Streaming media player sticks

There are two types of steaming gadgets: set-top boxes and HDMI sticks. HDMI sticks are the size of USB drives and plug right into your TV's HDMI port. That means less clutter in your entertainment center and they're also cheaper.

(Bonus: Need more help choosing the best video streaming option? We have other helpful charts that will help you make an informed decision. Click here to see the chart comparing streaming media player boxes, and here for a comparison of streaming service channel lineups.)

Here is a chart comparing popular streaming sticks:

Streaming sticks

Roku Streaming Stick+  Google Chromecast Amazon Fire TV Stick Google Chromecast Ultra
Price $55 $35 $40 $69
Resolution (max) 1080p, 4K, HDR 1080p 1080p HDR
Video connections HDMI HDMI HDMI HDMI
Audio connections HDMI HDMI HDMI HDMI
Other connections Micro-USB Micro-USB No Micro-USB
Wired networking No No No Yes
Wireless networking Dual-band Wi-Fi Dual-band Wi-Fi Dual-band Wi-Fi Dual-band Wi-Fi
Remote Control Remote + Roku app with voice search Smartphone, tablet or computer Remote + app; Alexa voice activated remote Smartphone, tablet or computer
Local Storage None None 8GB None
Paid movies & TV Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, Sling TV and more Netflix, Google Play, NFL Sunday Ticket, Sling TV, Showtime Anytime, other Android and Web apps Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, Sling TV and more Netflix, Google Play, NFL Sunday Ticket, Sling TV, Showtime Anytime, other Android and Web apps
Free movies & TV The Roku Channel, YouTube, Sony Crackle, Fox News, CBS News, more TubiTV, YouTube, other Android and Web apps YouTube, TubiTV, Fox News, more TubiTV, YouTube, other Android and Web apps
Music Pandora, iHeartRadio, Amazon Music, more Spotify, TuneIn, Pandora, other Android and web apps Amazon Music, Vevo, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Spotify, TuneIn Spotify, TuneIn, Pandora, other Android and web apps
Other services 1000+ channels including games Google Home, Stream online video from smartphones, tablets and Chrome browser on Mac or PC 3000+ channels, apps & games; IMDB integration; FreeTime parental controls Google Home, Stream online video from smartphones, tablets and Chrome browser on Mac or PC
Purchase Stream, Rent, Own Stream, Rent, Own Stream, Rent, Own Stream, Rent, Own
Roku Streaming Stick Google Chromecast Amazon FireTV Stick Google Chromecast Ultra

 

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