Roku vs. Fire TV

Internet & Streaming

Roku got its name because in Japanese, Roku means “six,” and it was the sixth company launched by company founder Anthony Wood.

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Which is better?

The Roku and Amazon Fire TV stick are two of the most convenient ways to gain access to any of the ever-growing list of streaming services, including Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Hulu and Disney Plus. 

Between the two devices, they both have access to thousands of apps and both are reasonably affordable. In the end, it boils down to a matter of convenience: The Roku player has a more intuitive layout and objective platform experience. In contrast, the Amazon Fire TV Stick has convenient access to Alexa and a better voice-controlled remote.

Roku

With a Roku TV remote, you can turn any television into your streaming hub. By creating a free account and hooking the player up to your TV’s HDMI port, you can access hundreds of free and paid channels. Known for its user-friendly remote and straightforward interface, the Roku player allows a person to customize their TV layout so all their favorite apps are in an easy and accessible menu.

What you’ll love about Roku

There are many benefits of streaming via Roku TV beyond its content. Between the two streaming devices, in terms of content, the two are pretty even, with hundreds of free and paid-for apps to customize for your perfect streaming experience. Beyond that, here are a few other benefits.

Customizable interface

One of the primary reasons people prefer Roku over other streaming devices is its intuitive and convenient user interface. From either one of their remotes or their Roku app, which turns your smartphone into your remote, you can search for your favorite apps, which are added to your Roku home screen. Once you have found and installed all your apps, Roku provides an easy way to customize your homepage into a helpful grid so you can place your apps based on your preferences. If you want YouTube to be the first thing you see when you turn on your TV, Roku can make it happen.

Affordable

Roku Express 4K Streaming Media Player

Roku streaming devices start at $30, making them convenient and cost-effective. The Roku Express 4K Streaming Media Player is one such choice, giving a user access to all their favorite shows in HD or 4K quality (if paired with a 4K TV). Roku also has more expensive streaming sticks, such as the Roku Streaming Stick+, which comes equipped with an all-in-one streaming device with a voice-activated remote for a little bit more than the Roku Express.

What you should consider about a Roku stick

While there are many great things about Roku players, a few things are worth considering.

Constant software updates

Similar to your smartphone, Roku is often updating and refreshing its software, making streaming inaccessible while doing so. This may be inconvenient for those who want to catch up or binge the newest episodes or releases. However, it is worth mentioning that because Roku is constantly updating its software, it is continually updating and improving on its already solid foundation as a streaming device.

Compatibility issues

Roku claims all its devices can pair with any and every TV with an HDMI port. Of course, if your television does not have an HDMI port, the Roku player would be incompatible. If this is the case in your situation, it might be worth looking into updating your television with a more recent model.

Top Roku TV players

Roku Streambar and Media Player

Aside from the Roku Express and the Roku Streaming Stick+, there are a few other Roku options suitable for everyone. There is also the Roku Express 4K+, a streaming player that has the same affordable price as the regular Roku Express but with the added compatibility of working with 4K TVs. Suppose you are looking for a more immersive experience for streaming. In that case, the Roku Streambar and Media Player is an all-in-one player and soundbar, equipped with all the streaming selections in standard Roku products with the big sound provided by its 14-inch soundbar. 

Amazon Fire TV

The Amazon Fire TV stick is just as reliable, compatible and convenient as the Roku streaming stick, with the added specification of being specialized for streaming Amazon’s streaming service, Amazon Prime.

What you’ll love about an Amazon Fire TV stick

Like a Roku player, the Amazon Fire TV stick comes with a dongle that can attach to the back of a TV via its HDMI port. From there, you are granted access to hundreds of streaming services and apps.

Amazon Prime Videos

Amazon Prime Videos is what the Amazon Fire Stick was created for. Because of this, the Fire Stick is directly connected to your Amazon Prime account, making it easy to complete purchases for movies, series and music from the convenience of your couch. While a Roku player can download and utilize Prime Videos, the Fire Stick makes the app that much more helpful.

Voice control

When it comes to voice control to find shows and films, the Fire Stick is better. There is a built-in voice control button on every Fire Stick remote, making it convenient to do anything Alexa can do, including controlling your home’s smart-home devices, getting weather and even a joke when you need a pick-me-up.

What you should consider about an Amazon Fire TV stick

Like the Roku player, the Amazon Fire TV stick comes with some downsides.

Emphasis on Prime

The Amazon Fire TV stick was explicitly designed to sync with Amazon Prime Videos and Alexa. This can be both a pro and a con, as the device’s emphasis on Amazon services may be overwhelming, especially if you are not an Amazon Prime member.

Limited synching

The Amazon Fire Stick is a great all-in-one device that works well by itself. However, unlike many other streaming devices, it cannot pair with peripherals such as Bluetooth headphones or laptops.

Top Amazon Fire TV players

The Amazon First TV Stick

The Amazon First TV Stick is currently in its third generation and is 50% more powerful than previous generations, with full HD access to thousands of apps. The most affordable option for Fire TV players is the Fire TV Stick Lite, which comes with Alexa voice controls but does not have TV controls included. In terms of more expensive Amazon players, the Amazon Fire TV Cube is Amazon’s most powerful streaming device. It comes equipped with a built-in speaker, Alexa voice activation and the ability to control smart devices.

Should you get a Roku or Fire TV player?

Ultimately, the primary difference between the two players is that the Roku player has a more user-friendly interface. In contrast, the Fire TV player has integrated compatibility with Alexa voice control and Amazon Prime. Regarding content and price, both streaming devices have access to all the apps you could want and then some while being offered at an affordable price. 

If you are looking for a device with that added convenience for the Amazon ecosystem, the Fire TV player is the better choice. If you are looking for a more well-rounded and easy-to-use player, then the Roku TV player is right up your alley. Either way, you are getting access to all your favorite shows and movies.

 

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Jared Lindsay writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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