HBO Max lets you watch everything on HBO, plus exclusive shows and brand-new Warner Bros. movies – here’s how to sign up

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  • HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s on-demand streaming service, costs $15 a month.
  • It’s the same price as HBO’s cable network, but includes a bigger library of movies and shows.
  • Warner Bros. will also debut all of its 2021 movies on HBO Max the same day they launch in theaters.

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HBO Max is a streaming service that blends HBO’s library of prestige original series with a huge catalog of blockbuster movies and TV shows provided by WarnerMedia. HBO Max launched in May 2020 for $15 a month.

Most people who subscribe to HBO through cable can claim their own free HBO Max subscription using their provider. In January, parent company AT&T said the service had already reached 40 million subscribers in the US, surpassing a goal it didn’t expect to reach for two more years.

HBO Max features way more content than HBO’s cable offerings, including brand-new theatrical releases from Warner Bros. Older titles and network shows, like “Friends” and “Rick and Morty,” are also available. Subscribers can watch new exclusive movies and series as well, including the sci-fi show “Raised by Wolves.”

With its large collection of programs, and a growing slate of original titles, HBO Max is one of our best reviewed streaming services.

Where can I sign up for HBO Max?

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HBO Max launched on May 27, 2020.

You can sign up for HBO Max right now through In addition to the HBO Max website, you can also sign up for an HBO Max subscription directly through select partner services, including AT&T, DirecTV, AT&T U-Verse, Spectrum, Hulu, YouTube TV, Apple TV, and Google Play.

If you currently pay for HBO in your cable package, you likely already have access to HBO Max as part of your subscription. Depending on your provider, you may be able to sign directly into the HBO Max app, or you’ll be prompted to create an account. You can view a full list of qualifying HBO Max providers here.

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How much does HBO Max cost?

HBO Max costs $15 a month, the same price as regular HBO and three dollars less than a premium Netflix subscription. For that price, you get ad-free access to all of the platform’s content.

As mentioned above, most people who already subscribe to HBO are eligible to receive HBO Max at no extra cost to their current subscription fee.

Though HBO Max initially offered a free trial period through its site, that promotion is no longer available. If you sign up for HBO Max as an add-on through Hulu, however, new members can still receive a one-week trial.

The differences between HBO Max, HBO Go, and HBO Now

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HBO Max is an on-demand streaming platform combining HBO’s iconic original programming with an even larger library of movies and shows from WarnerMedia. The service is essentially a replacement for HBO’s older streaming options: HBO Go and HBO Now.

HBO Go was a streaming companion app for HBO cable subscribers, while HBO Now was a standalone streaming option with access to HBO without cable. On July 31, HBO discontinued the HBO Go app. On that same day, HBO rebranded HBO Now to just “HBO.”

Most people who were using the HBO Go or HBO Now app can now simply use their same account information to sign into HBO Max instead. You can see if your HBO subscription qualifies for HBO Max here.

HBO (formerly HBO Now) will continue to include streaming access to the same library of content that HBO cable subscribers can watch. This includes HBO original programming and the channel’s rotating selection of movies.

HBO Max, however, builds upon this content selection by incorporating more original titles and hundreds of additional TV shows and movies from WarnerMedia. HBO Max also allows you to download and store your favorite shows on your devices to watch while you’re offline.

For the time being, HBO and HBO Max each cost $15 a month. Since HBO Max offers a larger streaming library than HBO, it’s clearly the better choice.

Where can I watch HBO Max?

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HBO Max can be streamed via its official website and the HBO Max app. You can find the app on Apple, Android, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, and Samsung smart TVs.

Those who sign up for HBO Max directly though a partnered service, like Hulu or Apple TV, will be able to access regular HBO content through the partner service’s app. To watch HBO Max exclusives, however, you still need to use the separate HBO Max app.

Is HBO Max on Roku and Fire TV?

Though HBO Max was initially missing from Fire TV, Roku, and PlayStation devices when it launched in May 2020, the service is now available to download on all of those platforms.

Currently, LG’s smart TVs are the only major connected-devices that are missing native support for the HBO Max app.

What shows and movies are on HBO Max?

Raised by Wolves HBO Max

HBO Max features all of HBO’s original shows, from “The Wire” and “The Sopranos” to “Westworld and “Game of Thrones.” The library also includes the cable channel’s rotating lineup of movies. On top of all that, HBO Max offers additional titles from WarnerMedia’s catalog, as well as new exclusives.

