January 2023

TV Boxes and Sticks: MetaRanking

This page highlights the aggregate summary of Streaming Player rankings posted by key online experts, as of January 2023.

Summary

Between 10 Jan 2023 and 10 Jan 2023, ReviewFinder team examined a total of 74 Streaming Player endorsements from 10 reputable publishers.

22 TV Boxes and Sticks were endorsed in total, only 14 made it into this month's ranking (ReviewFinder requires a minimum of 2 endorsements to be included).

As of 10 Jan 2023, Apple TV 4K takes the cake as the most critically-acclaimed streaming player with 10 expert endorsements. 3 experts out of 10 recommended it as the '#1 streaming player' this month. It is followed by Chromecast with Google TV 4K and Roku Streaming Stick 4K , with 9 and 7 expert endorsements respectively.

Brand breakdown
Show all brands

Price breakdown
As can be seen in the chart below, lowest high-ranking TV boxes and sticks start at $24.98 (Roku Express) and go up to $409.99 (Xbox One S). Median streaming player costs $54.99 (Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max).
$24.98
$409.99

At a glance - January 2023 Ranking

Scroll horizontally to browse this ranking table
Rank Change Price Streaming Player
TechRadar
Business Insider
WIRED
Digital Trends
TechHive
Reviewed
PCMag
IGN
The Verge
Tom's Guide
1
- $80
Apple TV 4K
1
3
4
1
5
4
9
4
1
5
2
- $34
Chromecast with Google TV 4K
4
4
2
5
-
2
2
5
2
3
3
- $35
Roku Streaming Stick 4K
9
-
-
3
1
3
6
-
3
1
4
- $55
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max
8
5
3
4
-
-
-
2
4
6
5
- $141
Nvidia Shield
3
6
-
2
-
-
-
3
5
4
6
- $86
Roku Ultra 2022
-
-
5
-
-
1
8
1
-
-
7
- $70
Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus
-
-
1
-
-
-
7
6
-
8
8
- Check price
Amazon Fire TV Cube
6
-
-
-
4
-
5
-
-
10
9
- $30
Chromecast with Google TV HD
-
-
-
-
2
-
3
-
-
7
10
- $37
Roku Express 4K Plus
7
-
-
-
-
5
-
-
-
2
11
- Check price
Amazon Fire TV Stick
-
-
-
-
-
6
1
-
-
-
12
- $25
Roku Express
5
2
-
-
-
8
-
-
-
-
13
- $84
Roku Ultra 2020
-
1
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
9
14
- $39
TiVo Stream 4K
-
-
7
-
-
-
-
-
-
12

Sorted by price:

Position in ranking Price Streaming Player
#12 $24.98 Roku Express [buy] [more info]
#9 $29.79 Chromecast with Google TV HD [buy] [more info]
#2 $34.50 Chromecast with Google TV 4K [buy] [more info]
#3 $34.80 Roku Streaming Stick 4K [buy] [more info]
#10 $36.75 Roku Express 4K Plus [buy] [more info]
#14 $38.84 TiVo Stream 4K [buy] [more info]
#4 $54.99 Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max [buy] [more info]
#7 $69.99 Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus [buy] [more info]
#1 $79.97 Apple TV 4K [buy] [more info]
#13 $83.51 Roku Ultra 2020 [buy] [more info]
#6 $85.99 Roku Ultra 2022 [buy] [more info]
#5 $140.73 Nvidia Shield [buy] [more info]

We ranked Apple TV 4K #1 in January 2023 because:

  • 10 independent experts mentioned it in their “best TV Boxes and Sticks” rankings.
  • Out of those, 3 experts ranked Apple TV 4K as #1.
Critic endorsements:
TechRadar

The best streaming device for iOS

Pros
High-frame-rate HDR support
Redesigned Siri remote

Cons
Expensive
Doesn’t work with Android

Go to ranking

Business Insider

The best high-end streaming box

Pros
Well-designed interface
4K and HDR
can serve as a HomeKit hub, new model has HDMI 2.1

Cons
Expensive compared to the competition

Go to ranking

WIRED

For Apple Purists

Go to ranking

Digital Trends

The best overall streaming device

Pros
Lightning quick navigation
Gorgeous Audio and Video output
Feature-packed
Extremely Powerful
Intuitive, uncluttered interface

Cons
Several features exclusive to Apple users

Go to ranking

TechHive

Best high-end media streamer

Pros
Uncluttered, ad-free interface
Performance is speedier than ever
AirPlay, AirPods, and iCloud integration are nice to have

Cons
No remote finder function
Dual home screens can be confusing
Remote gesture controls, while useful, might confound some users

