With online video streaming growing even more popular, we’re also seeing an abundance of media players flooding the market. Amazon has its range of Fire TV players, Google has Chromecast, and Roku has a host of powerful streaming devices. And they all come with solid features and impressive price tags.
Since you have so many options, it can be difficult to narrow down what device would work best for you. These devices each have unique benefits that make them a great choice for someone depending on their individual preferences.
For instance, Fire TV players may be great for someone who’s a huge Amazon fan and wants to seamlessly integrate their subscription with the device. Chromecast is an excellent choice for someone with a TV model that doesn’t support a lot of streaming apps. Roku’s range of streaming media players, on the other hand, offers a clean and straightforward interface that appeals to many users.
This makes choosing between the three even harder. The good news is we’re here to help. In this post, we give you a detailed comparison of the three streaming devices with a main focus on the latest models. But since you might be interested in other models as well, we still highlight them all. So you can easily choose between Amazon Fire TV vs. Chromecast vs. Roku depending on which features and benefits are important to you.
Amazon Fire TV vs. Google Chromecast vs. Roku
|Amazon Fire TV Stick (2020)
|Chromecast with Google TV
|Roku Ultra (2020)
|Dolby Vision support
|Google Assistant compatible
|1.4 X 5.5 X 0.6 inches
|1.5 X 4.8 X 0.7 inches
|4.9 X 4.9 X 0.9 inches
Amazon devices compared
There are four Amazon Fire TV models to choose from, including three variations of the Fire TV Stick and the Fire TV Cube. The most affordable option is the Fire TV Stick Lite, which comes with HD (high definition) streaming and costs $29.99.
For an additional $10, you can get the latest version of the Fire TV Stick. This also offers HD streaming like the Lite version, with the main difference being the remote. The Fire TV Stick (2020) comes with an Alexa Voice Remote that also has TV controls.
But if you want 4K streaming, you’ll need the Fire TV Stick 4K. This costs just $49.99 and is one of the most affordable 4K streaming devices in the market. For an even better streaming experience, the Fire TV Cube will give you better storage and full Ethernet support along with 4K streaming. This option will set you back by $119.99.
Roku devices compared
Roku stands out when it comes to choices, offering 5+ different models at the time of writing this post. The least expensive option is the Roku Express, which costs $29.99 and gives you basic HD streaming. Learn more about it in our Roku Express review. You can also get a slight upgrade with voice search capabilities on the Roku Express+ for $39.99.
Also for $39.99, Roku offers the Roku Premiere, which comes with 4K streaming capabilities. This is easily the least expensive 4K streaming device in the market. For a slight upgrade that gives you long-range wireless to enhance your streaming experience, you can also get the Roku Streaming Stick+ for $49.99. Read our Roku Streaming Stick Plus review to learn more.
Next, you have the two premium models — the Roku Ultra LT and the Roku Ultra. The Ultra LT gives you 4K and HDR (high dynamic range) streaming with powerful wireless for $79.99. While the Ultra costs $20 more at $99.99, it also comes with a USB port for local playback. And it has the most premium Roku remote with customizable buttons. Our Roku Ultra review details the rest, so make sure to check it out.
You can also check out our Roku device comparison to learn more about what these different models offer.
Google used to have two main devices to choose from — the regular Chromecast and the Chromecast Ultra. These are both casting devices that let you stream content from your phone or tablet to your TV, making it a great option for those with TV models that don’t support certain streaming apps. Learn more about the differences between these two casting devices in our Chromecast vs. Chromecast Ultra comparison.
The regular Chromecast (3rd Generation) comes with HD streaming and voice support. And it costs only $29.99, which is in line with the most affordable models of Roku and Fire TV devices. Our Google Chromecast review gives you a more detailed breakdown of what the device offers.
Meanwhile, the Chromecast Ultra will set you back by $69. But it comes with 4K streaming so you can get a much better picture quality. Read our Chromecast Ultra review to find out what else it offers.
Google recently upped the game with its first-ever media streaming device — Chromecast with Google TV. This new streaming device from Google comes with impressive features, allowing 4K and HDR streaming with Dolby Vision support. And it only costs $49.99, which puts it in line with the Fire TV Stick 4K and the Roku Streaming Stick+.
Chromecast vs. Roku vs. Amazon Fire compared
Roku has made its name in the streaming device industry mainly because of its user-friendly interface. It takes a “no-frills” approach when it comes to interface design, keeping only the essentials. This makes it extremely easy to use for novice users too.
Although the Amazon Fire TV devices have a decent user interface too, they tend to be slightly clunky since they prioritize first-party ads. These ads take up about half the screen on your home page, which can be a bit distracting for some. Other than that, the layout is pretty straightforward and easy to navigate.
The Chromecast casting devices, on the other hand, don’t have a traditional interface but they still offer decent functionality. And the new Chromecast with Google TV boasts an impressive user interface that’s clean and easy to use. Like with Roku devices, you even have the freedom to customize your app arrangement based on what works for you.
Winner: Roku Ultra
The sheer variety of apps available in the Roku Channel Store puts Roku at the front of the race in this aspect. You can find 10,000+ apps or “channels” in the store along with hundreds more unlisted. Fire TV devices also come close with about 9,000 apps and games available for installation.
While Chromecast with Google TV already has a decent selection of apps, it’s slightly more limited being Google’s first media player.
Winner: Roku Ultra
When it comes to remotes, there’s a close competition between all three options. Amazon Fire TV devices come with an Alexa Voice Remote, but with the Fire TV Stick remote, you get TV controls that let you change the volume or power your TV on or off.
Chromecast also makes it to the competition, with the latest device offering a voice remote. This remote comes with Google Assistant support, so you can easily perform a search using voice commands.
While the above options are pretty solid, the remote that comes with the Roku Ultra does a bit more. Besides offering Alexa support, it also works with Google Assistant and comes with customizable shortcut buttons that you can program as you wish. It even includes a jack to plug in your headphones and enjoy private listening. This gives it a bit of leverage over the Fire TV remote.
Winner: Roku Ultra
As for 4K capabilities, the competition is more about Roku vs. Chromecast with Google TV since the Fire TV Stick doesn’t have 4K streaming. With that said, the Fire TV Stick still offers solid HD streaming with HDR support. So with a compatible display, you’ll still get brilliant and vivid images to enhance your streaming experience.
If you want 4K with HDR, both the Roku Ultra and Chromecast with Google TV will give you stunning picture quality, and both options come with Dolby Vision support to give you an ultra-vivid picture. But since the Chromecast option costs a bit less than the Roku, it takes the cake in this aspect.
All three models come with Dolby Atmos, which further enhances your streaming experience with immersive audio.
Winner: Chromecast with Google TV
Which is right for you?
In the battle between Amazon Fire TV vs. Google Chromecast vs. Roku, the right choice for you really depends on what you need and what you prefer. For Amazon fans, the Fire TV Stick is a great choice since it allows easy integration with your subscriptions. But if you like the seamless user experience and the premium remote control, the Roku Ultra would be better for you.
Overall, however, the new Chromecast with Google TV wins in almost every aspect, giving you 4K HDR streaming at a much lower price point. So consider all the factors that are important to you before making a decision.