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This in-depth article will compare Roku vs. Firestick to determine what is the best streaming device available.
Both devices provide users the ability to stream content directly to their television in High Definition.
This article compares the devices’ features, capabilities, price, and more to help you decide which is right for you.
While Roku devices are a popular choice for “cutting the cord”, they do not offer the accessibility and content that a Fire TV device will.
TROYPOINT always suggests using Android-powered devices such as a Firestick or Fire TV for streaming.
This is due to the side-loading abilities these players provide that allows users to install 3rd party applications not available in the device’s App Store.
These “secret” apps serve up Movies, TV Shows, Live TV, and more for FREE.
TROYPOINT TIP: If you are new to streaming and wondering how to get started with this technology, check out our FREE TROYPOINT Supercharge Guide.
This guide will show you how to get the most out of your streaming device and “supercharge” it for free Movies, TV Shows, and more.
What Are Streaming Devices?
A streaming device is a physical media device that is used in conjunction with your television to provide apps and content.
This is done, for example, by connecting your TV to the Internet so you can watch a movie, play top 40 hits, or listen to a top-rated podcast on your device.
Streaming technology comes in different forms. They can be built in the smart TV or gaming device such as new versions of Xbox and PlayStation.
You can also use a separate streaming device such as the Amazon Firestick or Roku stick to view content.
Simply plugging a streaming device into an HDMI port on your television will allow you to play movies, tv shows, news, live events, game, and more.
The most popular streaming devices among cord-cutters in 2020 is the Amazon Firestick, Fire TV, Roku, NVIDIA Shield, MECOOL KM3, Tivo Stream 4K, and several Android TV Boxes.
Why Use a Streaming Device?
Using a streaming device lets you access movies, news, TV shows, podcasts and music without having to download them to your hard drive. This saves you a lot of storage space in your devices.
Real time access is another advantage. Depending on your internet speed, you can watch or listen to media right away instead of waiting for the file to be downloaded completely.
You can also save different apps on your streaming device. Take your entertainment system wherever you go, so if you’re out of town and stuck in your hotel room, you’ll never have to miss the next episode of your favorite TV show again.
Check out the links below for the best apps and APKs that you can download.
Finally, there is unlimited content you can choose from to suit your video and audio streaming preferences.
Apps for Movies and TV Shows, Live TV Services, 24/7 Sports, Music, and more are available to turn your streaming device into your own personal media hub.
Although we cover Roku devices on this Website, we don't recommend them due to their closed system. We recommend the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K due to its low price and ability to easily Jailbreak it which will allow for free movies, TV shows, live channels, sports, games, and more.
Comparing Roku vs Firestick
Roku vs. Firestick, how do they compare? If you’re shopping for a streaming device, you’ve probably come across one or both of these options.
The Fire TV Stick 4K was released by Amazon in 2018, which is an upgraded version of the previous model.
Along with the 4K streaming feature, the device now comes with an Alexa Voice remote control.
To learn more about the Firestick, click the link below:
Roku, on the other hand, released the fourth generation of its players in 2015 to match the market’s demand for inexpensive streaming devices.
It has several versions of the device that vary in size, power, price, and more.
While the most popular Roku choice is the Roku Streaming Stick+, there are cheaper options that can still provide an enjoyable streaming experience.
This includes the all-new Fire TV and Fire TV Stick Lite that Amazon added to their Firestick lineup.
Both options are under $40 and use the Fire TV OS that will allow you to install all the best apps in an affordable device.
To learn more about Roku devices, click the link below:
The Better Choice? Amazon Firestick
While Roku may cost less upfront, users will not be able to enjoy apps such as Cinema, Kodi, and more.
This can end up costing much more in the long run as owners must purchase subscriptions for streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, etc.
Roku uses a closed operating system that does not allow for the installation of 3rd party applications.
Because you can’t Jailbreak a Roku Device, the Firestick is a superior choice.
