If you have dropped cable for streaming TV — or know a loved one who has — three upgraded devices promise to improve the entertainment experience.
Consumer Reports says Amazon, Google and Roku all have updated their streaming devices just in time for holiday gifting.
The upgrades CR cites include the following.
Amazon Fire TV Stick, Stick Lite
Amazon has introduced two updated models to its line of streaming TV devices.
The new Fire TV Stick retails for $39.99 and supports HDR video quality and Dolby Atmos audio. It also features an updated Alexa Voice Remote that has the ability to control your TV in addition to the Fire TV Stick.
The new Fire TV Stick Lite is $29.99. It doesn’t support Dolby audio directly, and has a less robust Alexa Voice Remote than the Fire TV Stick.
For a chart comparing the features of all the Fire TV streaming devices that Amazon currently offers, check out Amazon's main Fire TV webpage — scroll down to the “Compare Fire TV streaming devices” section.
Chromecast With Google TV
Chromecast with Google TV improves on the old Google Chromecast. It is a 4K model that retails for $49.99 and supports the HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision formats.
It features a voice remote with a microphone for access to Google Assistant, which is Google’s voice-activated digital assistant.
With a retail price of $99.99, the new Roku Ultra is a 4K streaming device that now includes built-in Bluetooth for streaming music from mobile devices. It also supports Dolby Vision video and Dolby Atmos audio.
Roku says the device has wider Wi-Fi range, allowing you to place the device farther way from your router. It also comes with a Roku voice remote and a set of Roku earphones, which enable you to watch TV without the sound bothering other people in your home.
The device is scheduled to be available before the end of October. If you don’t want to wait, you can get the older model for $79.99.
CR notes that about 75% of U.S. households now subscribe to at least one streaming service. If you are not among those households, maybe it’s time to consider cutting the cord.
Learn more about your streaming TV options by checkout out our latest stories about streaming and cable TV.