The best streaming devices in Australia

The stream team.
Best for most

Our Rating

ModelCategoryVideoPrice
Apple TV 4KBest for most4K, Dolby Vision, HDR10Check Price
NVIDIA TV Shield Pro 2020Best for 4K4K, AI upscaling, Dolby Vision, HDR10Check Price
Google Chromecast UltraBest on a budget4K, Dolby Vision, HDR10Check Price
Telstra TV 3Best for Bigpond users4K, HDR10See Plans
Model
Apple TV 4K
NVIDIA TV Shield Pro 2020
Google Chromecast Ultra
Telstra TV 3
CategoryVideoPrice
Best for most4K, Dolby Vision, HDR10Check Price
Best for 4K4K, AI upscaling, Dolby Vision, HDR10Check Price
Best on a budget4K, Dolby Vision, HDR10Check Price
Best for Bigpond users4K, HDR10See Plans

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 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 a golden era of streaming services and devices. In Australia the biggest names in the streaming arena are Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV 4K, Google Chromecast , Nvidia Shield TV and Roku. Let’s find out which one of these avenues is right for you.

Streaming device comparison
DevicePriceMax. ResolutionHDRVoice assistant
Amazon Fire TV Stick$544KDolby Vision, HDR10Amazon Alexa
Telstra TV 3See Bundles4KHDR10Voice search
Apple TV 4K$2494KDolby Vision, HDR10Apple Siri
Google Chromecast Ultra$994KDolby Vision, HDR10Google Assistant
Nvidia TV Shield Pro (2020)$3994KDolby Vision, HDR10Google Assistant
Google Chromecast$59HD 1080pN/AGoogle Assistant

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 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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What's the go with 1080p and 4K?

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).
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Pro tip: Fire up a computer beforehand

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.

Apple TV 4K

Best for most

Apple TV 4K - Best Streaming Devices
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Apple TV 4K Specs

  • Max. video quality: 4K
  • Internal storage: 32GB/64GB
  • HDR: HDR10 support
  • Remote: Siri remote with 3-axis gyro
  • Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, WiFi, HDMI 2.0, In-built power supply

Good stuff
  • All the wonders of Siri
  • Always improving software
  • Champion of accessibility
Not so good stuff
  • HDMI not included
  • Future uncertain

What we like

All the wonders of Siri

The Apple 4K TV comes with a pretty fandangle remote that lets you interact with (arguably) the world’s most outstanding virtual assistant. Why aimlessly channel hop when you can put Siri to work on finding you something awesome to binge-watch?

Always refining

Via downloadable versions of their tvOS, the Big A has generously bolted on great new features like Apple Arcade, multi-user support, and a more aesthetically pleasing home screen.

Apple TV is a champion of accessibility features:

VoiceOver / Siri Dictation
Zoom / Increased Contrast / Reduced Motion
Switch Control

What we don’t like

BYOHDMI

Call us nitpicking misers, but we want our essential cables (in this case, an HDMI 2.0 cable) thrown in with the package.

On the way out?

Apple seems to be heading away from physical streaming devices, thanks to the announcement of the Apple TV app, Apple TV+ along with good ol’ AirPlay 2. Could this mean phasing out of this device and limited technical support?

Best price on Apple TV 4K in Australia
ProviderModelPrice
Catch32GB$236
Apple32GB$249
Apple64GB$279
The Good Guys64GB$279
JB HIFI32GB$249

Nvidia Shield TV Pro (2020)

Best features and 4K

A relative newcomer to the streaming race, Nvidia still hits the ground running with a raft of must-have bells and whistles.

NVIDIA Shield TV Pro 2020 - Best Streaming Devices Australia
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NVIDIA TV Shield Pro 2019 Specs

  • 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

Good stuff
  • Gaming features like Geforce Now
  • Google Play store
  • 4K upscaling
Not so good stuff
  • Not the most user friendly
  • Warranted, but steep price

What we like

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 we don’t like

Headscratcing

Unlike the other options on this list, the Nvidia Shield TV 2019 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.

Best price on NVIDIA Shield TV Pro in Australia
ProviderPrice
Kogan$399
Scorptec$399
NVIDIA$399.95
Amazon$436

Google Chromecast Ultra

Best on a budget

If you’re not hung up on always owning the most cutting edge device, getting you hooked up and streaming on the cheap is what Google is all about.

Google Chromecast Ultra - Best Streaming Devices
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Google Chromecast Ultra specs

  • Max. video quality: 4K
  • Internal storage: N/A
  • HDR: Dolby Vision
  • Remote: N/A
  • Connectivity: WiFi, HDMI, MicroUSB

Good stuff
  • Versatile design
  • Even cheaper sister products
  • Great price for 4K
Not so good stuff
  • No remote
  • Requires a compatible smartphone, tablet or computer

What we like

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.

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 Chromecast 2.

What we don’t like

We miss the old clicker

While it may be fashionable to control things via a dedicated app on one’s smart device, sometimes we just want a dedicated chunk of plastic that’s bristling with buttons. You know, something inexpensive to lose down the lounge instead.

No phone no love

To mirror things from your phone screen to your TV you, well, really need that phone, don’t you? Reliably streaming 4K content requires having a pretty decent one, too.

Best price on Google Chromecast in Australia
ProviderPrice
Kogan$99
Kmart$97
Officeworks$98
Google$99
JB HIFI$99

Telstra TV 3

Best for Bigpond users

Telstra doggedly continues to boost the power and capabilities of their features-full set-top box.

Telstra TV 3 - Best Streaming Devices
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Google Chromecast Ultra specs

  • 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

Good stuff
  • Plenty of streaming options
  • 4K is now a go
  • Great price for 4K
Not so good stuff
  • Locks a bunch of Roku apps out
  • No PVR features

What we like

Plenty of options

Telstra users get a very generous assortment of TV to tap into. We’re talking all available Free To Air channels, ABC iView, SBS On Demand, Netflix, Stan. Foxtel Now, Bigpond Movies, Youtube, Hayu, and the apps dedicated to 9Now / Plus / Tenplay.

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, in no time you can hook into some Ultra High Definition Netflix.

What we don’t like

Apps gone AWOL

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

Live in the moment… or else

Unlike streaming solutions like Foxtel and the Fetch TV Mini box, you can’t record TV shows to watch later. Similarly, you can’t pause and rewind Live TV, either.

Bundle the Telstra TV 3 with an NBN plan

If you’re a Telstra customer, or you’re toying with the idea, you can bundle the Telstra TV 3 with the telco’s unlimited Internet plans. Here’s a small selection of Telstra TV and Internet bundles.