A Roku streaming device.

Binge-watching TV shows has become an all-American pastime, this year more than ever. Streaming devices are ideal for marathon watchers, as well as cord-cutters, cord-shavers (those cutting back on pay-TV service), and even the new crop of cord-nevers who have never paid for an old-fashioned TV package.

Right now, we’re seeing some very good Cyber Monday deals on streaming players, especially Amazon Fire TV and Roku models. The best offers are listed below. So far, we haven’t discovered any special pricing on Apple TVs, which start at $149, or the new Google Chromecast with Google TV, which is selling for about $50. We’ll add new offers as we find them.

Using a device such as an Amazon Fire TV, an Apple TV, or a Roku streaming player, along with subscription or pay-per-view services such as Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix, you can watch newly released and classic films, seasons of past and current TV shows, and programs and networks you used to have to subscribe to cable to get.

Many of us already own a streaming device because most televisions sold over the past few years provide smart TV features that let you access streaming services right from the set itself. Most Blu-ray players and game consoles now offer the feature, too.

If you have an older set, a streaming media player is a simple, relatively inexpensive way to make your TV smart. And even if your TV is internet-capable, you may still want to use a dedicated streaming player, for convenience or because it offers better performance, newer features, or access to services unavailable on your smart TV.

Go to Consumer Reports’ Holiday Gift Guide for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more.

Amazon Fire TV Streaming Devices

Amazon Fire TV Cube

    The 4K-ready Fire TV Cube is essentially a mashup of two popular Alexa-powered devices—the Fire TV streaming player and the Echo Dot smart speaker. It adds universal remote-control capability to the mix. The updated model has a more powerful processor, a faster response time, and Dolby Vision HDR. (All players support HDR10, and some additionally support Dolby Vision, HDR10+, or HLG.) Unique among streaming players is the device’s ability to control a host of other compatible A/V gear, including TVs, sound bars, receivers, and even some cable and satellite boxes. And right now the Fire TV Cube is selling for $40 less than usual, so this might be the best deal of the bunch.


    CR’s test results: Amazon Fire TV Cube

    Amazon Fire TV Stick

      We haven’t tested the updated Fire TV Stick, but it has a faster processor than its predecessor, according to Amazon, plus support for both HDR and Dolby Atmos 3D audio, despite being limited to HD (1080p, not 4K) video. (Formats include HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG.) The player also comes with an updated voice-enabled remote control; in addition to working with Amazon’s Alexa voice-powered digital assistant, it includes power, volume, and mute buttons that let you control a compatible TV, sound bar, or receiver.

      Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

        Yes, the 4K version of Amazon’s Fire TV Stick costs just $2 more than the HD version during this Black Friday sale. And it offers a nice array of content and features, including voice control and support for Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10+, for the price. Bonuses include the ability to control it from Alexa-enabled devices such as the Echo or Dot and the included remote, which can be used to control power and volume on many TVs and sound bar speakers.


        CR’s test results: Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

        Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite

          This model was introduced in the fall, so we haven’t tested it yet. Like the pricier Fire TV Stick, it’s limited to HD resolution (as opposed to 4K), but it lacks Dolby Atmos audio and the remote with the TV controls included with the Fire TV Stick remote. It, too, supports HDR.

          Roku Streaming Devices

          Roku SE

            This model, which is limited to HD resolution, is a Walmart exclusive, and about as inexpensive a player as you’ll find. Offered in a white finish, the Roku SE offers Roku’s wide selection of content and even comes with a high-speed HDMI cable. The device has been in and out of stock for the past few days, so if you miss out on the deal, be sure to circle back. 

            Roku Premiere

              The Roku Premiere is a good option for those looking for a fairly basic, low-cost 4K streaming player that supports HDR (HDR10). It comes with a simple remote, but as with other Roku models, you can download the free Roku app to add voice commands for searching, and enjoy privately listening to audio from streaming channels and live TV via headphones connected to your phone.

              Roku Streaming Stick+

                This 4K stick-style player is at the lowest price we’ve seen. Features include a wireless receiver with improved range and an enhanced voice remote that lets you use voice commands for search and other functions; it can also control your TV.


                CR’s test results: Roku Streaming Stick+

                Roku Ultra LT

                  During Walmart's Cyber Monday sale, you can shave $20 off this model, basically a slightly stripped-down version of the Roku Ultra that's made exclusively for Walmart. We didn't test this model but expect that it will perform similarly to the Ultra. The main differences are that it lacks support for Dolby Vision HDR, doesn't have a USB input for playing back personal music files and photos, and an HDMI cable isn't included. But it does have a voice remote, comes with headphones ror private listening, and will work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

                  Roku Ultra

                    The Roku Ultra—the company’s top-of-the-line 4K streaming media device—has been redesigned, with new features including built-in Bluetooth for streaming music from mobile devices and support for both Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos 3D sound. It has an improved WiFi range, so the player can be placed farther from your router, too. An HDMI cable is included. And right now it’s $30 less than usual, making it one of the better Black Friday deals for those looking for a top-performing model.

                    Roku Streambar

                      The Roku Streambar combines built-in Roku 4K HDR streaming with a compact sound bar speaker that can be added to any TV. The sound bar has built-in Bluetooth for streaming from a mobile device, and it can be paired with optional Roku wireless speakers and a Roku wireless subwoofer to create a true surround-sound system. It comes with both an HDMI and a digital optical cable.


                      CR’s test results: Roku Streambar