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5 Best OTT Streaming Devices in 2021

best ott streaming devices

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that people have been moving away from traditional television for years now. Why? Because there are more convenient ways to watch your favorite shows nowadays. From browsing popular video-sharing websites like YouTube to accessing your favorite streaming services over your phones or OTT streaming devices, online video has never been more accessible. However, television hasn’t lost its purpose yet; it’s just evolved, all thanks to OTT

Over-the-top streaming allows users to watch their favorite shows on their smart TVs at their convenience. Instead of relying on cable or satellite TV to get their content, OTT TV delivers it over the internet — all you need is a stable connection and an OTT app or streaming device to get started. That gives viewers many possibilities that traditional TV doesn’t — watching ad-free content, rewinding and pausing streams, and enjoying higher quality broadcasts, just to name a few.

However, there are many OTT streaming devices out there, and each comes with its own set of benefits, shows, and capabilities. That is why we made this list of the best OTT devices on the market to help you come to an informed decision.

But before we get to our top five picks, let’s briefly cover what OTT devices are.

What Is an OTT Device

An OTT device is any device used to deliver OTT content. OTT devices can be anything from desktop PCs, gaming consoles, or mobile phones to various devices dedicated to video streaming. However, since the former use various OTT apps for streaming, the term OTT device traditionally refers to the latter.

These traditional OTT devices are usually small sticks or boxes users connect to their TVs over the internet to enable their services. Examples of these devices are Chromecast, Amazon Fire and Roku sticks, or Apple TV box. 

Top OTT Devices in 2021

Saying that the competition in the OTT market is fierce would be an understatement. There are dozens if not hundreds of OTT streaming providers out there, so picking the best one can be challenging. That is especially true for people new to the OTT streaming world. 

And no, getting the first device you come across is not an option. Not all OTT devices are made equal — many have exciting exclusives, some support higher quality renditions, they all use different OTT monetization models, and most offer varying streaming options and features. That is why doing thorough research is crucial to finding the best fit for your needs.

Luckily, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you! Whether you are looking to buy your first OTT device or wish to enrich your arsenal of streaming possibilities, these five OTT devices are by far some of the best choices on the market:

1. Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

Available from $37.99

Specs:

Resolution4K
RAM1.5 GB
Storage8 GB
HDRDolby Vision, HDR10
PlatformAmazon Fire OS
Voice AssistantAmazon Alexa

Pros:

  • One of the most cost-effective OTT devices
  • Fast and smooth user experience
  • Supports all the latest formats and streaming standards

Cons:

  • No access to the Google Play store
  • Overcrowded menus
  • Too many Amazon ads

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is one of the most recent versions of Amazon’s Fire TV platform that focuses on Amazon-exclusive content. This device includes services like Amazon Prime Media (Prime Video and Prime Music) and many other streaming providers like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. Users with an Amazon prime account will be able to make the most use of this device.

When it comes to its features, Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K comes with a handy remote equipped with Amazon Alexa to enable quick and easy voice search. This device also supports 4K video, making it one of the prime choices for everyone looking to improve their viewing experience. On top of that, Amazon’s Fire TV Recast will let you watch traditional TV with full DVR at no additional cost. That means you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite TV shows even if you decide to cut the cord.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is an excellent choice for anyone looking to cut the cord as it offers incredible flexibility regarding the services it supports. Thanks to its innate support for Amazon services, it’s particularly suitable for anyone with an Amazon Prime account. Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is also one of the most affordable ones on the market, sitting at merely $37.99. So if you’re looking for a budget OTT device with excellent functionalities and a great quality-price ratio, this device is for you.

Amazon FireTV Stick 4K Review scores

2. Chromecast With Google TV

Chromecast With Google TV

Available from $49.99

Specs:

Resolution4K
RAM2 GB
Storage8 GB
HDRDolby Vision, HDR10
PlatformAndroid TV
Voice AssistantGoogle Assistant

Pros:

  • Smooth streaming even with low bandwidth
  • Casting works with both Android and iOS devices
  • Wide variety of supported apps

Cons:

  • It isn’t compatible with all TVs
  • Sound quality is a bit lower than of its competitors
  • Google account required
  • Lacks Google Stadia support

Chromecast With Google TV is an excellent competitor to Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K. It has similar specs but with access to Google TV instead of Amazon Prime media services. This Android-based media system also supports 4K streaming, meaning you won’t be left lacking. 

