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Best Streaming Players Under $200: May 2020

If you want the very best streaming experience, then here are our picks for best devices under $200.

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$200 might sound like a lot for a streaming player. Especially when there’s plenty of streaming players available for less than $50, let alone less than $100.

However, the purchase of a streaming player is similar to an investment. Those who have cut the cable cord typically save each month through streaming. That’s whether its through a live TV streaming service or just by cutting live TV from their viewing diet altogether.

Those savings add up and eventually, the cost of a streaming player pays for itself.

Again, you don’t need to spend $200 to make those savings, but being open to means you can get the best streaming experience possible while saving each month.

Here are the best streaming players under $200:

Best streaming players under $200 summary

PlatformPrice
Amazon Fire TV CubeFire TV$119.99
Apple TV HDtvOS$149+
Apple TV 4KtvOS$179+
NVIDIA SHIELDAndroid TV$149.99
NVIDIA SHIELD ProAndroid TV$199.99
Roku Smart SoundbarRoku OS$179.99

Here’s a closer look at the best streaming players under $200.

Amazon Fire TV Cube

The Amazon Fire TV Cube is about as good as the streaming experience gets from Fire TV. After all, this is not only an Amazon-made product, but it’s Amazon’s flagship Fire TV player.

Amazon streaming cube new
Amazon’s newest and most powerful Cube

First off, Amazon has gone with a completely new design with the Fire TV Cube. It’s a cube. However, its design is not just for appearances sake. Within that cube is a speaker and around 8 microphones.

The Fire TV Cube is a product that features Alexa and the speaker is there to make sure Alexa can respond to your questions and smart home commands at any time, including when the TV is switched off.

Likewise, the greater number of microphones are included to make sure Alexa can hear you more accurately, and from further away.

Besides the voice assistant capabilities, the Fire TV Cube brings all the goodness associated with the Fire TV platform. That not only means a wealth of video streaming apps to choose from, premium subscriptions through Prime Channels, but also a tighter integration with both Prime Video and IMDb TV.

If you’re still not familiar with the latter, IMDb TV provides access to select TV show episodes and movies for free.

Here’s the live TV streaming apps you can download on Fire TV Cube:

  • AT&T TV NOW
  • fubo TV
  • Hulu with live TV
  • Philo
  • Sling TV
  • WatchTV
  • YouTube TV

Here’s some of the popular streaming services you can download on Fire TV Cube:

  • Apple TV+
  • CBS All Access
  • HBO
  • Hulu
  • Netflix
  • Pluto TV
  • Prime Video
  • Showtime
  • Starz
  • Tubi
  • YouTube
Pros Cons
Unique designNot ideal for non-Prime members
Built-in speaker
4K
Alexa
Far-field technology
Great for Prime Video streamers

The Amazon Fire TV Cube costs $119.99.

Apple TV HD

The Apple TV HD is Apple’s take on a streaming player.

Apple TV streaming player
Apple TV streaming player

The Apple TV HD is a fairly generic-looking device although it does come with more than enough app support for most streamers.

If you’re already heavily involved in the Apple and iOS ecosystem, then the Apple TV HD is likely to be a good choice for you.

Running on tvOS, the Apple TV HD brings together content already associated with your Apple account with the most popular streaming services.

This obviously includes the new Apple TV+ streaming service. While you can access Apple TV+ on other select platforms, the experience is likely to be better and certainly more tightly integrated with Apple’s own player.

One of the downsides with this device is that it is limited to 1080p. Considering this is a fairly expensive streaming player, the lack of 4K support is not ideal.

Here’s the live TV streaming apps you can download on Apple TV HD:

  • AT&T TV NOW
  • fubo TV
  • Hulu with live TV
  • Philo
  • Sling TV
  • WatchTV
  • YouTube TV

Here’s some of the popular streaming services you can download on Apple TV HD:

  • Apple TV+
  • CBS All Access
  • HBO
  • Hulu
  • Netflix
  • Pluto TV
  • Prime Video
  • Showtime
  • Starz
  • Tubi
  • YouTube
Pros Cons
Good for iOS usersExpensive for HD player
Apple TV+Generic design
Wide selection of appsNot ideal for non-iOS users

The Apple TV HD starts from $149.