Firestick owners can use the Downloader App to install various applications not available in the Amazon App Store.
These apps provide access to Movies, TV Shows, Live TV, games, and much more, all for FREE.
This is often referred to as “jailbreaking” and is popular for devices such as the Amazon Firestick and Fire TV.
TROYPOINT has a complete tutorial for jailbreaking a firestick that will walk you through the entire process step-by-step.
This guide has been accessed by over 4 million cord-cutters across the world.
We highly recommend the Amazon Firestick as the preferred streaming device because of its low price point and side-loading capabilities.
Below is a table that compares the technical aspects of Roku Streaming Stick+ vs. the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K.
|Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K||Roku Streaming Stick+|
|Processor||Quad-core 1.7 GHz||Quad-core|
|GPU||IMG GE8300||ARM Cortex A53|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 5.0 + LE||no information available|
|Ports||HDMI output, micro USB for power & OTG connection||Power, HDMI 2.0a, mini USB for advanced wireless receiver|
|System Requirements||High-definition television with available high-speed HDMI input, high-speed internet connection via Wi-Fi||High-definition television with available high-speed HDMI input, high-speed internet connection via Wi-Fi|
|Content Format||Video: Dolby Vision, HDR 10, HDR10+, HLG, H.265, H.264, VP9
Audio: AAC-LC, AC3, eAC3 (Dolby Digital Plus), FLAC, MP3, PCM/Wave, Vorbis, Dolby Atmos (EC3_JOC)
Photo: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP
|Video: MP4, MOV, M4V, MKV, WebM
Video Codecs: H.264/AVC, HEVC/H.265, VP9
Audio: AAC, MP3, WMA, WAV (PCM), AIFF, FLAC, ALAC, AC3, E-AC3
Photo: HLS/CMAF, Smooth, DASH
|TV Compatibility||TVs that stream in HD, Ultra HD and 4K, or any TV with a HDMI port||HD TVs, 4K UHD TVs and 4K UHD HDR TVs|
|Networking||802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless receiver||802.11ac MIMO dual-band wireless receiver|
|Power Consumption||about 4W||Less than 3W|
|Power Input||5V – 1A||5V – 1A|
Other Important Features
The following features compare the differences between Roku vs. Firestick.
The Firestick’s remote control is designed with control buttons for convenient press and play.
Set the device to mute or adjust the volume, return to the previous page, move forward to the next track or activate voice command using your remote control.
The Firestick remote is synced with Alexa and can be paired with other devices for a completely hands-free experience.
The Roku stick’s remote control features the same buttons but also comes with shortcut buttons where selected channels are assigned on each.
This is convenient for users who want to switch from one favorite channel to another.
Firestick is compatible with any high-definition television with available high-speed HDMI input, high-speed internet connection via Wi-Fi.
Roku is compatible with HD TVs of up to 1080p, 4K UHD TVs of up to 2160p, 4K UHD HDR TVs that support HRD10.
Firestick allows you to store data with its 8 GB capacity. Cloud storage also comes free for all content purchased from Amazon.
The Roku stick, however, has limited storage at only 256 MB and only 512 MB memory.
You may connect external devices to the Fire TV Stick such as additional storage via an OTG Cable.
Check out our in-depth Firestick storage guide below for more information on that.
Firestick and Roku both have a simple setup process. Just plug it into the HDTV and start connecting to the network to start streaming.
Take note that if you’re a new user, you need to first create an account to get started.
Parental Controls Feature
Firestick allows parental controls to be activated to prevent unwanted content or those that are inappropriate for children to be accessed.
A 5-digit PIN is needed to safeguard access to the device as well.
The Roku stick doesn’t have parental controls but users can create a 4-digit PIN before they can add new channels to the player.
Remember, however, that the PIN cannot be used to prohibit which content can be played on the Roku stick by children.
Voice Command Feature
Amazon has packed the Firestick with Alexa Voice Remote feature.
