Roku vs. Amazon Fire TV Review 2020
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 gadget permits a utility to obtain information and deliver it to the consumer as a gradual stream of transformed audio or video. This is completed, for instance, by connecting your TV to the Internet so you’ll be able to watch a film, play top 40 hits, or take heed to a top-rated podcast in your gadget. Streaming know-how is available in totally different types. They may be built within the sensible TV or gaming gadget similar to new variations of Xbox and PlayStation. You may also use a separate streaming gadget such because the Amazon Firestick or Roku keep on with view content material. Simply plugging a streaming gadget into an HDMI port in your tv will let you play films, television exhibits, information, stay occasions, recreation, and extra.
Why Use a Streaming Device?
Using a streaming system helps you to watch motion pictures, information, TV reveals, podcasts, and music without having to obtain them to your laborious drive. This saves you a number of cupboard space in your units.
Real-time access is one other benefit. Depending on your web velocity, you’ll be able to watch or hearken to media immediately as an alternative of ready for the file to be downloaded fully. You may also save totally different apps in your streaming system. Take your leisure system wherever you go, so for those who’re out of the city and caught in your lodge room, you’ll by no means need to miss the subsequent episode of your favorite TV present once more
Looking for an inexpensive, simple method to get streaming video from Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube, , , HBO, and every little thing else on to your ? You have two wonderful selections: Roku and Amazon Fire TV. Roku has long been the most well-liked title in , however lately Amazon” data-s-object-id=”article-body; annotation”>Amazon’s Fire TV system has been . At CNET we have spent countless hours testing gadgets from each platform and normally each work nice. Most of the Roku and Fire TV gadgets we have reviewed have received an 8.0 (wonderful) ranking or greater.
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.
Best for Home Screen Navigation: Roku
(Image Source: Roku)
If being organized is a precedence for you, then a Roku could be a greater choice for you. This is as a result of Roku allows you to prepare all of the apps on the house display screen, identical to you may in your smartphone. For instance, in the event you use Netflix greater than another app, you may place Netflix within the top row so that you don’t should spend time trying to find it.
Aside from your apps, the Roku residence display screen additionally has all of the tabs on the left facet of the display screen. You can simply browse the Featured Free tab totally free motion pictures and TV exhibits, or head all the way down to Search to seek out motion pictures and TV exhibits. If you don’t keep in mind the title of a film, you may even search by actor or director.
Roku has emerged as a serious competitor to each Amazon and Google in the previous few years. Its was additionally the corporate was first to launch a 4K streaming stick within the UK – the Roku Streaming Stick+, which boasts 4K and HDR10 help. It’s a slimmer gadget than the chunky Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, and due to this fact a lot simpler to accommodate in your TV’s HDMI slot.
The essential choice between Roku and Amazon is that Roku does not make its personal TV reveals. Instead, Roku launched a free, ad-supported TV streaming channel within the UK and US. Anyone with a Roku streamer can gorge themselves on 10,000 films and TV episodes, of various high quality. Because Roku does not have its personal reveals to advertise, there is not any exhausting promotion as to what to look at. The result’s an unbiased content material discovery platform that is a lot cleaner – and higher organized – than Amazon’s. Navigating a number of streaming apps and flipping by menus is fast and hassle-free too.
Roku serves up all the foremost apps, together with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV, Google Play, HBO, Hulu, Showtime, YouTube TV, Sling TV, Fubo, NBC. You additionally get Now TV (UK), Vudu (US), and Google Play – none of which can be found by Amazon’s Fire TV streamers.
Voice controls are primary however are you able to add control and stream media out of your smartphone or tablet with the free Roku app, which serves as a distant control. There are some intelligent options, together with the power to pay attention privately by headphones in order to not disturb others in your family.
Unlike the Fire TV, there’s no HDMI extension cable within the field. You can order one free from Roku’s web site, however that’s not best. The Stick+ is powered by way of your TV’s USB socket, making it extra handy than the Fire TV.
Roku offers an amazing platform and loads of bonus options, however, in the end, Amazon Fire TV one-ups Roku on the subject of voice controls, Prime Video content material and all-round 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 have already got an Amazon Alexa sensible residence speaker, then Fire Stick is the best streaming gadget for you. Just join Alexa to your Fire TV Stick, and you’ll watch no matter you want without ever reaching for the remote.
