In this article, we are making the choice between Roku, Fire Stick, and Chromecast easier for you.
If you are a cord-cutter, you must be out here looking for excellent alternatives to Netflix and Hulu. Yes, there are some fantastic choices beyond these two giants.
To help you search and settle for an excellent alternative, we have compared three of the main competitors’ video streaming services and devices for your money.
It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for a better way of replacing your cable TV or a way of watching original TV shows and movies on Demand; these three compete quite well.
Before compiling this article, we tested and reviewed three of the best streaming devices, which are Roku, Firestick, and Chromecast.
The fact is that these three devices are the brains behind your streaming experience. One streaming box can connect all your streaming services in a fraction of a minute.
If you have old boxes, the new ones have increased the speed and performance. They are also very affordable and effective regardless of your needs and preferences.
Roku vs. Chromecast vs. Firestick: Overview
What is Roku Streaming Stick Plus and how does it work?
Roku streaming stick Plus is considered the best streaming device overall for a couple of reasons. With this device, you don’t have to choose between content selection and price.
The device costs less than $50 and has more than 5,000 channels to choose from. The channels include Amazon Video. Previously, Roku was lacking HBO Max but right now the service is available.
With the Roku Streaming Stick Plus, you get 4K HDR compatibility. What this means is that you are getting a relatively future-proof device.
The Roku Streaming Stick Plus has a snappy performance and is very powerful. In most tests and reviews available online, all people confirm that the device takes less than 5 seconds for the content to stabilize to 1080P and about 15 minutes to get to 4K quality.
Moving on, the device is very small and un-obstructive. Its main selling point is the fact that it gets a strong signal from anywhere you are in the house.
The remote is also one of the best and the most functional supportive devices you will ever get. Recently, Roku added power and volume buttons to the remote.
Lastly, you have a customized interface that you can organize depending on your different likes. In terms of prices, you don’t have to worry because this device retails for less than $50 on major platforms.
Roku Streaming Stick Plus Pros and Cons
- It’s very affordable
- The volume can control TV volume and Power
- It has a huge selection of apps
- Full 4K HDR capabilities
- The best value for your money
- Takes less than 5 seconds for the video to stabilize at 1080p
- Takes less than 15 minutes for the video to stabilize at 4K quality
- The search could be deeper
- The remote lacks an audio jack
Chromecast with Google TV
Google Finally introduced a Chromecast with a remote. This device makes all Google’s traditional streaming devices a whole new thing.
Its main selling point is the fact that it starts with 4K UHD streaming and support for Dolby Vision and HDR. All these features are for excellent video quality. It also supports Dolby Atmos for impressive sounds.
The Google TV interface and OS supports more than 6,500 Android TV apps. What this means for heavy streamers is that they have everything from Disney + to HBO Max and Peacock. Users can as well start using Netflix. There are several other streaming apps and services that you can find with this device.
But still, it’s not a minimalist streaming device like Chromecast 3 but luckily the remote could even replace your TV remote. It has the power and volume controls for the TV.
Additionally, the remote has a TV input Button for switching to other devices including the gaming consoles. The price is also very reasonable regardless of whether you are on a tight budget or not.
Chromecast with Google TV pros and cons
- It has a very useful remote
- Large apps selections
- The app includes HBO max and Peacock
- It uses Google assistant effectively
- It ties perfectly well with YouTube and Google Photos
- This can lag when switching apps
- The assistant doesn’t always give the best option
The Amazon Firestick is a modified version of the Android that was developed for Amazon’s content. But today, the Firestick devices are heavily reliant on Amazon Prime Media, Prime Music, and Prime Video.
There are a couple of other streaming services that are available with the Firestick box. You can actually watch live channels through YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu. The biggest advantage of using Firestick is that there’s a lot of prime content right at your fingertips.
To understand what the Fire TV is and how it works, take it as a Stick that is connected to the TV through the HDMI port.
It’s a video and audio streaming device that brings a lot of streaming apps and services to the user. You can enjoy the content if you are already an Amazon Prime subscriber.
Compared to the last few predecessors, the 2019 Firestick is 50% faster and more reliable. This is according to the information shared on the site by Amazon.
The only category we didn’t test is power consumption. But the company claims it’s an effective power saver.
The remote for this device hasn’t changed much but it still has the same capabilities. It also lacks the premium feel that comes with the Roku remote and what is offered by Chromecast. Though, the new remote adds the ability to control the TV’s volume and power just like Chromecast and Roku remotes.
