Roku vs. Amazon Fire TV Review 2021
In this post regarding Roku vs. Amazon Fire TV Review 2020, we discuss review and comparison of Roku VS. Amazon Fire Tv
What Are Streaming Devices?
A streaming device enables a program to gather data and present it to the user in the form of a continuous stream of converted audio or video. This can be accomplished, for example, by connecting your TV to the Internet so that you can view a movie, listen to top 40 tunes, or listen to a top-rated podcast on your device. Streaming technology is offered in a variety of formats.
They might be embedded inside a smart TV or game device, comparable to modern Xbox and PlayStation models. You can also utilize a different streaming device, such as an Amazon Firestick or a Roku stick, to watch video. Simply putting a streaming device into an HDMI port on your television allows you to watch movies, TV shows, news, live events, games, and more.
Why Use a Streaming Device?
Using a streaming service allows you to watch movies, news, TV shows, podcasts, and music without having to download them to your hard drive. This frees up a lot of cabinet space in your units.
Another advantage is real-time access. Depending on your internet speed, you may be able to watch or listen to media right now rather than waiting for the file to fully download. You may also save a variety of apps on your streaming device. Take your entertainment system with you everywhere you go, so you’ll never miss an episode of your favorite TV show again if you’re out of town and stuck in your hotel room.
Looking for a cheap and easy way to watch streaming video from Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube, Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus, HBO, and other services on your TV? There are two excellent options: Roku and Amazon Fire TV. Roku has long been the most popular streaming device, but Amazon’s Fire TV system has recently gained traction.” data-s-object-id=”article-body; annotation”>Amazon’s Fire TV system has recently gained traction.
We’ve spent many hours at CNET testing gadgets from every platform, and they all perform well. The majority of the Roku and Fire TV devices we’ve examined have received an 8.0 (outstanding) rating or above.
So how one can you select? To begin, understand they’ve extra similarities than variations.
- Both are super-affordable, beginning at $30 for Roku and $40 for Fire TV.
- Both have entry to roughly umpteen zillion TV apps, together with the entire main ones. Most apps look and behave principally the identical on each.
- The newest fashions of Roku and Fire TV are just about equally fast, responsive, and dependable as long as you’ve got a .
- Both (apart from the most cost-effective Rokus) provide remotes with TV volume and power buttons to control TVs, so you possibly can ditch the remote that got here together with your TV.
- Both have a number of fashions, beginning with fundamental streamers as much as variations with voice, gadget control, and headphone jacks built into the distance.
(Image Source: Roku)
If keeping track of things is important to you, a Roku might be a better option. This is because Roku allows you to arrange all of your apps on the home screen, just like you can on your smartphone. For example, if you use Netflix more than any other app, you may put it in the first row so you don’t have to waste time looking for it.
Apart from your apps, the Roku residence display screen also features all of the tabs on the left side of the screen. You can either explore the Featured Free category for completely free movies and TV shows, or go all the way down to Search to look for movies and TV shows. If you don’t remember the title of a film, you can also look for it by actor or director.
In recent years, Roku has established itself as a significant competitor to both Amazon and Google. It was also the first company in the UK to release a 4K streaming stick, the Roku Streaming Stick+, which supports 4K and HDR10. It’s a thinner device than the hefty Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, making it much easier to fit into your TV’s HDMI port.
The main distinction between Roku and Amazon is that Roku does not produce its own television shows. Instead, in the United Kingdom and the United States, Roku released a free, ad-supported TV streaming channel. Anyone with a Roku streamer has access to over 10,000 movies and TV programs of varying quality. Because Roku doesn’t have its own shows to promote, there isn’t any heavy-handed promotion of what to watch. As a result, there’s a far cleaner – and more ordered – content material finding platform than Amazon’s. It’s also simple and quick to navigate through a variety of streaming apps and menus.
Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV, Google Play, HBO, Hulu, Showtime, YouTube TV, Sling TV, Fubo, and NBC are all available on Roku. You also get Now TV (UK), Vudu (US), and Google Play, which aren’t available on Amazon’s Fire TV devices.
The free Roku software, which serves as a distant control, allows you to add control and stream media from your smartphone or tablet in addition to voice controls. There are some clever choices, such as the ability to listen to music discreetly using headphones so that other members of your family are not disturbed.
There is no HDMI extension cable in the field, unlike the Fire TV. You can get one for free from Roku’s website, but it isn’t the best option. The Stick+ is more convenient than the Fire TV because it is powered by your TV’s USB port.
Roku has a great foundation and a lot of extra features, but in the end, Amazon Fire TV outperforms Roku in terms of voice commands, Prime Video content, and overall efficiency.
(Image Source: Amazon)
Amazon Fire TV additionally affords handy residence display screen navigation, however differently. Instead of permitting you to rearrange your apps, The Fire Stick exhibits you an inventory of your frequent and up to date apps. You may also maintain down the mouse button to enter an inventory of grasp apps.
