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Best Streaming Players Under $50: Updated September 2022

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Updated: September 23rd, 2022 at 04:07 pm

Buying a new streaming player is one of the easiest ways to break free from cable, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot. For some players, you won’t even have to spend more than $50 to gain access to all your favorite apps and benefit from all the perks of streaming.

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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 enough to set up. Yes, some will require a little more tweaking than others, but most largely just require the user to plug them in and create an account.

Best of all, if you’re not looking to spend too much money, you don’t have to. Even though many of the streaming players under $100 will come with more features and improvements, there are plenty of great streaming players to choose from priced at $50 or less.

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Best streaming players under $50: summary

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

PlayerRetail PriceCheck Current Price
Fire TV Stick Lite$29.99Amazon
Roku Express$29.99Roku, Amazon
Chromecast with Google TV HD$29.99Google Store
Roku Express 4K+$39.99Roku, Amazon
Fire TV Stick 4K$49.99Amazon
Chromecast with Google TV 4K$49.99Google Store
Roku Streaming Stick+$49.99Roku, Amazon

Fire TV Stick Lite

Fire TV Stick lite
Amazon’s basic TV stick

The Fire TV Stick Lite is now the cheapest way to pick up a player that runs on Amazon’s Fire TV operating system, making it a good option for anyone specifically interested in maximizing Prime Video.

ProsCons
Low priceQuality limited to HD
Small physical footprintBasic remote
Fire TVNo premium features
Prime VideoBetter options available
Alexa voice remote

One of the benefits of the Fire TV Stick is how tightly integrated it is with Amazon’s wider ecosystem. For example, if you’re a Prime member and looking to stream Prime Video, then this is a great platform to do so. Fire TV products are also a great option for accessing Freevee, a service that offers the option to watch TV shows and movies for free. As Amazon also owns Freevee, the free streaming service is nicely integrated into the Fire TV experience.

Live TV streaming apps available on Fire TV Stick Lite:

  • DirecTV Stream
  • fuboTV
  • Hulu Live TV
  • Philo
  • Sling TV
  • Vidgo
  • YouTube TV

Popular streaming services available on Fire TV Stick Lite:

Apple TVNetflixStarz
Discovery PlusParamount PlusTubi
Disney PlusPluto TVYouTube
HBO MaxPrime Video
HuluShowtime

The Fire TV Stick Lite is available to buy from Amazon.

Roku Express

Roku Express
The tiny Roku Express

Roku first made its name through streaming players and so this is a brand that knows what it is doing. The Roku Express is a prime example of this experience, as it comes with a good range of features and supports, and at a low price.

ProsCons
Cheap playerBetter Roku options available
Easy to useLimited to 1080p
Wide app supportSimple remote

The Roku Express is not designed to be the best device on the market and is more suited to those looking for an affordable streaming player. As a result, picture quality is limited to 1080p and Roku only includes a simple remote in the box. Still, it is a highly useful streaming player for under $30.

Live TV streaming apps available on Roku Express:

  • DirecTV Stream
  • fuboTV
  • Hulu Live TV
  • Philo
  • Sling TV
  • Vidgo

Popular streaming services available on Roku Express 4K+:

Apple TVNetflixShowtime
Discovery PlusParamount PlusStarz
Disney PlusPeacockTubi
HBO MaxPluto TVYouTube
HuluPrime Video

The Roku Express is available to buy from Roku and Amazon.

Chromecast with Google TV HD

Chromecast with Google TV
A different kind of Chromecast

The Chromecast with Google TV HD is one of the newer devices to come through and marks quite the departure from the original Chromecast models. To begin with, the new model comes with its own interface and remote control, removing the need to be paired with another device, such as a smartphone.

ProsCons
Cheap deviceRemote is small
Voice RemoteLimited to HD
Intelligent interfaceOnly one color
Compact design

As the device runs on Google TV (formerly Android TV), it comes with support for a wide variety of apps available through the Google Play Store. However, this is considered an entry-level product and that does mean there are some compromises. For example, picture quality is limited to 1080p.

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Live TV streaming apps available on Chromecast with Google TV HD:

  • fuboTV
  • Hulu Live TV
  • Philo
  • Sling TV
  • Vidgo
  • YouTube TV

Popular streaming services available on Chromecast with Google TV HD:

Apple TVNetflixShowtime
Discovery PlusParamount PlusStarz
Disney PlusPeacockTubi
HBO MaxPluto TVYouTube
HuluPrime Video

The Chromecast with Google TV HD is available to buy from the Google Store.

Roku Express 4K+

Roku Express 4K+
The tiny Roku Express

Roku’s Express 4K+ is actually an upgraded version of the original Roku Express. If on a budget then the original $29.99 Roku Express might be worth considering. However, the upgrades that come with the Roku Express 4K+ make it a much better buy.