Most notably, HBO Max has become the streaming destination for brand-new movies from Warner Bros. the same day they’re released in theaters. “Godzilla vs. Kong” is the latest movie to premiere on HBO Max and theaters at the same time. New films will remain on HBO Max for 31 days. After that time, they will play exclusively in theaters until their official home video release.

HBO Max also features a handful of new original series, including the sci-fi show “Raised by Wolves,” the comedy series “Love Life” starring Anna Kendrick, and a new “Looney Tunes” show featuring Bugs Bunny and company.

Beyond original programs, the HBO Max catalog offers a wide range of TV series from DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Rooster Teeth, and Looney Tunes. The HBO Max movie catalog incorporates critically acclaimed films from the Criterion Collection and Studio Ghibli, alongside hundreds of blockbuster WarnerMedia movies. The service currently hosts 1,300 films.

For additional streaming coverage, be sure to read our guides for the best streaming services and the best streaming sticks and devices.

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You need an Apple Watch to sign up for Apple Fitness Plus, but not for every workout – here’s why

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The Apple Watch and Apple Fitness Plus work together to track your exercise activity.

  • You need an Apple Watch Series 3 or later to subscribe to Apple Fitness Plus.
  • After subscribing, you don’t need to use the Apple Watch for every workout, but it’ll help save your performance metrics.
  • To workout with an Apple Watch, just tap “Work Out Without Watch” when starting a workout.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Apple Fitness Plus is Apple’s subscription exercise service, similar to the model pioneered by Peloton for its elliptical and indoor bikes. You pay a monthly or annual fee for access to a selection of workout classes coached by a human trainer.

The classes include treadmill, cycling, rowing, yoga, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and more. They’re pre-recorded, but new ones are added weekly.

Just like Peloton, though, you’ll need some equipment before you can start an Apple Fitness class. The Fitness app can be accessed on an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV – but to sign up for an account, you need to have an Apple Watch.

You need an Apple Watch to sign up for Apple Fitness Plus

To sign up for Apple Fitness Plus, you need an Apple Watch Series 3 or newer – you can’t sign up without owning a Watch. In addition to the Watch, you need to own an Apple device like an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV.

This is because the service intends for users to track their heart rate, burned calories, and daily performance using the Watch. This lets you see how you’re improving over time, and have quick access to your health metrics.

But while the Watch is required to make an account, it’s not required to perform a workout.

Once you’ve got the right devices, you can sign up for Apple Fitness Plus easily.

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What devices work with Apple Fitness Plus? Here’s what’s compatible with Apple’s workout app

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Having exercise equipment gives you more options, but you don’t need it for every Apple Fitness Plus workout.

  • Several devices work with Apple Fitness Plus, but you need an Apple Watch Series 3 or later.
  • Apple Fitness Plus can be used on an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV – soon, it’ll also be on AirPlay 2 compatible TVs.
  • Aside from the Apple devices, many Fitness Plus workouts will require at least a mat and dumbbells.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Apple Fitness Plus, Apple’s subscription exercise program, integrates pre-recorded workouts in a wide range of categories with your Apple Watch and iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. Apple Fitness Plus costs $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year, and there is an option for a free trial when you sign up.

The app allows you to choose workouts like high-intensity interval training (HIIT), yoga, strength, treadmill, cycling, rowing, and more. Here’s how to make sure you have everything you need to get started with Apple Fitness Plus.

Devices that work with Apple Fitness Plus

You need an Apple Watch Series 3 or later, plus an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV to follow Fitness Plus exercises. Any of these devices must be running OS version 14.3 or higher.

Exercise equipment you might need

Apple Fitness Plus offers a lot of workout options, many of which don’t require any equipment other than your body. Some workouts have unique equipment requirements, though.

The good news is that you can use any generic equipment to do the workout – Fitness Plus doesn’t require you to have a particular brand or model of workout equipment. You can also do these workouts at home or at a gym.

Each workout indicates what equipment you need at the top of the screen, under the introductory image. If there’s no equipment listed, you won’t need any gear (except, of course, for the obvious treadmill if you’ve chosen a treadmill workout, for example).

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You can see what equipment you need at the top of each workout page.

However, if you want to explore a wide range of Fitness Plus exercises, you may want access to at least some of this equipment.

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‘Minari’ is one of the top nominees at this year’s Oscars – here’s how to watch the movie at home while it’s still in theaters

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“Minari” is directed by Lee Isaac Chung

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In February, “Minari” took home the award for best foreign language film at the 2021 Golden Globes. And now, the film has a chance to grab even more honors at the 2021 Academy Awards on April 25. The movie is up for a total of six Oscars.

