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 line-ups.)

Here is a chart comparing popular streaming sticks:

Streaming sticks

Roku Streaming Stick Google Chromecast Amazon Fire TV Stick
Price $50 $35 $40
Resolution(max) 1080p 1080p 1080p
Video connections HDMI HDMI HDMI
Audio connections HDMI HDMI w/ Surround Sound HDMI
Other connections No No No
Wired networking No No No
Wireless networking Dual-band Wi-Fi Dual-band Wi-Fi Dual-band Wi-Fi
Remote Control Remote + Roku app Smartphone, tablet or computer Remote + app; voice activated remote upgrade available
Local Storage None None 8GB
Paid movies & TV Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, HBO Go sports, Sling TV and more Netflix, Google Play, NFL Sunday Ticket by DirecTV, Sling TV, other Android and Web apps (Hulu Plus, HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video and sports via browser) Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, HBO Go, Sling TV and more
Free movies & TV YouTube, Crackle, Fox News, Huffington Post, more YouTube, Vimeo, other Android and Web apps YouTube, Crackle, Fox News, Huffington Post, more
Music Pandora, SHOUTcast, Rdio, Soma FM, more Google Music, other Android and Web apps Prime Music, Amazon Music, Vevo, Pandora, iHeart Radio, Spotify, Tunein
Other services 1000+ channels including games Stream online video from smartphones, tablets and Chrome browser on Mac or PC 3000+ channels, apps & games; IMDB integration; FreeTime parental controls
Purchase Stream, Rent, Own Stream, Rent, Own Stream, Rent, Own
Roku Streaming Stick Google Chromecast Amazon FireTV Stick

 

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