Best wired TV streamer to save your home’s Wi-Fi bandwidth

If you're like most people over the past 18 months, you've probably been streaming more TV shows and movies than ever before. Services such as YouTube, Netflix and Disney Plus have countless hours of entertainment on tap, but your home network's internet connection might also be struggling with all of that streaming -- especially if kids are distance learning and grown-ups are video conferencing at the same time.

If your home network is having issues you could try disconnecting your streaming device from Wi-Fi: Using Ethernet instead, via a Cat 5 network cable, frees up your wireless for other devices such as laptops and tablets. Ethernet is also more stable and usually faster than Wi-Fi and doesn't have issues with walls, interference or distance (well, not in a house).

Most of the best media streamers are Wi-Fi-only, although some work with a cheap adapter. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Read more: Best Wi-Fi extender for almost everybody The bad news is that you'll need to run wires from your router to your TV for streaming, but if you're stuck at home it makes a good weekend project, and Ethernet cable is cheap.

During high-use times you might be OK running a temporary wire that you can remove later. There's a catch, however. While many game consoles and smart TVs have built-in Ethernet ports, most of the best media streamers are Wi-Fi-only, although some work with a cheap adapter.

Here's a list of the best wired streaming device options that either have built-in Ethernet ports or work with Ethernet adapters. Note that all of the products below also work via Wi-Fi. Read more: How to improve TV streaming quality on Netflix, Amazon Prime and more