Apple TV 4K

Generally speaking, there’s not a lot of difference between the Apple TV HD and the Apple TV 4K.

Apple 4K streaming player
Apple’s 4K streaming player

Of course, the obvious difference is the support for 4K HDR and that should determine whether this is the right Apple TV streaming player for you. If you want access to 4K playback, and the rest of your setup is already 4K compatible, then this might be the best option.

If you don’t need access to 4K content, then there’s not much point spending the additional money Apple is charging for the 4K version.

Yes, this model does also run the latest processor as well, but again the difference in performance is more catering to the 4K demands than anything else. Those not in need of 4K don’t need to be concerned about a performance drop with the HD model.

While the Apple TV 4K fixes the biggest criticism with the Apple TV HD, the price makes this an expensive device. With the price starting at $179, the Apple TV 4K is considerably more expensive compared to other 4K compatible players. All the while, offering less features.

However, similar to the HD version, if you’re more invested in the Apple and iOS ecosystem then it might be worthwhile opting for Apple TV over the other streaming players, even if it costs more.

Here’s the live TV streaming apps you can download on Apple TV HD:

  • AT&T TV NOW
  • fubo TV
  • Hulu with live TV
  • Philo
  • Sling TV
  • WatchTV
  • YouTube TV

Here’s some of the popular streaming services you can download on Apple TV HD:

  • Apple TV+
  • CBS All Access
  • HBO
  • Hulu
  • Netflix
  • Pluto TV
  • Prime Video
  • Showtime
  • Starz
  • Tubi
  • YouTube
Pros Cons
Best device for iOS usersExpensive
Apple TV+Generic design
Wide selection of appsNot ideal for non-iOS users
4KLimited features
The best player Apple offers

The Apple TV 4K starts from $179.

NVIDIA SHIELD TV

Whether or not you think the NVIDIA SHIELD TV is the best streaming device overall, it is certainly the best Android TV streaming player.

NVIDIA streaming player
NVIDIA’s all-new streaming player

The SHIELD TV is a powerhouse device that brings together the best access to video and game streaming.

For example, the SHIELD TV comes with a clear emphasis on gaming with a dedicated “NVIDIA Games” section that includes free-to-stream games. This is in addition to the option to buy AAA games and stream them as well.

While the SHIELD TV is no Xbox or PlayStation, its gaming features easily eclipse any gaming benefits offered by any of the other streaming players on this list.

Of course, all of that is without even taking into consideration the actual purpose of the SHIELD TV – video streaming.

The all-new SHIELD TV is the cheapest option and features 4K, HDR, Dolby Vision HDR, and Dolby Atmos support. As well as support for both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

You also get NVIDIA’s own AI-enhanced upscaling feature thrown in for free.

NVIDIA’s AI-enhanced upscaling is a form of digital upscaling that draws on AI to predict and include what’s missing from the video’s quality. Using this feature, content can be upscaled from 720 and 1080p to 4K.

Here’s the live TV streaming apps you can download on NVIDIA SHIELD TV:

  • AT&T TV NOW
  • fubo TV
  • Hulu with live TV
  • Philo
  • Sling TV
  • YouTube TV

Here’s some of the popular streaming services you can download on NVIDIA SHIELD TV:

  • CBS All Access
  • HBO
  • Hulu
  • Netflix
  • Pluto TV
  • Prime Video
  • Showtime
  • Starz
  • Tubi
  • Vudu
  • YouTube
Pros Cons
Unique designDowngrade in some areas compared to previous model
Powerful streaming deviceExpensive
4KNo game pad included
Dolby Vision
AI-Enhanced upscaling
Wide app support
Regular updates

The NVIDIA SHIELD costs $149.99.

Tip: If you want the best streaming player available then our suggestion would be the SHIELD TV.

NVIDIA SHIELD Pro

The all-new SHIELD TV is good enough for most streamers. In fact, it is probably way more than enough for most streamers. For those it’s not enough for, meet the SHIELD TV Pro.

SHIELD TV Pro streaming player
The SHIELD TV “Pro” returns

If you don’t consider yourself an average streamer, then maybe the SHIELD TV Pro is the streaming player for you.

