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Best streaming device for your TV 2022: which streaming stick should you buy?

Watch all your favourite streaming services in one place with our pick of the best streaming devices you can buy for your TV in 2022.

Published: Friday, 6th May 2022 at 11:16 am

Many modern TVs come with streaming services built in, but don’t underestimate the power of dedicated devices to keep your favourite apps in one place.

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Not only are they compact and convenient, but these sticks are also used to transform a non-smart TV into a feature-packed smart TV, becoming a simple way of playing shows from apps such as Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, Apple TV+, Twitch, Disney+ and more.

In recent years, major tech and entertainment brands have released their own sticks, giving you plenty of options to choose from. To help make this decision easier, our expert team has pulled together our pick of the best streaming devices available in 2022.

From Amazon to Roku, in this guide you'll find our pick of the best streaming devices that we've tried, tested and reviewed. Each one has also been given an award - from the best budget option to the best voice control to the best 4K video abilities.

So how much should you be spending? That really depends on the streaming quality you're after, what design you prefer and the apps and channels you use most often. Pricing can still vary quite significantly, from the relatively inexpensive Roku Express at well under £30, to the premium Amazon Fire TV Cube costing over £100. Whatever your needs, the RadioTimes.com team has an option for you.

Shopping for a new TV? You don’t want to miss our best smart TV to buy guide, and here’s our pick of the very best HDMI cables and cable management ideas to go with it.

If you need help choosing a subscription service in 2022, don’t miss our breakdown of the best streaming service UK, comparing the pricing and features of each major platform, including Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video, BritBox and Apple TV+.

Best streaming devices at a glance

Chromecast with Google TV, £59

Best for design

Chromecast with Google TV

The Chromecast with Google TV (£59) is one of the more expensive streaming sticks, but it comes with a remote and is one of the newest, released in 2020.

There's a dedicated Google Assistant button on the remote to activate voice control, too, whether to search the Google TV homepage or to turn the volume up. However, if you prefer, you can also control it via the Google Home app and cast from it.

When it comes to TV, it streams up to 4K HDR, so the picture quality is sharp and bright, and a huge selling point is casting to the device from your phone. The Chromecast with Google TV can also be connected to Google speakers such as the Google Nest Audio to create a fuller sound or a multi-room system. If you already own a Google device or are looking for a smooth 4K experience, this Chromecast is for you.

Read the full Chromecast with Google TV review.

Buy Chromecast with Google TV:

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max, £54.99

Best overall Amazon stick

The latest Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max is the fastest, best-performing streaming stick Amazon offers. It costs a little more than some of these competitors, but it's a great option if you're looking to stream high-quality 4K content from your TV.

Like the Roku Streaming Stick 4K, this stick requires mains power which is a bit annoying, but otherwise it's a superb performer. It's WiFi 6 compatible, which makes for a smoother streaming experience, and it comes with full HDR support.

You'll have access to all main streaming channels, with a wide choice of films, sport and series, though of course the extent of this choice depends which services you subscribe to. Amazon says it's 40% more powerful than the Fire TV Stick 4K.

Read the full Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max review.

Buy Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max:

Amazon Fire TV Cube, £109.99

Best for performance

The Fire TV Cube is Amazon’s most sophisticated (and yes, expensive) streaming device. A combination of an Amazon Echo smart speaker and Fire TV Stick, the Fire TV Cube has the most comprehensive voice control via the Alexa commands. With Dolby Atmos support, the box is smart, sleek and has buffer-free 4K streaming.

Read the full Amazon Fire TV Cube review.

Buy the Amazon Fire TV Cub:

Roku Streambar, £99.99

Best for audio quality

Roku Streambar best soundbar

A soundbar and streaming device in one, the Roku Streambar offers a bigger sound than most streaming sticks can provide. Fitted with four internal speakers, the device fills a room with Dolby Audio sound and adjusts the content’s volume as needed and you can set it so loud adverts are automatically quietened. An affordable soundbar and a great option if you're looking for more than your basic streaming device.

Read the full Roku Streambar review.

