Best streaming devices 2022: No Smart TV? No problem

The stream team. ​

Best streaming device overall
Chromecast with Google TV product image
Chromecast with Google TV
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starts at
$99
Video quality
4K HDR @60fps
On-board OS
Google TV
Next best streaming device
Image of Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K streaming device
Amazon Fire Stick 4K Max
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$99
Video quality
4K HDR @60fps
On-board OS
Fire OS 7
Best Apple streaming device
Apple TV 4K 2021
Apple TV 4K (2021)
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$249
Video quality
4K HDR @60fps with Colour Balance
On-board OS
Apple tvOS 15
Best 4K streaming device
Nvidia TV Shield Pro 4K Streaming Device
NVIDIA TV Shield Pro 4K
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Starts at
$346
Video quality
4K HDR @60fps with AI upscaling to 4K @30fps
On-board OS
Android TV and in-built Chromecast
Best bundled streaming device
telstra TV and roky remote
Telstra TV
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Starts at
$216
Video quality
4K HDR
On-board OS
Custom Roku OS
Adam Matthew
Writer and Researcher
Read More
August 03, 2022
7 min read

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If you have a less-than-smart TV, you're definitely going to want a plug-and-play streaming device to make your viewing experience all it could be. Basically, we're talking about something that can effortlessly corral all your desired TV shows, movies, apps, and games in one place.

The good news: to acquire such a setup, all you'll need is a spare HDMI port and either a USB port or power outlet. Oh, you'll also need to make an important purchasing decision, too. We're currently living in a golden era of streaming services and devices.

In Australia, the biggest devices in the streaming arena are Google Chromecast and Apple TV. Though there are other devices, such as gaming consoles, that offer most streaming apps. Let's find out which avenue is right for you.

Compare the best streaming devices in Australia

Device
Price
Availability
Max. Resolution
HDR
Voice assistant
More info
From
$99

4K

Dolby Vision, HDR10+

Google Assistant

Read our Chromecast with Google TV review
From
$99

4K

Dolby Vision, HDR10

Amazon Alexa

Read our Amazon Fire TV Stick Max review
From
$219

4K

Dolby Vision, HDR10+

Siri

Read our Apple TV 4K review
From
$278

4K

Dolby Vision, HDR10

Google Assistant

Read our Nvidia Shield TV Pro review
$216 outright or
$9
/mo

4K

HDR10

Voice search

Read more about Telstra TV
$395 outright or
$15
/mo

4K

HDR

Voice search

Read more about Fetch

Best streaming device for most people

Chromecast with Google TV product image
Chromecast with Google TV
The Chromecast with Google TV is undoubtedly the best streaming device for most users, offering everything we loved about the original Chromecast with the useful addition of a fantastic remote and Google TV interface, all for under $100.
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
pro Fantastic remote
pro Smart content recommendations
con More apps would be nice
Max. video quality
4K
Internal storage
N/A
HDR
Dolby Vision
Remote
Yes
Connectivity
WiFi, HDMI, USB-C
Starts at
$99

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

What we like about the Chromecast with Google TV

Nifty, versatile design: In a market full of uninspired oblongs, Google has delivered a bit of flair with this fancy circular dongle. Like no other option on this list, it will easily conform to the (often limited) space around your TV. It's put in your pocket portable, too.

Great remote: The Chromecast with Google TV's remote may be small, but boy is it mighty. It plays well with most TVs, includes the always-helpful Google Assistant and comes with easy-access Netflix and YouTube buttons. It just might replace your actual TV remote.

Unbeatable price: Google could've priced this bad boy at $200 and we'd still think it was great value. That's how good it is. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to get this many features, a versatile remote and 4K for anywhere near as cheap as the Chromecast with Google TV.

Even cheaper Sister products: If you're really on a super-thin budget (and you're ok to forgo 4K, HDR, and an ethernet port), you can basically halve the money you spend by getting a lower-spec Chromecast.

What could be better about the Chromecast with Google TV

Occasionally temperamental remote: Early on, the Google TV remote could be a little finicky, though it seems like Google has ironed out most of the bugs.

Pro tip: Fire up a computer beforehand
Bullhorn

Unfortunately, while the hardware we're talking about today is plug-and-play, there is a hurdle in the software part of proceedings. You're going to need to create accounts and take mini-surveys and all sorts of things. Trust us when we say you don't want to do all that via a semi-ergonomic TV remote or a typo prone smartphone screen. Break out a laptop and do all your input on the surest QWERTY in town.

Boy streaming movie on tablet while laying on bed

The best free movie streaming sites in Australia

Grab a free ride with these movie streaming sites. 

Next best streaming device

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max
If you’re really just interested in watching streaming TV and movies though, and don’t care about much else, the Amazon Fire Stick 4K Max absolutely nails the basics, and this is what most people will be looking for.
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
pro Incredibly easy setup
pro Responsive Alexa commands
con Missing Kayo, Binge,
con Home screen all about Prime Video
Max. video quality
4K
Internal storage
8GB
HDR
Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+
Remote
Alexa Voice Remote
Connectivity
WiFi 6, HDMI, In-built power supply
Starts at
$99

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

It seems like only yesterday that we were reviewing the Amazon Fire Stick 4K (though it was actually back in May). And now, six month on, the Fire Stick 4K has been superseded by a new Stick, taking what we liked about the previous model to the Max.

