They’re cheap, tiny and very useful in your living room. The Americans love them, but they’re becoming popular in Europe as well. Many prefer them over set top boxes because they’re out of sight and they’re installed very easy, although they have their minuses: there are fewer connection options, the storage can’t be expanded and they’re slower. However, they have many functionalities and support gaming, so it will be pretty difficult for you to choose the best streaming stick, according to your needs. Below, we’ll compare three of the most popular devices and maybe one of them will convince you to send your money on it.
Chromecast – $35
Roku Streaming Stick – $47
Amazon Fire Stick – $39.
The Chromecast lacks a user interface, there’s no remote control coupled with it, and basically, it looks like a black memory stick, with a bulge at its base. You just plug it into the back of your TV and use your smartphone/tablet/laptop to cast content from it. Just click on the Cast button from your device and you will play whatever you have on it, on your TV’s screen.
The Roku streaming stick has a simple interface which is considered “bubbly”, while the Amazon Fire TV comes with a techno-flash interface.
The Chromecast features a Marvell DE3005-A1 system on chip with 512 MB RAM DDR3L and supports a low internal memory of 2GB. The latest Roku Streaming Stick has a BCM2835 600 MHz processor backed by 512MB of RAM and has only 256MB of internal storage, while the Amazon Fire Stick is powered by a dual-core 2xARM A9 (up to 1 Ghz) Broadcom Capri 28155 processor which is backed by 1GB of RAM and has a generous internal memory of 8GB.
The Fire TV Stick has 50% more processing power than the Chromecast and 32% more storage than Roku’s streaming stick.
With Roku, you’ll be able to play cute games such as Angry Birds, but with the Fire TV Stick you’ll have access to a collection of games from the Google Play Store, and in addition, it can be used with a console-style gaming controller that is bought separately. Chromecast doesn’t support gaming, but if you’re playing a game on your Chrome Browser window, you will be able to mirror it on your TV.
Roku has the best search function, as it will tell you what/where you can watch and how much it will cost you, while Amazon has a voice search feature which will give you results by searching through a limited number of applications. However, Amazon sells a voice search-enabled remote for the price of $30, which comes in the same package as the Fire TV set-top box.
Roku offers a remote control with more functionalities and shortcut buttons than Amazon Fire TV Stick’s remote, and it runs on all major smartphone platforms, while Amazon is limited to Android and Amazon Fire TV phones.