Choosing the best streaming device between the two – Roku or Amazon Fire TV – can be a complex task, here we help you with the needed information on both the streamers so you can decide for yourself.
If you’re looking for an easy way to get streaming services from Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, HBO, Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus, and such others on your TV, you have two better options – Roku and Amazon Fire TV. Roku is a more established name and has been offering streaming devices for a long, but Amazon Fire TV has made quite a name recently. Both the streaming devices are great performers in general and have received positive reviews from the users.
So how to choose between the two? To begin with, first, see what is common in them.
- The modern devices of Roku and Fire TV are equally responsive and fast, as well as provide reliable streaming with support from a strong WiFi connection.
- Both provide access to many TV apps including the major web streaming services, also they look and behave the same way.
- They’re reasonably priced as Roku TV starts from $30 while Amazon Fire TV ranges from $40.
- Both the devices come with the remote providing control for TV volume and power button, thus letting you leave your TV remote aside.
- They provide different models from basic streamers to 4K compatible variants with device and voice control, also offering headphone jack built into the remote.
So which one’s has an edge over the other? Roku overall than Fire TV. There are two major reasons for Roku to be a better choice as following:
Roku has a better-organized menu with apps showing front and center, even you can arrange them as you want just like on your phone. It helps you to quickly get to the apps and shows that you want.
While Fire TV streaming device offers a menu with a bunch of movies, TV shows, and apps. They may not relate with your choice, even you may not care about them as they may be the shows that Amazon wants you to watch.
Roku provides a price-oriented and straight forward search. You can see how much a TV show or a movie costs and click on it to watch or buy it, also you can know to be a subscriber whether you can watch it for free.
Fire TV search provides results with multiple options that may confuse you. As while searching on Fire TV, once you get what you want, it prompts you to its primary services where you are offered more options to watch.
Roku Express better priced than Fire TV (unless sale)
Roku offers a better priced $30 Roku Express as an economic streaming choice. Roku Express provides all the Roku advantages and delivers an excellent performance, but without any extras.
While Fire TV with its economic $40 version has more features than Roku Express including voice and TV remote, also it often goes on sale for $30.
Though both have other expensive versions like Roku has seven in all and Fire TV has two more expensive versions. They’re above basic versions and don’t additionally charge for extra features
Roku wins 4K and HDR with $50 stick
Roku Streaming Stick Plus for best 4K experience
Here is a close contest between $50 Roku streaming stick plus and same priced Fire TV stick 4K. But again the advantage goes to Roku.
Roku offers a better interface and search, also provides more options to buy or rent 4K movies. While Fire TV has two major movie stores absent – Google play movies and Vudu – to buy or rent movies, also Apple TV app doesn’t let you buy movies within the app. Though this is not any big advantage as you can buy or rent movies elsewhere like from Movies Anywhere on Fire TV’s menus.
The main benefit Fire TV has over Roku is its compatibility with Dolby vision HDR format which might give you better performance if you have a TV with improved DV than standard HDR. Though this advantage of Fire TV is not enough for many to beat Roku’s strength.
Fire TV & Alexa for best voice experience
Fire TV is a clear winner if you use voice control for movies and TV shows. Every Fire TV stick has a remote with built-in voice control, from $40 basic version to advance versions. While Roku also provides voice remote but its basic version like $30 Express Plus and $40 Roku Premier don’t offer this feature.
Though both the voice systems let you easily launch apps, search, and control playback like pause, fast forward, and more, yet Fire TV allows you to do everything that Alexa does including answer questions, weather reports, control smart home devices, with on-screen results. Alexa also responds through TV speakers.
Like with Echo Dot having Alexa compatibility, you can work through Fire TV hands-free. For instance, just a command to Alexa will let Fire TV launch your preferred app or show.
Roku works the same way with Google Home speakers and Alexa but not that effective. You have to say Roku at the end of every command – like Ok, Google, launch Roku. If you own a Google Home speaker and want to use it for TV control, Fire TV may not be an option.
Roku for best private listening via headphones
Roku offers a cool feature in its high-end streamers – a headphone jack built into its remote control. Once you plug the headphone into the remote, audio on the TV or soundbar automatically mutes and the sound starts coming through headphones. Also, you can control the volume with your smartphone.
All the high-end and latest Roku devices including $100 Roku Ultra, $80 Ultra LT, and $60 Streaming Stick Plus, have a remote with a headphone jack.
Also, Roku devices offer private listening using the Roku app on your smartphone. All you need to do is to fire up the app and connect headphones to your phone.
Fire TV provides private listening by pairing Bluetooth headphones, but it’s not that effective. It also lags in audio and error like lip-syncing could occur. You may realize the need for having volume control built into the headphone while using Fire TV.
Fire TV best for TV and device control
Roku and Fire TV both come with the remote designed to control your TV. They can be used in place of your TV remote. Both have a simple set up as the device automatically identifies your TV and programs the remote. Though Fire TV is more capable and even cheaper.
Roku offers remote with its low-priced streaming devices – $40 Express Plus and $50 Roku streaming stick. While low-priced Fire TV stick priced $40 comes with remote control.
Roku streaming device comes with the remote having power button and volume up/down control, while Fire TV remote has an additional mute button with power and volume buttons.
Roku remote is only for TV control but with Fire TV remote you can control AV receivers and soundbars. Roku’s remote can probably control power and volume of your TV that supports HDMI CEC and HDMI soundbar while Fire TV can control any soundbar effectively.
Also, Roku doesn’t have anything like Fire TV Cube, priced around $120 – a little box that combines the capabilities of Fire TV Stick 4K and Echo Dot, also have unique ability to control your entertainment system with voice.
Now, at this point, you hopefully have enough information to decide which of the two streaming devices can work best for you. Using the above information, you can better find the perfect streamer for you. In case you need further consultation, you can reach out to our experts.
If you need any help setting up your Chromecast, Roku or Amazon Fire TV just let us know we provide streaming video device setup & support. Visit our website Hello Nerds for more info.
Sit back and enjoy the show!!