Roku Streaming Stick vs. Amazon Fire TV Stick: Best Stick For 2019?

Cam Secore
Updated 03/14/2019

After months of testing, I found Roku Streaming Stick+ to be the best streaming stick overall because it has more content options, less advertisements, and its platform isn’t biased. Fire TV Stick 4K is a huge upgrade over the slow Fire TV Stick, but it’s still loaded with ads and missing key apps.

I’ll compare and contrast these two streaming sticks (Roku Streaming Stick+ vs. Fire TV Stick 4K) while evaluating four categories: interface, content, speed, and smarts.

roku stick vs fire stick

Roku Streaming Stick+

8
  • Interface: It's old school and a little clunky, but ads are unobtrusive.
  • Content: It has every streaming service I can think of with no biases. There are many 4K content options.
  • Speed & Specs: It offers similar speeds as Fire TV Stick 4K.
  • Smarts: You can control the TV's volume and search for shows and movies with the remote. It works well, but there's isn't a personal assistant for advanced tasks.

Best for you if...

You want an unbiased platform that gives you endless options and a voice remote that'll find what you're looking for. Roku has tons of options for HD and 4K HDR content. Roku's interface is dated and rough around the edges, but it does a better job of keeping the ads minimal, relevant, and off to the side.

Budget Option

Roku Stick (3800R) has the same features and speed without the 4K compatibility. Roku Stick+ will work with any TV type, but if you don't have a 4K TV, get 3800R for $49 instead.

amazon fire stick vs roku

Fire TV Stick 4K

6
  • Interface: Amazon ads take up half of the home screen, along with ads for cat litter.
  • Content: It has most of the basics, but it’s missing Vudu and YouTube TV. 4K content is lacking too.
  • Speed & Specs: It's finally useable. This generation got a huge upgrade in speed.
  • Smarts: You can control the volume with the remote and search via your voice. You can ask your Echo devices to play content, but it’s not fully baked yet.

Best for you if...

You’re invested in Amazon’s ecosystem and are fine with being inundated with ads. Its biggest advantage over Roku is that you can go hands-free with Alexa (via Echo), but it's still a work in progress and not enough to overcome the advertisement heavy interface, weak 4K content, and missing apps.

Budget Option

Fire TV Stick (2nd Gen) is still sold by Amazon for $40, but it's unbearably slow and has a terrible remote. It was one of the worst devices I've ever tested.

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  1. I’ve been obsessed with gadgets since I was eight years old.
  2. I bought each device with MY money.
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best streaming stick

Common Misconceptions

  • Each Roku generation gets faster and an improved interface. I’ve tested Roku devices from the last five years. The older Roku devices are too slow and clunky to compete with new streaming devices and sticks on the market today. The current generation of Roku devices are the ONLY ones that I recommend:
  • Any streaming stick will work with any TV brand or style. The only requirement of the TV is that it has an HDMI port.
  • Smart TVs typically have clunky interfaces and are an add-on feature. That’s why I recommend a dedicated device. Some Smart TVs are better than others though. For instance, most TCL Roku TVs run a full version of Roku OS and are comparable to Roku Stick.
  • You’ll need a streaming stick for each TV that you want to stream on.
  • These device have minimal free content.
  • You can’t “cut the cord” by just buying a streaming stick. A $50 device won’t magically have free content worth watching. Streaming sticks are your platform for the streaming services that you’ll need to buy. Your streaming stick is your new cable box. Services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, and Showtime provide great content and cost around $15/month.
  • You’ll need fast internet and a strong connection. The more devices that are streaming simultaneously, the better your connection speed needs to be. I recommend at least 20/mbps for one flawless stream.
  • “Cutting the cord” isn’t always more affordable than paying for cable. It sounds good in theory, but it gets expensive when you factor in an internet speed upgrade and being picky about the channels you want. To save money, you’ll need to make sacrifices with your channel requirements.
  • If technology is intimidating to you, don’t cut the cord because it’s going to be a difficult transition.
  • If you’re looking to stream live TV, that’s at least $30/month from services like Sling, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue. (If you need help finding one, I reviewed them).
  • Once you’re a member of a streaming service, you’ll be able to watch the service on as many devices as you want without paying more.
  • Apple TV is my favorite streaming device and by far the best streaming device on the market (my review here), but it’s geared more toward Apple nerds (like me) and people who don’t have money constraints. Fire TV Stick and Roku Stick are the best streaming devices for most and will provide more value for your money.
best streaming stick