Buy the Roku Streambar:

Nvidia Shield TV Pro, £178.99

Best for gamers

Nvidia Shield TV Pro

The Nvidia Shield TV Pro comes with every feature you could want from a streaming device intended for gamers, including 4K HDR streaming, Dolby Atmos and Google Assistant built-in. Powered by the NVIDIA Tegra X1+ processor, the device has a lot more oomph than a traditional stick. However, the selling point of the Nvidia Shield TV Pro is GeForce Now, the brand's cloud gaming service that gives you access to over 800 games, including Cyberpunk 2077, Fortnite and Watch Dog Legion.

Read the full Nvidia Shield TV Pro review.

Buy the Nvidia Shield TV Pro:

Amazon Fire TV Stick, £39.99

Best for HD streaming with voice control

Amazon Fire TV Stick
Amazon

If you don’t require crisp 4K, definitely consider the Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, which is 50% more powerful than its 2019 predecessor.

The latest generation Amazon streaming stick comes with a remote fitted with TV controls, so you don't have to switch remotes to change the volume, and pretty accurate voice control, thanks to the Alexa assistance that’s built in.

It supports Dolby Atmos and will give you access to the most popular streamers, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Disney+ and of course Prime Video.

For more on how the Fire TV Stick compares to other devices, read the full Amazon Fire TV Stick review. And for the best prices on Amazon Fire devices, check out the best Amazon Fire TV Stick deals page which lists the top offers available now.

Buy the Amazon Fire TV Stick:

Roku Express, from £24.99

Best budget streaming option

Roku Express

If budget is a concern, you can't go far wrong with the Roku Express HD, which sells for around £30. Despite the price difference between the Express and its big brother, the Premiere, Roku hasn't scrimped on too many features. Like the Premiere, this one comes with voice control, a remote and all the same streaming services.

The only significant difference is streaming quality. While the Roku Premiere offers 4K streaming quickly, this device only streams in HD quality.

The only real downside to the Roku Express is that the little streaming box has to be visible to the remote so you can't hide it behind the TV like the Amazon Fire TV Stick. That being said, it’s small, so it's unlikely to majorly disrupt your set-up.

Read the full Roku Express review.

Buy the Roku Express:

Roku Premiere, £34

Best budget 4K option

Roku Premiere

The Roku Premiere is the most affordable 4K streaming stick. For £34, the stick streams in 4K HDR and has all the apps you would expect, including Spotify, Netflix, NOW TV, Disney+ and Prime Video. The accompanying remote and free app allow you to search the homepage with voice commands, and there's even a second remote built into the app for when you lose the first down the back of the sofa.

However, one of the best features about the Premiere, and something unique to the brand, is the Private Listening mode. Found in the app, this function allows you to stream audio via your phone so you can listen with headphones. This lets you watch TV without disrupting anyone else in the house. It’s a fantastic feature if you sleep unconventional hours or for when everyone wants to watch their own thing.

Read the full Roku Premiere review.

Buy the Roku Premiere:

Roku Streaming Stick 4K, from £39.14

Best overall 4K Roku stick

Roku Streaming Stick 4K

While the Premiere keeps the affordability in mind, it is the Roku Streaming Stick 4K that offers you top quality alongside more responsive navigation.

The addition of Dolby Vision and HDR10 Plus are big wins, giving the image quality a fairly significant upgrade. The stick also offers a fantastically wide range of apps — including some free streaming via the likes of the Roku Channel and 4OD — and navigating between apps is simple using the small remote that’s bundled.

A new quad-core processor means that this stick is approximately 30% quicker than its predecessor, the Streaming Stick Plus. So yes, it's not the most affordable Roku Stick right now, but considering the premium specs it might be the best value.

Read our full Roku Streaming Stick 4K review.

Buy the Roku Streaming Stick 4K:

Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite, £29.99

Best affordable Amazon device

Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite

The Fire TV Stick Lite is one of the most affordable sticks around, certainly out of the Amazon line-up. Just like its more expensive counterpart, the Fire TV Stick Lite has HD streaming, voice control via Alexa and easy access to all the main subscriptions. The only main downside aside from a lack of 4K? The remote is a little simpler than the standard Fire TV Stick, so it does not have any volume or shortcut buttons.

Read the full Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite review.

Buy the Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite:

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For the latest news, reviews and deals, check out the RadioTimes.com Technology section and consider signing up to receive our tech newsletter. Or, for more streaming advice, head over to our best streaming services guide, Sky Glass explainer or take look at the best Disney Plus offers this month.

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