The battle for the living room didn't slow down in 2019. We saw new streaming services come — and others that decided to show themselves the door. We've got new TVs that are more affordable than ever while creeping ever close to the best you can buy. And we've got some old accessories that still capture our attention as we look to close out the decade.
It's a good time to be a fan of home entertainment. And it's a good time to look back at the best the year had to offer. The best streaming services. The best hardware to watch what it is you want to watch. And the best of the rest that you need to have.
This is the best of the best of 2019.
Best Streaming Service
Still giving you the most choice.
There's no single best streaming service for everybody. It doesn't exist. But what Sling TV gives you is the closest you can get to true a la carte TV, whereby you're only paying for the channels you want to watch. There are still plans from which to choose, and add-ons to add on. But you have as much choice as anywhere else, and the add-ons have a fairly narrow focus, so you don't pay too much for channels you want ever watch.
Best Value streaming service
Most channels at the lowest price.
Phil keeps this title for the second year in a row. It's a tad more expensive than it was at this point in 2018, having increased all the way to $20 a month for some 58 channels. It might not have everything you want — but it'll have a lot of it for a price you most certainly can live with.
Best streaming box
Apple's 4K-enabled set-top box is powerful and is our top streaming box.
Apple didn't refresh the Apple TV 4K in 2019 — and frankly it didn't really need to. It's still the best, most consistent experience you can get as a streamer, with support for both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. And while the hardware didn't change this year, the software got a good refresh. This is box that should last you a long time to come.
Best over-the-air streaming box
Free over-the-air television and DVR as easily as possible.
This isn't cheap. But if you just have to record your over-the-air TV and want to do so in a way that doesn't require a huge box and will drive you mad with lag, this is the one to get. It's just a shame the software isn't more sophisticated.
Best Universal Remote
The best universal remote for most people.
Logitech hasn't made too many strides in the remote control department, but this one remains Old Faithful, with the perfect mix of buttons you'll need, features you'll use and the smarts to make it all work together without requiring a PhD to set it up.
Best TV of 2019
You just can't beat an OLED TV
There are a ton of great TVs available today — and at prices that don't require a second mortgage to attain. But you still can't beat the LG E9 OLED. If you just have to have the best picture you can possibly have in your living room, this is the one to get.
- Runners up
- TCL 8-Series
Best Affordable TV of 2019
The best TV you can buy right now on a budget.
This TV has it all. It's got 4K resolution. It supports Dolby Vision. It was Roku built in, so you don't need anything else to start streaming. And the new QLED panel is better than ever.
- Runners up
- Vizio P-Series
Best Alternative Display of 2019
10 inches of brilliance
If you want a TV to tuck away in, say, the kitchen or somewhere else, take a look here. It supports Chromecast feeds and has native support for YouTube TV and Sling TV, plus it plays back all the music you can muster, handles Google Duo video calls, and has the full might of Google Assistant.
- Amazon Echo Show 8
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