Roku Stick+

8

Interface (C):

  • While Roku 8.0 software was a substantial upgrade because were low-quality apps that apps didn’t match the experience of the other streaming devices, Roku software still has work to do. The apps are more consistent, but I still don’t like how the menus are set up, the interface looks dated, and there are design inconsistencies throughout.
  • Unlike Apple TV, Roku and Amazon devices have advertisements and there’s no getting around it because they make money by collecting your data to better target you with services. It’s part of their business models. The difference between Roku and Fire TV is that the Roku ads stay out of the way, and you can easily distinguish ads from the content.
  • You can follow movies and get updates when they become available.
  • You can get your music, videos, and photos on your TV with Roku Play-On. This is similar to Apple’s AirPlay but is located inside the Roku app.
  • The Roku phone app is excellent. You can pick the streaming service you want to use, and it’ll pop up on your TV screen.
  • “What’s On?” feature inside the Roku app tries to curate movies and shows with algorithms. It’s a great idea, and it’s executed decently.

Content (A):

  • There are no biases with Roku’s search for movies and shows. Roku doesn’t create or sell content, so they can be completely objective. When doing a search for content, it’ll show you your free options first (from the services you subscribe to), rather than make you pay.
  • Amazon Video, Google Play Video, Vudu, Hulu, Netflix, Showtime, HBO, Sling TV, DirecTV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, Spotify, and Pandora are available. Roku claims to have 500,000 movies and shows. No streaming device comes close to that number.
  • Roku has more 4K content than Fire TV Stick 4K. For 4K content, you get Netflix, Amazon Video, YouTube, Vudu, and others. Roku has a special section to see all available 4K content.

Speed & Specs (B-):

  • Roku Streaming Stick+ (3810R) and Roku Streaming Stick (3800R) came out in 2017. They are 50% more powerful and use a cleaner and faster version of Roku’s software (Roku OS 9.0) compared to previous generations.
  • You won’t notice a speed difference compared to Fire TV Stick 4K. The apps take about the same about of time to fully load.
  • You can play 4K HDR content, but Roku only supports HDR10.

Smarts (C-):

  • The setup is clunky. The first time I connected to the internet, it failed, and then worked the second time. Also, you need to register for a Roku account and can’t get set up without one. You only setup once, so I wouldn’t worry about this, just keep it in mind.
  • There are four preset app buttons (Netflix, DirecTV Now, Sling and Hulu) on the remote, so you’re stuck with useless buttons if you’re not using all four services.
  • You can ask the remote to search for shows or movies, but there is no smart assistant to do advanced tasks or ask it questions. Roku’s voice search works perfectly by holding the button and saying a movie title. Then, it brings up the movie and shows you which app you can watch it with.
  • You have to hold the remote close to your mouth while pressing the button for it to hear you properly.
  • You can control the volume and turn the TV on and off with the remote.
  • With Private Listening mode, you can play your show’s sound through the Roku phone app, then listen using headphones. It can be useful if you have roommates and are trying to keep the noise down. This feature is technically available with Fire TV Stick, but you have to jump through hoops to connect Bluetooth headphones through the settings menu. It’s seamless on Roku.
  • AirPlay 2 support is coming soon. This means iPhone and iPad users will be able to mirror their iPhone’s screen on the TV via Roku.
  • Google and Alexa integrations are finally here for your smart speakers, but there are a few issues:
    • The setup can be difficult.
    • There’s a lag between the command and the action.
    • The commands are wordy and are often misheard. For instance, “Hey Google, turn up the volume on Roku,” turns up the volume. At this point, unless you can’t find the remote, why wouldn’t you just tap the volume rocker?

Fire TV Stick 4K

6

Interface (D):

  • Half of Fire TV’s home screen is advertising Amazon’s content whether you want to see it or not.
  • Amazon Channels integrates Amazon Video, HBO, Showtime and Starz into one platform, similar to Apple’s TV app. To use Amazon Channels, you pay for HBO, Showtime, and Starz through Amazon on a monthly basis rather than your cable provider.
  • Amazon Channels is a good idea, but it’s a useless distraction to most because you’re likely paying for HBO and Showtime through other means. There’s no way to get rid of it from the interface.
  • At the bottom of the screen is a “sponsored” section that’s static. You’ll see car, razor, travel, computer, and cat food advertisements. Why are you cluttering up my home screen with this garbage?
  • Under your row of hand-picked apps, there are your “most used” apps. In most cases, this results in duplicate apps from the first row and it looks bad. The “most used” is not editable or removable.
  • Amazon’s trying to pull out individual content from other apps and curate it, but it turns into a mess.

