Consumer Reports: Best video streaming devices

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Consumer Reports just finished testing several of the most popular options for streaming media. (WLS)

In time for the holidays, the biggest names in streaming media are showing off a new generation of players. To find which is best for your house, we turn to Consumer Reports. Experts there just finished testing several of the most popular options.

The new version of Apple TV makes it easier to control the box and search for content.

You can search easily for an actor, movie or TV show. The remote has a touchpad, plus an accelerometer and gyroscope for gaming. The new box starts at $149.

"Apple TV is a good choice for those who already live in Apple's world, who have content stored in iTunes, for example. And it's really easy to set up if you have an iOS device. But it is missing some streaming services, such as Amazon," said Jim Willcox, Consumer Reports.

Another option is the new $100 Amazon Fire TV. Consumer Reports says it's great for Prime members since the interface is built around Prime content. The new box also supports 4K video and now has voice control.

"Amazon's Fire TV is one of the fastest boxes that we've tested. That means that videos and apps will load in no time at all," Willcox said.

Consumer Reports' highest-rated player is the $130 Roku 4.

"With this new model, Roku took everything we liked about the Roku 3 and added 4K capability. Plus, like other Roku models, it has the most streaming services of any of the devices we've tested," Willcox said.

If you're looking for a less expensive option, Consumer Reports recommends the completely redesigned Google Chromecast for $35.

"It caught up to other players thanks to a Wi-Fi upgrade, which could mean less interference and better streaming. But it's not quite a robust all-around player as some of the other models that we've tested," Willcox said.

Chromecast has no operating system, so you have to use your phone, tablet or laptop to control it.

Another option is the Amazon Fire stick. For $40, you get many of the features of the Fire TV but without the speed.

All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2015. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not for profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org
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