This updated model looks and feels identical to the former, with all of the changes below the surface. There’s a faster processor running the show, support for WiFi 6 networks for faster streaming, and an absence of some of the bugs we noted in our last review.

The focus on speed is welcome, but not entirely necessary given the performance we experienced earlier in the year. If you bought a Fire Stick 4K you have every right to feel bummed out about this update. It costs the same and is future proofed with the latest networking tech. And, most importantly, it still just costs AU$99.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max
Best streaming device for Apple users
Apple TV 4K 2021
Apple TV 4K
For freshly indoctrinated Apple One disciples, the Apple TV 4K is the best way to make the most out of the ecosystem and the growing number of subscriptions and services.
4 out of 5 stars
4
pro User interface and setup are buttery smooth
pro Image quality features like Colour Balance
con Some funky streaming app bugs
con Big screen performance of Apple Arcade games is a mixed bag
Max. video quality
4K HDR @ 60FPS
Internal storage
32GB/64GB
HDR
Dolby Vision and HDR10 support
Remote
Siri remote with 3-axis gyro
Connectivity
Gigabit Ethernet, WiFi, HDMI 2.1, In-built power supply
Starts at
$249

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

Far from a necessary upgrade, the 2021 Apple TV 4K manages to make some minor improvements to an already solid streaming device for Apple users. If that’s not you then you need not read any further, the Chromecast with Google TV offers almost everything the Apple TV 4K does at a fraction of the cost (and size). If you are already one of Apple's many acolytes, the 2021 Apple TV 4K upgrade is an exceptional piece of hardware that helps you make the most out of your many devices and services.

Apple TV 4K (2021) review

Best 4K streaming device

Nvidia TV Shield Pro 4K Streaming Device
Nvidia Shield TV Pro
A relative newcomer to the streaming race, Nvidia still hits the ground running with a raft of must-have bells and whistles in its Nvidia Shield TV Pro.
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
pro A fully-featured entertainment solution
pro Gaming features like Geforce Now
con Clunky, unfriendly UI (until you sort out favourites)
con Steep price
Max. video quality
4K
Internal storage
Expandable 16GB
HDR
Dolby Vision and HDR10
Remote
Shield remote with microphone, remote locator and Netflix button
Connectivity
Gigabit Ethernet, WiFi, HDMI 2.0b, USB 3.0, Bluetooth 5.0
Starts at
$349

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

What we like about the Nvidia Shield TV Pro

A haven for TV folk and gamers: Streaming the latest TV is great; being able to palate swap from that to surprisingly responsive interactive entertainment is amazing. GeForce Now game streaming puts your Steam library at your fingertips like never before. You might actually work through your pile of shame at this rate.

4K upscaling: We're big fans of the AI upscaling feature here. It essentially takes any not-exactly-high-definition content (like cartoons from our misspent 1980s youth) and makes them absolutely pop on the screen as 4K. This was particularly handy when Netflix decided to reduce the quality of its streams to help ease Internet congestion in March 2020.

Android store: The much more open Play Store marketplace can offer savvy users the opportunity to download emulators. (For the laymen: little apps that pretend to be classic gaming consoles.)

What could be better about the Nvidia Shield TV Pro

Head-scratching: Unlike the other options on this list, the Nvidia Shield TV 2020 isn't the most novice-friendly device. Yes, streaming some TV is a relative cinch, but setting up the gaming stuff will require some patience and Googling.

NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro

Best for Telstra customers

Telstra TV
Telstra TV
Telstra doggedly continues to boost the power and capabilities of its fully-featured set-top box.
4 out of 5 stars
4
pro Plenty of streaming options
pro 4K is now a go
con Locks a bunch of Roku apps out
con No PVR features
Max. video quality
4K
Internal storage
Expandable 512MB
HDR
HDR10
Remote
Roku remote with Netflix and Foxtel buttons
Connectivity
WiFi, HDMI, Ethernet, USB 2.0
Starts at
$216

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

What we like about Telstra TV

Plenty of streaming options: Telstra users get a very generous assortment of TV to tap into. We're talking all local catch-up services like ABC iView, SBS On Demand, 9now, 7plus and 10 play, as well as paid services like Netflix, Stan, Foxtel Now, Kayo Sports, Binge, Prime Video and Hayu.

4K is now a go: Telstra has listened to the complaints and has made this set-top box sequel 4K-capable. Providing you're rocking a decent NBN connection, you can hook into some Ultra High Definition Netflix.

What could be better about Telstra TV

Apps gone AWOL: If you were to buy this (Roku-produced) box in the US, you would have access to over 4,500 apps. Telstra's software has effectively locked a ton of this good stuff out.

Live in the moment... or else: Unlike other set-top box solutions like Foxtel iQ and the Fetch box, you can't record TV shows to watch later. Similarly, you can't pause and rewind live TV, either.