Go to ranking

Reviewed

Editor's Choice

Pros
Great remote
Has Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos
Works great with Apple gear

Cons
Stale design
Pricier than competition

Go to ranking

PCMag

Best for HomeKit Control

Pros
Improved remote
Plenty of useful features including AirPlay, HomeKit, and Siri
Dolby Vision support
Comes with a free year of Apple TV+

Cons
Expensive
Interface and remote tend to funnel you into the Apple TV app

Go to ranking

IGN

Best 4K Streaming Box for Apple Households

Go to ranking

The Verge

The best overall streaming player

Go to ranking

Tom's Guide

Best Streaming Device for Apple Device Owners

Pros
A15 delivers faster app load times
More affordable price (plus more storage)
Excellent Apple ecosystem integration

Cons
Still expensive
-No Find My remote feature

Go to ranking

We ranked Chromecast with Google TV 4K #2 in January 2023 because:

  • 9 independent experts mentioned it in their “best TV Boxes and Sticks” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
TechRadar

The best all-rounder streaming stick

Pros
4K HDR with Dolby Vision
Google Assistant built in
Comes with a remote

Cons
Slow to load at startup
Google TV UI is uninspired
No Google Stadia support

Go to ranking

Business Insider

The best streaming device for Google users

Pros
4K HDR with Dolby Vision and HDR10+
Google Assistant voice remote
built-in interface and casting capabilities

Cons
Minor glitches
some lag

Go to ranking

WIRED

For Google TV or Phone Streaming

Go to ranking

Digital Trends

Everything you want in a Chromecast

Pros
Affordable
Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support
Slick UI
Responsive
Integrated Google Assistant

Cons
Dolby Vision always on by default
Recommendation algorithm still learning

Go to ranking

Reviewed

Best value

Pros
Affordable
Very good remote
4K/HDR Support

Cons
No wired internet
Interface needs work

Go to ranking

PCMag

Best for Google Assistant / Editors' Choice

Pros
Attractive, accessible new Google TV interface
4K with HDR10 and Dolby Vision
Useful Google Assistant and Cast features
Affordable

Cons
Live TV tab only supports YouTube TV

Go to ranking

IGN

Best Android TV Streaming Stick

Go to ranking

The Verge

The Best Streaming Stick For Most People

Go to ranking

Tom's Guide

The best streaming device for people in the Google ecosystem / Editor's Choice

Pros
Sensible layout
Lots of streaming services
Remote included

Cons
General Google searches poorly formatted

Go to ranking

Methodology: combine opinions of key experts

Identify Experts

We identify key publishers and experts that consistently review and recommend TV Boxes and Sticks.

Capture Rankings

For each publisher we find a currently recommended "top 10" list of TV Boxes and Sticks, it must be updated in the last 9 months.

Aggregate Rankings

We put all those lists together and aggregate them. The more frequently a product is recommended, the higher it is in our ranking

Experts chosen for January 2023 ranking

We ranked Roku Streaming Stick 4K #3 in January 2023 because:

  • 7 independent experts mentioned it in their “best TV Boxes and Sticks” rankings.
  • Out of those, 2 experts ranked Roku Streaming Stick 4K as #1.
Critic endorsements:
TechRadar

A solid choice for anyone new to TV streaming

Pros
Faster boot up speed
Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support
Long-range Wi-Fi

Cons
Roku UI is a bit old
Remote pairing problems

Go to ranking

Digital Trends

The best of the inexpensive streaming devices: A three-way tie

Pros
Affordable
Easy to use
All the features you want

Cons
Roku's advertising scheme means tracking

Go to ranking

TechHive

Best media streamer for most people

Pros
Fast, fluid performance with dependable Wi-Fi connectivity
Easy-to-operate interface with powerful voice control features
Full of nice touches that other cheap streamers lack, such as AirPlay and a Replay button

Cons
Discovering and tracking shows could be a lot easier
No Dolby Atmos support or IR control for external sound systems
Only supports wireless connections

Go to ranking

Reviewed

Editor's Choice

Pros
Simple and intuitive interface
Dolby Vision and HDR10+
Great remote

Cons
No Ethernet option
No onboard storage

Go to ranking

PCMag

Best for Affordable AirPlay

Pros
Fast, responsive performance
Sleek, small design
Supports Apple AirPlay and Dolby Vision

Cons
Voice features still lag those of Amazon Fire TV and Google TV
No Twitch app available
5GHz Wi-Fi hiccup in testing