Chromecast With Google TV has a sleek user interface and also comes with a small, handy remote. One of the most significant advantages of this device is that it is incredibly compact — users can connect it to their TVs over a short USB dongle and let it hang out of sight. While most other OTT devices come with bulky boxes or ports, Chromecast’s portability is what makes it stand out from the crowd.

Considering that this device has an Android OS, it is compatible with most Android apps, including the most popular streaming services like Hulu or Netflix. The only notable downside to this Chromecast is that its sound quality is poorer than its competitors. However, since this device sits at an affordable $49.99, it’s the go-to OTT device for millions worldwide.

Chromecast With Google TV

3. Roku Streaming Stick+

Roku Streaming Stick+

Available from $49.99

Specs:

Resolution4K
RAM512 MB
Storage256 MB
HDRHDR10
PlatformRoku OS
Voice AssistantSearch

Pros:

  • Excellent performance and picture quality
  • Incredibly portable
  • Plenty of content is available in Roku’s Channel Store

Cons:

  • No Dolby Vision support
  • No ethernet port
  • Limited voice search options

Roku Streaming Stick+ is the next-gen Roku streaming device that improved upon many of the downsides their previous products had. This device stands out in that it gives users access to more streaming services and apps than most of its competitors as it also offers Amazon Prime Video on top of all the common ones like Netflix, Sling TV, or Hulu. 

Roku Streaming Stick+ doesn’t lag behind the competition in the quality regard as it also supports smooth 4K streaming and has full HDR10 support. Unfortunately, this device does not support Dolby Vision, so if that is something you can’t do without, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Another downside to this device over its competitors is its limited voice search options, which is a substantial blow to the overall user experience.

Luckily, Roku Streaming Stick+ makes up for its few flaws with its affordable price — you can get this device for as low as $49.99. If the downsides we mentioned don’t bother you too much, you’ll find that Roku Streaming Stick+ is an excellent and well-rounded OTT streaming device for your household.

Roku streaming stick review

4. Apple TV 4K

Apple TV 4K

Available from $179.99

Specs:

Resolution4K
RAM3 GB
Storage32 or 64 GB
HDRDolby Vision, HDR10
PlatformApple tvOS
Voice AssistantApple Siri

Pros:

  • A premium quality device with access to iOS-exclusive content
  • Supports handy features like AirPlay, HomeKit, and Siri
  • Includes one free year of Apple TV+

Cons:

  • Relies exclusively on the Apple ecosystem (doesn’t work with Android)
  • Non-upgradable hardware (processor, RAM, etc.)
  • Extremely pricey

Apple TV 4K is the latest version of Apple’s OTT streaming device now equipped to handle and play content in 4K. This device allows users to connect via Apple AirPlay2 and download all streaming apps available in Apple’s store. The store contains tons of exclusive content and includes all your owned Apple TV+ and iTunes content that you wouldn’t have access to with other devices. Perhaps the best part of this device is that it comes with more storage than its competitors, letting users choose between 32 GB and 64 GB of internal storage.

Aside from the above, Apple TV doesn’t offer much extra to make it stand out on the market. It does come with a few benefits for Apple users, like being able to use it as an Apple HomeKit hub. However, that small benefit is hardly enough to warrant its high price tag for most. 

But if you’re already an avid Apple user, you’ll likely find getting this product worthwhile, despite its steep price. Depending on the amount of internal storage you choose to get, this device will set you back by $179.99 or $199.99.