Bundle the Telstra TV with an NBN plan

If you're a Telstra customer, or you're toying with the idea, you can bundle the Telstra TV with the telco's unlimited data plans. Here's a small selection of Telstra TV and Internet bundles.

Streaming devices we also considered

Here are more streaming devices that we considered that didn't make the cut.
Fetch TV Mighty
Fetch TV Mighty
Telstra customers have a few entertainment options at their fingertips, but if you’re not a Telstra customer then Foxtel and Telstra TV bundles aren’t an option. That’s where Fetch comes in. Both the Fetch Mighty and Mini are both available to bundle with a number of Australian broadband providers. iiNet, iPrimus, Aussie Broadband, Dodo and Internode all offer their own Fetch TV bundles.
Max. video quality
4K
Internal storage
1TB hard drive
HDR
Yes
Remote
Fetch remote with Voice Search and Netflix button
Connectivity
WiFi, HDMI, Ethernet, USB 2.0
Starts at
$449

Pricing and availability only accurate as of last page update.

What we like about Fetch TV Mighty

1TB of storage: If you still like to record old episodes of Jonathan Creek, the Fetch Mighty box might be one of the burliest PVR boxes in Australia. It packs a whopping 1TB of internal storage, which Fetch claims can store around 585 hours of television. It's not expandable, unfortunately, but sometimes you've just got to let go of all nine seasons of Doc Martin and move on with your life.

Here's a short list of popular broadband plans that you can bundle Fetch with:

What could be better about Fetch TV Mighty

Premium Channel packs cost: Like Foxtel, Fetch offers traditional pay-TV channel packs at a cost. At $6 a pop, Fetch's Premium Channel packs aren't as expensive as what Foxtel charges, but they also don't offer the same calibre of television. There are popular sports channels such as ESPN, British fare like BBC First and kids options like Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, but these services are all shifting their content to new and existing streaming services too.

Not many niche streaming services: You'll find most of the popular streaming services on Fetch. Netflix, Prime Video and Stan are all there. So are digital catch-up services like ABC iview, SBS On Demand and 7plus, but if you subscribe to more niche services, such as Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus and Shudder, you won't find support on Fetch.

Streaming devices buying guide

How to choose the best streaming device for your family

The overwhelming majority of our streaming device selections come with both WiFi and 4K resolution. The latter is a must — entertainment is finally starting to see a real shift into Ultra High Definition (UHD) content, not to mention the eyeball-searing wonders of High Dynamic Range (HDR) video.

In layman's terms: providing you have a TV that supports both of the technologies as mentioned above, you can get insanely crisp visuals with truly impressive colour vibrancy.

It's also worth noting that while the majority of these options support voice control, you're not forced into using it.

Maybe you'll want to download an app for your smartphone or tablet to let you channel surf from there. Perhaps you'll want to stick with ye olde hand remote because you don't like the potential of any big tech companies "listening in" on what passes for domestic bliss at your place. We're not here to judge.

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Stream for free tonight with these trials

Looking for something new to stream tonight? These services offer free trials so you won’t pay a cent unless you decide to keep subscribed once your trial’s up.

Other devices you can use to stream

Before you go out of your way to buy a standalone streaming device, it's worth checking whether you already own a device that's compatible with Australian streaming services. The most obvious option is via your smartphone, tablet or computer. Every single streaming service has an app for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets. Every service also offers the option to stream in your web browser of choice (though browser compatibility varies between services). Still, you probably arrived at this guide because you want to stream on the big screen.

If you own a smart TV, you probably have access to a variety of streaming apps. Again, compatibility varies from service to service but brands like Sony, Samsung and LG offer widespread support for most streaming services. If your Smart TV uses the Android TV operating system, you should be in safe hands, but there's still a variety of cheaper televisions that have limited support.

Next, if you own any brand of gaming console, it's worth checking which streaming apps are available on your platform of choice. Once again, compatibility varies across brands and even console generations. Last generation's PlayStation 4 and Xbox One offer decent support, while the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X are making short work of supporting most major streaming services.

Service
More info
Monthly price
Max. Video Resolution
# of streams
Rating
Available deal
NetflixNetflix
$6.99 (w/ Ads) - $19.99 4K 4
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
$7.994K6
4 out of 5 stars
4
$11.99 4K 4
4 out of 5 stars
4
$25 - $35HD 3
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
$6.99 HD 1
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
$6.99HD1
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Logo for Foxtel NowFoxtel Now
$25 - $104HD 2
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
$8.99 HD5
3 out of 5 stars
3
Paramount+Paramount+
$8.99HD3
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
BingeBinge
$10 - $18HD 4
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
StanStan
$10 - $194K 4
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5

Frequently asked questions about streaming devices

It's all about the number of pixels built into your screen, essentially. The more you have in the entire grid, the better things look. 1080p offers you a rack of 1920 x 1080 pixels, whereas 4K is a much more dense pixel farm at 3840 x 2160. Watch the same movie running on both types of screens, and the difference is night and day. This is especially true if the 4K TV has High Dynamic Range (a technology that allows bright and dark elements of your content to have a huge contrast between them).

Adam Matthew
Written by
Adam Matthew

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