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Everything you need to stream 4K at home

Alvina Wang/BestReviews

Essential things you need to stream 4K at home

Streaming has taken the world by storm and is now how most people watch TV. 4K streaming offers a fantastic TV-watching experience and is becoming increasingly popular as the standard for watching sports and the latest movies.

However, if you're not tech-savvy, the terminology surrounding 4K streaming can be confusing. Nevertheless, setting yourself up to stream 4K at home is pretty straightforward, but there are a few things you'll need.

Shop this article: Samsung 50-Inch Class The Frame QLED 4K Smart TVSamsung 65-Inch Class Q60T QLED 4K UHD HDR Smart TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

What you need to know about 4K

What is 4K?

It refers to an ultra-high-definition resolution of 3480 x 2160 pixels. A 4K-resolution displays approximately four times the pixels as a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080, resulting in higher picture quality with more vivid colors and highly detailed visuals.

4K content

When first introduced, there wasn't much content available on 4K TVs to justify their expensive cost. However, now most streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video offer 4K streaming content. Streaming services are subscription-based, but you can take advantage of a free trial with each one to check out their library and see what catches your eye.

What devices do I need to stream 4K?

4K smart TV

A full HD TV won't cut it since they can only display a maximum resolution of 1080p, so you need a TV that supports a 4K UHD resolution. Nearly all 4K TVs have smart functions, which bodes well for those who want the most straightforward TV setup possible.

With a smart TV, all you need to do is hook it up to an internet connection and download and log in to any streaming apps where you have a subscription. However, it's important to note that some TVs have a limited selection of streaming apps.

4K streaming device

If you don't have a smart TV or prefer a separate device to use as a media source, you can use a laptop, tablet or phone to relay 4K content to your TV. You can also use a streaming set-top box, which usually has additional accessibility features.

High-speed internet wireless router

Streaming 4K requires a stable high-speed internet connection, so you'll need to contact your service provider to determine if your download speed is sufficient to support 4K streaming. The more bandwidth you have available, the more your devices can stream content without experiencing significant lag, so it's best to have a wireless router that covers the entire area of your home so that you always have a stable internet connection while streaming 4K.

Best 4K TVs

Top 4K TV

Samsung 50-Inch Class The Frame QLED 4K Smart TV

What you need to know: This smart Samsung TV delivers stunning visuals and has a sophisticated standby art mode.

What you'll love: This Samsung TV has a modern frame design and uses quantum dot technology to display millions of color shades without any washing-out at any brightness level. The stand is height-adjustable, and a One Connect Box is included for keeping external media devices out of sight.

What you should consider: It comes with 20 pre-installed art portraits, but downloading more requires a subscription.

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Top 4K TV for the money

Samsung 65-Inch Class Q60T QLED 4K UHD HDR Smart TV

What you need to know: This QLED TV is loaded with smart features and displays excellent clarity with vibrant colors.

What you'll love: It uses dual-LED backlighting technology so you can adjust the color tone to your liking, and an intuitive game mode enhances image quality and reduces stuttering. It also has a high-dynamic range feature that enhances images and produces deeper blacks.

What you should consider: Some users complained about the menu freezing from time to time.

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Best 4K streaming devices

Top 4K streaming device

Roku Ultra

What you need to know: The Roku Ultra delivers on all fronts as a top streaming device offering access to tons of apps and a user-friendly interface.

What you'll love: This Roku device is powerful for its compact size and offers both wired and wireless internet connectivity. It supports Dolby Atmos sound, and the voice remote can power your TV on or off and control volume.

What you should consider: Some users complained about not being able to connect Bluetooth headphones.

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Top 4K streaming device for the money

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

What you need to know: This Amazon streaming device is compact and nearly twice as fast as the original Fire TV Stick 4K.

What you'll love: It supports HDR, HDR10+ and Dolby Atmos and is compatible with devices that support Wi-Fi 6. It comes with an Alexa-enabled remote and offers access to popular streaming services and even some free live TV apps.

What you should consider: It doesn't support hands-free Alexa voice control.

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Best wireless router

Top wireless router

Netgear 4-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Router

What you need to know: This router supports blazing fast internet speeds and offers impressive area coverage.

What you'll love: It has four ethernet ports for fast, wired connections and supports Wi-Fi 6 for smooth HD gaming, video calling and 4K streaming. Also, it's compatible with any internet service provider.

What you should consider: It doesn't have any USB ports, and some users find the mobile app clunky.

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Top wireless router for the money

TP-Link AC1750 Wi-Fi Router

What you need to know: This router is excellent for most households and moderate 4K streaming.

What you'll love: It has dual-band technology and a Smart Connect switch for seamlessly changing between bands. It supports download speeds up to 1,750 Mbps and has a USB port for sharing local USB drive files on your network.

What you should consider: It doesn't have rubber grips on the bottom, so it slides around easily on smooth surfaces.

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Kevin Luna writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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