We chose Roku and here's why
Both the Roku Streaming Stick Plus and the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K are fantastic, affordable streaming devices with huge libraries of content. Each one gives users access to some of the best programming that TV and movies have to offer, as well as more “hidden” content that you might not find elsewhere.
On the other hand, both the Roku Streaming Stick Plus and the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K can seem oddly similar at times, which makes it hard to narrow down which of the two is the better option. In short, both are great choices, but the one you should choose depends on your other preferences.
Both Have Loads of Content
The main concern with any streaming device is exactly how much streaming content it grants access to. After all, no one wants to invest in a product that will only let them stream two of the dozens of major services, right?
The good news is that both Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and Roku Streaming Stick Plus have large amounts of content available, including all the major streaming networks. You can access Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and any other service you can think of from either of these devices—although, naturally, Prime Video takes center stage with the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K.
Roku Streaming Stick Plus does have a bit of a leg up in terms of content, though. It has more channels than any other platform out there, although many of those channels are just curated lists of YouTube videos. It might not sound like much, but it’s hard to pass up the chance to find quality YouTube content that might not otherwise show up in your algorithm.
Roku Streaming Stick Plus also provides users access to the Roku Channel: a free, ad-supported network. It’s a lot like free networks like Pluto TV or Peacock. You may see a few ads, but everyone likes a commercial break from time to time.
Roku Streaming Stick Plus Is the King of Search
Although both platforms have quality search engines, Roku Streaming Stick Plus clearly takes the crown. It has a robust search function that allows you to find content. If you’re looking for a movie and it’s available on a streaming service, Roku Streaming Stick Plus will find it—period.
You can type in the name of a movie, and Roku will list every provider of that film—free and paid—in descending order from least expensive to most expensive. If it’s a movie you need to rent off Amazon Prime, you can easily see the prices.
The search function saves you a lot of effort in terms of loading up individual services and using their built-in search engines to check for content. You can even search across services you don’t have installed.
The search function isn’t limited to just movie names, either. You can search for specific actors or directors and watch someone’s entire filmography. If you’re a hardcore fan of an actor, this is a great way to see everything they’ve ever been in.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K has a similarly robust search engine, but it prioritizes Prime Video content ahead of everything else. Roku Streaming Stick Plus doesn’t care what services you use, and feels more user-friendly in that regard.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Is Great for Prime Users
Despite Roku Streaming Stick Plus’s numerous strengths, it doesn’t include a smart assistant as part of its programming. Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K gives users access to Alexa and her many skills. Aside from the obvious functions like controlling the smart home, adding to your calendar, and similar options, Alexa can play content for you with just a simple request.
You can ask Alexa to play a specific movie or show, perform a search, and much more. If you’re watching a movie and see a particularly tasty-looking dish, all you have to do is ask Alexa to add that to your shopping list. It’s an all-in-one function that particularly benefits those already in the Amazon ecosystem.
Both Platforms Stream 4K
No one can deny the appeal of 4K programming, especially when you take one look at just how good a movie like Moana looks on the big screen with crisp, clear HDR. That said, it often comes at a price.
Both the Roku Streaming Stick Plus and the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K provide the highest possible resolution along with HDR. The Roku Streaming Stick Plus is available for $50. The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is the same price (although at the time of writing, a limited-time deal put it at $38.)
With 4K TVs becoming more affordable day by day, it is worth investing in a streaming stick capable of handling 4K content, even if you don’t yet own a TV that can fully display it.
Which Is Easier to Use?
Unlike many other streaming options, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and Roku Streaming Stick Plus both include remotes. This makes them unique in a world where smart phones have become the de facto control devices. However, it also makes it more appealing to a wider range of people, especially those that aren’t as comfortable with technology.
The remotes include voice controls, too. You can simply request the content you want, which is faster than surfing through numerous menus. However, true ease of use boils down to the interface–and in that regard, the Roku Streaming Stick Plus wins.
Although the Roku Streaming Stick Plus’s interface is a bit dated, it is intuitive and easy to understand. You can more easily find your favorite streaming services than on the Fire TV Stick 4K.
Which Is Better?
Overall, Roku Streaming Stick Plus is a better purchase. It ticks more of the boxes that make it an appealing purchase than the Fire TV Stick 4K, especially to people who aren’t overly familiar with technology. The ease of use and search functionality, as well as the broad range of content, make Roku Streaming Stick Plus the clear choice.
On the other hand, if you regularly use Amazon, have a smart home full of Alexa products, and you’re fully immersed in the Amazon ecosystem, then the Fire TV Stick 4K is definitely worth your consideration. The diehard Amazon user will find more use out of the Fire TV Stick 4K than out of Roku Streaming Stick Plus.