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Best Streaming Players Under $50: May 2020

If you’re looking for a cheap device to start streaming with, here are the best options for under $50.

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Buying a new streaming player is one of the easiest ways to break away from cable but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot. For some streaming players you won’t even have to spend more than $50.

Streaming players open up a world of opportunities with apps now available from all of the major networks and streaming services including live TV streaming services.

Further adding to their appeal, these players are generally easy to set up. Yes, some will require a little more tweaking than others but most, if not all are largely plug and play ready.

Best of all, if you’re not looking to spend too much money (saving money is why you’re cutting the cord in the first place, right?), you don’t have to. There’s plenty of streaming players now available at affordable prices.

Here are the best streaming players under $50.

Best streaming players under $50 summary

If you’re already familiar with the products listed above and just want to know how much they cost or where to buy them, then here you go:

PlatformPrice
Amazon Fire TV Stick Fire TV$39.99
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4KFire TV$49.99
Roku Express Roku OS$24.99
Roku Premiere Roku OS$39.99
Roku Streaming Stick+ Roku OS$39.99

Here’s a closer look at the best streaming players under $50:

Amazon Fire TV Stick

The Fire TV Stick is an Amazon product. Not only does Amazon make the device, but it also comes running on Amazon’s own TV platform, Fire TV.

Amazon streaming Stick
Amazon’s basic TV stick

One of the benefits of the Fire TV Stick is how closely entwined it is with Amazon’s wider ecosystem. For example, if you’re a Prime member and looking to access Prime Video, then this is a great platform to do so.

The same is true with IMDb TV. This is a service that lets you watch TV shows and movies for free. As Amazon also owns IMDb TV, the streaming service is integrated nicely into the Fire TV experience.

If you often rent or buy digital movies through Amazon then you’ll find this one of the best TV operating systems for you. Not only can you continue to rent and buy digital content, but once you connect your Amazon account, all of your existing digital videos will be easily accessible.

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

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

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

  • Apple TV
  • CBS All Access
  • HBO
  • Netflix
  • Pluto TV
  • Prime Video
  • Showtime
  • Starz
  • Tubi
  • YouTube.
Pros Cons
Inexpensive No Vudu
Easy to use No 4K support
Prime Video Better options available
Alexa support
Wide app support

The Amazon Fire TV Stick currently costs $39.99.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

If you haven’t guessed already, the Fire TV Stick 4K is very similar to the previous listing. In fact, it is pretty much the same device in almost every respect.

Fire Stick
The Fire TV Stick but with 4K

For example, you get the same stick design that plugs into your TV’s HDMI port. The same features and apps. The same Amazon account linking and benefits. It is the same device.

What is different is the level of support for some of those features and benefits. The most notable is 4K.

This version of the Fire TV Stick is a 4K compatible device. This means as long as your TV is also compatible with 4K then using the Fire TV Stick 4K will allow you to stream all of the same content as the Fire TV Stick, but this time in 4K Ultra HD.

For those who want the best viewing experience possible then it is worth paying the extra for this version of the Fire TV Stick.

The increased support doesn’t just stop there either. This version of the Fire TV stick also supports Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, HDR and HDR10+.

What’s great is Amazon has not slapped a massive premium on the 4K support. While you’ll pay $40 for the non-4K version, the Fire TV Stick 4K is only $10 more, priced at $49.99.

Here’s the live TV streaming apps you can download on Fire TV 4K:

  • AT&T TV NOW
  • fubo TV
  • Hulu + live TV
  • Philo
  • PlayStation Vue
  • Sling TV
  • WatchTV
  • YouTube TV

Here’s some of the popular streaming services you can download on Fire TV 4K:

  • Apple TV
  • CBS All Access
  • HBO
  • Netflix
  • Pluto TV
  • Prime Video
  • Showtime
  • Starz
  • Tubi
  • YouTube.
Pros Cons
Easy to use Costs more
Prime Video No Vudu
Alexa support
Wide streaming app support
Dolby Atmos
Dolby Vision
HDR and HDR10+

The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K currently costs $49.99.

Roku Express

Roku first made its name through streaming players and so this is a brand you can trust. The cheapest entry-point to the Roku product lineup is the tiny Roku Express.

