Nowadays, people are spoiled by their choices. If they want to watch a movie, there are dozens of apps they can use. If they’re going to watch an old TV show, they can easily find it in a few seconds. However, watching media on smartphones and computers is not always a convenient choice. That’s why we made this Roku vs Firestick comparison guide!
Sometimes people want a smart, inexpensive streaming solution to get media on their device. That’s where hardware like Roku and fire stick comes to play. The differences between Roku and Firestick are minute but important. Following features provide the key basis of differences between Roku and Fire stick:
- 1 Streaming Options For Roku And Firestick
- 2 Movie Streams
- 3 Other Streaming Channels
- 4 Video Streaming Winner
- 5 Firestick Vs Roku – VPN Selection
- 6 Amazon Fire Stick Vs Roku: Cost
- 7 Hacking And Sideloading
- 8 Running Kodi on Roku and Fire Stick
- 9 Features
- 9.1 Amazon Fire Stick Vs Roku: Specifications
- 9.2 Amazon Fire Stick Vs Roku: Controls
- 9.3 Amazon Fire Stick Vs Roku: Using Smartphone Apps
- 9.4 Amazon Fire Stick Vs Roku: Interface
- 9.5 Amazon Fire Stick Vs Roku: Web Browsing
- 9.6 Amazon Fire Stick Vs Roku: Speed
- 9.7 Amazon Fire Stick Vs Roku: Gaming
- 9.8 Amazon Fire Stick Vs Roku: Screen Mirroring
- 10 Firestick Vs Roku – How To Decide
- 11 Conclusion
Streaming Options For Roku And Firestick
Both the fire stick and Roku were made for stream purposes. Each offers a wide range of selection of channels and apps user can install, allowing access to a variety of content from across the web. They stream live sports, movies, TV shows, and a lot more.
STREAMING TV SHOWS
Need to binge-watch a classic movie or series? How about catching up on new shows or checking out a new pilot? Roku and fire stick both offer easy access to many of the most popular TV streaming services around. User can get access to live content too.
The TV oriented subscription service provides a wide variety of TV series than most of its competitors. It’s all because of active licensing deals with content distributors. Hulu has a decent selection of movies, brand new shows released the day after they air, and optional add on content like live TV and showtime. Hulu works flawlessly on both fire TV and Roku, thus no matter which device users choose, they will be set for TV.
The “a la carte” TV streaming service lets users watch only the channels they are interested in. No crazy upgrade schemes or weird packages are needed. Users need to pick their favorite content and pay for it. It’s plain and simple. Sling TV is a staple on both Roku and firestick. It’s easy to use on both devices and works smoothly even with HD content.
HBO GO AND HBO NOW
If users are interested in shows like Game of Thrones, then HBO‘s streaming apps are all they need. Both the subscription companion app and the standalone service are available on Roku’s channel browser and fire TV’s app store. Prices are the same on both devices, meaning there is practically no difference between these two platforms.
Both Roku and fire stick provide access to some of the most significant resources around for movie streaming.
Netflix is the most significant video streaming service present on both fire stick and Roku devices. In reality, there is a very minute difference between the app on either device. The feel and look of the fire stick’s version are more comfortable to use than android’s Netflix app. Users for whom Netflix is the primary source for movies, either fire stick or Roku is a perfect choice.
Amazon prime subscriber can get access to tons of free content on amazon’s instant video service. TV shows, movies, foreign content, and a lot more are available there. New freebies are added regularly, meaning that there is always something new and fresh to watch. Even if users do not use amazon prime, they can use Amazon Instant Video to purchase or rent TV shows and movies at a suitable price. The app runs great on both fire stick and Roku, though a lot of people swear it runs a little faster on the former.
The Crackle app offers tons of free movies, both classic and new releases for the movie lovers. People need to sit through some commercials before the movie is over, but all content is free. Crackle is available in almost similar formats for both fire stick and Roku.
Other Streaming Channels
Neither fire stick nor Roku stops with the most important streaming services. Besides the likes of Netflix and HBO, people can find apps for live streams; user-made videos, and a lot more.
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The YouTube app is great service for all types of videos. It is crammed with hundreds of millions of pieces of contents; enough to keep viewers indulge deep in the content for life. Roku has a distinct advantage here, as youtube is no longer present on the fire stick platform. People can side load youtube on firestick, but it can take some time. On the other side, Roku runs youtube out of the box without any additional installation required.