“Minari” is a drama following a Korean-American family’s move to Arkansas in the 1980s. It touches on many topics related to the “American Dream” and the obstacles that immigrants face in this country. The film features “The Walking Dead” star Steven Yeun, and is inspired by director Lee Isaac Chung’s life growing up in America.

“Minari” is nominated for best picture, best directing (Chung), best actor in a leading role (Yeun), best actress in a supporting role (Youn Yuh-jung), best original screenplay, and best original score at the 2021 Academy Awards.

Critics and audiences are giving the film widespread acclaim, leading to a 98% “Certified Fresh” rating and a 91% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Insider critic Jacob Sarkisian gave the film an “A+” rating in his full review and called it “a perfect movie that will move you with every scene.”

If you want to see the film before the Oscars air on April 25, you can watch it now in theaters or through video-on-demand (VOD) streaming services.

How to watch ‘Minari’

“Minari” became available to stream through VOD platforms on February 26. The film also remains in a number of theaters if you’d prefer to see it on the big screen.

The movie is available to rent through Vudu, Prime Video, Redbox, Fandango Now, Google Play, Apple TV, and the Microsoft Store.

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All of these options feature a digital rental price of $20, although rental times vary. Typically, most platforms will let you watch a movie during a 30-day period and give you 48 hours to watch it once you start it up. The movie is available in 4K Ultra HD with HDR, high definition (HD), and standard definition (SD) through select services.

You should check with the platform first to confirm its rental period limits and to see if it offers high-quality viewing options. Digital rental services are available on a variety of media devices and smart TVs. You can find more information about how to rent movies online here.

How to watch other Oscar-nominated films

In addition to “Minari,” you can stream several other movies nominated for best picture at the 2021 Academy Awards.

“Sound of Metal” starring Riz Ahmed is available on Prime Video. The streaming service alone costs $9 a month, although it can be paired with Amazon Prime for $13 a month or $119 a year.

Meanwhile, “Promising Young Woman” starring Carey Mulligan is available via a number of video-on-demand platforms, like Vudu and FandangoNow. “The Father” will also be available to purchase through VOD services starting March 26.

Nomadland,” which is up for six Oscars, is streaming right now on Hulu. There are several ways you can watch Hulu, but our recommendation is to take advantage of the $13 a month bundle that includes ESPN+ and Disney Plus. The bundle will also give you access to other Oscar-nominated films, like “Onward” and “Soul” on Disney Plus.

Finally, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and “Mank” are both available exclusively on Netflix. You can subscribe to Netflix for as low as $9 a month.

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How to sign up for Apple Fitness Plus in 3 ways, and what you’ll need to subscribe

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Apple Fitness Plus makes it easy to exercise from the comfort of your home.

  • You can sign up for Apple Fitness Plus through an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV.
  • To use Apple Fitness Plus, you’ll need to have an Apple Watch Series 3 or later, along with another Apple device.
  • Apple Fitness Plus offers new users one month free before moving on to a monthly or yearly subscription.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Since Apple Fitness Plus launched in December 2020, users around the world have taken advantage of its personalized workouts that cover everything from HIIT and strength training to cycling and rowing. There are currently over 300 workouts to choose from, and more are being added on a regular basis.

By linking up with your Apple Watch, Apple Fitness Plus not only encourages users to stay active but gives you real time metrics – like heart rate, calories burned, and workout duration – so you can track your progress over time.

If you want to begin an at-home fitness regimen, Apple Fitness Plus could be a convenient and cost-effective option. Here’s how to sign up, and what to know before taking the plunge.

How much Apple Fitness Plus costs

Apple Fitness Plus costs $9.99 for a month, or $79.99 for a year. Better yet, users with Family Sharing enabled can share their membership with up to five family members at no additional cost.

Apple Fitness Plus is also available as part of Apple One, a service which provides subscriptions to Fitness Plus, News Plus, Apple TV Plus, Apple Arcade, and Apple Music for $29.95 per month.

Requirements for Apple Fitness Plus

Using Apple Fitness Plus requires users to have an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, as well as an Apple Watch Series 3 or later. You can complete workouts on Apple Fitness Plus without your Apple Watch on hand, but you must have one to sign up.

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‘Promising Young Woman’ is nominated for 5 Academy Awards – here’s how to watch the thriller at home

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Carey Mulligan in “Promising Young Woman.”

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Promising Young Woman” is now streaming through a variety of digital services. The thriller is the directorial debut of Emerald Fennell, whose previous writing credits include several episodes of “Killing Eve.”

