Holiday Gift Guide 2016 – 2017: Top 10 Best Android TV & Streaming Devices

Xiaomi Mi Box

The Xiaomi Mi Box is the newest arrival to Android TV and is a device which packs a lot of features and specs into one very small box. So if you are looking for what is essentially a gateway priced product to Android TV then the mi Box is certainly the one to go for. The Mi Box is now readily available at well under $100 and brings with it the entire Android TV ecosystem as well as support for 4K content, HDR and more.

NVIDIA SHIELD

Those looking for a much richer Android TV experience will want to opt for the NVIDIA SHIELD. Unlike the Mi Box, the SHIELD is designed to be ultra-powerful, feature-heavy and come touting the best gaming experience currently available on Android TV. While this one will cost you more than most of the other options on this list, you are getting more and certainly are getting the best Android TV device currently on the market.

Razer Forge TV

The Razer Forge TV is not the newest Android TV device available and is not even the best. However, it does neatly bridge the gap between the lies of the Mi Box and the SHIELD. So if you are in the market for something a little more feature-full compared to the Mi Box and without having to opt for the SHIELD, then the Razer Forge TV is a good option to go for. Especially if you opt for the bundle package which comes with a Serval controller.

Amazon Fire TV

If you are not so keen on Android TV, then Fire TV is certainly worth checking out and especially if you happen to be an Amazon Prime member already. The Amazon Fire TV is Amazon’s solution to your streaming needs and is neatly infused with the Amazon digital ecosystem. So as well as being able to deal with content from the likes of Netflix, Hulu and so on, the Fire TV will also open all of the Amazon Prime included content, like Amazon Video, Photos, Music and so on.

Roku Ultra

Just like Android TV devices and the Fire TV, Roku also has its own set top box solution and the newest version of their box is the Roku Ultra. This is another brand-new device and will cost you upwards of $100. However, in addition to getting access to all your favorite apps and digital services through Roku TV, this one also comes packing the specs and features including the ability to play 4K content at 60fps, as well as support for HDR, among other things. If you like Roku TV’s style of interface, then the Roku Ultra is currently the best option to go for.

Google Chromecast

Chromecast is unlikely to need much of an introduction. This is one of the most popular options currently available and with good reason, it is priced to be available to everyone. However, that price does come at a non-monetary cost as Chromecast is far more limited than some of the options on the list. For instance, it does need to connect to another device to be able to receive content, like your smartphone. However, once connected to your smartphone, this will open your TV to a very large number of Cast-supported apps.

Google Chromecast Ultra

If you like the idea of Chromecast but would like something a little more powerful, than there is always Chromecast Ultra. This is the very newest edition of Chromecast as it was only recently introduced at Google’s October 4 event in San Francisco. As well as all the key benefits of Chromecast, Ultra also provides the ability to stream 4K content as well as a number of additional improvements as well. Of course, they do come at a price and Chromecast Ultra will cost you nearly twice as much as a standard Chromecast.

Amazon Fire TV Stick

And then there is the Amazon Fire TV Stick. This one adopts the same form as Chromecast as it is essentially a HDMI dongle. However, in contrast to Chromecast, the Fire TV Stick is the only hardware you need as it comes with its own interface included on the stick - it even comes with its own remote control. So once you connect the Fire TV Stick and set it up, you will be good to go and will receive an almost identical experience to the main Fire TV Box, albeit at a much more affordable price. So once again, this is a great option for those who are already Amazon Prime members.

Roku Stick

Although, there is also the Roku Stick. This one is very similar in principle to the Fire TV Stick as it is again, a HDMI dongle-based device. Likewise, again similar to the Fire TV Stick, the Roku Stick also comes with its own remote control and its own included interface. So the Roku stick again adopts the position of being the only device you need. Simply connect to your TV and you are good to go. So if you prefer the Roku TV experience then the Roku Stick is the one to go for.

Roku Express

Although, closing out the list today is the Roku Express. Technically, this is basically the newest version of the Roku Stick which was only announced in the second half of 2016. So while it is a Roku Stick, it is a slightly stripped down version. The hardware inside is not as impressive and this one adopts more of a standalone approach. So the Roku Express does not plug directly into your HDMI port but instead requires an intermediary cable to connect your TV to the Express. That said, this one is designed to be super affordable and as such is much better-priced than the Roku and Fire TV Sticks and even comes in less than the already highly-affordable Chromecast.

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About the Author
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John Anon

Editor-in-Chief
John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]
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