Best Smart TVs & Streaming Players: Holiday Gift Guide 2019 – 2020

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Looking for a new smart TV or streaming player for yourself? Looking to gift a smart TV or streaming player to someone else this holiday season? We've got you covered with the best streaming gifts.

TVs and streaming players have never been smarter. However, that also means picking the right one for your or someone else has never been harder.

No longer is it simply a matter of the screen resolution or size, but now you have to consider things like how well the TV or set-top box plays with your other smart home products.

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To simplify the buying process this year we've broken down our gift guide by platform. Below you'll find the best Android TV, Fire TV and Roku smart TVs and streaming players.

If you already know what platform you're looking for you can jump straight to it using the links below.

Table of Contents

Android TV smart TVs and streaming players

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Fire TV smart TVs and streaming players

Roku TV smart TVs and streaming players

Best Android TV smart TVs and streaming players

Android TV is Google's TV platform. It runs on a version of Android similar to Android mobile, albeit a version that's been optimized for the bigger display and the remote.

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Generally speaking, Android TV devices are primarily designed to work with Google Assistant and Assistant-related smart home products. Although most also "work with Alexa."

If you're short on time then here's an overview of our picks for best Android TV smart TVs and streaming players.

 

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PriceBuy
Sony A9G SeriesFrom $2498Amazon
Sony Bravia X900FFrom $998Amazon
Hisense H8F SeriesFrom $329Amazon
NVIDIA SHIELD TV (Editors' Pick)From $149Amazon
Xiaomi Mi Box S$66Amazon

Best Android TV smart TV for quality: Sony A9G Series

Sony A9G GG 01

Let's cut straight to the chase. If you want the best Android TV experience without having to buy a separate TV and streaming player then it's the Sony A9G series.

It is almost quicker to recap what this line of TVs is missing than what its got. You want an OLED display? You got it. 4K HDR? You got it. IMAX Enhanced and/or Dolby Vision? You got it. An intelligent processor? Google Assistant? Amazon Alexa? You got it, you got it, you got it.

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So yes, if you want the best then the A9G is it. The only issue is you are paying for all those features and specs.

The Sony A9G series is available in either a 55, 65 or 77-inch size. The 55-inch model is currently priced at $2,498 with the 77-inch version coming in at $5,998.

Sony A9G Series - $2,498 - Amazon

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Best Android TV smart TV for price: Sony Bravia X900F Series

Sony XBR49X900F GG 02

OK. So $6,000 is a little more than you wanted to spend. We get that. That's where the Bravia X900F series comes in.

This TV line is not quite as pumping in the specs department as the A9G but for what you get, it's a good all-round product line.

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One of the main differences (and probably the one that affects the price drop the most) is the use of an LED panel instead of OLED. So that's your big compromise. If that's fine then this is the TV set for you.

Once again, you're getting 4K HDR, Dolby Vision, Google Assistant and Alexa support, an intelligent processor and an optimized refresh rate.

The Bravia X900F Series is available to buy in 49, 55, 65, 75, and 85-inch sizes. The 49-inch model is priced at $999 while the 85-inch comes in at $2,998. While the 85-inch is a little on the expensive side, it's not that much more expensive than the cheapest (55") A9G model.

Sony Bravia X900F - $998 - Amazon

Best affordable Android TV smart TV: Hisense H8F Series

Hisense H8F GG 03

If these prices are still too high then thankfully there's Hisense. This company has been working hard to bring to market affordable, but good Android TV smart TVs. The Hisense H8F Series is one of them.

For the price (we'll get to that in a second), the H8F series probably offers more than you'd expect. For one thing, these are 4K LED TVs. In fact, they feature Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10.

On top of that you're getting Google Assistant and Alexa support, full array local dimming, an optimized refresh rate, and an intelligent processor.

Best of all is the price. The H8F series is available to buy in 50, 55 and 65-inch sizes. The 55-inch is priced at $329.99 while the 65-inch comes in at $599.99. That's much more like it, amirite?

Hisense H8F Series - $329 - Amazon

Best Android TV streaming player: NVIDIA SHIELD TV

(Editors' Pick)NVIDIA SHIELD TV AH EP

For years now, the NVIDIA SHIELD TV has been the go-to Android TV streaming player for many. Put simply, it is that good.

If you're only now getting to know the SHIELD TV then you are in luck as NVIDIA has only just recently announced the latest version. In reality, the newer version is not that much different in the spec's department. Where it is different, though, is in the design. It is now much smaller and far more discrete. Making it ideal to be hidden away but still providing you all the power the SHIELD TV has become known for.