The film tells the story of Cassandra Thomas (Carey Mulligan), a young woman who seizes the opportunity to take revenge on a group of men responsible for a traumatic event in her past. Fennell’s smart script and direction infuse the thriller with elements of dark comedy. The movie also stars comedian Bo Burnham as Mulligan’s love interest, along with Laverne Cox (“Orange is the New Black”), Clancy Brown (“Highlander”), and Alison Brie (“GLOW”).

The film received five 2021 Oscar nominations, including best picture, best directing (Fennell), best actress in a leading role (Mulligan), best original screenplay, and best film editing. “Promising Young Woman” was also nominated – but lost – in four categories at this year’s Golden Globes. Fennell was among two other female filmmakers nominated for best director. It was the most nominations for female directors in the show’s history.

The movie has received positive reviews from critics, and currently holds a 90% “Certified Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. If you want to see what has critics and audiences talking, you can now watch the film at home.

How to watch ‘Promising Young Woman’

Promising Young Woman” premiered on streaming services on January 15. The movie is currently only available to buy, but a rental option will return on March 16.

You can buy “Promising Young Woman” for $20 on a number of video-on-demand (VOD) platforms, including Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, FandangoNow, RedBox, Apple TV, Google Play, and Microsoft.

The movie is available in a number of formats, including 4K Ultra HD with HDR, high definition (HD), or standard definition (SD). Once the rental option is added back, most platforms will allow you to rent the film for a 30-day period but, after you start the movie, you only have 48 hours to watch it.

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Digital rental services are available on a variety of media devices and smart TVs. You can find more information about how to rent movies online here.

For people who prefer DVD and Blu-ray releases, “Promising Young Woman” will be available to buy on disc starting March 16. You can preorder the Blu-ray for $25 on Amazon, which is just $5 more than the cost to buy the streaming copy.

What other Oscar-nominated films can I watch?

Aside from “Promising Young Woman,” a number of other Oscar-nominated movies are available to watch at home through VOD providers and streaming services. This includes best picture nominees “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and “Mank,” which are both available exclusively on Netflix.

Nomadland,” another nominee for best picture, follows a woman leaving her small town behind to travel across America in search of a new life. It was released on Hulu on February 19, the same day the movie premiered in theaters.

There are several ways you can watch Hulu, but our recommendation is to take advantage of the $13 per month bundle that includes ESPN+ and Disney Plus. The bundle will also give you access to other Oscar-nominated films, like “Onward” and “Soul” on Disney Plus.

Meanwhile, if you want to watch the music-centric film “Sound of Metal,” another nominee for best picture, you can stream it exclusively through Prime Video. The streaming service alone costs $9 a month, but it can be paired with Amazon Prime for $13 a month or $119 a year.

Other best picture nominees “The Father” and “Minari” are – or will soon be – available through VOD platforms. “Minari,” a drama following a Korean American family’s new life in the US, is currently available to rent for $20 via platforms like Vudu and Prime Video. “The Father,” on the other hand, will be available to purchase starting March 26.

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How to connect your iPhone to a TV using AirPlay, screen mirroring, or a simple cable

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It’s easy to connect your iPhone to your TV in a few different ways.

  • You can connect your iPhone to a TV using an AV cable, AirPlay, or screen mirroring.
  • To AirPlay or screen mirror your iPhone, you also need to have an Apple TV or AirPlay 2-compatible smart TV.
  • With AirPlay, you can stream content directly from video apps like Hulu and HBO Max.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

No matter what your reason, it’s easy to connect your iPhone to a TV or computer monitor. Photos and videos display at full resolution – much better than the limited resolution of your iPhone – so connecting an iPhone to a larger screen can be a viable substitute for a smart TV.

There are three ways to connect your iPhone to a television or monitor: via an AV cable, using your iPhone’s built-in screen mirroring feature, or using AirPlay from directly within third-party apps like Hulu.

The process is essentially identical to connecting your iPad to a TV, and in fact, you can use the same adapter or Apple TV for both your iPhone and iPad.

Here’s how to do it.

TV HD (small)43UN7000PUB Smart TV (small)55-inch OLED C9 Series (small)Lightning to VGA Adapter (small)Lightning Digital AV Adapter (small)How to AirPlay content to your Apple TV and mirror your phone or computer to a TV screenHow to use AirPlay on a Roku player to stream content from an Apple deviceHow to mirror your iPhone’s screen onto a TV using a Chromecast or a Chromecast TVHow to mirror your iPad’s screen onto a Roku, to watch videos and view pictures on a TV screen

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The 6 best media streaming sticks and devices in 2021

  • A streaming device can transform your TV into a smart display with access to popular services.
  • Our top pick is the Roku Ultra thanks to its large library of apps, 4K support, and smooth navigation.

