The difference between Roku and firestick requires a detailed discussion in order to determine which one is the best device for you. Based on their features and services, both the devices are on top of recommendations. Thus, many become confused choosing the right one. But, not to worry, this article is manifested to clarify this ongoing confusion.
To connect your tv or home theatre to the internet, you need a streaming device. However, there are smart televisions that already have this advantage. Yet, streaming devices are especially produced keeping the thing in mind that there are still many televisions that don’t have a built-in internet connection, or have the scope to watch videos, music, and movies. Streaming devices are smart, convenient and save a lot of storage space on your TV. They give you the advantage of real-time access.
Think you are watching Youtube videos, Netflix series, Amazon prime movies, live sports or other stuff on your existing TV, doesn’t that sound exciting? All you need is a device that opens up the opportunity. Maybe you are just one step away. Well, which one should you choose, Roku or Amazon Fire TV stick? It’s time to dig in.
Table of Contents
|Home screen navigation||Fewer options, and looks clean. Have the scope to place the apps at customized position.||More options, so, looks a bit messy. Icons pop up based on recent and previously viewed contents.|
|Remote control||Has a couple of shortcut buttons of some popular streaming platforms.||Doesn’t have shortcut buttons for popular streaming platforms. Has a mute button, sleek in shape compared to Roku remote and has the options to control all kind of soundbars.|
|Voice control||Supports google and Alexa both.||Supports Alexa but doesn’t support Google.|
|Apps||Has less games compared to firestick||Has more games compared to Roku.|
|Storage||256MB of channel memory space and 512MB operating memory.||Has 8GB memory where 4.5GB can be used as internal memory.|
|Parental control feature||Doesn’t have parental control.||Has parental control option.|
|Private listening||Can be listened privately, has an audio jack for plugging in headphones.||Can be listened privately. Headphones can be connected only via bluetooth.|
Roku inc. is a USA based company that manufactures media streaming devices. Merely in 2020, the amount of revenue Roku made was 470 million dollars. Roku streaming devices are most popular for their low price, simplicity, and top quality services. Let’s go through some features and advantages first.
Home screen navigation
Compared to other streaming devices like Amazon fire tv stick or google chromecast, the Roku streaming device is well-known for its easily customizable home screen with simplicity. The apps are visible with thumbnail views on the right side of the home screen and lets you arrange them the way you want to. Pretty similar to your smartphones.
If you are a person who gives priority to well-organized stuff, Roku is a perfect streaming device for you then. It’s easy to navigate and gives you the option to place your most-watched service at your desired position. Suppose you watch Netflix a lot; you will have the option to customize and place it on top of the apps or wherever you want it to be.
Roku remote control features a couple of dedicated shortcut buttons to navigate some popular streaming channels like Netflix, Hulu, Sling, etc. If you aren’t in a mood to search for the channel you want to watch, you just can press the button on the remote control. However, as these buttons are mostly limited to four particular channels, if you don’t use or watch those channels that are placed on the remote, these buttons are actually nothing more than useless for you.
There is a microphone button for voice commands and some other essential keys like volume, programs, home, back, etc.
Roku has a microphone to navigate content or to launch apps. If you are searching for a movie; all you have to do is to say the name by activating the voice command option on the remote. Not to mention, each time you search for something using the voice command, you’ll have to add the term Roku with it.
Roku works with Alexa and Google Home speakers both. So, if you are busy cooking but in a mood to listen to some funky music, all you have to do is give a command. Unfortunately, Google does not work on Amazon fire sticks but if you are a google home speaker user, Roku is definitely a better choice for you.
Roku gives you access to its built-in channels for free, where you can find a lot of movies, videos, live channels, etc. There is also an apps tab where you get access to thousands of paid and non-paid apps for watching movies , TV shows and news channels.
You can play games with your Roku streaming device too. There are hundreds of games on Roku’s website for you and excitingly, most of them are absolutely free to play.
The latest version offers you a minimum of 256MB of channel memory and 512MB of operational space. As because Roku is a channel streaming device, it does not allow you to store your videos or games to the card.
Although, you can use up to 8GB of external microSD cards but, we won’t recommend you to use more than 2 gigabytes because it might be enough space to store all your TV channels.
Setup is pretty convenient on Roku. All you have to do is just plug in your device on your TV or home theater and connect it to the network for streaming. Apart from plugging in and connecting to the network, the setup process requires some other simple steps such as, selecting a language, downloading Roku software, setting the display options, connecting the remote, etc.
Yet, if you don’t have a Roku account, you’ll have to create one to get access. This process might take a while, but it’s very simple.
Parental control feature
Unfortunately, the Roku streaming doesn’t give the parental control feature that lets parents to control and restrict inappropriate content for kids. Although, you can create a four-digit PIN, but that doesn’t help you restrict any particular content.
Video and audio quality
Resolution determines the detailed view of a screen. The higher the resolution, the more sharp and clear image quality you get. Roku media streaming device comes with 720p, 1080p,4k HD quality, and 4k ultra HD. To get the optimum result, the user needs to have a TV supporting higher quality.
Roku supports digital stereo on HDMI, digital surround sound,, and Dolby Audio when it comes to audio quality. If you have an external speaker connected to your TV, you’ll definitely get much better results.
Now, that’s a really interesting feature. If you are a person whose favorite tv show comes late at night, but you don’t want to bother others, this feature is specially developed for you then. All you need to do is insert the headphone’s jack into the remote’s port and adjust the volume.
In case you don’t want to use the remote control, you can install the Roku mobile app on your smartphone and connect the headphone to it.
