The Best Streaming Media Player

After several hours of research, which included going over consumer comments, analyzing reviews from dozens of publications and comparing features, the Roku 3 Streaming Media Player is the clear winner.

For those already familiar with Roku, I would recommend the Roku 3 over any other previous models simply because it is responsive, convenient and fun to operate.

Once unpacked you simply plug the power adapter into the wall and an HDMI cable into the TV and the Roku, and that’s it. The unit begins booting up. It then walks you through connecting to your network and off you go!

As usual, there is an enormous amount of channels to choose from, including most popular ones. Sure, it’s no YouTube but I guarantee that you will have no complaints about the lack of programming.

The available programming is like a buffet, you can eat all you want, and there is more. Also, there are some live streaming channels like BBC and CNN International.

The spanking new UI, the faster processor and the wireless private listening mode make Roku 3 the king of the streaming media players.

$95 on Amazon with free shipping.

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Amazon Fire TV

The Amazon Fire TV is a great contender to ROKU 3 – with its sleek interface, fast hardware and beautiful design.

Like many others, it is a tiny box that simply connects to your HDTV. You get access to Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, rentals, music, etc. Being able to play games is an added bonus, too.

However, the content access/navigation is a bit clumsy. In other words, it is not only less convenient, it appears to be designed that way simply to drive more revenue.

$99 on Amazon

Apple TV

The Apple TV is an excellent streaming box, despite being a step behind Roku 3. However, if you’ve got everything Apple, this one is a no-brainer.

$93 on Amazon

Roku 3500R Streaming Stick

The Roku Stick does very much everything a Roku 3 does, except that there are no games on it and it doesn’t come with headphones.

The Roku Stick lets you access the same enormous amount of channels as the other Roku devices, mostly VOD (video on demand) but also live streams.

It comes with a real remote, and a compact design for just under $50, making it the best streaming stick and an outstanding value.

$49 on Amazon

Bluetooth soundbars will nicely complement your streaming media player setup. Be sure to checkout our guide to the best bluetooth soundbars currently available in the market.

Google Chromecast

This streaming stick from Google is designed to let you push video content to your TV from smartphones, tablets, and the Chrome browser.

If Roku 3’s price is a bit too expensive for you, it is reasonably priced at $35.

Chromecast works with devices you already own, including Android tablets and smartphones, iPhones, iPads, Chrome for Mac, and Chrome for Windows. No remote needed.

Works fine with most of the apps but you might experience some hiccups when streaming from your computer.

$35 on Amazon

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