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Roku vs Chromecast - best streaming media players

Roku vs Chromecast – Which is Superior in 2021

Interested to find out if Roku vs Chromecast services are worth it, we did a comparison of the 2 devices and their services

When it comes to streaming services we have a variety of products that we can opt for. Various products may be attractive to you and you might end up getting overwhelmed on which to go for. Cable companies have been operational for a very long time.

However, over the period we have had some hindrances experienced all along due to their pricing which keeps going up while the services provide end up being little or poor. Over time there has been an increase in the streaming channels available to choose from.

The most common and effective ones include Amazon, Roku, Google, and Apple. Going for the best among these can be overwhelming but you should have some reasons and factors to consider. These need some research and pure comparison and referrals based on the experience of the people that have been using them. In this article, I am pitching Roku Vs Chromecast.


This is a brand of hardware digitalized media player that is a product of an American company Known as Roku Inc. Roku offers access to streaming content from a variety of online services. This is possible when users connect the streaming devices either to their TVs directly or even through an HDMI cable that can be controlled using the remote.

The users are then able to choose the channel they want from various channels that come in thousands on the Roku Channel Store. They can access them by simply downloading, logging in and they can watch. The Roku service is now increasingly being used as it is accessible directly on Roku technology-powered smart TVs.

Check out the Roku review here

Pros of using Roku

  • Roku provides a variety of shows from various streaming services. Thus one can be able to access a wide range of content comfortably.
  • Roku is very much affordable. You can get it at a premium or even go for free streaming. This means you can replace some of your subscriptions with Roku as well as get tips on how to save money with Roku on its website
  • It is fast and their response is very fast
  • The user interface is simple to use and easy to follow
  • It provides high-quality videos at all times thus you may be able to get the best quality all the time.

Cons of Roku 

  • Access to the variety of streaming services may be also a limiting factor due to the overwhelming number of streaming services available as they may seem excessive.
  • Due to the out update feature when on Wi-Fi, it may come with bugs that may render your subscription unable until it is resolved fully.
  • It may not be compatible with some TVs.This is because some may not have HDMI ports


Google launched Chromecast in 2013. However, it lacked streaming devices as compared to other streaming devices. It acted as a conduit that allowed the user to cast their contents to a TV. This was advantageous as it did not depend on apps to do the streaming. The device has been revolutionized recently and it comes with pre-installed apps such a Prime Video, Netflix, and YouTube. These features make Chromecast act more like its competitors.

This is a device that is plugged into your TV HDMI Port that is powered by a USB cable. It comes with Dolby Vision that is capable of handling HDR10+ video in 4K up to 60fps. They have high-quality pictures and enable video playback. This enables you to use your smartphone or even your computer as remote control hence you can access video content from various streaming sites that include Netflix, Hulu, and Google play store among others. You can also be able to stream various contents from chrome on the laptop or even desktop. It is worth noting that the tech giant Chromecast has been able to beat the odds and join the likes of Roku, Fire TV, and other Android-powered boxes.

Pros of chromecast overview

  • It comes at a cheaper price compared to other streaming device service providers
  • It is easy to configure and easy to understand and use.
  • It has an option of installing additional apps such as Netflix and Stan app to enjoy a wider variety of content. You only watch what you subscribe, thus there is no lock-in contract
  • It can be controlled using an Android or iOS portable device that is available on the same Wi-Fi

Cons overview

  • Chromecast is very slow and the boot time is equally sluggish
  • Its HDMI dongle is not a PVR hence cannot record shows on it
  • Chromecast drags on download limit

Sometimes it can be annoying when using it. You may want to change the channel on to remember that your remote control is in the other room.

Which is the best for Streaming?

Being robust with a variety of selection of apps to stream and its ease to use, Roku has been able to claim the best position overall. This is because of its easy to use and the variety of functions it can be able to perform as compared to the Chromecast. It has been able to be upgraded hence getting additional features that are best suited for iOS and Mac users to be able to cast their videos and photos.

These can be from computers and phones. It is also known to support 4K HDR and its performance is top-notch. However, with all these advantages, it is still far behind as the quality; of the voice is low s compared to Chromecast.

Chromecast’s popularity has been on the rise recently even with the stiff competition that has been there from their competitors. They are known for the best features and voice quality control. The company has been able to keep up with competitors like Roku by coming up with a pack such as Dolby vision that has helped improves the interface.