The process of setting the remote for Firestick is easy and very fast. It actually takes less than 30 seconds to integrate the remote with the device wirelessly. It has the ability to control the receiver without any issues.
The stick has a power adapter. Amazon highly recommends using this. You can use the USB ports and the TV power to get the power to the device. It’s actually good to consider using the USB ports for power.
Firestick Pros and Cons
- It is inexpensive
- The remote offers TV controls and Alexa Capabilities
- There’s a wide range of streaming apps
- It has HBO max
- It integrates with Echo speakers
- It saves a lot of power
- It’s a great value for your money
- It has relatively complex menus than Roku and Chromecast
Roku vs. Firestick vs. Chromecast: Setup
These three streaming devices are very easy to set. However, I’ve come across some people complaining about setting and what information someone needs to set them up.
The setup process is almost similar to walking you through the download process and discovering which service is linked to your TV. All three devices automatically synced to the TV’s Volume and Power. This means with any of these devices can easily be used to reduce or increase volume and turn on/off the TV.
Setting Up Roku and Firestick is the same. You need to type the email account and the password using the directional pad and eventually start using the service.
But still, setting the Chromecast is relatively easier because of the Face ID and the Google Home app. using these, you can easily log in to your account.
You also don’t have to type in logins and anything else. All the information will easily be pulled from your Google account and the account will be established.
Roku also tries to use the same criteria for its accounts and setup process. Immediately after typing in at least two logins by using the email, Roku will eventually save the information and use it in subsequent processes.
Immediately after logging in, you will choose the apps and services to be downloaded through the Roku process. This throws a lot of garbage to you with numerous trials, especially when compared to Google and Amazon.
The initial setup process with Roku and Fire TV stick is done through a single step. Immediately after downloading all the apps, you can open them as you need. This is actually another cumbersome task, especially for beginners.
Chromecast and Google eliminate this issue by easily using the Google Home app and Passwords. But still, there are some logins that will be needed.
Amazon unlike the other two gives you an option for Child profiles. Chromecast and Roku sticks lack this feature.
The Winner: Chromecast
Although the setup process for these three devices is easy and almost similar, Chromecast emerges as the winner. This device is almost foolproof.
Roku vs. Firestick vs. Chromecast: Ease of use
Although these three devices give access to the same contents and work almost the same, they all differ in the way they work. As a matter of fact, ease of use is one of the most important considerations when purchasing a streaming app.
Chromecast functions relatively. Remember that Chromecast uses your mobile or computer to cast the content on the TV. This is the reason why they are devoid of a traditional user menu. The Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra have remote control and onboard storage.
This might prove to you that Chromecast is the dumbest of all streaming apps but when it comes to ease of use and simplicity, it’s everything you need.
These three services have the best remotes. However, Chromecast lacks traditional remote control. This means that they mainly rely on the tablet, computer, or phone for the remote.
This is actually not a problem because controlling things on the apps is very simple and easy. Moving on to the Fire TV, its remote is a pretty unremarkable specimen.
It has an array of media buttons and voice search. The Roku remote goes an extra mile to synch with the TV and control volume and power.
The Winner: Roku Stick
In this category, the Roku Stick wins with a landslide for its remote features. You can actually control your TV’s volume and power using the Roku remote. You can equally search using the Voice.
Roku vs. Firestick vs. Chromecast: Features
All these three devices come packed with their own unique features. Roku on one hand is praised for its many features. Chromecast comes with some of the best functionalities. Firestick on its hand has some unique features that you will internalize before making the decision.
To differentiate each of them, let’s talk about their unique features at a time.
Voice search and controls
With the current Roku devices, you can easily search and find movie titles, launch and change channels using the Voice Search and controls. This is a very important feature that even lets you switch inputs all with your voice.
You don’t have to come to the buttons or deal with cumbersome remotes to initiate all these actions. To use voice search and controls, you just have to push the button on compatible Roku TV remotes or use the Roku Mobile app for both Android and iOS to initiate Voice controls and search.
Get the Free Roku Mobile apps
With the growth of mobile apps, it’s now very easy to download and install the specific service’s Mobile apps for both iOS and Android usage. This actually turns your smart device into an ultimate streaming companion using the Roku streaming app.
With this feature, you can easily search for titles and different contents using Voice search and enjoy the privacy of listening to different things with more than three of your friends.
Countless ways to enjoy your content
Roku is known for giving users countless ways of enjoying your content and watching your TV. The company will show you where to get your best episodes and TV-related content and streaming channels. You don’t have to deal with your TV connected via cables or use HDTV.
