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First released in September 2017, Apple TV brought it with the best viewing experience with its HDR and Dolby Vision TV display. However, for those who might feel Apple TV is overpriced and want to check out Apple TV alternatives, this is their go-to guide. We will list the top 10 best streaming devices that are the best Apple TV alternatives.
The Fire TV Cube (2nd Gen) is an excellent alternative to Apple TV. The biggest reason why this is a great Apple TV alternative is because of its integration with the Alexa voice assistant. It offers you streaming in 4K HDR quality, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos formats for high dynamic range and sound encoding, respectively.
Fire TV Cube supports all major streaming apps like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, YouTube, and Apple TV+. Being an Amazon platform, Amazon Prime is highlighted but, that doesn’t mean that it is difficult to use other streaming apps.
With Echo smart speakers, you can control your Fire Cube TV with voice commands. While it will work with any television, you can exploit its full potential by connecting it with a good home setup consisting of powerful soundbars and 4K-television.
Priced at $119.99, it is a great alternative to Apple TV. If you don’t have a 4K screen, you can also opt for Amazon Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen) which is priced much cheaper and launched in late 2020 only. It features the new Fire TV UI. There are further options available with Fire Stick TV that are cheaper than this and therefore cater to people with different budgets.
Google had launched an Android TV which is still available in some televisions available in the market like Sony TVs and the TiVo Stream 4K but the product has been shelved after the launch of Google TV. Both are powered by Android, unlike the one present on Amazon TV. Google TV has many upgrades compared to Android TV and streams 4K UHD and UHD content. You can install various streaming apps available for Android on Google TV.
Just like Amazon TV, Google TV too can be controlled with voice commands through Google Assistant. You also get Google Cast which can be used for local streaming. Released last year, Chromecast with Google makes things a lot more exciting, a lot less cluttered and comes with support for HDR and Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos audio.
Compared to Chromecast 3, the design is not as simple but, that is because it can even replace your TV remote. You can change the TV input source with a remote, for example, if you want to switch your TV screen to your gaming console. You can control the volume and power on/off your TV. At the price of just $49.99, it is the best streaming device you can choose as an Apple TV alternative.
Roku, with its Roku Streaming Stick+ offers a great variety of streaming services in 4K and HDR10 quality.
There are thousands of apps and services available on Roku. You can watch Amazon Prime, Netflix, YouTube, Sling TV, Twitch, Apple TV+, and many other small apps that you can use to watch sports, weather, news, and content from other countries.
While Amazon Fire TV Cube and Google TV support voice commands through their smart home speakers, Roku has the same through its remote. For those into the Apple ecosystem but still looking for the best streaming device as an Apple TV alternative, Roku has support for Apple’s Airplay system. With this, you can connect your iPhone, Mac, iPad, and any other Apple device to your TV wireless and mirror screen to see photos and control apps.
Roku doesn’t only offer media streamer devices but with its tie-up with many television manufacturers, it produces Roku TV. With its technology tie-up, Roku pushes its streaming service to budget televisions. Many such televisions natively support 4K and Dolby Vision HDR.
All in all, Roku TV is probably the best Apple TV alternative you can get at a budget price without compromising the video or audio quality.
Roku Express 4K Plus was launched in May 2021. It means it was launched this same month when we are writing this article and I am quite happy to include it in my list of best streaming devices. Roku Express 4K Plus beats not only Roku Streaming Stick+ with its latest features and lower price ($10 less) but dare I say, is a better alternative to Apple TV than even Amazon and Google streamers.
It has all that we like in Roku Ultra. It streams content in 4K HDR quality, has wired ethernet support, has the latest user-friendly interface that comes with Android TV OS, and costs less at $40.
The remote has a simple design as with other Roku remotes. There is a microphone port present on the remote for voice commands. The remote can be used to control both the Roku Express 4K Plus as well your TV. On the remote, there are dedicated buttons for Netflix, Disney Plus, and Hulu. There is also a button for Apple TV Plus which is a new addition.
