If you are planning to get rid of cable TV and still watch the shows and movies you love, you need two things: A subscription to a quality online streaming service, and a reliable internet connection. And in order to have solid internet speeds to stream in HD without buffering issues, it’s best to have a high-quality internet router. But what is the best router for streaming – and how do you find it?
Keep in mind that streaming is a bandwidth hog, meaning that it uses a lot of your router’s internet bandwidth in order to buffer. Because of this, you’ll want to stick with a quality router that can handle the speed requirements of modern streaming services. Particularly if you plan to stream in 4k, choosing a good router for 4k streaming is very important. We’ve put together the list below to help you find the best router for streaming Netflix (and other services) to your TV.
The Best Router for Streaming TV
Finding the best router for streaming your favorite shows in movies should not be difficult – particularly if you shop off of the list below. We’ve done the research and testing needed to identify the best router for streaming Netflix to TV, as well as other streaming services. Keep reading to see our top picks!
Best Router for Streaming: NETGEAR Nighthawk X10
Maximum Throughput (speed): 7.2 Gbps
Range: Very wide (up to 2,500 square feet)
Price Point: $$$$ (see current pricing on Amazon)
Best For: The NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 is the best router for 4K streaming, and one of the best routers overall. It’s ideal for people who want the best of the best, and don’t mind paying a premium for it.
The NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 is a high-end wireless router that is ideal for streaming, gaming, using smart home devices, and everything else. It’s our top pick overall, because it offers very high speeds, a massive 2,500 square foot range, and some of the best performance stats out of any router we tested.
This router is loaded with advanced features, including 4 amplified antennas, Beamforming+, 1.7GHz quad-core processor, MU-MIMO, Amazon Alexa Voice Controls, and more. It’s capable of handling even the most bandwidth-heavy households, and the manufacturer recommends its use for up to 45 devices at once. This means the X10 has more than enough juice to handle 4K streaming, gaming, web browsing and use of smart-home devices, all at the same time!
Best Budget-Friendly Streaming Router: TP-Link AC1750
Maximum Throughput (speed): 1.75 Gbps
Price Point: $ (see current pricing on Amazon)
Best For: The TP-Link AC1750 is the best wireless router for streaming for those on a budget. It lacks some of the features and speeds of high-end routers, but it’s available at a fraction of the price, and still works quite well.
If you’re shopping on a budget, the TP-Link AC1750 is an excellent choice. While it lacks some of the features of high end models, it provides consistently solid performance at a budget-friendly price. As you can see from streaming router reviews, this model consistently scores quite high with consumers.
This router is ideal for smaller households, with only a handful of devices connected to the internet at once. We also wouldn’t recommend it for streaming 4k content – but other than that, this is a great all-around choice for those looking for an affordable router.
Best Router for 4k Streaming: Linksys Max Stream
Maximum Throughput (speed): 5.3 Gbps
Range: Very wide (up to 3,000 square feet)
Price Point: $$$ (see current pricing on Amazon)
Best For: The Linksys Max Stream is best for households who like to stream 4K content frequently. This router is specifically designed to handle the needs of internet streaming.
The Linksys Max Stream is our recommendation for those looking for a 4k streaming router. This model is specifically designed for online streaming, so it packs a punch when it comes to watching your favorite videos. It offers speeds of up to 5.3 Gbps, and a very impressive range of up to 3,000 square feet (which also makes it the best router for large households).
The Max Stream features tri-band technology, MU MIMO, and bandwidth capable of handling 25+ devices at once. Its wide range and high bandwidth capability make this a good choice for larger households, and for anyone who enjoys streaming 4k content.
How Routers Work & Why It Matters
How do routers work, anyways – and why does it make a difference in internet speeds? If you’re looking for the best wireless router for streaming, it’s useful to understand how these devices work – and why it’s important to choose a high quality, high speed model.
Essentially, routers connect all the devices in your network together, and to the internet. Packets of data from all the devices connected to your home network (computers, tablets, smartphones, streaming devices, even smart home devices) will send their data packets through your router, and the router is responsible for communicating that data to the internet.
This concept works in reverse, as well. Data from the internet (from the sites you browse or the movies you stream), passes through your router before making its way to your devices. Because of this, your router can act as a choke-point between the internet and your devices. If you purchase a cheap router for streaming, you may find that you have buffering issues, or content won’t load in 4k or even in HD. On the other hand, if you have a high quality router, data will pass seamlessly back and forth from your router to your devices, improving speeds and streaming quality.
This is why it’s so important to choose a good router for streaming TV. A low-quality router can significantly slow your internet speeds, even if you have really good high-speed internet. Be sure to choose one of the best routers for online streaming from our list above for best results!
I know this isn’t the simplest topic, so I’m here to help. If you have any questions at all, just leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer them!