Most streamers want to know when different movies and episodes become available in the Theaters. You can get all this information on ‘’My Feeds”. It’s very easy to know when the favorite TV show or series is available on TV.
For this functionality, users are expected to add this to My Feed and get automatic feedbacks regardless of where they are in real-time.
Private Listening Feature is activated on Roku and gives all users a chance to crack up with volume on their favorite series. This feature is available on all Compatible Roku TV remotes or the Roku Mobile apps. You just have to use the headphones and hear all the details without having to disturb the house.
Roku is one of the best devices that keeps all the updates up to date. Even after buying the devices, you will get automatic updates immediately they are available for you. You will have the greatest features and latest software right on your device.
Roku now works with Popular Voice assistants
Another great feature of this product is that it works automatically with all popular assistants such as Hey Google, Siri, and Alexa. What this means is that you can control the device directly from the remote or the app by just using your voice.
Moving on to Firestick, there are some unique features that you will get with this product. The Firestick that was released in 2016 has some unique and hidden features that most people don’t talk about.
It’s the best for people that are looking to access Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Netflix. Here are some of its main features.
Using the Shortcut menu
You don’t have to waste time navigating the Settings Menu every time you want to use the Firestick Device. The device has introduced a quick method that includes the Default.
The shortcut menu in this case makes navigation easier. To use it, Press and Hold the Home icon and eventually head to Quick settings after this, you can head to initiate the action you need whether ‘’Sleep, ‘’Mirroring, settings and apps depending on the model you currently have.
Use your Amazon Tablet as a second screen
For people that already have the Amazon Fire Tablet, there’s a chance that you can use it as a second screen for watching content. You can as well push the content from your Tablet to Fire TV. To do this, follow the steps explained in this case.
Mirror the Tablet to your Fire TV
This is one of the hidden features that most people don’t know how to use with the latest information. It no longer ships with the newer Fire HD tablets. The Older Fire HDX Tablets can mirror directly to the Fire TV. This is the same with Google’s Chromecast Products.
Enable Parental controls
You now have a chance to enable Parental controls as a way of keeping your kids safe. Parents can create a different profile where their children can watch rated content. This is unlike several similar devices that don’t spare such functionality.
- Dolby Atmos
- Storage: 8GB
Chromecast is a very actionable device for streaming and watching Netflix, YouTube TV, and several other streaming services. But still, you should have strong internet to stream content using Chromecast.
However, not every person out there has a strong Wi-Fi connection to deliver the streams without any bugs and buffer. For that reason, Google has included an Ethernet Adapter for Chromecast that looks like an existing Chromecast Power Cord.
You just have to connect the Ethernet Cables to the port and plug the USB to the other end and you are good to go.
Cast Spotify Premium to Your TV
For people that are Spotify Premium Subscribers, you now have a chance to cast tunes through the Chromecast. You just have to make sure that your device is on the same Wi-Fi as the Chromecast.
Immediately after that, you should open the Spotify App and play the track. Moving on, select Devices that are available and select Chromecast. Pandora is also an option.
Chromecast Guest Mode
It doesn’t matter whether you have house guests for a week or you just want to be updated and keep the whole family up to date for a week, you can access all that capability through the Chromecast Guest Mode.
This feature lets each individual choose what they want to access at the time using your Wi-Fi. You just have to turn Chromecast to the Guest Mode in the settings and every guest within the 25 feet of the Chromecast will cast depending on what you need in real-time.
Add Photos to the Chromecast Background
It’s now the best thing to add the photos to the background with the Ambient Mode. This way, you can use your photos and choose From the Google Selection of arts. This is a feature that you will not get with other streaming devices.
Cast Plex to Chromecast
The main Complaint about the Chromecast is the fact that it doesn’t support local media playback. With the latest advancement, this is a common feature with Roku and Firestick.
This means that Chromecast users cannot tap into the content that they have saved in the cloud. With the introduction of Media Management apps Plex, you now have a chance to stream Movies, Music, and Photos through the Chromecast.
Right now, using your phone as a remote has been a popular thing but very few people know that they can use it to bypass the process of having to change some functionalities in the remote and the device.
You just have to Google the model of the TV and the trade name for the HDMI-CEC that will match the model.
Play Games on Chromecast
People want to enjoy their free time to the fullest, despite streaming and watching your movies and series, you now have a chance to play games with the family and friends.