Below your favorite apps, Fire Stick exhibits your suggestions based mostly in your beforehand seen motion pictures and TV exhibits. It additionally exhibits you new movies from Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, or no matter channels you’re subscribed to. So, if you wish to keep up to date on new movies or uncover motion pictures from any style, the Fire Stick could be a greater choice for you.
Best Remote Control: Amazon Fire Stick
Both Roku and Fire TV embrace distant controls to your TV, so that you don’t should switch between the TV distant and the streaming gadget distant.
The Roku distant has a microphone button that permits you to seek for motion pictures and play them utilizing voice instructions. Roku additionally options shortcut buttons for well-liked channels, similar to Netflix and Disney. While these shortcut buttons will be actually useful, they can’t be reprogrammed for different channels. So, in the event you don’t use the channels in your Roku remote, these buttons can be greater than ineffective to you.
The Fire Stick distant doesn’t have the shortcut buttons that include the Roku remote, nevertheless, it does have a mute button. More than that, the Fire Stick remote can control any soundbar, in comparison with Roku, which may solely control HDMI-supported soundbars.
The Amazon Fire Stick distant may be very smooth, and it feels higher in your hand. The Roku remote is clunky with huge, old-school buttons that may be laborious to push. Plus, the Fire Stick distant appears to attach simpler, which means which you could be additional away, and also you don’t even should level the remote on the display screen.
Best Voice Control: Amazon Fire Stick
Reaching for the remote will be such a trouble, particularly if you’re already snug on the sofa or your mattress. Fortunately, each Roku and Fire TV Stick will let you control your TV with voice instructions. However, in the case of Roku vs the Amazon Fire Stick, all of it is dependent upon which voice assistant you will have at residence.
Roku works with each Google and Alexa, however, Google doesn’t work with the Amazon Fire Stick. So, when you have Google Home sensible residence speakers, Roku is the higher choice for you.
However, you need to say “Roku” every time you ask Google to launch apps or play motion pictures on a Roku gadget. For instance, you may say, “Google, open Hulu on Roku,” or “Google, pause Roku.”
If you don’t have Google or Alexa, you may nonetheless launch apps and seek for content material utilizing the microphone button in your Roku distant or through the use of the Roku cell app. You can discover completely different genres, actors, or play TV exhibits on a selected channel. Just say, “Play Happy Feet on The Roku Channel,” and Roku will play the film for you.
(Image Source: Amazon)
If you already have an Amazon Alexa smart home speaker, the Fire Stick is the perfect streaming device for you. Simply connect Alexa to your Fire TV Stick and you’ll be able to watch whatever you want without ever having to reach for the control.
Simply say, “Alexa, watch Friends,” and the Fire Stick will start playing Friends on its own. The Fire Stick even has a cool feature that allows you to rewind the movie by saying “Rewind 20 seconds.”
You may also use your Fire Stick to order Alexa to perform certain tasks. You may also use your remote to operate your other smart home devices, such as your smart light bulbs. You may also ask Alexa questions about the weather, and the results will be displayed on your TV. Alexa may potentially respond to you over the speakers on your television. So, in the case of Roku vs Fire Stick, it all depends on what kind of speaker you have installed. The Fire Stick, on the other hand, has better voice controls.
Best Apps: Roku
Aside from streaming motion pictures and TV exhibits, Roku and Fire Stick allow you to play video games as well. Roku permits you to play along with your video games along with your family and friends or by your self. You can try the Games web page on their web site and discover a whole lot of video games obtainable.
Likewise, you may switch to the Apps tab on the identical web site and flick through hundreds of various apps. There you will discover film guides, film and TV present channels, and even digital sceneries to play on your TV.
While Roku doesn’t help as many video games and apps because the Fire Stick does, you do get entry to The Roku Channel. This free app has a wide array of ad-supported motion pictures and collections. You may also discover lots of movies for kids and different free reside channels, similar to ABC News, WealthNation, and extra. So, in the event you’re into motion pictures and exhibits greater than video games, you would possibly need to go along with Roku.
You can watch cable channels on a Fire Stick, similar to Cinemax and HBO, and also you even have entry to motion pictures from Amazon Originals. But you’ll should be an Amazon Prime member to get pleasure from these perks.
Fire Stick additionally has a website for video games and apps you may obtain on your TV. And, not like Roku, you may play extra video games with Fire Stick, a few of that are extra well-liked than those discovered on Roku. So, if one main purpose why you desire a streaming gadget is to play video games, you would possibly need to select a Fire Stick.
The flip side is that Amazon’s Fire TV interface is better at suggesting what to watch without making you jump in and out of different apps. Keep scrolling past the app list, and you’ll find row upon row of suggested movies and shows to watch. Most come from Amazon’s own Prime Video service, but you might also get recommendations from other apps, such as Netflix or HBO Now. While this approach can feel inscrutable—mostly because Amazon doesn’t let you customize the recommendations that appear—it is helpful for those times when you’re feeling indecisive.