Content (C):

  • This device favors Amazon’s content in a big way. There are advertisements for it everywhere. It feels like you’re being sold something every time you turn on the TV. I paid money for this device; I just want to relax!
  • Fire TV Stick 4K is the best way to watch all of Amazon Prime’s content. It’s perfectly optimized and there are cool exclusive features while watching. For instance, you can see all the actors when pausing a show.
  • For HD content, there’s Hulu, Netflix, Showtime, HBO, Sling TV, DirecTV, PlayStation Vue, and others available.
  • YouTube TV is the best live TV streaming service, but there isn’t an app currently, but it’s coming at some point in 2019.
  • There’s no YouTube app either, but you can go to the built-in internet browser as a workaround.
  • There’s a lack of 4K HDR content. There’s no iTunes, Google Play Video or Vudu. You’re stuck with just Amazon (which lacks HDR content relative to iTunes and Vudu) and Netflix.

Speed & Specs (B-):

  • Fire TV Stick 4K is Amazon’s third generation stick. It has 1.5 GB of RAM with a quad-core 1.7 GHz processor and runs Fire OS 6.
    • The second generation Fire TV Stick has 1GB of RAM with a 1.3GHz processor and Fire OS 5 is still being sold for $40. Every action on the second generation felt like it was in slow motion relative to Roku or Apple TV.
    • Fire TV Stick 4K apps open two times faster than the second generation Fire TV Stick. It’s astronomically snappier with everything that you do.
    • Fire TV Stick 4K apps open as fast as it does on Roku.
  • There’s Dolby Atmos support, although there isn’t content that takes advantage of this yet.
  • Amazon supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision. I can’t tell the difference between the two standards, but people smarter than I say Dolby Vision is better.

Smarts (B-):

  • Fire TV Stick 4K knows who you are if you buy it with YOUR Amazon account, which makes installation easier. Also, if it’s your second Amazon device and your WiFi settings stay saved, you don’t have to worry about WiFi setup.
  • You can hold down a button on the remote to ask Alexa a question. It performs any question or smart home task (i.e. turning off the lights, etc.), just like a typical Echo device.
  • With the previous version of Fire TV Stick, you couldn’t control the volume or turn off the TV with the remote. Now, an Alexa Voice Remote is included with a dedicated volume and power button. This remote is a huge upgrade from the previous generation, but it’s still made with cheap materials.
  • If you want to go hands-free, you can set up Fire TV Stick 4K to work with an Echo device. You can ask your Echo to play, pause, or open an app, without touching the remote. For certain apps, you can ask it to play a show directly and it’ll open it in the correct app. For instance, “Alexa, play Bosch on my Fire TV” and Bosch automatically plays in the Amazon Prime Video app, but there are issues:
    • It doesn’t work consistently because the requests get wordy. Alexa doesn’t always understand which service you want to use and doesn’t know non-mainstream shows well.
    • In the future, I want Amazon’s AI to predict which service I want to use, based on my previous usage, without specifying.
    • Alexa works better with Amazon’s own content. You can say “Alexa, play Transparent.” and the content starts without pressing any buttons. The shows open 95% of the time, but it doesn’t always play the 4K version. Why are there two versions of the same movie? It should be one movie and the definition should auto adjust depending on the type of TV display you have.
  • There’s no way to mirror your iOS devices natively. There are a couple of ways to do it with 3rd party apps, but I wasn’t pleased with the performance. Android users won’t have an issue, however.
 

192 Comments

  • Rose ? says:

    Hey Cam! First of all thank you for this! Your comparison is very complete and helpful. I’m almost ready to order the Roku Streaming Stick + . The only thing that worries me a little is that I see several customer reviews on sites like Amazon and Best buy where they say the remote control of that Roku model is defective or “dies” very soon. What has been your experience with it? Thanks so much!

