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The 7 Best Streaming Media Players of 2018

The 7 Best Streaming Media Players of 2018

With the increasing consumption of streaming media, streaming media players are becoming essential household devices. Streaming media players offer better user interfaces than those found on traditional set-top boxes such as DVD or Blu-ray players, and most streaming media players can interface with and be controlled by most any smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device. Before moving on to the important specifications of the 7 best streaming media players of 2018, we will explain some key features of streaming media players.

Video Outputs - the type of video outputs of the streaming media player; HDMI is the most common for feeding video and sound to your TV or home theater receiver, while some streaming media players also include component outputs for older TVs

Max Resolution - the maximum resolution of the video content fed from the streaming media player to your TV; 4K corresponds to a resolution of 3,840 × 2,160 pixels and refers to the number of vertical lines of the video content, while 1080p corresponds to a resolution of 1,920 × 1,080 pixels and refers to the number of horizontal lines of the video content

HDR10 Support - increases the dynamic range ("HDR" refers to "high dynamic range") of the content provided that your TV and the content itself also support HDR10; as a result, you will likely see more dynamic colors and more detail in darker areas or scenes (similar to images taken with HDR cameras or produced from multiple images with different dynamic ranges)

Wi-Fi Connectivity - the type of Wi-Fi connection supported by the streaming media player; IEEE 802.11ac is newer and offers higher bandwidth than IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n

Ethernet Port - whether or not the streaming media player has an Ethernet port allowing connection of an Ethernet cable, and if so, the speed of the Ethernet port; possible Ethernet speeds include 10/100 and Gigabit

Bluetooth - allows connection of accessories to your streaming media player; common accessories include keyboards, mice, wireless game controllers, and headphones

Inputs - can be used to power the streaming media player, to accept a memory card, and the like; the most common inputs are USB, Micro USB, and Micro SD card inputs

Voice Search - allows you to search for content by speaking into the streaming media player remote

TV Power and Volume - the ability to control the power and volume of your TV using the streaming media player remote; this is a handy feature that reduces the number of remotes laying around

Lost Remote Finder - allows the location of a lost remote by, for example, pressing a button on the streaming media player to cause a sound to be played from the remote

Smartphone Remote Control - the ability to control the streaming media player using a smartphone

Alexa and Echo Compatibility - allows you to control and interact with the streaming media player using the Amazon Echo or other Alexa-enabled device

Specifications

Scroll/Swipe
Manufacturer and ModelVideo OutputsMax ResolutionHDR10 SupportWi-Fi ConnectivityEthernet PortBluetoothInputsVoice SearchTV Power and VolumeLost Remote FinderSmartphone Remote ControlAlexa and Echo Compatibility
Amazon Fire TV 4K Pendant (2017)HDMI4KYes
IEEE 802.11ac
dual-band MIMO
No
(10/100 with adapter)
4.2Micro USBYesNoNoYesYes
Amazon Fire TV Stick (2016)HDMI1080pNo
IEEE 802.11ac
dual-band MIMO
No
(10/100 with adapter)
4.1Micro USBYesNoNoYesYes
Roku Ultra (Model 4660)HDMI4KYes
IEEE 802.11ac
dual-band MIMO
10/100No
USB and
MicroSD
YesYesYesYesNo
Roku Streaming Stick+ (Model 3810)HDMI4KYes
IEEE 802.11ac
dual-band MIMO
NoNoN/AYesYesNoYesNo
Roku Streaming Stick (Model 3800R)HDMI1080pNo
IEEE 802.11ac
dual-band MIMO
NoNoN/AYesYesNoYesNo
Roku Express+ (Model 3710RW)HDMI and Composite1080pNo
IEEE 802.11b/g/n
NoNoN/A
No
(mobile app only)
NoNoYesNo
Roku Express (Model 3900)HDMI1080pNo
IEEE 802.11b/g/n
NoNoN/A
No
(mobile app only)
NoNoYesNo
Manufacturer and ModelVideo OutputsMax ResolutionHDR10 SupportWi-Fi ConnectivityEthernet PortBluetoothInputsVoice SearchTV Power and VolumeLost Remote FinderSmartphone Remote ControlAlexa and Echo Compatibility
Amazon Fire TV 4K Pendant (2017)HDMI4KYes
IEEE 802.11ac
dual-band MIMO
No
(10/100 with adapter)
4.2Micro USBYesNoNoYesYes
Amazon Fire TV Stick (2016)HDMI1080pNo
IEEE 802.11ac
dual-band MIMO
No
(10/100 with adapter)
4.1Micro USBYesNoNoYesYes
Roku Ultra (Model 4660)HDMI4KYes
IEEE 802.11ac
dual-band MIMO
10/100No
USB and
MicroSD
YesYesYesYesNo
Roku Streaming Stick+ (Model 3810)HDMI4KYes
IEEE 802.11ac
dual-band MIMO
NoNoN/AYesYesNoYesNo
Roku Streaming Stick (Model 3800R)HDMI1080pNo
IEEE 802.11ac
dual-band MIMO
NoNoN/AYesYesNoYesNo
Roku Express+ (Model 3710RW)HDMI and Composite1080pNo
IEEE 802.11b/g/n
NoNoN/A
No
(mobile app only)
NoNoYesNo
Roku Express (Model 3900)HDMI1080pNo
IEEE 802.11b/g/n
NoNoN/A
No
(mobile app only)
NoNoYesNo

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