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Fall is finally here, and it's the best time to snuggle under a blanket with your family and watch the latest spooky movies or football games. Streaming devices may seem redundant in an era where smart TVs are king of home entertainment, but they can breathe new life into older, "dumb" TVs and older smart TVs that no longer support the newest versions of your favorite apps. They're also incredibly easy to use: just plug them into a free HDMI port, connect to your home's Wi-Fi, and sign into your apps. Many work with virtual assistants like Alexa, Hey Google, and Siri for hands-free control and integration into your smart home network.
Right now, you can take advantage of some great markdown deals and device bundles from retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Target, so you won't miss a second of the action (without the commercials). These devices are great if you want to plunk the kids in another room to watch Encanto or Turning Red for the eleventh time while you get your work done.
Also: Best streaming devices: Your top media player options
Roku is one of the most popular names in streaming devices. Its simplified hardware and menus make it easy to find and download thousands of apps like Disney+, Hulu, and Netflix to browse for movies, shows, and music. The latest iterations of Roku devices have integrated voice controls that work with Alexa, Google Assistant, and even Siri. You can download the Roku app on your mobile device to turn your smartphone or tablet into a voice-enabled remote. Roku also makes some of the most affordable streaming devices available, with the cheapest ones retailing for about $30.
The Roku Express 4K+ is a compact streaming device that lets you watch your favorite shows and movies in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision support for awesome color and detailing. The remote is compatible with Alexa, Hey Google, or Siri for hands-free command while browsing and launching apps. The remote can controlling the Roku Express 4K+ as well as your TV, so you don't have to worry about keeping track of multiple remote controls. And with plug-and-play setup, all you have to do is connect the device to your TV with an HDMI cable and sign into your favorite apps to start watching the latest movies, shows and even live news and sports.
The lowest price we've seen is $28.
More: Amazon Fire Stick vs Roku Streaming Stick
Amazon seems like the king of everything, having dominated online shopping and launched its Prime Video service with hit shows like The Boys and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Now you can get Amazon Fire TV branded streaming devices that may be poised to challenge Roku for the top spot. Not only are Fire TVs budget-friendly, they can do things that other streaming devices can't. You can download Alexa Skills to your Fire TV stick or actual Fire TV to turn your home theater into the ultimate entertainment hub. Each Fire TV stick is voice-enabled to work with Alexa for hands-free searching and browsing, and is compatible with WiFi 6 for buffer-free streaming.
Want the best of the best for your streaming? Check out the Fire TV Cube. The small cube brings a hexa-core processor to your TV that allows you to watch TV and movies with 4K ultra HD. It also offers Dolby Vision support, HDR, HDR10+, and Dolby Atmos Audio.
Because it's an Amazon device, get Alexa voice controls and control your TV from across the room. Heads up, you'll have to invest in the HDMI cable separately. This is the lowest price we've seen.
The First TV stick brings the 4K experience straight to your TV. Like the Fire TV Cube, this small stick provides you with Dolby Vision, HDR, and HDR10+ as well as Dolby Atmos audio on your compatible home audio systems. Just plug in the dongle to your TV and stream your shows fast.
More: How to use Amazon Fire Stick
The Apple TV debuted in 2007, when streaming was in its infancy. The first device caused quite a stir, but in recent years new iterations have consistently fallen behind other brands like the Fire TV Stick and Roku in sales and popularity. But diehard Apple fans can still get their hands on one of these devices, which offer larger storage space for apps, music, and native 4K content.
While the Apple TV may not be as popular as other streaming devices, it's still a great way to turn an older TV into a multimedia hub or simply to keep up with your favorite shows. This version has 32GB of on-board storage, so you can keep photos, videos, and music at your fingertips, or you can sync the device to iCloud for near unlimited storage. You can share media from your iOS devices with AirPlay for more ways to watch videos or listen to music with friends, and the voice-enabled remote works with Siri for hands-free search and controls. If you have an Apple HomeKit, you can use the Apple TV's remote to have Siri control other smart devices in your home, like front door locks, outdoor cameras, and smart thermostats. Reviewer Jason Cipriani really enjoyed Apple's design overhaul of the remote in his review.
The lowest price we've seen on this model is $119, saving $60.
More: Apple TV 4K (2021) review: A welcome upgrade, all around
You may be more familiar with Chromecast as a built-in app or feature in your smart TV, which allows you to mirror your Android device or Windows laptop screen on your TV for easier sharing of videos and photos as well as music streaming. The Chromecast adapter device works in much the same way, enabling TVs and even audio systems that don't have the feature to mirror your device. The adapter gives you more flexibility than the built-in app by letting you turn a tablet into a high-tech remote or turn your TV into a second computer screen for multitasking in G Suite apps as you work from home.
For those that solely want the stick, the Chromecast for Google TV is currently discounted by $10. The 4K HDR stick allows you to stream your favorite shows and films from one smart hub, including Netflix, Disney+, and more.
Right now, when you purchase the stick, you'll also get six months of Peacock Premium for free, allowing you to stream more of your favorite shows like Parks and Recreation and Killing It.
More: Which streaming stick? Chromecast and Fire Stick compared, as Apple casts a long shadow
If you've never heard of onn., you're not alone. The Chinese-made electronics brand is owned by Walmart, and while primarily known for its budget-friendly TVs, they also make streaming devices. These streaming sticks work with Google TV much like Chromecast with Google TV adapters, letting you stream movies, music, and shows from loaded apps or mobile devices. While the exceptionally low prices may make you think that onn. branded electronics are bottom-of-the-barrel quality, they're actually fairly solid choices. Especially if you don't care about brand loyalty and just want an affordable way to stream Netflix and Apple Music.
More: Best VPN for streaming: Fire Stick, Netflix, and more
This version of the onn. streaming device allows you to stream movies and shows in 4K either from apps or your mobile device. Like its little sibling, It works with Google TV to bring you hundreds of thousands of apps as well as Dolby Audio for crisp, clean sound. It also has Chromecast built-in and works with Hey Google for hands-free commands.
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