    • Cam Secore says:

      I’ve had no problem with the remote after a year of having Roku Stick Plus.

    • David Kiaska says:

      Rose: The only time my Roku remote died was when the cheap AAA batteries that came with it ran out of juice after about a year.
      I replaced them with Duracell and its still working two years later.

  • Sonia says:

    Thank you. Really appreciate the information.

  • Alicia says:

    I have the old roku. Should I get the stick and what speed internet do I need

    • Cam Secore says:

      There are seven generations of Roku. I’m not sure what “old” is in your book is, but if you’re not having issues with it, keep it! I’d shoot for at least 20/mbps per stream.

  • Crystal says:

    Hi! I’m new to the streaming devices as I’ve been using an Xbox 360 to stream Netflix for the past several years. I was looking at Walmart’s Black Friday ad that has a “Roku SE” for $20, but I’m not sure which version the SE is. Is it older or is it one of the versions you suggested? TIA!

  • Jackie says:

    Cam I am so glad I found you. I’m not techie and your content I can understand. Thanks! I am going to get the Roku 3800R.

  • Marie says:

    So, I just bought the Roku based on your article. I’m very interested to see it as I previously used the Fire Stick and constantly had issues with it. Pairing problems between the remote and stick. Then, issues with the app and stick. Now, it doesn’t recognize anything and was stuck in a loop. Amazon Tech tried to help me. But, could not get it to stop looping. But, to Amazon’s credit they did issue me a credit for it. Thanks again for the comparison.

  • Belle Wray says:

    After a lot of research I think I am ready to get the Roku stick. My ? is, can I still keep my Dish Network acc for all my sports, local channels, and all other channels I enjoy and just use the stick to access Hulu, Amazon video etc? Is is hard to flip back and forth from Dish to Roku stick? Thanks

    • Cam Secore says:

      That’s what most people do. You just change the HDMI input on your TV when you want to switch.

  • Heba says:

    Hi,so you meant Roku is better??i have No experience at all with any of it .i have Not smart TV and I need to buy either google chromecast or Roku or for stick to make it smart Tv and also be able to connect the content of my phone through the TV like YouTube .what is your ecommendation?

  • Bikelady says:

    Cam, please tell me what is the basic cable stuff that I need to use the Rouku+ which I just ordered along with hd antennae. I want to lower my $200 monthly cable bill. I have tv, phone, internet, dvr. I have 200mbps internet. What’s the basic I will need to use Roku? What can I give up, the dvr?
    Haven’t install Roku, want to know the basics. Thanks

  • Christine says:

    Hey Cam-

    When u say the Roku plays Amazon video is that the same as Amazon Prime video?

    Thank u!!

  • Kathleen Garrett says:

    Thank you so much for this information. I am 75 years old & wanted an understandable comparison of the Fire Stick & Roku. You did it!!

  • Jenni says:

    I am trying to wrap my head around all of this. I currently subscribe to Dish Network. I have 4 tvs. I would love to cut the cord with Dish. My internet comes from my local telephone cooperative. If I am understanding this right, I would need 4 Roku sticks, plus 4 tv antennas (for my local channels),is this correct? I already have subscriptions to Netflix and Amazon Prime.
    Please help! Trying to cut costs!

    • Cam Secore says:

      Everything you said is correct. Good luck!

      • Marc says:

        Actually, you can get away with only one TV antenna multiplexed through a booster/splitter and 4 Roku sticks. (Just making sure you don’t waste money on 4 antennas if cabling one antenna is an alternative).

  • Tavonda says:

    Hey with the roku stick will I be able to download the app Xfinity Buddle’s to watch live TV or with directtv live will it have to go thru a contract what’s the best way to go for live TV

  • Gerry says:

    I am so ready to cut the cord with cable.. i just am concerned I will not get local stations abc,cbs etc. I am confused I got the fire stick latest one but now Ithink I should get Roku

    • Cam Secore says:

      Neither of these is going to help you get local channels. You need a live TV service for $40/month.

      • Taylor says:

        Cancel I order the $40/mo plan right on the Roku?

        • Cam Secore says:

          I’ve never tried signing up for Sling, Hulu Live, YouTube TV, or PlayStation Vue though the Roku, but I’m guessing it can be done. But why not just sign up on your phone or computer first?