Roku streaming player
The tiny Roku Express

Roku’s TV ecosystem is now an extremely popular one. In no small part due to how easy it is to use. Roku players are very user friendly and the Roku Express is no exception.

First of all, you can download many of your favorite live TV and streaming service apps. In addition, Roku players also come with access to The Roku Channel.

This matters as the Roku Channel is a section of the interface that not only lets you rent or buy digital content, but also subscribe to premium channels. That’s all in addition to also providing you with a bunch of TV shows and movies you can watch for free.

For just $29.99, this is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to start streaming today.

Here’s the live TV streaming apps you can download on Roku Express:

  • AT&T TV
  • fubo TV
  • Hulu + live TV
  • Philo
  • PlayStation Vue
  • Sling TV
  • YouTube TV

Here’s some of the popular streaming services you can download on Roku Express?

  • Apple TV
  • CBS All Access
  • HBO (Now and Go)
  • Netflix
  • Pluto TV
  • Prime Video
  • Showtime
  • Starz
  • Tubi
  • Vudu
  • YouTube.
Pros Cons
Low price Better Roku options available
Easy to use No 4K
Wide app support No advanced features
Google Assistant compatible
Amazon Alexa compatible

The Roku Express typically costs just $29.99. However, it is currently on sale for $24.99 (ends May 9).

Roku Premiere

The difference between the Roku Express and the Roku Premiere is similar to the difference between the two Fire TV Sticks. Essentially, the Roku Premiere comes with 4K and HDR support.

Roku streaming box player
Roku Premiere with 4K

Therefore, if you want the best viewing experience for the money then this is going to be the better buy compared to the Express model.

Unlike the differences between the Fire TV Sticks, that’s basically where the difference here ends. You are simply paying more for the 4K support.

Tip: If you don’t need 4K playback, or don’t have a TV that supports 4K content, then there’s no point spending the additional money on this model.

Here’s the live TV streaming apps you can download on Roku Premiere:

  • AT&T TV
  • fubo TV
  • Hulu + live TV
  • Philo
  • PlayStation Vue
  • Sling TV
  • YouTube TV

Here’s some of the popular streaming services you can download on Roku Premiere:

  • Apple TV
  • CBS All Access
  • HBO (Now and Go)
  • Netflix
  • Pluto TV
  • Prime Video
  • Showtime
  • Starz
  • Tubi
  • Vudu
  • YouTube.
Pros Cons
4K Better Roku options available
Easy to use No advanced features
Wide app support
Google Assistant compatible
Amazon Alexa compatible

The Roku Premier retails for $39.99 in the U.S.

Roku Streaming Stick+

While we’ve drawn comparisons between the two earlier Roku players and the two Fire TV Sticks, the Roku Streaming Stick+ is actually the real Fire TV Stick equivalent.

Roku streaming stick
Roku Streaming Stick+

Both the Roku Express and Premier are set-top box type of devices. Granted, they are incredibly small, but they still require you to connect using a HDMI cable. The Roku Streaming Stick+ does not.

Just like other TV sticks, the Roku Streaming Stick+ plugs directly into the back of the TV making it a great option to keep hidden away.

In spite of its more hidden design, it brings with it all of the same benefits as the Express and Premiere. In fact, it actually comes with more.

Besides the design, one of the biggest differences between the Roku Express and Premiere compared to the Roku Streaming Stick+, is the remote control.

With the Express and Premier, Roku includes what it calls a “simple remote.” With the Roku Streaming Stick+, Roku includes a more premium remote.

This upgraded remote includes dedicated power and volume controls, as well as voice search support.

Here’s the live TV streaming apps you can download on Roku Streaming Stick+:

  • AT&T TV
  • fubo TV
  • Hulu + live TV
  • Philo
  • PlayStation Vue
  • Sling TV
  • YouTube TV

Here’s some of the popular streaming services you can download on Roku Streaming Stick+:

  • Apple TV
  • CBS All Access
  • HBO (Now and Go)
  • Netflix
  • Pluto TV
  • Prime Video
  • Showtime
  • Starz
  • Tubi
  • Vudu
  • YouTube.
Pros Cons
Advanced features More expensive
Improved remote
Easy to use
Wide streaming app support
Google Assistant compatible
Amazon Alexa compatible

The Roku Streaming Stick+ typically retails for $49.99 but is currently available to buy for $39.99 (ends May 9).

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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