Home entertainment has come a long way in a short amount of time. We went from cassette tapes to Netflix in a decade, and new services and tech come out every year. Smart TVs were all the rage, but now devices like the Roku Stick and Amazon Fire Stick can make any TV smart.
Both options give you access to every streaming service you need, like Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, and even Disney+. The Roku and Amazon Fire Sticks have a lot in common, but knowing the difference between them can help you decide which you should go with.
The Roku Stick is simple, sleek, and easy to use. The streaming stick itself is about the size of an average flash drive, and the unique remote gives you easy access to the top channels.
The Roku remote has buttons that take you directly to Netflix, Hulu, Sling, and Vudu, and you can download just about every other app onto the Roku menu. You can even download the Roku app onto your phone and control the screen that way.
The Roku Streaming Stick gives you access to a lot of content, including some very niche channels, so it’s perfect if you want more than the typical big streaming apps.
Roku offers six different devices, ranging from the $30 Roku Express to the $100 (now on sale for $86) Roku Ultra. Some of the more expensive sticks offer some cool perks, such as headphone jacks in the remote and voice commands.
Amazon Fire Stick
The Amazon Fire Stick, like the Roku Stick, plugs into the back of your TV and comes with a compatible controller.
The Fire Stick offers a lot of content, but it has one major drawback: it mostly promotes Amazon content. Even if you don’t have Amazon Prime Video, for instance, many of the movies and shows you see on the menu will be Prime exclusives. Still, the menus look a bit more modern than Roku’s basic layout. It’s a great choice if you’re already an Amazon Prime subscriber.
You can surf the web fairly easily with a Fire Stick though, a major edge that competitors don’t have. Fire Sticks start at $35, with the 4K Fire Stick coming in as the cheapest option. The Fire Cube is the most expensive product, at $120, but allows you to manage everything via voice controls. It’s worth the price if you want a total hands-free experience.
Which Is Better?
Depending on your interests, the Roku Streaming Stick and Amazon Fire Stick are both great options. Off the bat, both give you access to all the biggest streaming platforms, but Roku gets an edge in overall amount of content and the ability to customize your home menu.
Both streaming sticks are small and portable, with the Fire Stick having the added bonus of a gaming feature, making it great to bring to friend’s houses and parties. With web support, the Fire Stick brings more to the table than just streaming.
While some Fire Sticks run a bit more expensive, they offer a lot of features that are well worth the price. If you just want a streamer without any frills, both basic devices will do the trick though. Price-wise they’re fairly similar, with Roku normally offering the cheapest option at $30 but with Black Friday, the Amazon Fire Stick takes the most affordable crown at $24.99 for a limited time.
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