The world is changing. Gone are the days when a cable subscription was required to watch all the latest TV series. These days, you can find plenty of quality shows on streaming platforms. Of course, the best way to watch these services is on a TV, and there are plenty of devices out there to help you stream your favorites on the display of your choice. Before buying a specific player, however, you’ll want to consider a few things.

First, it’s important to ensure that the streaming device you pick includes support for the apps you use the most. The most popular services, like Netflix and Disney Plus, are supported on virtually all streaming players, but some services are missing from certain devices.

Next up, you’ll want to keep in mind the specs of your TV. Not all streaming sticks and boxes are able to handle 4K resolution or HDR playback, so if you have a 4K TV, you’ll want to get one that can stream 4K videos; the reverse is also true, as a non-4K TV won’t be able to take advantage of 4K playback.

Last but not least, it might be worth considering the ecosystem you’re most plugged into. For example, Android users might be able to get more use from an Android TV or Google TV device, while those using an iPhone or Mac might prefer the Apple TV.

Through research and testing we’ve picked the best streaming sticks and boxes you can buy to turn your dumb TV into a smart one.

Note: All of the below products require access to the internet over Wi-Fi or Ethernet in order to stream content.

Here are the best streaming boxes and sticks:

The best streaming box overall

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The Roku Ultra streams in 4K and HDR, has voice search, and comes with a remote control that has programmable shortcut buttons.

Pros: 4K HDR streaming, Dolby Vision and Bluetooth, voice remote, lots of apps, improved Wi-Fi connection, Ethernet, USB port

Cons: Doesn’t support HDR10+, a bit pricey

The Roku Ultra has virtually everything a buyer could want out of streaming box. It supports 4K video at 60 frames per second and HDR playback. If you have a 4K TV, this model will help you get the most out of your display.

The Roku OS features a huge library of streaming channels with access to all of the major services, including Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, Peacock, Amazon Prime, Apple TV Plus, Paramount Plus, and HBO Max. Just connect the box to your TV via the HDMI port, and install all your favorite streaming services to get started.

As mentioned, the Roku Ultra supports HDR, which means that it’ll show richer colors and better contrast when playing back HDR-enabled videos on a compatible TV. The lastest Roku Ultra model also adds support for the advanced Dolby Vision format, which should improve HDR quality even more on Dolby Vision displays. 

Of course, to take advantage of 4K content, you’ll need a decent internet connection. The device can connect to your internet through Ethernet or over Wi-Fi, so choose the method that’s fastest and most convenient.

The Ultra also comes with a voice remote so you can adjust the volume and search for content with your voice. If you’re watching at night, you can plug in a set of headphones to the remote to not disturb others — a pair of earbuds are included. 

Bluetooth support is included as well for streaming music to the player, and the Roku Ultra even supports AirPlay 2 and HomeKit for easy connectivity to Apple devices. 

The Roku Ultra is the most versatile and reliable media player in this price range, and we like that it’s the most universal of the products. There are cheaper alternatives with less advanced features, but we think this model is the best choice for most people with a 4K TV.  

The best budget streaming box

Roku Express

The Roku Express is one of the most affordable streaming boxes you can buy, and it offers a great interface with basic HD playback.

Pros: Cheap, compact design, easy-to-use, built-in OS

Cons: No 4K or HDR, no voice remote

For buyers who want a simple and inexpensive streaming solution, the Roku Express is the perfect fit. This model is about as basic as they come, but for the money, you’re still getting a capable HD streaming box with a built-in user interface and remote.

Perhaps the best thing about the Roku Express is how easy it is to use. The new compact design makes it one of the smallest standalone streaming boxes there is, and the package comes complete with an HDMI cable for simple setup. The interface is well-designed and extremely easy to navigate with access to all the major services you could want.

Of course, there are downsides to the Roku Express. Unlike the Roku Ultra, which is our overall favorite, this model lacks a voice remote, and it’s missing a USB port for playing external video files or Bluetooth for music streaming from a smartphone. The Roku Express also does not offer 4K streaming or HDR, so we recommend this model for people who have a TV that doesn’t include those features.

For buyers who do need 4K on a budget, though, there’s a very similar Roku model, the Roku Premiere, that might be a better fit for you. The Roku Premiere is a lot like the Roku Express, but it adds support for 4K, HDR, and AirPlay for a bit more money.

That said, the Premiere is sometimes on sale for the same price as the Express. When the Premiere is discounted, it’s actually the better value of the two. If there are no deals, however, and all you need is basic HD streaming, there’s little reason to pay extra for a model more powerful than the Roku Express.

