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Top TV devices: Best-rated items for streaming shows

Apple TV's speed, interface and remote make it

Apple TV's speed, interface and remote make it an excellent home video device, according to CNET. Credit: CBS Interactive

Whether your idea of summer TV viewing is catching a baseball game on a lazy Saturday afternoon or getting ready for the return of “Game of Thrones,” “Shark Week” or another favorite, check out the best devices in the realm of streaming and television technology.

The following CNET staff contributed to this story: section editor David Katzmaier and senior editor Laura K. Cucullu. For more reviews of personal technology products, visit

Roku Streaming Stick

CNET rating (Out of 5)

5 stars (spectacular)

THE GOOD This is one of the least expensive devices to stream video from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, Sling TV and other online services. It’s lightning-fast and an updated app lets you listen via your phone’s headphone jack. Roku’s ecosystem offers more apps, better search and more customization than any other.

THE BAD No Ethernet port means it works only via Wi-Fi, not a wired connection. Some app interfaces are less polished than on rival devices.

THE COST $49.99

BOTTOM LINE The best value in streaming-video hardware, period.


CNET rating (Out of 5)

4.5 stars (outstanding)

THE GOOD It delivers perfect black levels, wide viewing angles, accurate color and a great bright-room picture. It’s compatible with both major HDR formats, and HDR image quality is superior. The striking design features a super-slim panel.

THE BAD It’s really expensive, though its price is likely to come down.

THE COST $3,996.99 to $4,499.99

BOTTOM LINE This is the best overall TV available. Patient shoppers are likely to be rewarded by price drops in the coming months.

Apple TV (2015)

CNET rating (Out of 5)

4.0 stars (excellent)

THE GOOD Apple TV delivers a polished video experience with speedy reactions and a familiar yet attractive interface. It has the best remote on the market. Siri voice search is excellent, and useful voice commands add excellent capabilities.

THE BAD The price is more than similar devices like the Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast for basically the same core functions.

THE COST $139 to $149

BOTTOM LINE This is one of the best entertainment devices, especially for anyone who already owns plenty of Apple gadgets.

Roku TV (TCL S3750/FP110 series)

CNET rating (Out of 5)

4.0 stars (excellent)

THE GOOD A superb user interface makes Roku’s thousands of apps and streaming video easy to use from the TV’s own simple remote. It’s also less expensive and more frequently updated than just about any other smart TV.

THE BAD Competing entry-level TVs, namely Vizio’s E series, deliver better image quality for a bit more money. There’s no Ethernet port.


BOTTOM LINE A great entry-level model, thanks to an awesome smart-TV suite and rock-bottom pricing.

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