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Best streaming devices in 2020: Apple TV, Roku Ultra, Fire TV Stick, and more

Streaming your favorite shows has never been easier.

Streaming your favorite shows and movies is easier than ever in 2020

Streaming our favorite shows and movies has quickly become part of our daily routine. Be it catching up with what our favorite YouTuber is doing or binge-watching the latest short true-crime series on Netflix, there's an abundance of content ready for us to consume at all times. 

And because of that, the devices you use to stream are one of the most important -- but often overlooked -- gadgets we all have in our living rooms. Jason Cipriani and Jason Perlow recently talked about their favorite streaming devices and setups at home. Below are some of the devices they use, plus a couple of extra options. 

Disclosure: ZDNet may earn an affiliate commission from some of the products featured on this page. ZDNet and the author were not compensated for this independent review. 

Apple TV

Price: $179

Apple TV 4K
(Image: CNET)

The last time Apple updated its Apple TV box was in late 2017 when it added 4K capabilities. It's due for an update, but it's also still fully capable of keeping up with whatever you throw at it. At $179, it's more expensive than some of the competition, but it also gives you access to Apple's entire entertainment catalog, including its suite of Apple Arcade games.

View Now at Amazon

Fire TV Stick

Price: $25

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(Image: Amazon)

Amazon's Fire TV Stick looks more like a USB thumb drive than a streaming device. It plugs directly into your TVs HDMI port and includes a remote that has Alexa voice controls built-in. It's inexpensive, at $24.99, but gives you access to the full suite of apps and services you get on the rest of the Fire TV lineup. If you have a 4K TV, you can pick up a Fire TV Stick 4K for $34.99.

View Now at Amazon

Fire TV Cube

Price: $120

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(Image: Amazon)

The Fire TV Cube is a set-top box that doubles as an Echo device. It's shaped, well, like a cube, and has a series of buttons on the top -- similar to what you'd find on an Echo speaker -- and a light bar to let you know when Alexa is listening to your commands. The Cube will stream 4K content and can even control soundbars and IR-compatible devices.

View Now at Amazon

Fire TV Recast

Price: $145

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(Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

The Fire TV Recast is an over-the-air DVR that streams local programming to other Fire TV devices in your home, or to your mobile device via the Fire TV app. Yes, that means you can watch the latest episode of This Is US while on vacation, or have it recorded for later. There's a 500GB version and a 1TB version, with pricing starting at $144.99 for the smaller option. With a Recast and Fire TV devices around the house, you can ditch OTA antennas on every TV -- something that clears up space. 

View Now at Amazon

Fire TV Edition

Price: Starts at $300

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(Image: Amazon)

Jason Cipriani uses a Toshiba Fire TV Edition 4K TV and enjoys it. It has Fire TV OS built into it, so you don't have to connect another streaming device to it. The picture is clear and crisp (though not as clear as a more expensive 4K TV), but it gets the job done. Amazon has several partners for Fire TV Edition televisions, and they're all affordably priced.

View Now at Amazon

Roku Ultra

Price: $100

2019 Roku Ultra
(Image: CNET)

The Roku Ultra is the company's high-end streaming box that comes with a built-in remote finder. -- and the ability to stream audio through the remote's 3.5mm headphone jack so you don't wake your partner when binging on your favorite show late at night. Heck, it even comes with a pair of earbuds. It will stream 4K content and has access to Roku's suite of apps and services. 

View Now at Amazon

Roku Express

Price: $29

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(Image: Roku)

The Roku Express lacks some of the more polished featured of the Ultra, but that's expected for a device that's only $25. You'll stream in 1080p quality with access to all of the channels Roku has to offer, including Netflix and Disney+. And for those who want to listen to a show with headphones, you can use the Roku app to stream the audio through your phone to your favorite headphones or even AirPods. 

View Now at Amazon

Google Chromecast

Price: $35

Google Chromecast
(Image: CNET)

Google's Chromecast is a small dongle that connects to your TVs HDMI port and is controlled by your smartphone. There's no interface on the Chromecast itself, outside of a screensaver. You use apps like YouTube or Netflix on your phone to Cast content to your TV. There's a standard Chromecast that streams 1080p HD content, or the Chromecast Ultra that is capable of 4K content. The latter of which is double the cost of the standard $35 Chromecast.

View Now at Amazon

Nvidia Shield TV Pro

Price: $200

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(Image: Nvidia)

The Nvidia Shield TV Pro is a 4K streaming box with Google Assistant built-in. It runs Android TV and is powered by the Tegra X1+ chip. The reason it uses such a powerful chip is that it can be used in tandem with GeForce Now to stream popular PC games like Fortnite to the box, allowing you to connect a controller to it and game on your TV. You'll still be able to stream content from the likes of Netflix or HBO.

View Now at Best Buy

Tile Sticker

Price: $40

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(Image: Tile)

Admittedly, this isn't a streaming device, but it should come with every single streaming device sold. The Tile Sticker will save you countless hours of searching for your streaming device's remote. Simply attach the Sticker to your remote, and then use the Tile app to set off an alarm when you can't find the remote. We all know the pain of losing the remote at least once a day. After putting a sticker on my Apple TV remote, we've only lost it once. Funny how that works. 

View Now at Amazon

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