The best high-end streaming box


The Apple TV 4K is an ideal streaming player for enthusiasts who want easy integration with the rest of Apple’s products.

Pros: Well-designed interface, 4K and HDR with Dolby Vision support, can serve as a HomeKit hub

Cons: A little pricey

If you’re looking for a device to better integrate with your iTunes account, iPhone, and other Apple devices, then you’ll want to look into getting an Apple TV. The Apple TV 4K boasts a number of great features, and as the name suggests, this version streams in 4K and HDR, which is great for those of you who have 4K TVs and want the best home theater playback.

As you would expect from an Apple product, it’s well-designed and will look right at home amongst your other entertainment devices. On the back, you’ll get a power input, HDMI port, and an Ethernet port. That way, you can have a more stable internet connection for streaming 4K video.

One of the best things about the Apple TV 4K is Apple’s tvOS operating system, which is super easy to use, especially with the included Siri Remote. As mentioned, it can stream in 4K and has HDR support for improved contrast and colors. Like the Roku Ultra, the Apple TV 4K also offers Dolby Vision for better HDR performance on select services and TVs. 

And with Siri, you can use your voice to search for content. Plus, you can access music, podcasts, games, and hundreds of apps, or cast or mirror content from an iOS or macOS device using AirPlay wireless technology. In addition, the Apple TV 4K can even serve as a HomeKit hub for Apple’s smart home ecosystem.

The Siri Remote connects to the Apple TV via Bluetooth, so no line of sight is required. While the remote is elegant and the touch-capability makes navigation easier, it’s so slim that it can be easy to lose or slip out of your hand. An alternative is to use the Apple TV Remote app on an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, which handles the same functions but makes things like typing much simpler.

On the downside, the Apple TV is notably more expensive than some other streaming options from Roku and Amazon. Most people who aren’t invested in the Apple ecosystem will be more than happy with the less expensive Roku Ultra instead.

We don’t think you can go wrong with either — the deciding factor comes down to budget and the ecosystem — but the money spent on an Apple TV is well worth it.

The best streaming device for Google users

Chromecast with Google TV Lifestyle

Unlike older models, the new Chromecast with Google TV can play apps right from the device, rather than having to rely on casting from a separate smartphone.

Pros: 4K HDR with Dolby Vision and HDR10+, Google Assistant voice remote, built-in interface and casting capabilities

Cons: Some apps are currently missing 4K HDR playback, minor glitches, no Apple TV app

Google’s newest Chromecast model offers a sizable step forward in performance and usability over older versions. Though our previous pick in this category, the Chromecast Ultra, needed a separate phone, tablet, or computer to stream apps from, the Chromecast with Google TV actually features its own built-in interface with an extensive library of services. 

You can still cast apps from a mobile device if you’d like, but the on-screen selection makes it much more convenient to find your favorite shows and movies right on your TV screen. This makes the Chromecast a more worthy competitor to similar compact streaming players, like the Fire TV Stick 4K.

Powered by the new Google TV platform, the Chromecast offers access to a huge collection of apps,. In fact, the only major app currently missing is Apple TV. 4K HDR, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and Dolby Atmos playback are supported for select services as well.

On the downside, a few key movie apps, like Vudu, FandangoNow, and Movies Anywhere, are currently limited to HD and SDR. This is especially disappointing since these apps do offer 4K HDR playback on other streaming devices, like the Roku Ultra. It’s possible that these apps will receive updates for 4K in the future. 

From a design perspective, the new Chromecast features a similar puck-shaped form factor as older models, complete with a dongle connection that hangs from your TV’s HDMI port. Unlike older models, however, the latest version now includes a handy voice remote with integrated Google Assistant support. 

We encountered a few isolated glitches while testing the new Chromecast, but the device offers impressive value, especially for buyers already invested in Google’s ecosystem.    

The best Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K streams video in 4K straight to your TV.

Pros: 4K streaming, Alexa voice control, affordable, compact, support for HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision

Cons: Missing a few notable apps like Vudu, FandangoNow, Google Play, and Peacock

Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K comes with 4K and HDR playback capabilities, including support for the more advanced HDR10+ and Dolby Vision formats. Like other streaming stick, this slim dongle plugs right into the HDMI port on the back of your TV. It also comes with an Alexa voice remote for easy access to play, pause, stop, volume up/down, and more.

Fire TV 4K works with Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Prime Video, YouTube, Hulu, and many other video streaming apps. Since it’s part of Amazon’s ecosystem, Fire TV is also compatible with Alexa voice controls on other Amazon products, like an Echo Dot. You can tell Alexa to play “Game of Thrones” without lifting a finger.

