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Best Streaming Device in 2023 for Free Movies, TV Shows, and More

If you‘re looking to stream movies, TV shows, live sports and more in the best quality right from your living room, getting a dedicated streaming device is essential. With cord-cutting on the rise, streaming devices have become extremely popular. According to EMarketer, there will be over 197 million U.S. streaming device users in 2023, up 9.1% from 2022.

But with so many options on the market from Roku, Amazon, Apple and more, it can be tricky to determine which streaming device is right for your needs and budget. Don‘t worry – in this comprehensive guide, we‘ll break down the key factors to consider when buying a streaming device in 2023. Plus, we‘ll provide detailed comparisons of the top options across various price points to help you decide which is the best streaming device for free movies, TV shows and everything in between.

What to Look for in a Streaming Device

Here are the most important things to evaluate when choosing a streaming player:

Streaming quality: You‘ll want a device that can support 4K resolution and advanced formats like HDR, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision for the best picture quality, especially if you have a 4K TV. Make sure to get a device with enough processing power to smoothly stream 4K content.

Content options: The top streaming devices give you access to all the popular services like Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Disney+ and more. But some offer more app and channel options than others. Roku for example has over 10,000+ channels.

Interface: The interface should be intuitive and easy to navigate using the included remote. Look for streamers that offer personalized recommendations and universal search across apps.

Extra features: Advanced devices include nice upgrades like voice controls, gaming support, smart home compatibility and the ability to stream from your phone. Determine which extra perks you might use.

Price: You can get a basic 1080p streamer for $20-30 or splurge on a high-end device for $150-200. In general, more expensive streamers offer better performance and features.

Now let‘s dive into the top streaming device contenders across various price points and categories. We‘ll compare them head-to-head to reveal the pros and cons of each.

Fire TV Stick 4K Max vs Roku Streaming Stick 4K

The Fire TV Stick 4K Max and Roku Streaming Stick 4K are two of the best mid-range streaming devices available. Both support 4K streaming and cost around $50. But which provides the better overall value?

Video Quality

  • Fire TV Stick 4K Max – Supports 4K Ultra HD, Dolby Vision, HDR, and HDR10+
  • Roku Streaming Stick 4K – Streams 4K, Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HDR10+

Both stream 4K content beautifully thanks to support for all the latest display standards like Dolby Vision. This allows amazingly vibrant colors and enhanced contrast if you have a compatible 4K TV. The video quality is very similar between the two.

Winner: Tie


  • Fire TV Stick 4K Max – Runs Amazon‘s Fire TV interface with personalized recommendations and Alexa shortcuts. Intuitive menus.

  • Roku Streaming Stick 4K – Roku interface prioritizes simplicity with options to browse by channel or search. Includes Roku mobile app.

The Amazon Fire TV interface offers more customization and smarter recommendations based on your viewing history. But Roku‘s simplicity appeals to many users – it‘s easy to flip through channels and find content.

Winner: Personal preference

Extra Features

  • Fire TV Stick 4K Max – Alexa voice remote for hands-free controls. Access to Alexa skills. Live TV integration with Fire TV Recast DVR.

  • Roku Streaming Stick 4K – Voice remote supports basic commands. Private listening via Roku mobile app. Roku Channel offers free TV and movies.

For extensive voice controls and smart home integration, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is better thanks to full Alexa support. Roku offers private listening but no advanced voice features.

Winner: Fire TV Stick 4K Max


  • Fire TV Stick 4K Max – Quad-core 1.8 GHz processor and 2GB RAM provides snappy performance. WiFi 6 support improves streaming.

  • Roku Streaming Stick 4K – Quad-core processor is responsive. Smooth streaming thanks to 802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless.

Both devices deliver speedy streaming and navigation. The WiFi 6 in the Fire Stick future proofs your setup. But the Roku also streams reliably via dual-band wireless. It‘s close but the Fire Stick‘s cutting-edge specs give it a slight edge.

Winner: Fire TV Stick 4K Max

App Support

  • Fire TV Stick 4K Max – Offers over 30,000 apps including Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, plus more via sideloading.

  • Roku Streaming Stick 4K – Wide app selection including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, supports over 10,000 streaming channels.

You really can‘t go wrong with the huge app selection on both devices. Roku has more niche channels but the Fire TV unlocks extra apps not in Amazon‘s store via sideloading.

