Which Stick Do You Want?

Not too long ago I wrote a post about the variety of streaming services available to users for watching television and movies. There has been an ongoing battle between streaming devices for your business. The companies involved in this battle are Google, Amazon, Apple, and Roku. Yesterday, however, Amazon announced their newest recruit, the Amazon Fire TV Stick. The Fire TV Stick is competing in a subcategory of small HDMI stick streaming devices against the Roku Streaming Stick and Google Chromecast. PCAdvisor’s comparison article outlines the differences in depth, but I’ll give just a brief overview of which of these three you may be looking for.

I think there are really only a few key categories of specifications to compare these devices: price, content, control/casting, games/misc.

Price – Chromecast
The price of these devices are all fairly similar. The Chromecast sells for $35, Amazon Fire TV Stick for $39 and Roku for $49.

Content – Roku
When it comes to content Roku is the winner. While Amazon and Google aren’t far behind, Roku has over 1,800 channels available.

Control – Roku/Amazon
The Amazon Fire TV Stick and Roku Streaming Stick both come with remote controls for choosing content. This is because these two sticks have actual software built into them where all of your channels are stored. The Chromecast, however, relies on your smartphone or tablet to run the operating software and merely ‘casts’ your applications onto your TV. The Roku can be controlled by a smart phone or tablet as a remote, as well. As an added competitive feature, Amazon Fire Stick allows you to do voice search to find titles without typing.Amazon and Roku are the real winners in this category, because of the variety of ways you can control the device, while not absolutely being tied to a tablet or phone.

Casting/Gaming – Chromecast
This section is more or less the ‘icing on the cake’ for many people, depending on what you’re looking for. The Chromecast can screen mirror your Google Chrome tabs from your PC and show your photos and videos from your phone. The Roku Streaming Stick has this smartphone ‘casting’ of photos and videos, too. If gaming is important to you the Amazon Stick has games built in, and the Chromecast can mirror your phone’s games. The Roku Stick cannot play games.

Conclusion
Chromecast – Cheapest $, no remote, content limited, cast and mirror phone/pc.

Amazon Fire TV Stick – Middle $, remote/voice control, good amount of content, games.

Roku Streaming Stick – Highest $, remote/smartphone control, the most content, casting.

Hopefully this helps you make a decision based on what you’re looking for. Be sure to visit each company’s site for more details:

Chromecast
Amazon Fire TV Stick
Roku Streaming Stick

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