Black Friday is one of the best times of the year to buy a new streaming device for your TV, with discounts available on Roku players, Amazon Fire TV devices, Chromecast, and more.

Still, not all of these deals are worth the money, especially if your current streaming device is in good working order. Let’s take a closer look:


Roku Ultra Jared Newman

Roku has a few device deals going on Black Friday, some better than others.

Most folks should avoid the Roku SE, a $20 streaming device that will be available only in Walmart brick-and-mortar stores. This device is nearly identical to the $30 Roku Express, with the same processing power and 1080p HD video support, but it has a white finish instead of black and different shortcut buttons.

For $29, the Roku Streaming Stick is a much better buy. The extra $9 gets you a superior remote control with built-in TV volume and power buttons, voice control, and “point anywhere” RF communication that doesn’t require line-of-sight to the player. The Streaming Stick also has better Wi-Fi performance and is more portable, plus you don’t have to fend off the crowds at Walmart buy it. This is an excellent standalone purchase or upgrade from older models that don’t have built-in TV controls.

If you have a 4K or 4K HDR television, the Roku Ultra is an even better deal at $50, which is $40 off the regular price. It’s currently the only Roku player that includes a USB port for local media playback, a microSD card slot, optical audio out, and a headphone jack on its remote. It also has a button that plays a sound on the remote so you can find it between the couch cushions, and it includes a set of JBL earbuds to boot. This is a great time to upgrade as Roku usually charges the same price for its Premiere 4K HDR player, which includes none of the Ultra’s bells and whistles and uses a slower 802.11n Wi-Fi connection. (Owners of Dolby Vision or HDR10+ TVs might want to hold off, however, as Roku’s players don’t support those HDR formats yet.)

Amazon Fire TV

firetvstick4khero Jared Newman / IDG

Amazon is discounting a few of its Fire TV streamers on Black Friday, and you should stay away from most of them.

The $25 Fire TV Stick, for instance, is much slower than the Fire TV Stick 4K, and its remote lacks volume and power buttons.

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