Tech Hunt

Time for a Streaming Upgrade: The Best Media Players in 2018

Tired of your set-top box or outdated media player? Planning to cut the cord sometime soon? Just want to find something that’s not baked into a TV set? No problem, all of these issues can be solved by taking a look at some of the more prominent media players on the market.

From the newest Chromecast to the slick, Amazon Fire TV Cube there’s a device for just about everyone on this list. It’s just a matter of what content and what service you want to feed most. If you own a lot of movies through Amazon Prime — or are a subscriber — for instance, then it’s best to go with an Amazon or Roku device, both of which support Amazon’s streaming service.

Surely you get the gist of it. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best media players out right now.

Roku Premiere

Out of more than 2,500 reviews on Amazon, Roku Premiere takes the cake for one of the best streaming devices available, right now. It provides access to a vast quantity of online services and content including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, HBO Go and many others.

You can also tap into the Roku remote app for mobile to control the system using your phone, which is great if you take the device out of your home and forget the remote.

Amazon Fire TV Cube

The new kid on the block is the Amazon Fire TV cube, although, Amazon is no stranger to streaming devices. The Amazon Fire TV stick has been around for some time, for example.

The Cube is no different than the Fire stick, and even provides access to Alexa — Amazon’s renowned voice assistant from Echo platforms. You’ll also gain access to Amazon’s online streaming content, alongside a handful of additional services.

Most importantly, you can control the entire system using your voice thanks to hands-free voice controls and Alexa.

Apple TV 4K

By now, Apple TV is a bit dated compared to some of the other contenders on this list but that doesn’t mean it offers a sub-par experience to users. In fact, if your content service of choice is iTunes — and you bought a lot of media through Apple — you’ll definitely want to stick with the Apple TV.

You can also tap into Siri to use voice search, watch content through streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, and watch in full UHD 4K.

Chromecast Ultra

The newest device in the Chromecast family, the Ultra doesn’t do much different from the previous versions. If you already have a Chromecast device, for instance, there’s not much that would warrant the upgrade outside of Google Home compatibility.

The main draw for Google’s streaming device is that it’s directly compatible with Android mobile devices. If you have an Android phone, that means you can quickly cast your screen or streaming content to the TV with the tap of a button.

Nvidia Shield TV

The Shield TV is an Android-powered set-top box that offers one exciting feature over everything else on this list, it’s great for gaming. No, you won’t necessarily be playing full-console quality games on the go but it’s powerful enough to offer a great experience nonetheless.

You will also gain access to a variety of streaming services, including the Google Cast functionality you also find in, well, Chromecast devices.

Which device is your media player of choice?