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Roku vs Fire Stick: which streaming video devices are better?

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Roku vs Fire TV Stick is the most important battle in video streaming devices. Chromecast and Apple TV are both in the fray, but the real winners for cord-cutters will be Roku’s budget boxes or Amazon’s cheap sticks.

However, most people have difficulty choosing the right one because they all look so similar.

You can’t go wrong either. Amazon Fire TV Sticks such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick 2020 or Amazon Fire TV Stick Light offer affordable streaming options. Roku’s new streamers provide amazing 4K resolution.

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Below we’ll discuss the differences. However, if there is one thing you can take away from this article, it should be that Amazon Fire TVs are great for Amazon Prime subscribers, Amazon Echo owners, and Roku is better for people who intend to stream 4K HDR content, and subscribe to at least a dozen other services.

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How can you choose the right streaming video player for you? We are here to help you understand the differences and highlight the advantages and disadvantages of each platform. This is your guide to Streaming Hardware 101.

 

What are the key differences between them?

Amazon Fire TV is not just about its streaming video service, but also the Alexa voice assistant. Roku can access Amazon Video as well, but Amazon’s streaming service is the main focus of Amazon’s streaming hardware. This is great for Amazon Prime subscribers, but not great for those who don’t want Amazon’s subscription service.

However, Alexa is a great feature for streaming video players. The interface is almost identical to a smart speaker except that Alexa can also call up videos for you. Fire TV users will love Alexa’s ability to keep track of shopping lists and manage their calendars.

You can choose between Amazon Fire TV devices by asking yourself whether you prefer 1080p streaming, or 4K streaming. If you choose the first, the Amazon Fire TV Stick or Fire TV Stick Light is the best choice. Those who are interested in the second should look at the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, and the Amazon Fire TV Cube.

Pictured: Amazon Fire TV Cube (Image Credit to Amazon)

Roku’s key selling point is its platform-independence – i.e. Roku doesn’t care what streaming service you use, and almost all of them are available on its hardware. It also has an ad-supported streaming service called The Roku Channel which is available straight out of the box. This is great news for cord-cutters and people who need more options when searching for something to watch.

It has a better search function, which scans more subscription service for content. Additionally, it has a built in feature that tracks when movies and shows are added to streaming services. This is a great feature if you’re looking for something new to watch but don’t want each one to be checked individually.

You have the Roku Ultra at the top, Roku Premiere, and Roku Express. The Roku streaming stick+ does 4K/HDR streaming but has Dolby Vision, unlike the Roku Ultra.

Amazon and Roku are not great at playing games. You’ll need an Nvidia Shield, or Apple TV. However, both can access Kodi side-loading.

Which is the easiest to use?

Although ease-of-use can be subjective, some things will come easily to us and not to you. However, Roku seems to be the easiest of both the platforms. The home menu opens and you can view all your apps. Additionally, the app store is immediately visible. Although the interface is simple, it’s still very easy.

It’s not that Amazon Fire TV’s interface was difficult to use. In fact, it places a greater emphasis upon Amazon Prime content. Finding other content can be a challenge if you don’t have the right knowledge. If you’re able to find apps for Netflix and PlayStation Vue and Sling TV, it can be a lot easier to just turn the TV on and get into something. You can also download other apps like Amazon Fire TV VPNs.

It is worth noting that every member of the Amazon Fire TV or Roku family comes with a remote, rather than Chromecast Ultra and Chromecast Chromecast. The traditional control scheme makes it easier for non-techies to use and pick up. Plus, the microphone provides a convenient way to search for what you are looking for. While we’ll be covering more, it’s worth noting that they are both simpler than other streaming options.

Image credit: Roku

Which has more content?

It’s impossible to determine which streaming service has more content unless we count every video on both these platforms. However, we can get a rough idea of which streaming services are available on each platform and how much content they have.

Both platforms have access the major services Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. Sling TV, HBO Go/Now, Hulu and Sling TV are all available on both platforms. However, Roku has only access to The Roku Channel which is a free, ad-supported streaming platform. It is worth noting that Roku has the most channels of any platform. However, Roku’s definition of a channel is a customized app with videos that you can find on YouTube. Roku and Amazon both have a complete playlist of old Western films.

It is easier to find content on Roku that on Amazon Fire TV. Roku’s search scans thousands of streaming services and lists them according to price. The cheapest option is the one you pay upfront. This is a fantastic system that can save you money over the long-term. It’s important to note that Amazon also has a comprehensive search function, however, it focuses more on Amazon Video results.

Image credit: Roku

Which is the cheapest?

The cheapest Roku TV player is comparable to the cheapest Amazon Fire TV Player. Both can be purchased for $29 (PS25). Both of these HD streaming devices are excellent and will please those who still own an HD TV.

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