As with other Roku streamers listed here, this one too supports Apple’s Airplay system. You can use it to mirror the screens of Apple devices to your television. Roku Express 4K Plus is fast and if your TV is 4K enabled, this streamer takes full advantage to show you the 4K HDR content. There is no delay nor any bugs in the visuals quality.
The only con of this device is no Dolby Vision support and obviously, its voice command control is not as good as Google or Apple, or Amazon’s voice assistant.
This Apple TV alternative comes in a beautifully compact design that can sit discreetly around your television. Shaped like a lean cylinder, it supports thousands of apps. You can enjoy HRD 4K content from all major streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Hulu, and more.
It is no doubt one of the best streaming devices. It comes with a remote which can be paired with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One controllers. In the dark, the remote lights up when you pick it. So while there is no game controller with Shield TV, you can still game and watch shows in 4K HDR quality.
The cost of the device though it is a bit costly at $150 but it still is half of its previous model. It runs on Android TV and the interface is a lot more fluid and a lot less cluttered. Just like an Android smartphone screen, you can customize your Shield TV screen. Add the apps you use and remove the ones you don’t need. And in any case, there is a search functionality which though not as good as the ones on Google TV or Apple TV, works fine most of the time.
There is a unique feature in Shield TV which is GeForce Now. It is a way to stream games that you have purchased on Steam, uPlay, and other services. All you need to do is sign into your Steam or uPlay account on a remote server and the game is directly streamed into Shield TV. However, not all games are supported but Shield TV will quickly inform you about the incompatible titles. It is probably a perfect reason to consider it as an Apple TV alternative if you are into gaming.
Since it runs on Android TV, you get access to Google Assistant which you can use to give voice commands. It is also possible to set up Alexa to work with this but not all smart assistants are compatible.
Another interesting feature that Shield TV has is the ability to upscale 1080p content to 4K. There are settings on how much you want this upscaling to work (low, medium, or high). It works on both motion and still pictures but, to be honest, it is more of a spec rather than providing any noticeable quality improvement. You can save the processing power by turning it off.
Roku Ultra first came out in 206 and with each new version, a few tweaks and improvements keep coming. The latest version of Roku Ultra was launched last year with a few more improvements but the same price ($100) as in 2019. Since we have already discussed Roku Streaming Stick+ above, let’s focus on what Roku Ultra offers extra.
The extras of Roku Ultra 2020 lie mostly in its remote controller and wired connection option. The remote control has a headphone jack and the ability to program your shortcuts on the remote. There is also a remote finder which we can all accept, which will be rarely used, but we will find it highly useful in times of need!! There is also an Ethernet port in the 2020 version which is probably a good idea with most of us stuck in our homes and the Wi-Fi taking an inordinate amount of load. And yes, there is more processing power that launches apps faster compared to Roku Streaming Stick+ and Roku Ultra 2019 versions. It also now supports Dolby vision which was a long-hanging complaint from its users and reviewers.
On a personal note, I don’t find the upgrade worthy of the extra bucks you will spend. Roku Streaming Stick+ and Roku Ultra both stream content in 4K HDR. Both have voice control and Apple AirPlay support to mirror screens. With the Roku Ultra costing almost twice as much as the Roku Streaming Stick+, it is a no-brainer for me which one I would prefer as the best streaming device.
Xbox One S is a great Apple TV alternative if you dig the idea of being able to use your gaming console as a 4K video streaming device as well. It can play 4K Blu-ray movies which are not possible with any of the video streamers listed above. You can also install and use Kodi on this. Then there are other apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime that you can install and use.
You can consider it as a lite version of Xbox One. It is not going to give you the same gaming experience as Xbox One. Buying this only makes sense if you already don’t own an Xbox One and aren’t planning to purchase the latest version for that immersive gaming. Xbox One S is the best streaming device for those who want the dual advantage of Xbox gaming and 4K video quality entertainment.
Games that you play on Xbox One S are upscaled to 4K. The original quality is 1080p which IMHO looks best in their original resolution. Upscaling doesn’t work so well on videos with high frame rates like when you are playing console games.
For those who haven’t heard about TiVo, it is a media streamer used for live TV DVRs. It has been lagging since internet streaming has been becoming common. No more though. TiVo Stream 4K is a small box priced at $49.99 that plugs into your 4K TV (other TVs are supported too) and streams content from a variety of applications.
