Amazon Fire TV Stick vs. Roku vs. Chromecast – Which is the best Media Streaming Stick?

Over the years, the television watching audience has undergone gradual evolution in different stages. The generation of today is now hooked onto Youtube, Netflix, Hotstar, and other online streaming services. Traditional ways of watching television is gradually getting phased out and online services are rapidly becoming more popular.

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Google Chromecast has been around for some time. Now we also have the added options of the Amazon Fire TV Stick and the Roku Streaming Stick. Presented below is a comparison between the Amazon Fire TV Stick, the Roku Streaming Stick, and Google Chromecast as per different categories.

  1. Specifications

  • Technical specification is often one of the main things that users look for before purchasing a streaming device.
    • The Chromecast is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A7 SoC along with 512 MB of RAM. It has 256 MB of internal storage capacity and supports 1080 pixel video output, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, 5.1 surround sound, and Dolby Audio. Google Chromecast is not that great a device when it comes to specifications, but one has to take into account the main use of the gadget. Roku and Amazon Fire stick come with a heavy UI and users need to download apps. As opposed to this Chromecast comes with a comparatively simple user interface and primarily acts as a screen mirroring gadget that does not require installing of many apps.
    • The Fire Stick comes with a Quad-core MediaTek ARM 1.3GHz processor along with 1 GB of RAM and Mali 450 MP4 GPU. Other features include 8 GB of internal storage, fast connectivity with Dual-Antenna Dual-Band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, and video streaming in 1080 pixel and 720 pixel resolutions with a maximum of 60 frames per second.
    • Roku stick is powered by a quad core processor and supports HDMI based Digital stereo, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, HDMI based pass through, and DTS Digital Surround. Users can stream videos in 1080 pixel and 720 pixel resolutions. The main benefit of Roku is that users can plug the device into an Ethernet wired connection. Thus users who experience Wi-Fi dropouts and have wired Ethernet connectivity near their TV will find Roku to be a great option.

  1. Content

  • Before purchasing any of these online streaming sticks, the first thing that we think of is the kind of content that the sticks provide access to.
    • Chromecast offers content access from Hotstar, YouTube, Netflix, and Eros Now, etc. It however does not provide access to Amazon Prime Video. Chromecast has a big user base in India, but support for it is not available as yet. The USP of Chromecast is that you can access music and movies from Google Play Store. Users can also stream from any app with Chromecast support directly from a laptop or your smartphone to the TV’s big screen.
    • The Amazon Fire Stick offers the viewers access to shows from Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, Voot, Eros Now, and Airtel Movies as well as a host of other services like Gaana, YouTube, etc. The best part is the fact that Amazon stick users can also get access to all the best shows from Netflix; this is amazing because Netflix is in direct competition with India’s Amazon Prime video.
    • Roku Streaming Stick has yet to enter the Indian market, but it has lots of experience in the industry of streaming content. It had set-top boxes in 2008 and had offered its first stick in 2012. The stick also offers access to the most diverse and largest amount of content, including news, live sports, music, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Google Play Movies & TV, YouTube, and HBO Now, etc. It can be easily customized and offers excellent speed and performance at a reasonable price.

  1. Gaming

  • The Amazon Fire Stick comes with an optional game pad which offers support for a variety of games, including Asphalt 8, Minecraft Pocket Edition, and Riptide, etc. The stick offers access to over 400 different types of games and thus is one of the best devices for gamers.
  • Google Chromecast stick comes with just a few games. These are basic games and ideal for those who are not heavily into gaming.
  • Roku offers access to nearly 100 different games. The controller that comes with the streaming stick however has minimal or no support for motion control.

  1. Remote

  • Users need to use their smartphone as a remote to be able to navigate and control the Chromecast interface. The associated app which facilitates the conversion of the phone into a remote can be downloaded from the Play Store. This is really a convenient option as you do not need to lug around a remote. Also, when you need to search for a movie or other content, all you need to do is type it using the on-screen phone keyboard.
  • A small basic remote with the up/down/side arrow keys and shortcuts for quick access to content is offered with Roku stick. For advanced control and navigation options, users may download the Roku app from App Store or Play Store onto the smartphone and then use it as a remote.
  • A voice remote is offered with the Amazon Fire TV. Its features include shortcuts for pause/play, rewind/forward, and other kinds of voice command options. This means that users can state the name of the movie or other content that they want to watch, in English or Hindi, and the stick will display it in no time.

Cost

  • The Chromecast is available for a price of around INR 3,400. It can be purchased from Flipkart.
  • The Amazon Fire stick is available at a price of about INR 4,000. Users who are already members of Amazon Prime may avail of a cashback of INR 499 into their Amazon Pay account.
  • Roku streaming stick is not available for purchase in India. In the US, it can be bought for about $50.

All the above 3 streaming devices are good options. Users may select the device which meets their requirements of what they want to watch, etc.

Roku and Amazon Fire Stick are almost similar with regards to their concept. Chromecast, on the other hand, offers a lot more flexible options of streaming varied content online. It may however be noted that pairing the television with Chromecast and then streaming via it can be quite cumbersome for someone who is not technically adept. This is where the Roku and Fire stick have a one up on Chromecast as they work as mirroring content to TV devices; this process of mirroring is really simple and can be done by all.

From an objective point of view, Roku is the best due to its superior list of services and available content as well as its options of remote control. But since it is not available in India as yet, Users may go for the Fire Stick if they are happy with the content offered, or may purchase the Chromecast and stream a wider array of content onto their TVs.

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