Go to ranking

The Verge

The Best Streaming Device For People Who Want To Keep It Simple

Go to ranking

Tom's Guide

Best streaming device overall / Editor's Choice

Pros
Relatively affordable
Full 4K HDR capabilities
Finally has Dolby Vision

Cons
Dolby Atmos is missing
Amazon offers better live TV integration

Go to ranking

We ranked Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max #4 in January 2023 because:

  • 7 independent experts mentioned it in their “best TV Boxes and Sticks” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
TechRadar

The most powerful Amazon option for Alexa fans

Pros
4K HDR streaming
Dolby Vision / Atmos / HDR10+
Voice remote with Alexa

Cons
Too many sponsored ads
Search still could be better

Go to ranking

Business Insider

Best streaming stick with Alexa

Pros
4K streaming
Alexa voice control
compact
speedy navigation
support for all major HDR formats

Cons
Fire TV interface is cluttered
not a huge upgrade over previous model

Go to ranking

WIRED

For Amazon Lovers

Go to ranking

Digital Trends

Also great, but for those who don't want Roku

Pros
Better processor and Wi-Fi
Includes the new remote control
Still extremely affordable

Cons
Built on an aging version of Android

Go to ranking

IGN

Best Budget Streaming Device

Go to ranking

The Verge

The Best Streaming Stick If You're In Amazons Ecosystem

Go to ranking

Tom's Guide

Best Amazon streaming device under $100

Pros
Faster performance
Neat live TV intergration
All of the apps

Cons
Amazon and ad content abound
Should just be new 4K Fire Stick

Go to ranking

We ranked Nvidia Shield #5 in January 2023 because:

  • 6 independent experts mentioned it in their “best TV Boxes and Sticks” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
TechRadar

The best 4K streaming device for power and performance

Pros
AI Upscaling
Google Assistant built in

Cons
No Apple TV app
No USB ports for extra storage

Go to ranking

Business Insider

The best streaming player for gamers

Pros
4K support
Dolby Vision capabilities
support for a separate gaming controller
Android TV operating system
powerful processor

Cons
Expensive
most buyers don't need the extra power

Go to ranking

Digital Trends

The next-best streaming device

Pros
Great for game streaming
Good variety of apps
Excellent upscaling

Cons
Doesn't come with a game controller
No included HDMI cable

Go to ranking

IGN

Best 4K Streaming Device

Go to ranking

The Verge

Best Streaming Device For Home Theater Enthusiasts And Gamers

Go to ranking

Tom's Guide

Best premium streaming device / Editor's Choice

Pros
Excellent game-streaming
Quick rendering of UHD content
Lots of great apps

Cons
AI upscaling doesn't add that much
Somewhat expensive

Go to ranking

We ranked Roku Ultra 2022 #6 in January 2023 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best TV Boxes and Sticks” rankings.
  • Out of those, 2 experts ranked Roku Ultra 2022 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
WIRED

For Late-Night Streamers

Go to ranking

Reviewed

Best Overall / Editors' Choice

Pros
Top-notch voice remote pro
4K/HDR and Dolby Vision
Fast, with wired internet

Cons
More expensive than streaming sticks

Go to ranking

PCMag

Best Connection Options

Pros
Voice Remote Pro features hands-free voice control, a headphone jack, and remote finder function
Supports Apple AirPlay 2
Strong media app selection

Cons
Voice features still lag behind Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
No Twitch app

Go to ranking

IGN

Best Streaming Device

Go to ranking

We ranked Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus #7 in January 2023 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best TV Boxes and Sticks” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Roku Streaming Stick 4K Plus as #1.
Critic endorsements:
WIRED

Best Overall

Go to ranking

PCMag

Best Remote

Pros
Plenty of apps and services
Hands-free voice control
Headphone jack on remote
Apple AirPlay support

Cons
Voice search feature still lags behind Alexa and Google Assistant
No Twitch

Go to ranking

IGN

Best Streaming Stick

Go to ranking

Tom's Guide

For $20 more the best streaming device gets a better remote / Editor's Choice

Pros
Voice Remote Pro eliminates batteries
Snappy 4K HDR streaming
Gains Dolby Vision

Cons
No Dolby Atmos
Not a big upgrade from previous model

Go to ranking

We ranked Amazon Fire TV Cube #8 in January 2023 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best TV Boxes and Sticks” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
TechRadar

The top streaming option if you love Amazon Alexa

Pros
Voice Control
Built-in Alexa

Cons
Panders to Amazon Prime
No HDMI cable in the box

Go to ranking

TechHive

best media streamer with voice control

Pros
Unparalleled voice control features
Powerful remote; the “Recents” button is a revelation
Super-fast app load times