This lets you launch apps and search movies, music, and shows and adjust the soundbar through voice command recognition.
For example, if you want to have a classic comedy night with your friends, simply say, “Alexa, find movies by Charlie Chaplin.”
Roku meanwhile supports voice search via the free Roku mobile app and is also available for the Roku stick models but not for the Express and Premier series.
Streaming and Picture Quality
The Firestick’s 4K Ultra HD streaming quality that can accommodate 720p, 1080p, 2160p and reach up to 60 frames per second (fps), provides outstanding picture clarity, splendid and vibrant colors, and excellent HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG quality for richer pixels.
This feature will work with a compatible Ultra HD televisions only.
The Roku stick’s 4K Ultra HD quality streaming claims to produce brilliant and crisp details and smooth videos.
To achieve such high-quality viewing, you need a 4K Ultra HD TV, stable and high-speed internet connection, and the correct HDMI port on the TV.
The Fire TV and Firestick 4K support Dolby Audio for crystal clear sound.
The Roku stick also has superb audio features, which support digital stereo over HDMI, DTS Digital Surround and Dolby Audio.
Amazon provides an accompanying mobile app that features voice search (limited to select countries only), playback controls, easy keyboard entry, and quick access to apps and games.
On the other hand, you may download the free Roku mobile app so you can use your phone to control your Roku stick, listen with your friends through the private listening feature and also cast your phone’s photos, recorded videos and stored music on your phone to your TV.
Amazon Prime members can enjoy exclusive access to movies and shows from Amazon Originals using their Firestick not to mention premium cable channels such as Cinemax, HBO, STARZ and SHOWTIME.
Music streaming is also made easier with Prime Music.
For paid channels, Firestick users can choose to start with a free trial first before paying monthly or annual subscription fees.
Roku, on the other hand, claims to provide access to more than 450,000 movies and TV programs from thousands of on-demand streaming services.
Additional Accessibility Features
Firestick users with visual impairment can access the device’s features using the VoiceView screen reader.
Roku also has the same support using the device’s Audio Guide feature.
Firestick comes with a limited 1-year warranty and service and an optional 2- and 3-year extended warranty for buyers in the United States.
On the other hand, the Roku stick hardware comes with a 2-year warranty.
Why use a VPN with your streaming device
Whenever installing third-party applications to any device, TROYPOINT recommends a VPN to secure your identity.
Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to install a VPN application on a Roku device but it is possible on the Amazon Firestick.
In order for your Roku device to be protected by a VPN, you will need to set up a VPN through your router. Refer to our guide below for that.
If you would like to learn How To Install a VPN on your Firestick, Fire TV, or Fire TV Cube use the link below:
TROYPOINT recommends using IPVanish VPN due to its blazing-fast download speeds and user-friendly interface.
IPVanish does not retain any logs, which means they will never store any information about your VPN session or information on how you use their service.
For more information on VPNs and the importance of using a VPN while streaming, refer to our in-depth VPN Guide below.
TROYPOINT TIP: Users can find IPVanish and tons of other streaming apps available in the TROYPOINT Rapid App Installer.
This app allows you to install the best streaming apps and tools in a matter of minutes rather than installing each APK one by one. Use the link below to access this free application.
Frequently Asked Questions about Roku vs Firestick
Which streaming device is best?
Right now, the Amazon Firestick is the best streaming device due to its low price point and side-loading capabilities.
Is there a monthly fee?
Neither devices require a monthly fee. However, some applications require subscription payment for use.
Can I get local channels?
Yes, with the right service or IPTV app, these devices will allow for streaming of local and national channels.
Is Roku cheaper than Firestick?
Some Roku devices are cheaper than the firestick but don't provide the same capabilities as the Amazon device.
Can I stream 4K on Firestick or Roku?
The Amazon Firestick and Roku Streaming Stick+ both have 4K UHD abilities as long as your television supports 4k streaming.