Chromecast can be used to play some fun family games. This is unique with the devices but now it’s time you can get this functionality with Chromecast.
Listen on your Headphones
There are chances that everyone in the house is enjoying different services in the house. In such instances, you don’t have to waste a lot of your time buying different services for each of them. It’s now time to listen to music, movies, and TV series through headphones.
Roku vs. Chromecast vs. Firestick: Storage
Another important thing to consider in this instance is the storage of each device. Storage is very important if you have to download and save your content. Each of the devices comes with unique features in terms of storage.
So what is the difference between all of them in terms of the space that is available for storing your content?
The new Fire TV Stick or Fire TV stick 4K has 8GB of internal storage. Out of this storage, you can only use 5.6GB and the rest is used for app installation, file downloads, and few other activities.
In case the storage becomes low, you might have trouble installing apps, file downloads, and performing other activities.
Roku Express has a RAM of 512MB while the Roku Streaming Stick+ has 1GB RAM. These devices lack internal storage which means you cannot download and store movies and other contents.
Roku uses the available storage just like a cache for the recently used channels. The device will definitely delete the data automatically when you launch content that was not stored locally.
Moving on, Chromecast with Google has 8GB of internal storage which you can use to store the apps, file downloads, and a lot more. Although Firestick and Chromecast have the same storage, there’s a great difference in how they operate. Space can also be depleted easily.
Which media Streamer is right for you?
With all that information, you might want to know which of these services and streaming devices are the best for you. The three of them are all good devices and apps that you can use to stream movies, videos, and other content.
However, they all have their unique features, and choosing among them can be very overwhelming. Chromecast, Firestick, and Roku cost less than $50.
In making the decision, we have to determine different categories that these three devices have competed really well.
The Chromecast with Google TV device has the favorite Voice assistant. However, its biggest downside is that it lacks Apple TV.
The best streaming device in the list above will be determined by your own preferences, technology, and taste. If you already have a 4K TV you can end up spending up to $5 for the Fire Stick4K, Roku Streaming Stick+, or the Chromecast with Google TV.
For the users that still have the 1080p TV, you will have to invest a little less but this not with the Chromecast. To help you make a decision, ask yourself the question of what you want to watch and where.
If you are one of the people that want to watch the Apple TV+, you should count the Chromecast with Google out. For people that want Google Play services, Fire TV is the best.
All these three services are very easy to recommend because they all have the best features, a relatively similar price, and top-notch performance. Another thing to note is that there’s no single device in this case that can do all the work. You should consider what you want to watch and few other factors before you choose any of them.
Which is better, Roku, Firestick, or Chromecast?
These three are the top streaming devices that you will find out there. However, they all work differently and bring different levels of performance.
They are all available for under $50. But still, I rank Chromecast from Google as the best for the best voice assistant. Roku on the other hand brings the bests services but unluckily it doesn’t have any voice assistant feature.
Which is better, Chromecast or Roku?
These two streaming devices are excellent for less than $50. They all have the best streaming features and at the same time packed with thousands of streaming applications.
Chromecast is my favorite because it has the best voice assistant. But still, Roku has the best features and at the same time features the best remote.
Which is better, Firestick or Roku?
These two are closely similar especially when their interfaces and ease of use are considered. But I have to let you known that Firestick devices are perfect for Amazon Prime subscribers and Amazon Echo owners.
On the other hand, Roku is good for the people that want to stream 4K HDR content and the people that want to use dozens of streaming apps.
What is better than Chromecast and Firestick?
These are two leaders in the streaming world. However, they are all facing serious competition from Roku and Apple TV 4K. The two competitors have the best services and feature some of the best quality features.
But still, Apple TV 4K is one of the most expensive devices.
What is the best device for streaming TV?
The list of the best streaming devices is endless. There are newcomers in the market daily. But Roku Streaming Stick Plus is the best streaming device that you can buy today.
Others such as Chromecast by Google and Nvidia Shield TRV, Roku Ultra, and Amazon Firestick are some nice competitors.
The Bottom Line
The Chromecast costs $35 but it’s not the cheapest streamer you can buy today. As a matter of fact, the honor of the greatest value for your money goes to Roku.
But you still have to remember that Chromecast offers a lot of functionality for such an affordable price. The Chromecast is ridiculously easy and straightforward to use.
If you have wanted a foolproof setup and an easy-to-use streaming device, then Chromecast wins. Roku and Firestick are nearly as good. The Amazon Fire TV is a solid choice for gaming fanatics and heavy users.
The information shared here will help you make a decision.