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HOME / Smart Home / Amazon FireTV 2017 vs Roku Streaming Stick+ vs Chromecast Ultra
Amazon FireTV 2017 vs Roku Streaming Stick+ vs Chromecast Ultra
Comparison of the best 4K streaming sticks from Amazon, Roku, and Google
Before we cover the major advantages/disadvantages of each of these streaming devices, let’s cover what they have in common. Here’s a list of what you’ll get regardless of which device you select.
– Plug in via HDMI port and powered off of USB cable
– Stream content from Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, SlingTV, HBO, YouTube, and others
– Watch 4K videos
– Listen to music via Spotify, Amazon Music, and others
– Pair with Amazon Echo devices (Roku / Amazon) – Pair with Google Home (Roku / Chromecast)
– Use phone as remote
– MSRP of $70
That’s the big stuff. Of course, there are differences with software and apps, but for the most part, that’s what you get with the three devices.
So why get the Amazon FireTV 2017 over Roku Streaming Stick+ or Chromecast Ultra?
The first major reason is you’re invested in the Amazon ecosystem of products. If you have an Echo Dot and you use it regularly, for example, it’s just simpler and easier to integrate in your FireTV 2017. You just need to worry about one app and one account. Plus, your FireTV will pair up with the Echo so you can ask Alexa to show things on your TV.
Additionally, if you get the FireTV 2017, you’re probably a Prime member or are open to becoming a Prime member, which has a lot of benefits such as free music, cloud storage, movies, 2-day shipping, and more. If you’re not a Prime member, you can get a free 30 day trial with this link.
A few of the content sources that the FireTV supports.
Even more, while the FireTV 2017 does not have expandable storage, it does have 8GB of internal storage if you want to download a lot of games and apps. You don’t get any storage with the Chromcast Ultra or Roku Streaming Stick+. This is not a major selling point, but it is nonetheless one point of differentiation.
Last up, Amazon integrates with vastly more smart home devices. As an example, simply by asking Alexa, you can have the FireTV 2017 display the feed from your IP security camera. Supported brands include Logitech, Arlo, Nest, Ring, TP-Link, August, and Amcrest, among others. For the record, Roku works with Alexa as well, but again, simpler to go with the FireTV.
Also, the Chromecast and Roku work with Google Home, however, it supports less third party hardware devices than does Amazon and Alexa.
So what’s the bottom line with the Amazon Fire TV 2017?
It’s a really good streaming device, especially for the money. It has apps for darn near everything and it functions as a really neat piece of your smart home. Integration with Alexa is seamless. The remote has voice search or you can just use your Echo device. You make very few compromises with the FireTV, particularly if content is really your main concern.
What’s in the box.
As mentioned above, it works with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, and has apps for ESPN, SlingTV, Spotify, and others. The biggest reason to get this device, however, is if you’re invested in the Amazon ecosystem already. Otherwise, keep reading.
FireTV 2017 sounds good, but why get the Roku Streaming Sick+?
There’s a lot to get to. The Roku Streaming Stick+ is a heck of a device, especially for the size. This is the smallest and lightest device of the three. It’s basically the same size as a flash drive from 2007. It also comes with a charging cable that doubles as a Wi-Fi range extended, which definitely helps out when you’re streaming 4K content.
Next, the remote is legit. Sure, we love that you can do voice search with the Amazon remote, but the Roku one also has quick access buttons for Netflix, Playstation Vue, Hulu, and SlingTV, which makes watching content even easier from those four sources. Further, the Roku remote has a volume rocker on the side and power button that allow you to control your TV. If you’re a cord cutter like me, the Roku remote, allows you to ditch your TV remote. Love it. And just to be extra clear, the Roku remote does in fact have a voice search buttons.
Which brings me to my next point. Search is better with Roku. You can search for a specific show or movie and have Roku pick it out from within apps. With Amazon, you can search for the content, but if it’s not on Prime video, it just prompts you to open the respective app where the content is. For example, if I search for ‘The Office’, Roku will bring up the show, while Amazon has me open Netflix.
And keeping with content, the 4K Spotlight app from Roku is awesome. It basically aggregates 4K content from your favorite sources so that you don’t need to go search just to watch 4K videos. Unfortunately the 4K Spotlight does not yet work with Netflix, but it does compile from Hulu and Vudu.
We also really like the Roku app. In addition to acting as a remote for the streaming device (which you do get from Google and Amazon), it allows you to listen to your content with headphones if you don’t want to disturb someone that’s sleeping. Clearly, this isn’t a feature that everyone will use, but it’s another feather in Roku’s cap.
Also, here’s Roku’s official video for the Streaming Stick+. The video highlights the key features of the device.
Bottom line with Roku Streaming Stick+
If you aren’t concerned with smart devices and integration with Alexa, the Streaming Stick+ is the way to go. It just has too many pro’s and too little con’s. It’s the best all around streaming stick there is.
This is by far the most minimalist of the three devices. Mostly because rather than having a user interface, the Chromecast uses your phone, tablet, and computer for everything. That’s good and bad. It’s good because setup is easy and it works with a huge number of apps.
It’s bad because you rely a lot on other devices to control it. As an example, if you want to watch Netflix, you need to stream it from your phone and cast that to the TV. Same goes for YouTube and others. It’s easy, but not really my favorite way to consume content.
Further, the Chromecast has the best integration with Google devices and services. As an example, your Google Photos can not only be displayed on your TV, but also be used as screen savers. Even more, you can control your TV and the content you want to watch with the Google Home Mini or Google Home. Just as the FireTV integrates seamlessly with Echo devices, the Chromecast works perfectly with Google Home products.
Easy to control Chromecast Ultra with Google Home device.
Screen mirroring also happens to be way better with the Chromecast Ultra. Not only can you screen mirror from you Android phone, but also you can display any website on your TV as long as you’re using Google Chrome. This is an underrated feature. I regularly watch videos on my laptop. Streaming them to the Chromecast is crazy simple. You cannot screen mirror on the FireTV 2017, but you can with Roku.
Last up, the Chromecast has a native ethernet port, while the other two do not. To be fair, you can purchase a separate accessory for the FireTV 2017 that gives you an ethernet port for wired internet. All this does is help with streaming since you might be watching 4K content. It’s a minor point for a lot of people, but it matters with streaming quality.
Also, here’s Google official video for the Chromecast Ultra. It shows you a little more about the design and features of the Chromecast Ultra.
Bottom line with Google Chromecast Ultra
It really is more of a smart home device than a streaming stick. There’s pro’s and con’s to that, clearly, but if you’re a heavy Google user and you’d like to stream content and cast things to your TV, the Chromecast Ultra is your best bet.