Streaming esports and live video games are becoming more and more famous as time goes by. Amazon-owned Twitch is the primary platform for this, and the app is present on both fire stick and Roku. The Roku’s version seems like it’s a little more updated than its fire stick competitor. But Twitch runs just fine on both devices.
Video Streaming Winner
Firestick and Roku both offer a fantastic variety of TV channels and movies, both free and paid subscription-based. All the big shows are there, and many secondary services are simple to install, too. Roku somewhat edges out fire stick in this department; it’s mostly because of its bigger selection of third party channels. Browsing Roku’s services can turn up some real gems.
A COMPLICATED COMPARISON
Unfortunately, it’s hard to make a like-for-like comparison between Roku streaming sticks and amazon fire tv. Amazon has two products: the fire TV stick 4k and the Fire TV stick. On another side, Roku has six devices which can be taken as fire TV competitors: Roku express, Roku express +, Roku premiere, Roku premiere +, Roku streaming stick, and Roku streaming stick +.
Firestick Vs Roku – VPN Selection
Irrespective of streaming device choice, keeping people’s data secure and private is a top priority. But the question is which top tier VPN works with which device and which one offers the most options? Using a virtual private network is a different experience with Roku and firestick. These devices are not developed to run many apps; thus, people often have to use secondary sources to get the VPN working just right.
Things are somehow better with a Fire stick. The device runs an operating system based on android, which means people can sideload VPN onto fire without too much tension. On the other side, Roku does not support VPN installs, and there is no way to add them externally.
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People will need to set their VPN up with a router to protect their whole internet connection for this device. It’s not impossible, but an extra step can be frustrating.
VPN Selection Winner: Firestick
Firestick is a clear leader in terms of overall internet security. The android based device can work with several high-quality VPN services without any difficulty. People can even install them directly from amazon’s app store.
To use VPN with Roku, people have to resort the secondary setup procedures like router installs and MediaStreamer DNS rerouting, which is not the most suitable solution. Firestick is the best option if security is the prime priority.
Amazon Fire Stick Vs Roku: Size Comparison
Although both Roku and fire stick is small and pocket-sized devices, Roku is narrower and shorter than fire stick. It can make a big difference depending on people’s travel plans and entertainment setup. The Roku remote is also shorter than fire TV’s standard remote, though it is considerably chunkier.
Amazon Fire Stick Vs Roku: Cost
Before going deep into technical specifications and features, let’s deal with the elephant in the room – the cost of these devices. Amazon’s entry-level Fire TV stick costs $39.99. The 4K version will cost more $10, coming in at $49.99. The cheapest Roku model is the Roku express. It costs $29.99, and it’s more affordable than Fire TV.
- 4K Firestick: $49.99 and plays videos up to 4K
- 2nd Gen Firestick: $39.99 and plays videos up to 1080P
- 1st Gen Firestick: $29.99 and plays videos up to 720P
- Roku Express: $26 Refurbished on Amazon and pays up to 1080P content
- Roku Streaming Stick +: $49.99 on Amazon and plays 4K Roku content
- Roku Streaming Stick: $38.22 on Amazon (used) and plays videos up to 1080P
- Roku Premiere: $37 on Amazon and plays HD/4K/HDR
- Roku Ultra: $99.99 on Amazon and play HD/4K/HDR (plus get free JBL Premium headphones!)
On the other hand, top Roku model (ultra excluded) is Roku streaming stick + which costs $59.99. From a price standpoint, the nearest Roku devices to amazons’ two products are Roku premiere, which costs $39.99; and premiere +, which costs $49.99, and the streaming stick, which costs $49.99. It is easy to find the best suitable models at the same price, so there is no real functional difference between these two hardware devices. The user for whom HD is not a top priority, he can even get cheaper Roku devices at around $29.
The addition of new third-party content to the streaming device is the icing on the cake. Even though fire TV and the Roku offer a massive selection of offers, there is always something people can add to get even more use out of their device.
Running Kodi on Roku and Fire Stick
The most popular media center app is Kodi in the world. The free open software gives people access to a massive variety of content; it’s hard to wrap their head around it. Kodi allows people to stream live TV, check out blockbuster Hollywood movies as they are released, watch sports around the globe, and much more.
Kodi does not support either Roku devices or fire TV stick. Again, because fire TV runs an android operating system, people can sideload Kodi without too much hassle.
Amazon Fire Stick Vs Roku: Specifications
It’s the point where things become confusing. Let’s make sense of all the different models offered by these two companies.
The amazon devices: The basic fire TV stick has 1.3GHz processor, support for Bluetooth 4.1, and 8 GB of internal memory.