ProsCons
Good priceBetter Roku options available
Easy to useCheaper Express available
Wide app support
Google Assistant/Alexa compatible
4K and HDR support

Firstly, the Express 4K+ comes with 4K and HDR support for an improved viewing experience. In addition, the processor inside has also been upgraded so it should run and perform even better and smoother. Completing the upgrades, the Express 4K+ also comes with a Roku Voice remote (with TV controls) as well.

Live TV streaming apps available on Roku Express 4K+:

  • DirecTV Stream
  • fuboTV
  • Hulu Live TV
  • Philo
  • Sling TV
  • Vidgo

Popular streaming services available on Roku Express 4K+:

Apple TVNetflixShowtime
Discovery PlusParamount PlusStarz
Disney PlusPeacockTubi
HBO MaxPluto TVYouTube
HuluPrime Video

The Roku Express 4K+ is available to buy from Roku and Amazon.

Fire TV Stick 4K

Fire Stick
The Fire TV Stick but with 4K

The Fire TV Stick 4K is not actually a new device, considering it was released in 2018, and Amazon has since released a Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen). However, the newer third-generation Fire TV Stick does not support 4K, while this one does. If 4K playback matters, then this device is going to be the better option overall. If not, then it might be better to go with the even cheaper Fire TV Stick Lite over the Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen).

ProsCons
4KCheaper options available
Prime VideoOlder model
Alexa Voice RemoteOlder remote
Dolby Atmos/VisionOlder processor
HDR/ HDR10+

In spite of its age, the Fire TV Stick 4K uses the same design that plugs into a TV’s HDMI port. Likewise, the same features, apps, and Amazon account linking are all on offer. Where it does suffer when compared to the Fire TV Stick (3rd Gen) is with the older processor and the older second-generation remote. However, opting for the newer processor and remote will come at the expense of 4K and Dolby Atmos support.

Live TV streaming apps available on Fire TV Stick 4K:

  • DirecTV Stream
  • fuboTV
  • Hulu Live TV
  • Philo
  • Sling TV
  • Vidgo
  • YouTube TV

Popular streaming services available on Fire TV Stick 4K:

Apple TVNetflixStarz
Discovery PlusParamount PlusTubi
Disney PlusPluto TVYouTube
HBO MaxPrime Video
HuluShowtime

The Fire TV Stick 4K is available to buy from Amazon.

Chromecast With Google TV (4K)

Chromecast with Google TV (4K) - Sky
Chromecast with Google TV (4K) in Sky color

Similar to competing brands like Amazon and Roku, Google now offers more than one streaming player for buyers to choose from. While the Chromecast with Google TV 4K is actually an older model than the HD version, some of its features might suit buyers a little more.

ProsCons
More powerful ChromecastBarely under $50
Voice RemoteRemote is small
Intelligent interfaceOlder model
4K HDR
Compact design

Similar to the other Chromecast on this list, this version comes running on Google TV. However, what makes this one different is that it does also feature both 4K HDR and Dolby Vision support. For those wanting the very best picture quality and experience, the most expensive Chromecast with Google TV (4K) is going to be the best option. The 4K version is also available in additional colors compared to the HD version which is only available in Snow (white). For the price, consumers are getting a very capable device, and one that can be easily hidden away from view.

Live TV streaming apps available on Chromecast with Google TV 4K:

  • fuboTV
  • Hulu Live TV
  • Philo
  • Sling TV
  • Vidgo
  • YouTube TV

Popular streaming services available on Chromecast with Google TV 4K:

Apple TVNetflixShowtime
Discovery PlusParamount PlusStarz
Disney PlusPeacockTubi
HBO MaxPluto TVYouTube
HuluPrime Video

The Chromecast with Google TV 4K is available to buy from the Google Store.

Roku Streaming Stick+

Roku Streaming Stick+
Roku Streaming Stick+

The Streaming Stick+ is much older than the Express 4K+, but the two devices are remarkable similar overall. Due to this, choosing between the two will come down to personal preference and the design.

ProsCons
Long-range wirelessBetter Roku options available
Easy to use$10 more than Express 4K+
Wide app support
Google Assistant/Alexa compatible
4K and HDR support

Both the Roku Express 4K+ and Streaming Stick+ are compact streaming players. However, a fundamental difference is in the design. Just like other stick-based devices, the Roku Streaming Stick+ plugs directly into the back of the TV, making it a great option to hide away.

In spite of its more hidden design, it brings with it all of the same benefits as the Express 4K+, including an upgraded remote with dedicated power and volume controls, and voice support. In fact, one notable difference is the Streaming Stick+ does come with better wireless support, which may make it a more suitable option for some households.

Live TV streaming apps available on Roku Streaming Stick+:

  • DirecTV Stream
  • fuboTV
  • Hulu Live TV
  • Philo
  • Sling TV
  • Vidgo

Popular streaming services available on Roku Streaming Stick+:

Apple TVNetflixShowtime
Discovery PlusParamount PlusStarz
Disney PlusPeacockTubi
HBO MaxPluto TVYouTube
HuluPrime Video

The Roku Streaming Stick+ is available to buy from Roku and Amazon.

Last updated: September, 2022

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John Finn

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingbetter.com or on Twitter

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