Streaming TV device FAQ
Do I need an internet connection to stream TV?
Yes—and the faster the better.
DSL internet users will see lag time and pixelation if they’re streaming TV and surfing the web simultaneously (by “if,” we mean “when”—who watches just one screen anymore?).
Fiber or cable internet is your best bet for smooth streaming.
Are there monthly streaming fees?
For streaming devices, no. For certain apps and content you’ll want to watch on those devices, yes.
Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and many other premium services charge a monthly subscription rate, as does the Death Star that is Disney+.
But, there are also thousands of apps that provide plenty of free content—you could hole up for an entire winter with an app like Pluto TV and never run out of stuff to watch.
Should I get a streaming box or a streaming stick?
For the ultimate streaming TV experience, we recommend a set-top box. They have the power and functionality to replicate the cable or satellite interface most viewers are familiar with (and are probably ditching in favor of streaming).
If you’re short on entertainment-center space and don’t have heavy TV demands, though, a streaming stick is a viable choice.
Do I need 4K and HDR resolution streaming?
You probably thought you didn’t “need” HD TV until you saw it for the first time—it’s the same deal with 4K HD.
4K is the highest screen resolution there is right now, and it’s fast becoming the industry standard. Some prefer HDR (high dynamic range), which comes in HDR10 (open) and Dolby Vision (proprietary) formats to 4K.
Most newer smart TVs and streaming devices accommodate all resolutions.
What’s the cheapest streaming TV device?
If your entertainment needs don’t extend beyond Netflix and YouTube, the Google Chromecast is the clear low-cost option.
If you want a few more options and better performance, Roku Streaming Stick and Amazon Fire TV Stick do a lot for only a few bucks more.
Even though you’ll save money by choosing streaming over cable or satellite TV, there’s no need to pay for more than you want—that’s the biggest streaming perk of them all.