It runs videos in 720p or 1080p resolution at up to 60 frames per second (FPS). THE 4k model has a notable improvement. It has 1.7GHz processor, 2160p video resolution, and support for Bluetooth 5.0. The internal storage is the same 8GB.
Three Roku products which include the express, express +, and streaming stick only offer 1080p resolution, the offers provided by 4K amazon device.
Amazon Fire Stick Vs Roku: Controls
All amazon fire TV and Roku devices delivered with dedicated remote control. Both amazon models support Alexa. If people want to control their Roku with their voice, they will need to purchase a Roku premiere +, Roku streaming stick, or Roku streaming stick +.
Both devices also possess an accompanying remote control smartphone app. Finally, if people have an amazon echo speaker, they can sync it with their fire stick TV and use it to control their content.
Amazon Fire Stick Vs Roku: Using Smartphone Apps
Companion apps for iOS and Android devices are great sources to extend streaming hardware’s functionality. Both Roku and firestick are supported by several third-party remote apps along with an official Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled the remote app.
Amazon Fire Stick Vs Roku: Interface
Visually, the amazon platform is more advanced and seems more polished. However, critics have argued that it pushes amazon’s content too aggressively. It’s a positive viewpoint. People will only see one row of their apps at the top of the screen, and if they have installed too many apps, they will need to scroll to the right and click on the View All to see them.
The rest of the home screen is taken up by the content from amazon prime video. Even people do not subscribe to the service, they will see it.
Roku’s interference is more customizable. All channels are displayed in a scrollable list. If the user installs third-party add-ons, they can even place their channels into groups for better navigation. On the downside, Roku’s menus and visuals are outdated. They badly require a refresh.
Amazon Fire Stick Vs Roku: Web Browsing
Speaking about the browsers, it is essential to note that only the amazon products offer their users to surf the web. Two browsers are available – Firefox and amazon’s silk browser. User can control them both easily using the fire TV remote. People can also sideload apps on fire TV sticks. The process let them install any browser from the Google play store. However, all other browsers are not compatible with the remote, meaning people also need to install a mouse app on their fire TV.
Amazon Fire Stick Vs Roku: Speed
Roku and fire stick are almost equal in terms of actual specifications. The Fire TV stick has a faster processor and much more storage, however, which is useful if a user plans on installing many third-party apps. Both devices play HD videos with any hassle and have lag-free interfaces.
Amazon Fire Stick Vs Roku: Gaming
Amazon Fire TV sticks and Roku devices both offer games on their platform. Perhaps, hardcore gamers maybe find fire TV devices are more affordable for their needs. Generally speaking, Roku games are a bit “cutesy.” Surely, they keep people entertained for half an hour, but they do not offer enjoyment for a long time.
The games on amazon’s devices are beefier. People will find titles such as badland, star wars, and Minecraft.
Indeed, if the ability to game on one’s streaming device is high on their list of priorities, neither a fire TV stick nor a Roku can hold a candle to NVidia shield. People can stream titles from their PC using NVidia GameStream, download a host of local games from Nvidia and google play, and install emulators for classic consoles.
Amazon Fire Stick Vs Roku: Screen Mirroring
Roku devices have built-in Miracast technology. Miracast seems like a wireless version of an HDMI cable. Most windows and android devices are miracast compatible.
Apple devices are not. Some older amazon fire TV models support screen mirroring. Strangely, it is available on neither the third generation amazon fire TV stick nor the 4K model.
Firestick Vs Roku – How To Decide
Still, it is confusing to choose the better between these two platforms. It’s not a simple decision; both pieces of hardware are the best at what they do. Following things can help in choosing which device is better:
GET A FIRESTICK IF…
You enjoy sideloading content and using all kinds of “unofficial” apps to watch free Streaming TV & movies. Or if you want to play games on their TV or if they cannot live without amazon’s dedicated video streaming services.
GET A ROKU IF…
You want a range of free third part channels, you want more hardware options, or they need YouTube on their streaming device.
Roku and Fire streaming sticks are breathtakingly convenient devices. Either one gives access to more TV shows, and movies than the user can ever hope to watch. Deciding which one is better depends entirely upon the user’s preferences. There is no harm in trying one of these hardware devices and have an extraordinary experience. Both have a low price tag; thus, there is no harm in trying them both too.
The most important thing is, people cannot install third-party apps on Roku devices. In contrast, they can install third-party apps on amazon fire stick and fire tv. This is a vast and mega difference because millions of fire stick users get free TV and movies by using third-party apps.