Streaming devices are the latest advancement in the field of entertainment on your TV. They allow you to enjoy your favorite shows, movies, music, etc. with just one click. Streaming devices are the hardware that is either plugged into your Smart TV or placed in front of it and allows you to stream content after connecting it with your internet. Two of the most famous streaming devices are Amazon Fire Stick and ROKU, which are being widely used these days. They have more streaming services and help in loading the content faster. Since it is a slightly new concept, there is a lot of confusion and question as to which one is better among all the streaming devices available in the market. Here we are going to discuss which one is better in the fight of Amazon Fire Stick vs ROKU as a streaming device.
About Amazon Fire Stick
Amazon Fire Stick is a video streaming device that is sold by Amazon. It looks like a big USB drive and you can plug it directly into your TV. It is a video player that helps you to stream video content without storing any files. With this device, you can turn any TV into a Smart TV, given it has an HDMI port to plug the Fire Stick. Amazon Fire has three devices i.e., Amazon Fire Stick, Amazon Fire Cube, and Amazon Fire TV.
Some Amazon Fire devices that you can look for:
- Fire TV Stick 4K streaming device with Alexa Voice Remote
- Fire TV Cube | Hands-free streaming device with Alexa
- AmazonBasics 127cm (50 inch) 4K Ultra HD Smart LED Fire TV AB50U20PS
ROKU is a streaming device developed by the company named ROKU Inc. It helps in delivering media like movies, shows, and music, directly via the internet to your TV. You just have to plug in the device, connect your TV to the internet, and enjoy the streaming service after completing a simple setup process. The ROKU devices come in three forms i.e., Roku Box, Roku Streaming Stick, and Roku TV.
Some recommended ROKU devices to look for:
- Roku Express | HD Streaming Media Player with High Speed HDMI Cable and Simple Remote
- Roku Streaming Stick and 4K Streaming Player with Remote
- TCL 32-inch 3-Series 720p Roku Smart TV – 32S335, 2021 Model
Amazon Fire Stick and ROKU: Similarities
Now comes the main question. Which one is better in the fight of Amazon Fire Stick vs ROKU? Though both of the devices are basically the same and offer the same services with almost similar qualities. Both offer affordable streaming services with thousands of apps to watch on the TV. They provide quick responsive and reliable streaming as long as you have a stable internet connection. Both the devices have many models and also provide a remote which has power and volume control systems. The latest models of the devices even come with remotes that have an inbuilt voice control system in them.
Points of comparison: Amazon Fire Stick vs ROKU
When it comes to deciding which is better for you, the decision depends on certain factors. These factors vary from person to person based on your preferences. Some of the most important points of comparison in choosing the best in the fight of Amazon Fire vs ROKU are:
The pricing of a product is one of the most important factors that affect the buying decision. But besides the price, you also have to see if you are getting the value for your money or not, at that price. It is necessary to consider the features and services you are getting at a certain price. When you consider the entry-level, Amazon Fire Stick Lite offers more features than the Roku Express at a similar price. The Amazon Fire Stick Lite provides an in-built voice-controlled remote but the Roku Express’s remote doesn’t have voice control. Though the Roku Express is also a pretty good choice if you have a tight budget in mind as it also offers all the basic features necessary for basic streaming.
However, the Amazon Fire Stick Lite wins the fight here because of the additional features it offers at the same price. There are also many other expensive models of both the streaming devices i.e., Amazon Fire and ROKU. their prices can also be compared based on the features offered by them within a certain price range.
Streaming channels and services:
When it comes to content i.e., streaming channels and services available, we will have to look at the services offered by each device as a whole. Most of the popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, etc., and even Roku Channel (ROKU’s channel) are offered by both Amazon Fire and ROKU. One major difference between both the devices is that ROKU has more channels and a great amount of free content as well. Content search is also much easier on ROKU when compared to Amazon Fire as Amazon Fire puts more emphasis on the content offered by Amazon Prime Video. So you will have to be a bit more specific about the content you want to watch on Amazon Fire if you want to go beyond the Prime Video recommendations.