Another of the major changes with the new SHIELD model is the remote control. The new version is far more powerful and user-friendly. It's not only voice controllable, but also comes with motion-activated backlights and even a lost-locator feature. Yep, no more losing the remote control or struggling to see the buttons in the dark.

The all-new SHIELD TV is priced at $149.99 and at this price it is a bargain. Technically, NVIDIA also has another "Pro" version now available that costs $199.99. If you (or the person you're gifting this to) is into game-streaming then the Pro version will be the better buy. Otherwise, the $149.99 model is more than enough for most people.

All-new NVIDIA SHIELD TV - $149 - Amazon

NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro - $199 - Amazon

Best affordable Android TV streaming player: Xiaomi Mi Box S

Mi Box GG 04

We are going to be honest here. The Xiaomi Mi Box S is not the best Android TV device around. It does have its issues and there's plenty of owners who will attest to that.

However, and this is a big however, it's really cheap. If you are just getting involved with Android TV and not looking to spend too much then the Mi Box S is a good entry-level option.

It is a 4K HDR streaming player, supports Google Assistant and will provide you with all the same apps that the more expensive products listed above will.

In particular, this might make a great gift for those who would prefer an easy to use streaming player. There's nothing too complicated here as you just plug it in, sign in with your Google account and you are good to go.

Best of all, at around $60, this is about as cheap as Android TV gets at the moment.

Xiaomi Mi Box S - $66 - Amazon

Best Fire TV smart TVs and streaming players

Fire TV is Amazon's take on a video streaming platform. Naturally, Fire TV devices work extremely well with Amazon Alexa voice assistant. So if that's your assistant of choice, then Fire TV is a solid platform to go for.

Another thing to consider is Prime Video. While Prime Video is now available on Android TV, it is still much better integrated with Fire TV devices. If you use Prime Video often, Fire TV is worth considering. Basically, the more invested you are in Amazon's ecosystem, the more Fire TV is designed specifically for you.

If you're short on time then here's an overview of our picks for best Fire TV smart TVs and streaming players.

PriceBuy
Toshiba LF711U20From $269Amazon
Toshiba LF421U19From $179Amazon
Amazon Fire TV Cube (Editors' Pick)$119Amazon
Amazon Fire TV Stick$39Amazon

Best Fire TV smart TV: Toshiba LF711U20

TOSHIBA 43LF711U20 GG 05

One of the benefits of "Fire TV Edition" smart TVs is that they are generally not that expensive to begin with. Take the Toshiba LF711U20, for example. This TV is incredibly cheap and yet will give you access to a world of streaming.

What's more, the cheap price does not mean it is lacking in features. If anything, the opposite is true. The Toshiba LF711U20 is a 4K UHD TV. It also comes with Dolby Vision HDR, a 60 Hz refresh rate, a voice remote, and of course, Alexa support.

You've also got the choice of sizes as this TV is available in 43, 49 and 55-inches. As for the price, this range normally retails between $329.99 and $479.99. However, the 43-inch is currently on sale for $269.99 and the 55-inch for $379.99.

Toshiba LF711U20 - $269 - Amazon

Best Affordable Fire TV smart TV: Toshiba LF421U19

Toshiba 32LF221U19 GG 06

In actuality, the Toshiba LF421U19 is not that much cheaper than the LF711U20 which highlights just how good value the last TV is.

However, the Toshiba LF421U19 does come in smaller sizes with less resolution and that results in a price drop. So if you are looking for a really cheap Fire TV edition smart TV, then this is likely to be an option worth taking a look at.

There's the 32-inch version which sees the resolution capped at 720p. However this one does only cost $179.99. Then there's the 43-inch version with 1080p priced at $229.99. Therefore, these might be better suited for customers looking for a smaller TV in general.

Otherwise, many of the other core features are the same as the last model. This includes the same refresh rate, voice remote and Alexa support.

Toshiba LF421U19 - $179 - Amazon

Best Fire TV streaming player: Amazon Fire TV Cube

(Editors' Pick)Amazon Fire Cube AH EP

The best Fire TV experience right now probably comes from the Amazon Fire TV Cube. After all, this is Amazon's flagship streaming player.

Not only are you getting all the usual Fire TV streaming trappings and Alexa support and compatibility, but also more mics that can reach further. This means you can issue commands to Alexa from even further away.

The Fire TV Cube also features a built-in speaker and this allows Alexa to respond to questions and commands even when the TV is off. It is in effect, an Amazon Echo Dot and a streaming player all wrapped up in one. And that's all without mentioning 4K Ultra HD, Dolby Vision, and HDR10+ support.

The Fire TV Cube is one of the latest first-party products from Amazon and can be picked up for just $119.99.

