6 of the Best Netflix Streaming Boxes

Jason Loomis
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We have long ago migrated from watching our favorite series before bed, on the couch, with our laptops or at the TV.

Now we Netflix binge on our phones, tablets and laptops, not at the TV.

You can even use your TV with a chromecast to stream Netflix which is nice.

Streaming media services dominate the online video market. Netflix is the most popular, although there are other options out there.

Instead of settling for the built-in apps on you smart TV or your tablet, you can use an external streaming device.

NameCategoryProduct
Apple TVBest OverallApple TV
Google ChromecastBudget PickGoogle Chromecast
Microsoft Xbox One X 1TB ConsoleUpgrade PickMicrosoft Xbox One X 1TB Console

1. Apple TV

Our rating: 9 / 10

Apple TV

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Pros:

  • Great app selection
  • Interface is easy to browse
  • Feature-rich remote
  • Intelligent programming

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Limited storage capacity
  • Remote requires line of sight

The 32GB Apple TV may not be cheap, but it is a great choice for people who have a big video library of favorite TV shows and movies. This device’s biggest feature is arguably how easy it is to browse and view your content, thanks to its wonderful interface. Plus, it works well with AirPlay, so you can play content on your iOS devices as well. You can also use the Apple TV to browse your photos on Flickr and your videos on YouTube.

When it comes to streaming apps, the Apple TV has the largest number of available channels. It has so many to choose from that no matter your taste, you’re sure to find something enjoyable. Cord cutters with a need for speed will love the Apple TV as well, since its interface is speedier than other streaming boxes.

2. Google Chromecast

Our rating: 9 / 10

Google Chromecast

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Pros:

  • Streams videos from Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and more
  • Super easy to install and use
  • Affordable box that’s plug and play; no extra accessories needed
  • Modestly priced and very affordable

Cons:

  • You need to install the Google Home app on your phone or tablet on the same WiFi network
  • The app doesn’t support AirPlay, so you can’t stream content to Chromecast from an Apple device
  • The app is free but there are some annoying ads
  • The sound could be a little louder

The third generation Chromecast from Google is one of the simplest and easiest streaming boxes you can buy.

All you need to do is connect the Chromecast to an HDMI port on your TV, and then connect it to a power source. You can connect it to your WiFi network using the Google Home application on your phone, tablet or laptop.

Once you’ve connected, you’ll start to see the Chromecast pop-up on your phone or tablet. You can then cast videos from various apps such as : Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and HBO.

3. Roku Ultra Streaming Media Player 4K/HD/HDR Premium JBL Headphones w/Ghost Manta 4K HDMI Cable

Our rating: 9 / 10

Roku Ultra Streaming Media Player 4K/HD/HDR Premium JBL Headphones w/Ghost Manta 4K HDMI Cable

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Pros:

  • Great media player
  • Built-in voice enabled remote
  • Easy to setup
  • Excellent streaming platform
  • Includes a fantastic remote with a headphone jack built-in
  • The premium design works great on my TV
  • The easy-to-use app lets you find out what you want to watch with ease
  • Even works with iPhones and other mobile devices
  • The 4K video stream is amazing
  • Netflix, Amazon, and Vudu are all built in

Cons:

  • The search function can be a little quirky
  • No batteries included
  • Can be a little difficult to operate without the remote
  • The remote works with a lithium battery and can’t be recharged
  • Doesn’t work with iTunes

In looking for the best media streaming boxes, we had to look at the most highly recommended. One of those being the Roku Ultra media streaming player. With high-end capabilities such as 4K and HDR support, a great user interface, an easy setup, and quality voice control, it’s easy to see why movie buffs have loved this product for years.

4. Microsoft Xbox One X 1TB Console

Our rating: 8 / 10

Microsoft Xbox One X 1TB Console

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Pros:

  • Absolutely stunning graphics
  • Great selection of 4K HDR titles
  • Optional 4K UHD Blu-ray Player, so you can stream content and still play games and watch TV
  • The ability to stream content from your PC

Cons:

  • Relatively heavy
  • Expensive, comparable to some gaming consoles
  • Slightly less convenient than other streaming devices as you need to install apps on your home TV or stream video from your phone

The Xbox One X is the most powerful video game console ever released. It boasts a six-teraflop GPU, with 12GB GDDR5 RAM a 1TB hard drive, and uses an 8-core custom AMD CPU. This is the fight between Hollywood and Silicon Valley for the living room. Not only is this the most powerful gaming pillar that a family could ever hope for, but it’s also one of the most innovative television set top devices available. Utilizing your television’s HDMI port the Xbox One X becomes a streaming device on top of playing games.

5. Fire TV Stick streaming media player

Our rating: 6 / 10

Fire TV Stick streaming media player

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Pros:

  • The best all-around streaming device on the market
  • Excellent voice control with Alexa
  • Ultra-portable
  • Easy to set up and use

Cons:

  • Alexa has insufficient knowledge to answer some questions
  • Voice-based services aren’t available internationally

At first glance, the Amazon fire TV stick might seem like it’s a minor entry into the entertainment scene, but this device is definitely a versatile one.

Where it gets the edge over other media streamers is that it comes with Alexa Voice Remote, providing you with the handy option to search for videos and music, launch apps, and more by using your voice.

The updated hardware is a nice touch as it runs smoother and faster than previous versions. It’s also a lot more responsive when it comes to navigating the menus. The Alexa integration is becoming better and better with newly added compatibility with more apps.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can you stream Netflix through cable box?

Netflix is the leading streaming content provider. Now, you can access its vast library of movies and TV shows on everything from video game consoles to your tablet, to your WiFi-connected laptop.

In fact, you can access Netflix on as many as 2 devices at the same time (for example, a TV and a Netflix-ready video game console). However, if you are streaming on multiple devices at once you will probably want either a faster Internet connection or a Netflix plan that supports multiple screens. Viewing Netflix on your TV requires a fast broadband connection.

What box do you need for Netflix?

Not all TVs have a Netflix app built-in. You need a special streaming box, or a smart TV, to watch Netflix on your TV.

If you have a current-model smart TV (meaning it has an internet browser), you should head there first—you’ll likely find a Netflix icon on the TV’s home screen. But if not, or if you have a an older TV, you’ll need a streaming box of some kind.

What is the best Android box for streaming?

The upshot is that you can use cheap but capable Android boxes for streaming. These include Mi Box, Amazon Fire TV, and others for just a few dollars more than Firestick. They operate just as the Amazon TV does, but they’re also more expandable with apps and stuff like better headphone listening.

What is the best free TV streaming box?

Nothing beats a great free TV streaming box, especially if you’re a cord-cutter. A streaming set-top box gives you instant access to the free TV streaming services you want, all without paying for cable.

The best free TV streaming box will be one that meets your needs, and everyone’s needs are different. If you’re just cutting cable to save money on cable, you probably don’t need a very robust streaming box that comes with a bunch of bells and whistles. What you want is a simple, easy-to-use device that delivers the free live TV experience you want.

Conclusion

Netflix streaming boxes have become the most popular way to stream Netflix. Choose the right one, and you won’t be disappointed.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Apple TVBest OverallApple TV
Google ChromecastBudget PickGoogle Chromecast
Microsoft Xbox One X 1TB ConsoleUpgrade PickMicrosoft Xbox One X 1TB Console