Streaming is a popular way for people all over the world to kill time. You’ll want the best streaming device if you’re going to spend so much time in front of a screen. There are many, like the Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google Chromecast, and Roku. In this post, we’ll compare the Roku and the FireStick to see which one is better.
Roku has been around since 2002, but its first streaming box didn’t come out until 2008 when it was sold by Netflix. After that, the company became known as one of the best streaming boxes of the late 2000s.
The Roku Streaming Stick Plus is its best model right now. It is a receiver that can stream 4K HDR video wirelessly if your internet can handle it. The start-up is so easy that it only needs the following:
- A modern TV is one that supports HDR and 4K and has an open HDMI port.
- Fast internet: If you want to stream 4K HDR content without it stopping and starting, your internet needs to be pretty fast. On top of that, we think you should get an unlimited plan because you’ll hit your internet limit pretty quickly.
- Roku account: It’s easy to make a Roku account, and doing so ahead of time will save you some time when you set up your device.
Plug in the wireless receiver that came with it to connect to the internet. Then, all you need to use your Roku is the remote, which comes with it when you buy it.
The remote comes with everything you need to get the most out of streaming. It lets you move around the device, change the volume, turn on your TV, and even do searches with your voice.
A Look at the Amazon Fire TV Stick
With the Amazon Fire TV, which came out in 2014, Amazon got into the streaming game. We’ll be focusing on the Fire TV Stick 4K version, even though it still comes in a set box.
To get the most out of the Fire TV Stick 4k, you’ll need the following:
- 4K HD TV: Your TV should be able to handle both 4K (Ultra HD) and HDR (High Dynamic Range).
- Good Internet Speeds: You can’t get the most out of FireStick’s picture quality if your internet can’t keep up with 4K streaming.
- You probably already have an Amazon Prime account, but you need one to use an Amazon Fire TV Stick properly.
After plugging in your Fire TV Stick 4K, you’ll need to sign in to your Amazon account so you can start streaming.
The remote, which has buttons and can also be controlled by voice, is even compatible with older versions of the Fire TV Stick.
Roku vs FireStick: Features
Now that we know what each device is and how it works, we can talk about its features.
Roku Streaming Stick Plus Features
A Roku works right away with smart home features like Amazon Alexa, Google Nest, and Apple HomeKit. You can tell any of these assistants to turn up the volume, change the channel, or open an app whenever you want.
As was already said, the Roku Streaming Stick Plus also has a wireless receiver with a long range for a TV that is far from the router. This basically lets you stream good content from any TV in the house. In the same way, the device even lets your Apple devices play music through AirPlay.
A mobile remote app lets you use your wireless device to control the Roku. You can also plug headphones into that device and listen to your content in private, so as not to bother roommates or family. On the remote, you can also use this feature. Depending on the package you buy, headphones for this feature might even be included.
The Roku Streaming Stick Plus supports both digital stereo and DTS surround sound through HDMI. This means that the quality of your audio won’t go down just because you’re streaming.
Roku also works with many different apps, such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+. You can also watch live and free TV channels, as well as music apps like Spotify and Pandora.
If you look for something on Roku, the search function will look for it on all streaming services. This is a cool feature that makes sure you don’t miss anything.
There’s also something called “Guest Mode.” You can turn on Roku’s Guest Mode if, for example, a friend is staying with you or you rent out a house. This way, anyone can use the Roku without messing up your settings or the recommendations based on your viewing history. You can even set a time to log out, which will make the streaming device log you out at that time.
Roku’s ability to play games might be the most surprising thing about it. We’re not talking about Call of Duty, but about simpler games like Snake, Tic Tac Toe, and Chess that are good for the whole family. Since you have to use the remote to play, these easier games are perfect.
The last thing is the Roku remote finder. In later models of Roku, there is a button that makes the remote make a sound. So, you can always find the device, even if it’s stuck between your couch cushions in the Grand Canyon!
Fire TV Stick Features
Let me say a few words about the Fire TV Stick: Even though it can be used for most of the same things as Roku, the Fire Stick tends to put Amazon content first. This is because, of course, the company wants you to use its service first.
Like the Roku, the Amazon Fire Stick can be controlled by voice. But it only works with Amazon’s own voice assistant, Alexa. People who are more interested in other voice assistants may be disappointed by this. So, if you have an Alexa-enabled home, you can use your remote to control your lights, door camera, and more. You can even tell Alexa to take care of your schedule and list of things to do each day.
The private listening mode isn’t nearly as full-featured as Roku’s. You can use the Amazon remote to listen, but you must use Bluetooth headphones. Even then, depending on the headphones you use, the sound may be a little late. It’s not very good.
The Amazon Fire TV mobile app lets you search for content or use it in place of your remote, but it doesn’t let you listen privately. The mobile app also sometimes has trouble connecting to the device, so you have to sync it again.
The Roku-like list of games is also available on the Fire TV Stick. You’ll have to use the remote to play these, so don’t expect as much interaction as with a traditional game console.
Other than that, the Fire TV stick doesn’t have as many unique features as the Roku. There is no guest mode or a way to find the remote. Even though the remote is a great way to use Alexa, all of these small problems make Fire Stick a less feature-rich device. Consider this device the hub of your Amazon Smart Home. If you’re already part of the Alexa ecosystem, you’ll want it.
Roku vs FireStick: Interface
Even though Roku has more features, it’s time to compare these two devices in terms of how they work.
Roku Streaming Stick Plus Interface
The Roku’s interface is pretty easy to use. When you first log in, you’ll see a simple streaming homepage with information about your inputs, streaming apps, and more. You can also go to the Featured Free page, store pages, search, or the settings for your Roku from here.