Fire TV Cube - $119 - Amazon

Best affordable Fire TV streaming player: Amazon Fire TV Stick

Fire TV Stick GG 08

The Fire TV Stick is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get involved with Fire TV. It is simply a HDMI dongle that you plug into the back of your TV. With no additional cables or boxes, the Fire TV Stick is a great option for those short on space or just looking for a lightweight option.

Once connected and set up you have the whole of the Fire TV ecosystem at your disposal, including Alexa.

Besides being such a small and easy to use device, the Fire TV Stick costs just $39.99. This is the second-generation model and one of its limitations is that it's limited to 1080p. However, you can actually spend $10 more and buy a 4K version – with support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+ – for $49.99 from Amazon.

Fire TV Stick - $39 - Amazon

Best Roku TV smart TVs and streaming players

Roku is one of those names you've probably heard a lot about in the last year. There's a good reason for that. Roku is now one of the major players in the streaming world.

What's more, Roku has moved beyond hardware and into software. This means buying a Roku TV or streaming player is more than just hardware for downloading Netflix, Hulu and the rest. You are entering an even greater world of entertainment including free TV shows and movies through The Roku Channel.

Once again, if you're short on time then here's an overview of our picks for best Roku TV smart TVs and streaming players.

PriceBuy
TCL 8-SeriesFrom $1999.99Best Buy
TCL 6-Series (Editors' Pick)From $599Amazon
Roku Ultra$99Amazon
Roku Express$29Amazon

Best Roku TV smart TV: TCL 8-Series

TCL 8 series GG 09

When combined, Roku and TCL have been taking the TV world by storm lately. Both have their own selling points but together offer seriously good products at seriously low prices. The TCL 8-series is arguably the pinnacle of that combination at the moment.

For example, the TCL 8-series are 4K HDR QLED Dolby Vision TVs. It is in the QLED department where these TVs have really stepped up compared to previous TCL models. In short, these TVs are in another class.

As for the price, the premium features do mean these are not necessarily cheap TVs and even by TCL's usually affordable standard. However, these are not that expensive when compared to similar premium products.

The TCL 8-series is available in two sizes, 65 and 75-inches. The 65-inch model is priced at $1,999.99 and the 75-inch versions costs $2,999.99.

TCL 8-Series - $1999 - Best Buy

Best Affordable Roku TV smart TV: TCL 6-Series

(Editors' Pick)TCL 6 Series 2019 TV AH EP

While the 8-series is designed to be as premium as TCL TVs gets, the 6-series are much better priced. In spite of this lower price, they still come packing the specs and features. Making them a really good option for those looking to save money but also get a decent Roku TV smart TV.

For starters, the 6-series are also QLED TVs so you are getting that upgraded panel experience. That's the thing that really matters. In addition, these are also 4K TVs with support for Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos. So there's no scrimping on the software support either. These TVs are meant to offer a high quality watching experience.

Now for the price. While the 8-series will set you back a minimum of $2,000, the 6-series starts at $599.99. That price is for the 55-inch version and those in need of a bigger set can opt for the 65-inch model, priced at $799.99.

For under $800, this is probably the best Roku TV smart TV product you can buy right now.

TCL 6-Series - $599 - Amazon

Best Roku streaming player: Roku Ultra

Roku Ultra GG 10

If you want the best Roku streaming experience then it is always worth considering the company's own products. These are built with Roku OS in mind and are considerably cheaper than TVs powered by the platform.

Roku actually has a range of hardware solutions available although if you just want the best, then that's the Roku Ultra.

The Roku Ultra is the company's flagship streaming player and is priced at $99.99. For that money you are getting a powerful little box that comes with 4K and HDR support. It also is equipped with microSD and USB ports so you can expand on the storage as and when needed.

You're also getting a voice remote which comes with some nice additional features. For example, the remote is equipped with a headphone jack for private listening. In fact, you even get a set of JBL headphones included in the box.

The remote also comes with a lost remote feature. For those times when you can't find the remote, all you need to do is push a button on the box and the remote will make a sound.

Roku Ultra - $99 - Amazon

Best Affordable Roku streaming player: Roku Express

Roku Express GG 11

The Roku Express is not only one of the cheapest ways to get access to Roku OS, but it's one of the cheapest streaming players, period.

At just $29 the Roku Express offers incredible value. You won't get all the trappings and features associated with the Ultra model but that's not who this little player is aimed at. The Roku Express is designed for those looking for an easy to install and use streaming player.

In terms of some of the main differences between the Express and Ultra, the Express does not feature the same premium remote. Instead it comes with what Roku refers to as a "simple remote." The express caps at 1080p and doesn't come with either microSD or USB support. It also is not boxed with a free pair of headphones.

But, it's $29.

Roku Express- $29 - Amazon