Cable TV has its perks, but it isn't for everybody. Some find it expensive and too burdensome to deal with, especially if you're too busy to really take advantage of all those channels at your fingertips.
Fortunately, all of that can be avoided by cutting the cord and picking up a streaming device. You'll have access to tons of streaming services while still having access to live TV thanks to providers like Hulu, YouTube TV and more.
In an effort to help you find the perfect streaming device for your needs, we chatted with two popular tech YouTubers that review the latest and greatest technology on a regular basis to find out which streaming gadgets are worth the hype.
1. Amazon Fire TV Cube
YouTube's "The Deal Guy" and tech expert Matt Granite says the Amazon Fire TV Cube is hands-down his favorite streaming device.
"The Fire TV Cube is a 'just use your voice' fully loaded cord-cutting solution — no remote control needed (even though one is included)," Granite told us. "The Fire TV Cube responds to your commands thanks to the power of Alexa."
With the Fire TV Cube, you can stream your favorites on Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube and more in high quality.
"With 4K capabilities, HDR10+ and the most responsive search functionality where you’re in control using your voice, this streaming system is hard to beat," Granite said.
If you're sick of dealing with three, four, sometimes five different TV remotes, the Fire TV Cube is also a great way to consolidate.
"The average TV set-up requires three different remote controls. The Fire TV Cube obliterates any need for a remote control and puts all of its power toward responding to you. You can even use your voice to switch HDMI inputs for gaming or controlling a home stereo," he said.
With the Fire TV Cube, you can also control smart home products like smart plugs, lights, thermostats and even monitor your surveillance system.
"The Fire TV Cube can be enjoyed by a beginner or have its more advanced capabilities celebrated by a more advanced user," Granite said.
2. Apple TV 4K
On the other hand, tech YouTuber Jon Rettinger's favorite streaming device is the latest Apple TV.
"It has the most apps of any streaming platform," Rettinger said. "If you're an iPhone user, it enables AirPlay, which means you can wirelessly mirror your screen and share your content on the TV."
Granite also recommends the Apple TV 4K if you're "heavily tied to the Apple ecosystem."
"While I would typically favor a Samsung product any day over an iPhone, my home YouTube and TV Studio runs on all Apple Products" Granite said. "This is the only 4K streaming box that effortlessly shares your iTunes video and Apple Music with your television."
While both Granite and Rettinger said the Apple TV remote control is lacking in some areas, Granite agreed the "voice-responsiveness is excellent."
3. Roku Express
For those who deal with slow Wi-Fi or don't have a high-definition TV, consider the Roku Express.
"(If you) can't watch your favorite shows or movies in 4K without buffering, you don’t need to look any further than the Roku Express," Granite said. "The Roku Express is very impressive given its price and your ability to stream movies and TV. All Roku devices offer extra free Roku-branded channels, further extending that unprecedented value."
Though it doesn't have the impressive technical specs on the list, it is one of the most user-friendly devices out there.
"While I wish this device had 4K support or a voice remote, it’s impossible to find this snappy of an interface for under $30.," Granite told us. "This plug and play solution is one of the most simple to use. It boasts a universal compatibility with almost any TV as long as you have an available HDMI port in that device."
4. Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
Granite says the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is a "real win for you and your wallet."
"As a deal hunter with more than two decades of experience and a cord cutter for about that same amount of time, the Fire TV 4K Stick is in a league of its own when it comes to value and performance," Granite raved. "Once you take into account the spectacular picture quality and an interface that can be easily navigated, the Fire TV 4K stick can also assist with more complex home theater audio set-ups. The Fire TV Stick 4K supports Dolby Atmos which is difficult to find in a streaming stick, let alone one that sells for under $50."
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K also includes a built-in Alexa-enabled voice remote that can control the power and volume on your current TV.
5. Nvidia Shield Pro
If you or a family member are a huge fan of video games, then the Nvidia Shield Pro is the streaming device for you.
"The 4K clarity on this system is the most crisp and vivid compared to many competitors," Granite said. "For gamers, you can just add your choice of a controller and play directly from the console. The built-in voice control with Google Assistant (or your ability to control this with Alexa if you already own a compatible Echo device) makes for a highly responsive transformation to your home entertainment system."
The Nvidia Shield Pro is also worth considering if you're looking for advanced customization options.
"This is an incredibly powerful streaming platform," Rettinger said. "It's great for those who play video games and want more functionality and want to tweak and customize their settings."
6. Roku Ultra
For those looking for a user-friendly device with a lot to offer, the Roku Ultra will give you a good bang for your buck.
"The Roku Ultra is the best streaming experience for anyone," Rettinger said. "It's super easy to use and great for all ages. Set up is very simple. It's good for novices and those that are tech-savvy as well."
The Roku Ulta gives you access to 3,000 "channels" of content, including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
"They have channels for pretty much everything, it's relatively inexpensive, extremely powerful, has the best remote in the industry and is very intuitive and easy to use," Rettinger said. "When my parents cut their cable, for instance, I got them the Roku Ultra because it's super easy for them to understand."
7. Google Chromecast
If you're interested in dabbling with a streaming device but don't want to spend a ton of money, consider the Google Chromecast.
"This is great for those who want the cheapest way to stream," Rettinger told us. "It's a little circular dongle that plugs into your TV's HDMI cable that enables your phone to essentially become your set-top box, so you can stream whatever you're watching on your phone over to your television. This is the least expensive way to get access to the streaming apps on your TV."
The Chromecast works with over 2,000 apps and almost every major streaming app available.
"You won't get the same UI (user interface) that you'll get with an Apple TV or Roku, but it's a really quick and easy way to get your content to your TV," Rettinger said.
Check out Granite and Rettinger over on YouTube for more tech reviews and insights.
For more recommendations, check out:
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- 14 bathroom gadgets you didn't know you needed
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