Apple TV 4K review scores

5. NVIDIA Shield TV

NVIDIA Shield TV

Available from $149.99

Specs:

Resolution4K
RAM3 GB
Storage8 GB
HDRDolby Vision, HDR10
PlatformAndroid TV
Voice AssistantGoogle Assistant

Pros:

  • Excellent 4K upscaling and smooth UI
  • Includes GeForce Now cloud streaming
  • Remote included
  • Can play a wide variety of games

Cons:

  • No HDR support for YouTube
  • No USB ports
  • Doesn’t come with a gamepad

NVIDIA Shield TV is an OTT streaming device made with gamers in mind. This device allows users to stream both shows from their favorite apps like Netflix and Hulu in 4K and video games. The device was built on Android TV OS, meaning it has access to the Google Play Store and all of its apps. 

NVIDIA Shield TV’s interface is sleek and easily navigable, making it a more convenient choice from the UX side than some of its competitors like Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K. The device also comes with GeForce Now cloud streaming. However, this feature is still in its beta, so it’s not fully implemented yet.

Although merging a streaming and gaming platform sounds like an excellent idea on paper, it comes with many challenges. Unfortunately, NVIDIA Shield TV doesn’t overcome all of them. 

Firstly, this device doesn’t have as many games available as most gamers would like. Secondly, it doesn’t come with a gamepad, so having to buy one will only further contribute to its already steep price. 

Because NVIDIA Shield TV focuses on two fronts simultaneously, it doesn’t manage to stand out in either of them. This device will serve you well as an OTT streaming device, but there are much cheaper and better options out there. If you believe that the limited gaming options that NVIDIA Shield TV provides warrant its price tag of $149.99, though, you won’t go wrong with this device.

NVIDIA Shield TV review scores

If you’re still not sure which streaming device to get, we’ll share some more data to help you decide. Knowing the market share of a particular device can be an excellent indicator of how well-received it is among consumers. That is often an excellent indicator of a product’s quality.

Roku Market Share

Roku is currently one of the most popular OTT TV devices in the world. As of Q1 2021, Roku had a 37% share of TV viewership in the U.S, making it the leading OTT device in the country. It comfortably sits at over 55.1 million active accounts as of Q2 of 2021

Amazon Fire TV Market Share

Amazon Fire TV is pretty close by, with over 50 million active accounts as of the end of 2020. Considering the company’s upward trend, it might have even overtaken Roku in popularity by now, so it’s well worth considering. Also, Amazon Fire TV has sold more than 30 million copies in the U.S. alone, making it one of the largest streaming providers in the country.

Google Chromecast and Android TV Market Share

Google’s Chromecast and Android TV are also quite widespread in the U.S., but they don’t match Roku and Amazon Fire TV. According to the data from 2019, Google stated that around 24 million consumers used Android TV or Chromecast. That is half of Amazon Fire TV’s userbase. However, Chromecast did sell over 55 million copies worldwide, so that’s a good indicator of its quality.

Apple TV Market Share

Apple TV is currently sitting comfortably at an estimated 40 million active users, making it a pretty popular choice too. Not to mention that 21% of Americans regularly stream content through Apple services. That just comes to show that despite its steep price, Apple TV is still a widely loved product.

NVIDIA Shield TV Market Share

NVIDIA Shield TV didn’t disclose any numbers, so we cannot judge it based on that. It is safe to assume it’s not as popular as any of the other four devices since it didn’t enter the streaming market as early as they did. However, no other OTT device offers as many features and bonus functionalities for gamers as NVIDIA Shield TV, so it’s well worth considering if you are one.

Supported Countries

One last crucial factor you should consider is whether your desired device is available in your country. Unfortunately, Chromecast, Roku, and NVIDIA Shield are only supported in about a dozen countries. So if your country is not on the list, you have limited options. Luckily, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV are available in over 100 countries, so you still have options.

OTT Device Market Share Recap

Here’s a quick recap of the most valuable stats for each of these devices.

DeviceActive UsersSupported Countries
Amazon Fire TV50 million100+
Chromecast and Android TV24 million11
Roku55.1 million20
Apple TV40 million100+
NVIDIA Shield TVn/a14

We hope this article helps you find the best OTT streaming device for you.

Best of luck!

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