Amazon first released its fire TV stick in November 2014. A smaller device that plugs into a TV’s HDMI port to stream videos, channels, music, etc. More than 40 million people are currently using this device, and the number of sales is rising exponentially every year.
Home screen navigation
The home screen interface in the fire tv stick is totally different from the Roku media streaming. It has its signature, a certain style. Convenient to navigate and displays the contents in such a smart way to its audience.
The fire tv stick home screen shows the previously viewed contents and suggests the latest hot cakes from Amazon prime videos, Netflix, and other streaming platforms.
The home screen shows a list of your favorite apps and if you are a person who doesn’t want to navigate much or search for new exciting content, the amazon fire tv stick is a perfect choice for you.
The difference between Roku and firestick home screen is that the Roku home screen looks pretty clean, but in Amazon fire tv stick, as it suggests many contents, might look a bit messy to some users.
The firesticks remote is pretty sleek and looks much more elegant compared to the remote of the Roku. Essential keys are not much different from Roku remote but, the amazon fire tv stick remote adds a mute button, and the remote can control all the sounds. Where the Roku remote can only control the HDMI supported soundbars.
Unlike the Roku remote, the amazon fire tv remote doesn’t have any shortcut button for specific channels. The buttons on the remotes are pretty soft and easy to press, and it feels better in your hand.
The Amazon fire tv stick can be connected to Alexa, which makes it more convenient to its users for launching videos, movies, or any other content. You simply give a command to Alexa for launching the stuff you want to watch or listen to.
If you connect the fire tv stick to Alexa, you’ll be able to control other home smart devices like smart plugs or smart lights, etc. Alexa also shows fetched weather reports on your TV screen and respond to you via your TV speaker.
Compared to the Roku, the voice control system in the fire stick is much convenient. Although, you’ll be able to connect to Alexa via Roku streaming devices too, but the Amazon fire tv stick will provide you a much smarter experience when it comes to voice control.
Let’s emphasize gaming first. Amazon fire tv stick has a website for a collection of games, and the number of collections is much more than the Roku’s collection. If playing games on tv is a priority to you, firestick is definitely a good choice.
You can access popular platforms like HBO, Spotify, Youtube, and many more through firestick apps. However, for watching cable content you’ll need to have the Amazon prime membership.
The amazon fire TV stick’s storage capacity is way ahead when it comes to Roku vs firestick. It offers 8GB internal storage, where 4.5 GB can be used as internal storage. You also get the free cloud storage access. Since you cannot expand its internal space capacity, you get the option to use an external SD card too.
The Setup process of the firestick is easy and simple, like the Roku streaming device. But it takes less time to finish the process. To start the setup process, you’ll have to create or access an Amazon account first.
Parental controls features
There are many adult, vulgar or gross contents wandering around on the internet. Not all are appropriate for all age groups. Amazon fire tv stick has the option for parental control. Parents can restrict access to inappropriate channels or unwanted content to hide them from their children.
Video and audio quality
The Amazon firestick has excellent 4k Ultra HD streaming quality. Depending on your TV’s quality, the frame rate can reach up to 60 fps with HDR and HLG quality for better pixels.
The firestick supports Dolby audio system, which provides you crystal clear sound.
Like the Roku streaming device, Amazon firestick has also the advantage of listening to content without disturbing others. But the fire tv stick remote does not have a microphone port. So, to listen privately, the user has to connect the headphones via Bluetooth.
The key differences between Roku and firestick
- Roku home screen interface looks clean, and the icons can be set based on priority. On the other hand, the firestick home screen is comparatively messy and the items appear depending on recent and previously viewed content.
- Roku remote control has particular keys for popular streaming channels. Firestick remote control doesn’t have particular keys for popular streaming channels but has a mute button.
- Roku supports Alexa and google voice command both. Firestick supports Alexa but doesn’t support google voice commands.
- Games can be played using a Roku streaming device but has fewer games on its website compared to the Amazon fire tv stick.
- The setup process takes more time compared to the firestick.
- Roku has 256MB channel storage space and 512MB operational space. On the other hand, firestick has 8GB of storage space where 4.5 GB can be used as an internal storage space.
- Roku does not have the parental controlling option. Firestick has the parental controlling option in order to restrict inappropriate and unwanted channels and contents.
- Roku has an audio jack for plugging in microphones on its remote control. Firestick doesn’t have an audio jack on its remote control, but microphones can be connected via Bluetooth.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs):
Can I stream 4K on Firestick or Roku?
You can stream 4k on firestick and Roku both, but you need a TV that supports 4k videos.
Is Roku cheaper than Firestick?
The price of Roku and firestick streaming devices both starts at the same range. However, the price may vary depending on the versions.
Can I get local channels?
Yes, you can watch local channels on streaming devices like Roku and firesticks. While You’ll have to pay for some channels and some channels can be watched completely free.
Is Netflix free with Amazon Fire Stick?
You need to subscribe to Netflix for watching the programs. However, wherever you access from or whatever the media device is, you’ll have to pay to watch Netflix.
What is free on Roku?
The Roku channel is free on Roku streaming devices. However, there are some other popular channels like CBS news, popcornflix, ABC, crackle, and some other channels that are free to watch on Roku. Youtube can be watched for free too.
If you are thinking about buying a smart tv, but you don’t have the budget right now, you can buy a streaming device. The price range of both Roku and firestick starts from around $30. This article has discussed the difference between Roku and firestick to ease your decision-making and to help you understand which streaming device between these two is better for you.
Eric has been writing technology-based articles since 2014 and has served for several popular websites. A tech-savvy, a brit-pop lover, and a person who has a passion for learning new things. Eric is currently working as a full-time technical content writer.