Unlike FireStick, the Roku’s interface doesn’t make you feel like the platform is trying to sell you something. Amazon’s content is always autoplaying on FireStick, which uses up your data and slows down your device. Since Roku is a third-party service that gives you access to different streaming platforms, it doesn’t have its own content to compete with.
In the same way, the Roku feels more like a general streaming service than a specialized one, which isn’t a bad thing. If all you want to do is watch videos, this interface is good for that. It doesn’t look too fancy.
Your Roku’s home screen will be made up of the apps you choose. As you use Roku, it will learn from your choices and give you a completely personalized experience. You can also choose a theme, like a space theme.
The FireStick interface is beautiful, but it doesn’t work as well as it looks.
Right away, the interface shows you a lot of different ways to stream. But this also includes a highlight reel of Amazon Prime content, which is of varying quality. From there, you can scroll down the list to see highlights from different streaming services, but again, the focus is on Amazon Prime content.
If you slide the navigation bar to the right, you can get to live content, free content, movies, shows, and even apps. Really, it’s a lot, especially for someone who doesn’t know much about technology. With the FireStick, it can be hard to decide what to do.
There is no way to take the attention away from Amazon content and put it on something else. The stick is set up to show you this kind of content, which can be annoying for people who don’t like Prime.
Roku vs FireStick: App Selection
Applications are a great way to make the most of your Roku or FireStick. Let’s talk about the options for each.
Roku Streaming Stick Plus App Selection
Roku has a lot of different apps that can be used by anyone. Starting out, the “Roku Channel” is a great place to watch free TV on the platform. This channel is only available on this streaming stick. It has a constantly changing list of free movies, TV shows, and other things to watch.
Aside from that, there are basic services like YouTube, HBO Max, and Hulu. Roku also has some international channels and apps like Spotify that let you stream music. Streaming-wise, there’s nothing here that’s really unique. Instead, there are a lot of TV channels and apps. Even so, there is an extra place where you can download games.
You can play simple arcade games with your Roku remote, kind of like how you can play games on your phone. You can look for these kinds of games in the store and download as many as your device will hold. There are also weather apps for the Roku that let you know what’s going on outside.
FireStick App Selection
While the Roku is more for the average streamer, the FireStick lets users try out sideloading and other applications that have nothing to do with TV. This is a big deal for many people.
The platform has all the usual apps like Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, and Amazon Prime, but Amazon Prime is put front and center. With the Roku, it’s much harder to choose home screen apps, which is bad for people who use more than one streaming platform.
But the choices for apps that don’t stream are, well, prime. You can install a VPN to browse from other countries, use your favorite app to check the stock market, or even use a native FireStick app to browse TikTok.
The Android-based OS on FireStick lets it do all of these things. A lot of the apps that can be used on Android phones, Kindles, and other devices can also be used on FireStick. You can even download old games to play on your TV, like Final Fantasy IV or Sonic the Hedgehog. When it comes to FireStick apps, there are a lot of different things you can do.
Roku vs. FireStick Device Options
In the last part of the guide, we mostly talked about the Streaming Stick Plus and the original FireStick. However, there are more options on either side, depending on how much you want to spend.
Roku Device Options
There are other Roku models to think about besides the Roku Streaming Stick Plus. Each has its own features and price.
- The cheapest Roku option is the $29.99 Roku Express, which is a simple plug-and-play box with simple remote control. It has the same streaming apps as the Stick Plus, but setting it up is easier and there isn’t nearly as much junk on it. It does not, however, stream in 4k HDR.
- Roku Premiere ($34.99): Serious content consumers should at least get the Roku Premiere. This device supports 4K HDR, which gives you the best possible viewing experience. This device comes with a free 4K channel so you can test it right away.
- Roku Ultra ($99.99): The Roku Ultra is the “ultimate streaming player” for the service. The Ultra comes with a wireless adapter that is much more powerful, so you can stream from any device in your house from farther away. This model can also stream over Bluetooth, and it even has a remote finder built right into the device.
FireStick Device Options
In this article, we have mostly talked about the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K. Now, let’s look at Amazon’s other gadgets.
- Fire TV Stick Lite: This is the basic Amazon Fire TV Stick. It costs $29.99. It can’t stream in 4K, but it can stream in full HD. The purchase also includes the Alexa Voice Remote, but it doesn’t have a lot of basic features like a volume control for the TV.
- Fire TV Stick ($39.99): The Fire TV Stick is more expensive than the Lite because it comes with a full remote that lets you switch inputs, change the volume, and change other TV settings.
- Fire TV Cube ($119.99): The Fire TV Cube is the most expensive streaming device from Amazon. It can stream in 4K Ultra HD and supports both HDR and HDR10+. For people who are part of the Amazon ecosystem, the Cube lets you talk to Alexa and do things like check the weather, change the volume, and much more.
Which is Better?
It depends on your situation which choice is better. Roku is the best choice if you don’t depend on any service and just want to stream from Hulu, Netflix, and other apps without being bothered.
But what if you are already part of the Amazon ecosystem, pay for Prime, and have Alexa devices all over your house? The best choice is the Fire Stick. In the long run, it will only make your life better.
Legal Disclaimer: FireStickTips.com does not check the legality or safety of any add-ons, apps, or services mentioned on this site. Also, we don’t promote, host or link streams with copy protection. We are very against piracy, and we tell our readers to stay away from it at all costs. When we talk about free streaming on our site, we only mean content that is in the Public domain and doesn’t have any copyrights. Read the whole thing.
FireStickTips.com is a blog that is paid for by its readers. If you buy something after clicking on a link on our site, we may get a commission. Find out more.