Winner: Tie

Based on these head-to-head comparisons, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max comes out on top as the best mid-priced streamer thanks to superior voice features, faster performance and sideloading capabilities. But the latest Roku Streaming Stick 4K holds its own with smooth 4K streaming and an intuitive interface. Ultimately it comes down to which ecosystem you prefer.

Chromecast with Google TV vs Fire TV Cube: Battle of the Budget Voice-Enabled Streamers

If you‘re looking for an affordable streaming device with robust voice assistant integration, the Chromecast with Google TV and 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube both fit the bill at under $60. Let‘s see how they stack up.

Video Quality

  • Chromecast with Google TV – Streams 4K along with Dolby Vision, HDR, and HDR10+.
  • Fire TV Cube – Supports 4K Ultra HD plus Dolby Vision, HDR 10, HLG, and HDR10+ adaptive.

There are no compromises with 4K streaming and advanced HDR on either device. You‘ll get amazing picture quality whether you choose Chromecast or Fire TV.

Winner: Tie

Voice Assistant

  • Chromecast with Google TV – Google Assistant built-in lets you search for titles, control smart home devices, and more with your voice. Always listening.

  • Fire TV Cube – Features far-field mics to access Alexa completely hands-free. Voice controls for TV and compatible smart devices.

Both integrate top-notch voice assistants directly into the hardware for advanced voice control. The Fire TV Cube‘s mics work better at a distance for truly hands-free use.

Winner: Fire TV Cube

Extra Features

  • Chromecast with Google TV – Casting from mobile, video calling with Google Duo, digital wellbeing controls. Chromecast ad-supported TV.

  • Fire TV Cube – Pairs with Fire TV Recast over-the-air DVR. Smart home hub functions. Live TV integration with HD antenna.

The Fire TV Cube offers tighter home entertainment integration with Fire TV Recast and OTA TV support. But Chromecast makes it easy to cast shows from your phone. Toss up.

Winner: Tie


  • Chromecast with Google TV – Quad-core processor provides snappy navigation and streaming. 8GB storage.
  • Fire TV Cube – Hexa-core processor and 3GB RAM enable smooth 4K streaming performance. 16GB storage.

Both streamers deliver speedy streaming and multitasking thanks to excellent processors. The Cube wins out with more RAM and double the storage.

Winner: Fire TV Cube

Content and Apps

  • Chromecast: Offers thousands of apps via Google Play store including Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock and more.
  • Fire TV Cube: Access to Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, thousands more. Can sideload other apps not in Amazon‘s store.

You get all the major apps on both devices. Fire TV‘s sideloading perk is a nice bonus for extra content options.

Winner: Fire TV Cube

With superior performance, better voice features and sideloading perks, the Fire TV Cube narrowly beats the Chromecast with Google TV in this streaming device face-off. But Chromecast remains a solid mid-range choice especially for heavy Google ecosystem users.

Nvidia Shield TV Pro vs Apple TV 4K: Battle of the Premium Streaming Devices

If you want the very best streaming experience and money is no object, the Nvidia Shield TV Pro and Apple TV 4K sit at the top of the market. Let‘s see how they compare.

Video Quality

  • Nvidia Shield TV Pro – Supports 4K, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, Netflix Calibrated Mode. AI upscaling.

  • Apple TV 4K – Streams 4K, Dolby Vision, HDR10 and Dolby Atmos audio. Has dedicated color balance calibration.

Both tick all the boxes for the highest quality 4K and HDR streaming. They also offer special features like upscaling and calibrated modes to optimize picture quality. It‘s too close to call.

Winner: Tie


  • Nvidia Shield TV Pro – Sleek, compact cylindrical design designed to hide behind your TV. All ports in back.

  • Apple TV 4K – Glossy black square shape intended to be shown off. Aluminum touchpad remote. Ports on the side.

The Nvidia Shield TV Pro follows the recent trend of shrinkinging streaming devices to conceal them for a clean look. But the Apple TV 4K has an iconic, eye-catching design. Comes down to preference.

Winner: Personal preference


  • Nvidia Shield TV Pro – Tegra X1+ processor and 3GB RAM deliver excellent performance, perfect for gaming.

  • Apple TV 4K – Blazing fast A12 Bionic chip, enhanced thermal design for performance. 3GB RAM.

Both streaming boxes are insanely powerful thanks to their advanced processors and ample RAM. You can‘t go wrong with either for lag-free streaming and multitasking.