All you need to do is say, “Alexa, watch Friends,” and the Fire Stick will routinely play Friends. The Fire Stick even has a neat characteristic that rewinds the film if you say “Rewind 20 seconds.”
You may also command Alexa to do different issues by way of your Fire Stick. You may even use your remote to control your different sensible residence gadgets, similar to your sensible mild bulbs. Or you may ask Alexa questions concerning the climate, and you will note the outcomes in your TV. Alexa may also reply to you thru your TV speakers. So, in the case of Roku vs Fire Stick, all of it is dependent upon what sensible speaker you will have put in. However, the Fire Stick does have higher 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.
There’s no contest on this one. While each platform assists you to search by voice, Fire TV helps you to launch movies and music immediately by its voice distant in more services than Roku does, together with Netflix and Amazon Prime. It additionally helps to tune to reside channels in some streaming providers, and if in case you have an Echo speaker, you may launch films and exhibits without even touching you’re distant. (Roku does assist hands-free controls with Echo and Google Home speakers, however, the syntax is clunky and the controls are restricted.) Amazon’s Alexa assistant additionally lets you control sensible house gadgets, ask common questions, or view safety camera feeds utilizing the Fire TV remote, which isn’t a choice on Roku gamers.
Physical design is not normally all that vital for streaming units; in any case, one small black field or stick is just about like one other. But the Roku Premiere goes past trying unattractive; it is functionally obnoxious.
Rather than a stick or a strong field, the Premiere is a tiny, light-weight little cylinder, the scale and weight of a small cigar. It does not plug immediately into an HDMI slot, dongle-style. As such, the power of the common HDMI cable will hoist it up and make it dangle. You can use an included adhesive strip to tape down the Roku Premiere, however in case you ever want to maneuver it after that, good luck. By distinction, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is, well, a streaming stick. It plugs immediately into an HDMI port. However, at 4.1 x 1.2 inches, the system is a bit on the massive aspect (most streaming sticks are round three inches long), and it requires an exterior power supply to work correctly. Neither design determination is right. But it is nonetheless greater expertise than attempting to finagle the tiny Premiere into place.
The one space the place the Roku Premiere enjoys a significant benefit over the Fire TV Stick 4K is in its interface. Roku has had the best interface within the streaming recreation for fairly a number of years now, with solely the Apple TV giving it a critical run for the cash. (And that costs $180 for a 4K variant — not precisely a funds system.) Roku has clear, clear, light-weight menus, which allow you to customize your house display screen together with your favorite apps and a wide range of engaging themes. The system couldn’t be extra engaging or easier to make use of.
In distinction, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is all about that Amazon Prime content material. May you have a Prime subscription? Because the very very first thing the Fire TV Stick does once you set it up is present you a video about how significantly better your life could be in case you do. Past two preliminary rows of apps, the house display screen is nothing however a long string of Amazon suggestions. Almost every different tab is a long line of Amazon-curated TV and films, whereas the music and picture apps default to you — you guessed it — Amazon. It’s useful, but it surely comes on a bit of too robust. Check out our how to use the Fire TV Stick information in case you’re having bother.
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 scored their fair proportion of five-star opinions for his or her streaming merchandise, however, which one do you have to go for?
There’s little doubt that Prime Video subscribers – and those that love Alexa – will likely be interested in Amazon Fire TV. The interface is perhaps Prime-focused however it’s fast, simple to make use of, and presents loads of streaming apps.
The 1080p Fire TV Stick with Alexa is perhaps cheaper however it’s not the best worth; splash out the additional £10/$10 and you will be rewarded with the format-friendly Fire Stick 4K which helps Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos sound. We assume it is the best streamer in the marketplace proper now.
If you are not a fan of Prime Video, Roku’s sleeker, the unbiased interface will enchantment. It solely has fundamental voice controls (not a ‘good assistant’, akin to Alexa) however the Streaming Stick+ remains to be an extremely progressive product that is a doddle to make use of and nice worth for cash.