One other service offered by these streaming devices is gaming. Though both the devices have lots of games, Amazon Fire offers a bit wider selection as its access to the Amazon Appstore.
So, Amazon Fire is a step ahead in the gaming section but ROKU wins in the content selection section.
Ease of use:
Though both of the devices are easy to use, let’s compare some specific points like installation, navigation, and mobile apps.
Installing Amazon Fire and ROKU both is similar and easy. Keeping the designs apart, the process is almost the same for the installation and setup of both devices.
When it comes to navigation, ROKU is better than Amazon Fire. ROKU has better search features, allows you to organize the apps, and its ‘my feed’ feature also allows you to keep track of any new content and episodes. It has a simpler interface, advanced search feature, and adding new channels is also easier. However, when it comes to Amazon Fire, it gives preference to the content available on Amazon Prime Video. You don’t get an option to organize the apps and they are listed as per the frequency of your visit.
The mobile apps of both Amazon Fire and ROKU are the same and allow you to use your mobile phone as a remote control for the TV. It allows you to easily navigate and access the apps through your phone, control the playback and volume with the help of voice control or on-screen keyboards. Both the apps are compatible with iOS as well as Android. Amazon Fire and ROKU both have an option for you to listen to the content privately. You can use Bluetooth headphones to directly connect to the TV in Amazon Fire. While ROKU lets you connect your headphone to the jack of your mobile phone to listen to the content.
The mobile app of ROKU also has a feature called ‘play on Roku’, through which you can watch music, videos, and photos of your mobile on the TV. This additional feature gives ROKU has an advantage over Amazon Fire when it comes to its mobile apps.
Audio and video quality:
First, we will compare the video quality on both devices. All the Amazon Fire and ROKU models can stream in 1080p and HDR, except Roku Express that can stream only in 1080p. All ROKU devices, except Roku Express, are compatible with 4k streaming, while only top-end Amazon Fire devices support 4k. One common thing among both is that only their top models have Dolby Vision.
When it comes to audio quality, both Amazon Fire and ROKU have good audio connectivity. But, if we do a more detailed comparison and check for Dolby Atmos compatibility, Amazon Fire wins. All Amazon Fire models are compatible with Dolby Atmos, but in the case of ROKU, only the latest model i.e., Roku Ultra is compatible. You can even use the speakers and woofers, but the audio quality of ROKU is not as good as Amazon Fire.
So, in the field of video and audio quality, both Amazon Fire and ROKU are at the same level of video quality, but Amazon Fire wins the fight in the audio quality category.
Remote and voice control:
The remotes with TV controls let you control the volume and power of the TV and also include a mute button. The entry-level remotes of both Amazon Fire and ROKU don’t have such features i.e., TV controls.
ROKU remotes have separate shortcuts buttons for certain channels like Netflix. It also allows you to listen privately via headphones by plugging them into the headphone jack of the remote. The Enhanced Voice remote also gives you an option to set up personal shortcuts for channels. Amazon Fire earns a point here by offering a voice search feature on all its remotes. ROKU offers this feature only in its Voice remotes that come only with certain models.
When it comes to voice assistants, both Amazon Fire and ROKU use different ones. While Amazon Fire uses Alexa, ROKU uses both Google Home and Alexa. You can connect Amazon Fire to the other Amazon Smart Home devices and use its remote to control them. Whereas in the case of ROKU, its voice control system is not that advanced and can only be used for certain functions. But if you have Google Home devices, then ROKU is a better option for you as you can connect and control them with your ROKU remote. Amazon Fire remote comes with a sleek design and voice control from the beginning but has fewer features. ROKU remote has many extra features, has a headphone jack for private listening, and is also compatible with both Alexa and Google Home. It gives ROKU an advantage over Amazon Fire.
Though both the Amazon Fire Stick and ROKU are the best ones, the above comparison points show a slight difference. And that slight difference makes ROKU the winner in the fight of Amazon Fire Stick vs ROKU. But, remember that which device suits you the best depends on your personal preferences like price, control, compatibility, etc. So, consider what you want from your TV and streaming device and then decide which one you want.