Winner: Tie

Voice Assistant

  • Nvidia Shield TV Pro – Google Assistant allows extensive voice control and smart home commands. Always listening.

  • Apple TV 4K – Has Siri built-in for voice searches, smart home control, weather updates, and more.

The Nvidia Shield TV Pro gets the edge here for superior Google Assistant integration complete with smart display capabilities and compatibility with Nest devices.

Winner: Nvidia Shield TV Pro

Extra Features

  • Nvidia Shield TV Pro – Game streaming via GeForce NOW. SmartThings and Nest integration. Plex server support.

  • Apple TV 4K – Tight integration with Apple‘s ecosystem including AirPlay streaming from Apple devices.

Shield‘s gaming prowess via GeForce NOW is a key advantage. But Apple TV 4K‘s deep Apple connectivity like AirPlay streaming give it unique perks. Another toss up.

Winner: Tie

Content and Apps

  • Nvidia Shield TV Pro – Offers thousands of Android TV apps including Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, VUDU and more.

  • Apple TV 4K – Full access to iTunes library. Apps like Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, NBA, MLB, PS Vue. Limited app selection overall.

If you want access to every app imaginable, Nvidia Shield TV Pro is the clear winner. Apple TV 4K has critical apps covered but not the sheer volume of Android TV.

Winner: Nvidia Shield TV Pro

The Nvidia Shield TV Pro comes out ahead in this head-to-head thanks to superior voice support via Google Assistant, a larger app selection and GeForce NOW game streaming. However, Apple diehards will still appreciate the Apple TV 4K‘s premium design and deep iOS/AirPlay integration. For most users, the Shield TV Pro represents better value among premium streamers.

Budget Pick: Roku Express 4K+ vs Fire TV Stick Lite

Don‘t want to spend more than $40? The Roku Express 4K+ and Fire TV Stick Lite deliver basic 4K streaming at bargain prices. Here‘s how they stack up.

Video Quality

  • Roku Express 4K+ – Supports 4K but lacks HDR
  • Fire TV Stick Lite – Streams in Full HD up to 1080p resolution. No 4K.

The Roku Express 4K+ earns the edge by supporting 4K streaming for under $40. Video quality is a step down on both though without HDR.

Winner: Roku Express 4K+


  • Roku Express 4K+ – Compact, hockey puck-shaped device easily hides behind TV. Intuitive remote.
  • Fire TV Stick Lite – Thin streaming stick disappears behind TV. Alexa voice remote.

Both devices sport slim, discreet designs that won‘t clutter your entertainment center. The Express 4K+ has a more ergonomic remote.

Winner: Roku Express 4K+


  • Roku Express 4K+ – Dual-core processor handles 4K reasonably well but can lag with large files.
  • Fire TV Stick Lite – Quad-core processor keeps navigation smooth for HD streaming. 1GB RAM.

With a more powerful quad-core CPU, the Fire TV Stick Lite performs better overall despite no 4K. But neither are speed demons.

Winner: Fire TV Stick Lite

Content and Apps

  • Roku Express 4K+ – Grants access to thousands of streaming channels. Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video all supported.

  • Fire TV Stick Lite – Offers over 30,000 apps including the major services like Prime, Netflix and Hulu.

You get nearly universal app support on both budget streamers. But Roku boasts greater channel depth for discovering new content.

Winner: Roku Express 4K+

For shoppers on a tight budget, the Roku Express 4K+ wins out over the Fire TV Stick Lite for its 4K support and vast content selection. But the Fire TV Stick Lite puts on a strong show of its own with better performance and handy Alexa integration. Honestly you can‘t go wrong with either one under $40.

What‘s the Best Streaming Device in 2023?

Based on our head-to-head comparisons between leading options across price points, here are our picks for the best streaming devices this year in every category:

  • Best Overall: Fire TV Stick 4K Max
  • Best Budget: Roku Express 4K+
  • Best for Apple Users: Apple TV 4K
  • Best Premium: Nvidia Shield TV Pro
  • Best with Voice Assistant: Fire TV Cube
  • Best Portable: Chromecast with Google TV

No two users have the exact same needs. But by breaking down the key pros and cons of each streaming device, hopefully it‘s easier to decide which gadget suits your situation. With cord-cutting on the rise, having the right streaming player makes it possible to ditch cable and access virtually endless entertainment.

Whichever device you end up choosing, happy streaming in 2023!


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