Gadgets

The Best Streaming Boxes For Your TV

Batten down the sofa. Fortify the living room. The tech giants have drawn a new set of battle lines, and they're all aiming for your TV.

As more of us start switching traditional TV channels for episodic binge watching and web subscriptions, there's a growing market for TV streaming devices that turn any flat screen into a web-connected hub of entertainment. From gaming to series, films to YouTube channels, there's a growing list of little black boxes that want a slot behind your TV.

These are the best options for streaming video, games and music to your teley boxes and beyond.

  • The Best Streaming Boxes For Your TV

    Roku 4

    Best for: Range of streaming channels

    While Apple, Google and Amazon are all big names, they're playing catch up with the big name in TV streaming.

    Roku's new streaming box (their fourth) supports 4K streaming, a quad-core processor, silly-quick Wi-Fi and has nice searching functions thanks to "Roku Feed" - which will allow users to follow specific TV shows, actors or directors and get notified on their latest releases. There's no word on price or release date yet, but if you want a wide range of streaming channels, you'd do best to wait for the Roku 4.

    £TBC

  • The Best Streaming Boxes For Your TV 1

    NVIDIA Shield Android TV

    Best for: Gaming

    More set-top box PC than true console, the Shield supports a 'proper' gaming controller, streaming games in 4K via a monthly subscription service GeForce Now.

    For a monthly subscription of £7.49 you'll be able to stream PC games from 'the cloud' (at 1080p, 60 frames per second, if you're a numbers man), in addition to installing streaming apps like BBC iPlayer and Netflix. It's the console for PC gamers.

    £149.99

  • The Best Streaming Boxes For Your TV 2

    Google Chromecast

    Best for: Affordable all-rounder

    Google doesn't think you want to invest in more expensive tech - particularly when you've already got one of the most powerful portable computers sitting in your pocket already.

    The new Chromecast plugs into the HDMI port on your TV, streaming anything and everything you've got on your phone - from apps (there's an ever-growing number of 'Cast' apps) to Netflix to video. It'll work with both Android handsets and iPhones as well, offering up a chance of multiplayer app games to boot.

    £30

  • The Best Streaming Boxes For Your TV 3

    Google Chromecast Audio

    Best for: Streaming music

    Sure, you've got a bluetooth speaker, but wouldn't you like to get your Spotify tunes streaming through your old, vastly-superior Alesis setup? 

    The Chromecast Audio works much in the same way as Google's 'visual' Chromecast: plug the Audio into a 3.5mm cable jack (RCA and Optical cables are available, but sold separately), connect it to your Wi-Fi network and start streaming any audio feed your phone is rocking straight to your big old speaker stacks. 

    Ideal for house parties, as any guest with the Chromecast app will be able to join in on the playlist without any hassle of sharing passwords or Spotify IDs.

    £30

  • The Best Streaming Boxes For Your TV 4

    Apple TV

    Best for: Voice control

    Apple isn't giving up on the TV game.

    Their latest black box packs the standard collection of streaming options (that Netflix name again, along with the iTunes library) with a neat touch-and-talk remote.

    With the power of Siri's search functions, you'll be able to track down films, actors and directors with ease (if that's how you search for films). The remote also doubles as a Wii-like game controller, allowing you to play compatible apps via your TV.

    £TBC

  • The Best Streaming Boxes For Your TV 5

    Amazon Fire TV (with 4K Ultra HD)

    Best for: 4K streaming

    Got a 4K TV? No? Then you won't be making the most of Amazon's impressive new TV box.

    The new Fire upgrade lets you stream any 4K services (YouTube, Netflix) straight to your beefy TV. Amazon has been quietly growing an impressive array of TV and film listings of its own, along with its own app store of games. There's a voice control remote too. With no confirmed word on whether Apple's TV will support 4K, this is currently the best, cheapest option for anyone looking for optimum streaming performance.

    £79.99