV. Whereas its plastic end displays the worth tag, setup is a cinch: Roku OS 10’s tile-based interface is clear and responsive, with a wealth of watching choices. The app record is complete, that includes each main streaming platform, together with Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV, Disney+ and extra. All that’s lacking is a correct content material hub. Whereas ‘My Feed’ lets you comply with your favorite reveals, it doesn’t pull collectively ideas as seamlessly as some rivals.

Navigation is easy with the straightforward distant, which options 4 channel shortcuts. What UK customers don’t get is a quantity rocker. Nor does it have a built-in microphone for voice management, not like the zapper shipped with the Streaming Stick 4K. That stated, you possibly can discuss to your Roku through the free smartphone app. Voice performance isn’t as good because the likes of Alexa, but it surely’s helpful for swiftly loading reveals.

Offered your TV has an HDMI 2.2 port, the Specific 4K can serve up 4K HDR video at 60fps. It additionally performs good with HDR10/10+ and HLG for max streaming compatibility. High quality is reliably glorious: vibrant, detailed and lag-free. With Apple AirPlay compatibility and Dolby Atmos passthrough for cinematic sound, the Roku Specific 4K delivers excellent bang for buck.

Stuff says: ★★★★★

Compellingly versatile but surprisingly reasonably priced, Roku’s Specific 4K is arguably the most effective worth streaming machine you should buy proper now.


Max decision: 4K • HDR: HDR10/10+, HLG • Dolby Atmos: Sure • Voice assistant: Works with Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri • Connectivity: Wi-Fi • Ports: HDMI, micro-USB • Inside storage: N/A • Dimensions: 20.8×86.3×39.3mm • Weight: 44.6g

Finest worth Full HD streaming stick: Amazon Hearth TV Stick

Whether or not your Wi-Fi is fettered or your TV tops out at 1080p, not everybody wants a 4K streamer. And for Full HD streaming, Amazon’s customary Hearth TV Stick is a stellar all-rounder. It’s not the most cost effective stick within the Hearth TV household: that honour goes to the Lite model, which prices £10 much less. However the additional tenner will get you TV controls and Dolby Atmos help, which make the Hearth TV Stick Amazon’s Goldilocks choice.

Barely smaller than the 4K-flavoured model, the Hearth TV Stick is likewise a plug-and-play streamer which belongs in certainly one of your TV’s HDMI ports. It’s 50% quicker than the earlier technology – and 50% extra energy environment friendly.

The acquainted interface is neat and straightforward to navigate, albeit dominated by Amazon content material – not essentially a foul factor, offered you’re a Prime subscriber. You additionally get entry to all the standard apps, together with Netflix and Disney+, though there’s no Now TV.

Alexa integration is best than ever, with voice management proving a real time-saver. The up to date distant additionally options 4 platform shortcuts, plus a clearer Alexa button and a further layer of devoted controls for powering on and adjusting the amount of appropriate A/V tools.

4K is likely to be off the menu, however Full HD streaming seems to be pretty. Photos are ace at 60fps, with no lag or buffering points. HDR help is a pleasant contact, boosting color and distinction for a extra life like image, whereas Dolby Atmos might be a welcome bonus for streamers with a house cinema setup.

Stuff says: ★★★★★

The Lite model is likely to be cheaper, however with Dolby Atmos audio, TV controls and a 50% enhance in energy, the usual Amazon Hearth TV Stick is a strong HD streamer.


Max decision: 1080p • HDR: HDR10/10+, HLG • Dolby Atmos: Sure • Voice assistant: Alexa • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth • Ports: HDMI, micro-USB • Inside storage: 8GB • Dimensions: 86x30x13mm • Weight: 32g

Learn our full Amazon Hearth TV Stick evaluation right here