Roku’s attempts at content discovery are much more conservative. There’s a “Featured Free” section on the home screen that spotlights free movies and TV shows to watch, but that doesn’t help if you want to know what’s new on Netflix or Hulu. And while Roku offers editorially-curated “zones” for different genres, you have to search and drill through several menu layers to access them. As a result, you’ll probably spend more time in the apps you know best instead of discovering what else is out there.
On this one, there’s no dispute. While both platforms allow you to search by voice, Fire TV allows you to instantly start movies and music with its voice remote in more services than Roku, including Netflix and Amazon Prime. It also aids in tuning to live channels in some streaming services, and if you have an Echo speaker, you can launch movies and shows without even touching your remote. (Roku allows hands-free control of Echo and Google Home speakers, but the syntax is clumsy and the controls are limited.)
The Alexa assistant on Amazon’s Fire TV remote also allows you to operate smart home devices, ask common queries, and check security camera feeds, which isn’t an option on Roku players.
Physical design isn’t usually that important for streaming units; after all, one small black field or stick looks pretty much the same as the next. The Roku Premiere, on the other hand, isn’t just unsightly; it’s also functionally irritating.
The Premiere is a tiny, light-weight cylinder the size and weight of a little cigar, rather than a stick or a strong field. It does not immediately plug into an HDMI slot, like a dongle would. As a result, the power of a standard HDMI cable will lift it and cause it to dangle. You may tape down the Roku Premiere using the provided adhesive strip, but good luck if you want to move it after that. The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, on the other hand, is a streaming stick. It connects to an HDMI port right away.
The system is, however, a touch on the large side (most streaming sticks are around three inches long), and it requires an external power supply to function properly. Neither design decision is correct. But it’s still more experience than trying to cram the Premiere into a tight space.
The UI is the one area where the Roku Premiere has a major advantage over the Fire TV Stick 4K. For quite a few years, Roku has had the greatest UI in the streaming game, with only the Apple TV giving it a serious run for its money.
(And a 4K variant costs $180, so it’s not exactly a funds system.) Roku’s menus are simple, clear, and light, allowing you to personalize your home display screen with your favorite apps and a variety of fun themes. The system could not be more fascinating or simple to use.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, on the other hand, is all about Amazon Prime content. Do you have a Prime membership? Because the very first thing the Fire TV Stick does when you turn it on is show you a video about how much better your life will be if you do. The home screen is nothing but a continuous stream of Amazon suggestions after the first two rows of apps.
Almost every page has a long list of Amazon-curated TV and movies, while the music and photo apps default to — you guessed it — Amazon. It’s helpful, but it comes across as a little too robust. If you’re experiencing trouble, check out our guide on how to use the Fire TV Stick.
Roku’s search is top-notch; actually, if not for Apple’s surprisingly nuanced voice recognition, Roku’s search can be positively unparalleled. Using both textual content entry or your voice, you may trawl tons of various providers, which can then direct you to the best place to observe nearly any piece of content material possible — or present you unusual behind-the-scenes clips that you just did not even know existed.
By distinction, Amazon’s search is far more simple. It can discover dozens of apps, true, however, provided that you’ve got put in the first. As such, its main perform is not actually to search out stuff so that you can watch — it is simply to point out you the place to get it for the most affordable worth. Once once more, Amazon’s focus by itself content material kneecaps the Fire TV Stick right here, since there are a number of further steps concerned with discovering non-Amazon sources.
When it involves the sheer variety of out there apps (not counting video games), the Roku units, with entry to thousands of apps (or channels, as Roku calls them), win by a landslide. You can even use the official Roku app to pick content material in your smartphone.
Chromecast apps (“Cast Enabled” apps) additionally quantity within the 1000’s now, however, assist for the casting platform between PC, Android, and iOS units vary, which will be irritating. The excellent news is that, not like Roku and Amazon Fire TV, any Android or iOS app will be Cast-enabled if the developer chooses, making for an ever-growing choice.
Speaking of creating that choice, Amazon and Google not too long ago ended their feud over video companies, and the most recent replace to the Amazon Prime Video app now supports Chromecast natively. Conversely and maybe extra importantly, now you can obtain the YouTube app on Amazon Fire TV. This announcement, however, Roku continues to be king of the app mountain.
Amazon and Roku have each received a significant number of five-star reviews for their streaming services, but which one should you choose?
Prime Video members, as well as those who enjoy Alexa, will undoubtedly be interested in Amazon Fire TV. The UI is arguably Prime-centric, but it’s fast, simple to use, and offers a large number of streaming apps.
The 1080p Fire TV Stick with Alexa is less expensive, but it’s not the best value; for an extra £10/$10, you’ll get the format-friendly Fire Stick 4K, which supports Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos sound. We believe it is currently the greatest streamer on the market.
If you don’t like Prime Video, Roku’s slicker, more neutral interface will entice you. Although it just has basic voice commands (rather than a “good assistant” like Alexa), the Streaming Stick+ is nevertheless a cutting-edge gadget that is simple to use and offers excellent value for money.