The SHIELD TV Pro comes with all of the same features as the all-new SHIELD TV. It’s missing nothing in this sense.

However, it also includes a number of upgrades compared to the standard SHIELD TV.

The first is the actual specs. The standard SHIELD TV comes with 2GB RAM and 8GB storage and the SHIELD TV Pro bumps them up to 3GB and 16GB, respectively.

As an extension of those spec boostings, the SHIELD TV Pro is positioned as the gaming version of the SHIELD.

You read that correctly. The SHIELD TV Pro is the gaming version of a gaming device. That’s the type of user the Pro is aimed at. If you want to play the very best games available through Android and streaming (outside of true consoles), then the Pro is the streaming player for you.

Regardless of your level of gaming dedication, the upgrades don’t stop there either. The SHIELD TV Pro is also capable of running as a Plex Media Server, the standard SHIELD TV is not. With a Plex Media Server set up, you can watch more, stream more (including to other devices) and just generally do more.

The same can be said for those interested in expanding their smart home. Again, the SHIELD TV Pro is capable of working as a Samsung SmartThings Hub, the standard SHIELD TV is not.

Here’s the live TV streaming apps you can download on NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro:

  • AT&T TV NOW
  • fubo TV
  • Hulu with live TV
  • Philo
  • Sling TV
  • YouTube TV

Here’s some of the popular streaming services you can download on NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro:

  • CBS All Access
  • HBO
  • Hulu
  • Netflix
  • Pluto TV
  • Prime Video
  • Showtime
  • Starz
  • Tubi
  • Vudu
  • YouTube
Pros Cons
The most powerful streaming deviceExpensive
Advanced game-streaming Better-suited to advanced users
Plex Media ServerNo game pad included
Samsung SmartThings Hub
4K
Dolby Vision
AI-Enhanced upscaling
Wide app support
Regular updates

The NVIDIA SHIELD Pro costs $199.99.

Tip: SHIELD TV Pro is an advanced streaming player. If you don’t need those additional features then there’s no need to buy the more expensive SHIELD TV Pro.

Roku Smart Soundbar

The Roku Smart Soundbar is not your average streaming player. Technically, it’s not even a streaming player.

Roku streaming soundbar
Roku’s streaming soundbar

What it is, is a soundbar. However, it is a soundbar that comes with Roku OS built-in. In other words, it’s a soundbar that doubles as a streaming device.

The obvious benefit of this design is that you don’t need to find a place for the additional streaming player hardware. As long as you have the room for the soundbar, you’re good to go and ready to stream.

As this is Roku OS, you can expect a wide level of app support, as well as access to The Roku Channel.

The Roku Channel is a great addition as it lets you stream select TV shows and movies for free.

The other major benefit is that you get a massive increase in sound quality to match the streaming experience. As well as the option to stream music to the soundbar as well.

For reference, Roku is not the only platform that’s moved to soundbars as there are also Android TV and Fire TV Editions soundbars available as well.

The difference is the streaming player soundbars on the other platforms cost more than $200. In contrast, the Roku Smart Soundbar is priced at just $179.99.

For those in need of an extra bass boost, the company also sells a compatible wireless subwoofer separately – also priced at $179.99.

Here’s the live TV streaming apps you can download on NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro:

  • AT&T TV NOW
  • fubo TV
  • Hulu with live TV
  • Philo
  • Sling TV
  • YouTube TV

Here’s some of the popular streaming services you can download on NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro:

  • CBS All Access
  • HBO
  • Hulu
  • Netflix
  • Pluto TV
  • Prime Video
  • Showtime
  • Starz
  • Tubi
  • Vudu
  • YouTube
Pros Cons
Space-saving designExpensive
Better sound quality2-in-1 designs not always optimal
4KLesser specs than other devices
Roku OS
Works with Google Assistant
Works with Amazon Alexa
Bluetooth audio streaming

The Roku Smart Soundbar costs $179.99.

Last updated: May 3, 2020

Streaming Clarity Staff

By Streaming Clarity Staff

The Streaming Clarity team is headed up by John Finn, the founder of the site. Here to bring you all the information you need to see through the streaming fog.

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