The streaming stick has a fast processor and 802.11ac Wi-Fi to ensure smooth streaming on your TV. So long as your Wi-Fi is good, you shouldn’t have a problem.

It’s also very affordable for a 4K streaming stick and includes extensive HDR format support for its price. In fact, it’s one of the only players on the market with HDR10+ capabilities, which will improve color and contrast on Prime Video when watching HDR videos through an HDR10+ TV. 

If you’re buying the device for features like Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, however, you might be disappointed by Prime Video’s surprisingly limited support for those formats. A few key apps are also currently missing, including Peacock, Vudu, Google Play, and FandangoNow. If that’s a deal-breaker, you’ll have to grab a Roku, Apple TV, or Android TV player instead.

The best streaming player for gamers

Nvidia Shield TV

The Nvidia Shield TV doesn’t just run Google’s Android TV, it also supports 4K streaming and can even pair with a controller for gaming.

Pros: 4K support, Dolby Vision capabilities, support for a separate gaming controller, Android TV operating system, powerful processor

Cons: Expensive

If you’re more plugged into the Android ecosystem, you might want something that comes preloaded with Google’s Android TV. If so, there are few better devices than the Nvidia Shield TV. Though pricier than other players, the latest model is the ultimate streaming device for buyers who want beefy specs. 

Like our top pick, this media streamer supports 4K HDR with Dolby Vision for even better performance on Dolby Vision TVs. Google Assistant voice control is integrated as well.

The Shield TV is also the best streaming box for gamers. In addition to the included standard remote control, you can add a separate gaming controller for playing games from the Google Play Store or through GeForce Now cloud gaming. 

When it comes to raw specs, the Shield TV incorporates 2GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. The device is powered by the NVIDIA Tegra X1+, which is one of the most powerful processors used in any streaming device. This extra muscle even allows the device to take advantage of advanced upscaling technology, which can make HD videos look better on 4K TVs. 

Unlike most streaming players, the Shield TV features a unique cylindrical design which takes the form of a compact tube that is meant to be placed behind a display. This style won’t be for everyone, but it makes it easy to hide the device out of sight.

For buyers who want even more power, there’s also a Shield TV Pro model to consider. This more expensive version features a more traditional rectangular shape and upgraded specs with 3GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and two USB 3.0 ports.

The standard Shield TV, however, is still plenty powerful, and is a better overall value for people who want an Android TV streaming player that’s capable of gaming.

Check out our other related buying guides


The best streaming services you can sign up for online

After you cut the cord and purchase a streaming player, you’ll have to decide which services you’d like to subscribe to. Popular platforms include Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV, Hulu TV, HBO Max, and more. Each service offers its own selection of content and features can vary between them. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up the best streaming services to help you choose which is best for your needs.

The best music streaming services you can subscribe to

Movies and shows aren’t the only things you can stream online via a media player. Music services are also very popular, offering on-demand access to all your favorite tracks. Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon Music Unlimited, and YouTube Music are all great options for different needs. With that in mind, we’ve detailed which music services are right for different buyers.

The best cheap TVs

TV performance and smart connectivity can differ a lot between models, especially when you’re shopping on a budget. After testing and researching several TVs, we’ve picked the best affordable models you can buy.

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‘Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry’ focuses on the pop star’s rise to fame – here’s how to watch the documentary on Apple TV Plus

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Billie Eilish
  • “The World’s a Little Blurry” is a new documentary that examines the life of pop star Billie Eilish.
  • You can stream the movie with an Apple TV Plus subscription starting February 26.
  • To celebrate the release, a live event will stream for free via Apple TV and YouTube on February 25.

TV Plus Monthly Subscription (small)

Before she rose to stardom, Billie Eilish began her career by releasing songs with her brother on the internet. Just a few short years later, she’s become one of the music industry’s biggest stars, and even took home the 2020 Grammy Award for Best New Artist. 

The World’s a Little Blurry,” a new documentary airing on Apple TV Plus, will cover the musician’s path to becoming a pop star. Fans will get a look at Eilish’s family life and her preparation for her debut LP “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”

Leading up to the movie’s premiere on Friday, fans can catch a live streaming event hosted by DJ Zane Lowe on February 25, complete with a performance and interview with Eilish. Here’s how you can tune in to learn more about the life and career of Billie Eilish.

How to watch ‘Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry’

“Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry” will debut on Apple TV Plus on February 26. Prior to the premiere, a live performance and interview will be streamed at 9 p.m. ET on February 25. You can watch the live event for free on Apple TV, Billie Eilish’s YouTube channel, and Apple Music. All of the streaming services offer free versions of their respective apps for iOS, Android, and smart devices.

