We’re just a few months into 2018, but there are plenty of bargains to be found. If you are looking for a streaming box, there are dozens of options, or you can always opt for Fire Stick deals.
Our love of streaming media sent us on a quest to find the best bargains for February, and we think you’ll be thrilled with the results. They include a nice mix of boxes, sticks and other types of streamers, and all can be found at a discounted rate.
HD Media Streamers
Entry-level streamers display content in 1080p and are a great way to get your feet wet. They also allow you to go wireless in every room of the house as it’s not uncommon to find Fire Stick deals or Chromecast sales at least once a month.
If you prefer a stick to a box, you have three companies to consider. Roku currently has the Roku Streaming Stick 3800R which connects via an HDMI cable. You’ll get a voice control remote and dual-band MIMO connectivity along with around 500,000 channels of content.
Next up would be the Amazon with the popular Fire Stick. It’s available in an HD version as well, and provides a similar feature set, but with some killer extras. New models have the Alexa Voice Remote which is a very cool feature, but not what makes it a fan favorite.
That would be Alexa Skills which enable you to communicate with other Alexa devices in your home. A few likely suspects would be Philips Hue lights and smart plugs. Overall, it will provide you with almost as much content as the Roku and certainly less filler.
Last but not least is Google with their Chromecast. This is the stick that started it all you could say, and it’s still going strong today. You can’t access a few things with the Chromecast, but it will let you pull up all of the popular streaming services like Hulu, Vudu, and YouTube.
All of these streamers are comparable in price and how they work, and you won’t have to look hard to find Fire Stick deals or a sale on older Chromecasts.
As for those boxes, Roku is the clear winner on the HD side of things. The Roku Express leaves a tiny footprint behind and works with an HDMI cable while the Express+ 3910RW has an additional trick up its sleeve. You can use this model with the classic AV jacks which make it ideal for older TVs.
In addition the top brands we covered, there are hundreds of options that hail from the Far East. There are streaming boxes with DVR and Kodi steaming boxes with some “interesting” software baked in. Most of these will come from Shenzen, China and are easy to recognize by their wild monikers and specifications.
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4K Streaming Sticks and Boxes
Now we are going to turn our attention towards streaming solutions that provide 4K quality content. The main competitors in this field in our opinion are the Roku, Firestick, Chromecast and the NVIDIA Shield. All four can play content in 4K, and with HDR in some cases. Choosing the right one can be difficult however which is where we step in.
Budget-Friendly 4K Streamers
Compared to their HD counterparts, 4K streaming sticks can be expensive, and boxes can set you back well over a hundred bucks. Well, not these three options as each is priced affordably and will make your new 4K TV pop.
Roku has two 4K streaming players in the Roku 3810R and the Roku Ultra 4660R. While neither plays well with Kodi, they are both fine options for 4K content. The 3810R is a 4K streaming stick on part with the 4K Ultra HD streaming devices from other manufacturers big and small.
It has Dolby Audio with DTS pass-through via HDMI and sports essentially the same specs as their 4K streaming box. The key differences between the two are important however and listed below…
Roku Ultra 4660R Highlights
- Headphone Jack
- Gaming Buttons
- Remote Finder
- USB Port
- Ethernet Port
- MicroSD Slot
- Wireless 802.11 b/g/n
As for Amazon, you only have one option at the moment, and it’s a doozy. The All-New 4K Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Control can do everything their stick can, but better. The original Fire TV is still an option as well, but we don’t recommend it with the new model available.
The Fire TV Gen 3 can stream 4K Ultra HD with HDR and comes with 8GB of storage just like it’s smaller counterpart. It’s also not a box in the traditional sense, but more of a box that hangs from the back of your TV. It has 2GB of RAM and a Mali-450 GPU for gaming and sports Bluetooth 4.2 compared to 4.1 on the Fire Stick.
Fire Stick deals on this particular model can bring the price down to within a $10-15 bucks of the HD model, so keep an eye out for sales. Just like with the HD streamer from Amazon, this one can also be hacked if you have Kodi in mind.
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Google’s Chromecast Ultra is another option but not necessarily a favorite of ours. It can handle 4K content and provides you with many of the same streams, but they aren’t nearly as stable as their counterparts. In other words, depending on your network and what you’re trying to stream, you may experience cut-outs.
High-End 4K Streaming Solutions
All of those 4K devices are under a hundred bucks, sale or not. If you want to up the ante, some more expensive options provide a lot more bang for your buck.
The news 4K streamer is the Apple 4K TV. This little monster has flown off the shelves, and for a good reason. The quality is outstanding, and they give you access to almost every service under the sun. Apple also allows you to cheaply upgrade HD copies to 4K through movie codes via iTunes. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Dolby Vision and HDR as well.
If you like to game, the NVIDIA Shield TV may be the solution for you. The Shield is just as expensive as the Apple TV 4K but provides you with a full-fledged mobile console. It’s definitely an option if you have a 4K TV, and so are the Xbox One and the One X.
Aside from having a higher resolution, the biggest difference between 4K sticks and HD media streamers would be the content.
Even though we’ve been living in a 4K world for several years now, the first Dolby Vision updates are just now hitting affordable players like the LG UP970. There are hundreds of disks, and just as many titles for rent, but the free options are far and few between.
Basically, there is no “free” 4K content as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu all require subscriptions. They all three have quite a bit of content in their respective arsenals, but it’s mainly original series. You will not be able to watch Thor Ragnarok 4K on Netflix anytime soon.
Whether you’re looking for the best Fire Stick deals or want an expensive streaming box, keep the content you want to enjoy in mind first.
A good media streamer can bring a lot of enjoyment to your life. They can also make a “dumb” TVs smart in a matter of minutes as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection. If you opt to look for an off-brand device, remember to tread lightly and keep the preloaded software and malware in mind.