Cons
The home screen is a disaster
Upscaling isn’t a major improvement
Costs more than most other high-end streaming boxes

Go to ranking

PCMag

Best for Hands-Free Alexa Voice Control / Editors' Choice

Pros
Hands-free Alexa voice assistance
HDMI pass-through with Alexa overlay
Supports Wi-Fi 6E
Fast performance

Cons
Expensive
Wi-Fi 6E doesn't necessarily offer video benefits

Go to ranking

Tom's Guide

Best Voice Control in A Streaming Device

Pros
Speedy performance
Newly integrated Ethernet and USB-A port
HDMI-IN port lets you connect more devices

Cons
$10 more expensive than before
Super Resolution Upscaling doesn't make a notable difference

Go to ranking

We ranked Chromecast with Google TV HD #9 in January 2023 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best TV Boxes and Sticks” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
TechHive

Best budget-priced media streamer

Pros
Home screen helps you figure out what to watch
Cheapest streamer with TV volume and power controls.
Plays nicely with Google Photos, Nest speakers, and Google Home devices.

Cons
Some apps don’t fully integrate with the home screen
Too many apps can lead to storage headaches
4K streamers are often on sale at a similar price

Go to ranking

PCMag

Best 1080p Media Streamer for Google Users / Editors' Choice

Pros
Loads of apps and services on Google TV
Google Assistant
Google Cast
Remote with TV volume control

Cons
Limited to 1080p
No Dolby Vision

Go to ranking

Tom's Guide

The best HD streaming device

Pros
Same great Chromecast with Google TV... now in HD
One of the best streaming device remotes
Hides easily behind TV
Supports HDR

Cons
Continue Watching row continues to confuse
No 4K limits use cases

Go to ranking

We ranked Roku Express 4K Plus #10 in January 2023 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best TV Boxes and Sticks” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
TechRadar

A good budget choice if you don't want to go with Amazon

Pros
Affordable price
4K HDR (and HDR10+) streaming
Comes with a Bluetooth remote

Cons
No Dolby Vision support
Short HDMI cable

Go to ranking

Reviewed

Pros
Simple interface
Excellent smart home support
AirPlay 2

Cons
No Dolby Vision
No headphones jack on remote

Go to ranking

Tom's Guide

The Best Streaming Device Under $40

Pros
Excellent 4K HDR performance
Decent navigation
Improved remote

Cons
Awkward design
No Dolby Vision or Atmos

Go to ranking

We ranked Amazon Fire TV Stick #11 in January 2023 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best TV Boxes and Sticks” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Amazon Fire TV Stick as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Reviewed

Pros
Supports all major streaming services
Excellent remote

Cons
Favors Amazon content

Go to ranking

PCMag

Best for Alexa Users / Editors' Choice

Pros
Affordable
Supports 4K with HDR10 and Dolby Vision
Amazon Alexa
Quick Wi-Fi streaming and menu navigation

Cons
Ethernet adapter not included

Go to ranking

We ranked Roku Express #12 in January 2023 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best TV Boxes and Sticks” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
TechRadar

The best streaming stick for good value HD content

Pros
Roku TV interface
Great app support
Super cheap

Cons
Basic IR remote
Can’t stream 4K HDR content
Super short HDMI cable

Go to ranking

Business Insider

The best budget streaming box

Pros
Cheap
compact design
easy-to-use
built-in OS

Cons
Doesn't support 4K or HDR
no voice remote
no Ethernet

Go to ranking

Reviewed

Pros
Access to Roku's full platform

Cons
Remote lacks voice-control, power/volume buttons
Video maxes at 1080p
Requires HDMI

Go to ranking

We ranked Roku Ultra 2020 #13 in January 2023 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best TV Boxes and Sticks” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Roku Ultra 2020 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Business Insider

The best streaming box overall

Pros
4K HDR streaming with Dolby Vision and HDR10+
Bluetooth voice remote
lots of apps
improved Wi-Fi connection
Ethernet
USB port

Cons
A bit pricey

Go to ranking

Tom's Guide

Best Streaming Device For External Media

Pros
Great performance
Inventive remote control
Dolby Vision HDR

Cons
Expensive
Not much has changed since last year's model

Go to ranking

We ranked TiVo Stream 4K #14 in January 2023 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best TV Boxes and Sticks” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
WIRED

If None of Those Appeal to You

Go to ranking

Tom's Guide

A compelling UHD streamer with Android TV apps

Pros
Speedy 4K streaming
Supports most if not all services and apps
Remote offers easy access to live TV

Cons
Constrained live TV offering
Poor recommendations

Go to ranking