All Roku devices come with their remote controls. For the cheapest models, they have a simple remote that you can be able to use and control Roku. When you go for the premium models, they come with a voice remote. This can help you search for content verbally. The remotes are also suited with the TV power button and volume controls. Thus you can get rid of your TV remote and continue using the Roku remote.

It is also worth noting that the remotes sold by Roku are very powerful. They include Enhanced Voice Remote that comes with a headphone jack for private listening. Another one includes the Gaming remote that has gaming buttons.

You can also download the Roku app on both Android and iOS. Thus you can be able to switch and control the device easily if you have both.

On the other hand, all Chromecast devices can only be controlled from a mobile device or even a computer. This because everything is the first cast on these screens then projected to your TV. Some apps such as Netflix are cast enabled. You only have to hit the in-app Cast button to start watching.

 Available Content

Roku is known to have over 500,000 channels that you can be able to install on your device. They might not be worth your time but you can be able to download them on your device. These include big hitters such as Spotify, Hulu, Netflix, Sling, Amazon video among others. It also comes with a collection of other private channels that you can watch at your pace.

Chromecast on the other hand is different. Most of the apps found are not Chromecast-enabled hence you can only do it manually. When you are streaming using your mobile phone it is known to harm your battery life.

Interface and Personalization

This comes out as the biggest differentiators among these two devices. For instance, Roku provides its operating system and its user interface.

Moreover, Roku devices contain Roku OS that provides the choice of apps and channels that any user can download and continue enjoying. All these are contained in the Roku channel store, which comes in handy with a range of settings and search functions. These enable users to locate their favorite shows, movies, and other streaming services.

When using Chromecast, you have to have a device that will mirror the apps so that you can cast them to your TV. Note that Chromecast does not provide a user interface and thus users cannot be able to download channels. The device enables its user to access their favorite streaming service on the app on their phone. Thus they can then be able to play it on the phone or computer and cast it on the TV. Simply this means that the device only mirrors the user interface provided by the streaming service selected.

While the Chromecast devices can be managed through the users’ Google Home App, Roku users can personalize the content they watch by simply downloading apps from their preferred streaming service through the Roku channel store.

Streaming Quality

When buying the device you need to consider the quality of the streamed content. This equally affects all the devices one has to buy. Standard Chromecast, Roku Express, Express+, and streaming Stick have a streaming quality of up to 1080p high-definition HD video. Roku Premiere and Chromecast ultra on the other hand enable users to enjoy 4K high dynamic range HDR viewing. The others include Premiere, Streaming stick+, and Ultra-devices that also have HDR viewing.

When you want to move to 4K and HDR video quality, means one has to dig deep into the pocket as the cost is higher. It might seem unnecessary as some of the services can be provided even on 4K at a cheaper price. Thus one has to consider whether it is necessary to pay more.


Which streaming option is better Roku or Chromecast?

The major difference between the two is the interface. If you prefer more flexible streaming in casting and mirroring devices then you should opt for Chromecast. On the other hand, you prefer a traditional, remote-controlled user experience the Roku is the best choice.

Do I need Chromecast if I have Roku?

No, you do not have to keep both. This is because Roku does not support Chromecast but it supports screen mirroring which almost the same thing.

Does Roku have a monthly fee?

Roku does not charge any monthly subscription. It does not also have any monthly equipment rental fee if you own it neither does it charge any amount from your account. Any purchase that you make can only be charged after you give your approval.

Can I use my Chromecast on any TV?

Yes, Chromecast is compatible with all TVs.If you have an analog TV then you should be able to connect using an HDMI cable. However, you cannot use Chromecast alone. You need an HDMI cable, a tablet, phone, or computer to cast it to the TV.

Final cut

Your decision will mainly rely on the products that you already have in your home, the ecosystem you are tied to as well as your plan to use the device. Both Roku and Chromecast are great options to go for especially if you want to cut the cord on cable. Their devices are simple and easy to use hence one can learn easily and immediately start enjoying their favorite movies and TV shows as well as movies.

Roku device is an engaging user interface and is dedicate Roku Channel Store. It houses over 10,000 apps sourced from popular streaming services. When it comes to Chromecast, it enables users to access streaming services easily as they are fast from their mobile devices to their TV

Both companies offer fordable packages for entry streamers and can as well cater for the higher video quality and more advanced features that come at more expensive prices. However, if you are looking for a platform–agnostic way to cut the cord, then you should go for Roku. While if you just want to stream occasional TV shows or movies then you should shop for Chromecast

Jill Burns
Jill Burns
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John Hollaway
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Marie Williams
Marie Williams
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