After the live event wraps up, the documentary will become available to Apple TV Plus subscribers to watch on demand.

How to sign up for Apple TV Plus

Apple TV Plus costs $5 a month, and new members can receive a free seven-day trial. The Apple TV Plus app is available on Apple devices, most smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV devices, Roku devices, Chromecast, Xbox, and Playstation. 

If you have recently bought a new iPhone or Macbook, or plan to buy a new Apple device, Apple is giving away one year of Apple TV Plus for free with qualified purchases. Aside from the new Billie Eilish documentary, Apple TV Plus features a growing selection of original programs, such as “The Morning Show,” “Central Park,” and “Beastie Boys Story.” 

Students can save even more on Apple TV Plus if they sign up for an account with Apple Music. If you go to a college or university, you’re able to score the music streaming service for $5 per month. In addition to Apple Music, Apple will toss in access to Apple TV Plus for free.

TV Plus Monthly Subscription (small)

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How to AirPlay content to your Apple TV and mirror your phone or computer to a TV screen

laptop and TV child watching tv
If you have an Apple TV, you can AirPlay from any Apple device.

  • You can AirPlay to an Apple TV by connecting your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to the same Wi-Fi network as your Apple TV and clicking the AirPlay icon.
  • When you AirPlay to your Apple TV from a Mac, it’ll mirror your computer’s screen exactly.
  • On a device like an iPad or an iPhone, you can mirror your entire screen, or a specific video app like YouTube.
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

AirPlay is a useful tool that allows you to project content from an Apple device to your Apple TV. If you use AirPlay on a Mac computer, your computer’s screen will replace your Apple TV’s screen. Everything you look at on your computer will appear on your TV, allowing you to watch video content or even simply use a bigger screen for a video conferences, presentations, or other apps.

You can also use AirPlay from an iPad or iPhone. On these devices, you can use AirPlay directly from an app that supports the feature, such as Photos, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and others. You’ll know if AirPlay is supported in the app if you see the AirPlay icon in the corner of the video screen on your device. If AirPlay isn’t an available option on the app, you can mirror your iPhone’s screen to your Apple TV instead.

Before you start, you have to make sure your iPhone, iPad, or Mac are on the same Wi-Fi network as your Apple TV. If they’re not, your Apple TV won’t be able to find your other devices.

How to AirPlay to Apple TV from a Mac computer

1. Click on the AirPlay icon in the right corner of the toolbar at the top of your computer screen. It looks like a rectangle with a triangle at the bottom.

The AirPlay icon is the square with the triangle pointing into it.

2. Scroll down to locate your Apple TV. Your Mac should see any devices it can AirPlay to, including your Apple TV. Click on “Apple TV.”

Scroll down to your Apple TV.

3. Your computer’s screen will now appear on your television and anything you do or view on your homescreen will appear on the TV.

Your TV should now mirror your computer screen.

How to AirPlay to Apple TV from an app on your iPhone or iPad

1. Open the app with the content you want to AirPlay to your Apple TV.

2. Find the content you want to AirPlay.

3. While it’s playing, tap on the video. If it can AirPlay to your Apple TV, you will see the AirPlay icon in the top right corner of the content. If this is the first time, you should get an authentication prompt asking you to input a code that will show up on your Apple TV.

If you can AirPlay it to your Apple TV, you will see the AirPlay icon in the upper right corner of the content you want to cast.

4. Tap on the AirPlay icon. It will give you the option to AirPlay to your Apple TV.

When you tap the AirPlay icon, you will see what devices you can AirPlay to, including your Apple TV.

5. Your content will now be streaming on your Apple TV.

How to airplay your iPhone or iPad’s entire screen to an Apple TV

1. Make sure your iPhone or iPad is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Apple TV. 

2. Go to the Control Center on your device. If you have an iPhone X or later, or an iPad with iPadOS or later, swipe down from the upper right corner of your screen to open Control Center. If you have an iPhone 8 or earlier or an iPad with iOS 11 or earlier, swipe up from the bottom of your screen to open Control Center.

3. Tap “Screen Mirroring” from the Control Center, beside the icon of two overlapping rectangles. 

4. Choose your Apple TV from the list of available options. An AirPlay passcode may appear on your TV screen – if it does, enter the code in the pop-up on your iPhone or iPad screen.

5. Your entire screen should now be mirrored. To play video from a specific app, simply start playing the video in the app on your device and it should appear full-screen on the Apple TV.

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

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