It would have been the best alternative to Apple TV if not for Chromecast. However, it does have its advantages. As one of the best streaming devices, it supports the playback of media on external storage. You can even play live TV on it with Sling TV and Locast. Sling gets a highlighted position on the Streak 4K interface. The recommendations on the app aren’t great either. However, you do have other apps like Netflix, YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, and Fubo TV which can be enjoyed on this streaming device. It runs on Android TV OS so you can install other apps too that are available on the Play Store.
It has a dedicated Google Assistant and Netflix button on its remote. You can switch between the Android TV interface and the interface offered by the TiVo Stream app. This is a good thing that you have 2 interfaces you can switch between. The interface offered by TiVo, while much better from its live TV DVR days, is still not as intuitive as compared to its competitors in our list of best streaming apps that can be an alternative to Apple TV.
Flex offers cheap access to streaming apps and is available for free to Comcast Xfinity Internet customers. For these customers, it is the best streaming device to watch Netflix and Amazon Prime. However, it doesn’t have a big collection of apps, for example, Spotify is not available on Flex.
The other side of this is, many of these new streaming apps are available on Flex before they are released on other devices. Since it is free, there is no harm to pick it up and see if you get access to other streaming apps soon enough.
Roku offers a wide variety of options in terms of the best streaming devices and streaming TVs. While many companies are now offering similar or better alternatives to Apple TV, there is still space in the budget segment for good streaming devices.
To take advantage of this demand in the budget section, Amazon launched Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite. Priced at $30, it is amazingly cheap with no competition except Roku Express at this budget and features. Compared to the Fire Stick which costs $40, the only control missing from this streamer is the lack of remote controls for your TV. That is, you won’t be able to change the volume, mute, or power on/off your TV. Since all of us anyways have a TV remote, saving $10 on this purchase shouldn’t be a big deal.
It has all the famous streaming apps except Peacock that is present on Roku Express. However, you get Alexa integration with Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite that you can use to control your entertainment hands-free. Unlike most other remotes of the best streaming device, this remote of this streamer doesn’t have any shortcut to a particular app. But it does have a short for live TV which shows up various live broadcasting channels like YouTube TV.
Unlike most other alternatives to Apple TV we discussed above, this best streaming device comes with an adaptor that Amazon highly recommends you use rather than plugging it into the TV USB port. This is probably because its power requirements when playing HD content are not satisfied by the USB port. As CNET reported, in their tests if they used a USB port rather than the adaptor to power the device, the sound that came out while labeled as Dolby Atmos, was sounding like 5.1.
Now, the biggest disadvantage of this device is that it streams content in HDR but not in 4K. This might sound a bit confusing to you since all major televisions support 4K HDR. So for those who want 4K resolution video, they might want to give this Apple TV alternative a miss.
While the devices listed above are great if you want to use your streaming subscriptions on television, there might be times where you want to download Apple TV+ videos, TV shows, and movies in the future. You might want to carry some good movies on a road trip where reception won’t be great and you would need your movie available offline.
With DVDFab Apple TV Plus downloader, you can download original shows, movies, and everything else on Apple TV+ to your local computer in 1080p high quality with AAC 2.0 audio tracks.
The files that are downloaded by this Apple TV Plus downloader software have all their metadata available with them which makes it easy to organize them in any media server. You can then play these files using any of the media players like the best 4K media player DVDFab Player 6, VLC, Kodi, etc.
So while it is great to be able to stream original content from your favorite streaming apps, it is even better than you can keep the saved locally to watch when you feel like on a device of your choice.
There you have it. If you are not quite a fan of Apple’s hardware products but still have some interest in the movies and shows offered by Apple TV+, then you can grab any of the Apple TV alternatives mentioned in our top 10 best streaming device list to stream Apple TV+ at home.
What’s more, when it comes to the need to download Apple TV+ videos to your local HDDs so that you can keep them as never-expired MP4 videos, then the Apple TV+ downloader tool introduced in this article can meet your every demand in that regard.