      • Stevie says:

        Do a google search on “HD TV antenna” You can buy them for less than $10 on places like ebay. After that 1 time payment for the antenna, you can get local live TV stations FREE FOREVER with it. Use this along with your Roku, Fire stick, etc, and you’re good to go

        • Cam Secore says:

          For some people, yes! It’s a great option and worth a try. But I wasn’t able to pick up and channels with it in my town.

  • Sarah says:

    Does Emby work on both Roku or firestick? I, too, am new and uninformed about technology. I am trying to buy my boyfriend one of the sticks, but don’t know which exact one to get him. I have subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and my brother gave me a login name for his emby “server” to help save money on all the movies I was buying.

  • L Wolf says:

    Excellent review. I’m breaking up with consumer reports!

  • Mike c says:

    Great comparison. I’m not sure why mine would be different, but I do not see any advertisements on the Fire TV Stick 4k – no cat liter or anything else. It does make the Amazon Video information available, but I’m fine with that as a Prime subscriber. Nice to see what I can get that is included in that subscription. I can also hide or remove apps that I don’t want to use or download. Rokus as nice as well, but I don’t know that the Fire TV is only for users in the Amazon ecosystem.

    • Cam Secore says:

      I’m looking at my Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Cube, on the latest software, and I’m seeing a giant ad saying “UGG – Celebrating 40 Years of Defying Convention.”
      ad

  • Brook says:

    I loved your article, thank you so much for making it so comprehensive. I’m definitely leaning toward the Roku now, but I do have a question about the three that you recommended. I got lost reading the specs, but they all seemed to say mostly the same thing. So my question is, what are the relevant differences between the three?
    Roku Ultra (4661R)
    Roku Streaming Stick+ (3810R)
    Roku Streaming Stick (3800R)
    My main purpose for this is to stream Netflix and Hulu.
    Thanks in advance!

    • Cam Secore says:

      Have 4K? Get Roku Streaming Stick+. Don’t have 4K? Get Roku Streaming Stick.

    • William Belisle says:

      Hi Cam,
      I recently sent back to Amazon, a new firestick 4k because I couldn’t download Gears TV. (I have downloaded on my older fireztick) In turn, I bought Roku 3800, and still can’ download Gears TV. Is there any possible way to download it?

      • Cam Secore says:

        It’s illegal, so not legally. I don’t jailbreak my devices.

        • William Belisle says:

          I didn’t realize that it was illegal. I honestly thought it was legit.

  • Rod Cooling says:

    Help!! I recently cut the cable and started streaming Swooptv thru my amazon firesticks… What a boat load of channels and movie options… problem is it recently started buffering alot… I upped my speed to 50 mb and it didn’t help… when it works, it is awesome, but so bothersome when it buffers… trying to nail down the problem… Is it swooptv, is it my firesticks?… wierd part is it’s not always every channel, but sometimes it’s most channels… NFL network always works???

    • Cam Secore says:

      First, download a speed test app on your phone and check from your internet speed from the Fire Stick’s location. If your speed is poor, you’re not getting enough internet range, and you’ll need to upgrade your router.

      Do you have Fire TV Stick 4K or the cheaper version? Fire TV Stick version is dreadfully slow.

    • David Kiaska says:

      I’ve read that there tends to be issues like this with the Fire Stick. I love my Roku!

  • John W. says:

    To repeat many prior comments, thank you immensely for such an extensive review, and sharing your knowledge with those of us who desperately need it. Hoping to cut the satellite TV cord shortly and believe you have given me the information needed to. One question I have is related to having my TV as a part of a home entertainment system incorporating a receiver and surround system. Would I just plug my streaming device into an HDMI port on my receiver the same as my satellite currently is?

    • Cam Secore says:

      There are many ways to pull this off, but if your satellite receiver is currently plugged into your audio receiver via HDMI, you’d just plug in Roku Stick the same way.

  • Patricia says:

    There is a big price range with the Roku Stick that I saw yesterday at Walmart. While the sales person was helpful, I still came away with some questions. Given they range in price from $29.99 to $99.99 what am I looking for in this price range? And how do they differ? Especially since you recommend the 3800R version and what is that price? Thanks

  • Ann Dellinger says:

    We have a Roku stick and have been using streaming channels for awhile now. We are mostly happy with it, but I would love to have something to record our shows, as we do miss our DVR. Any suggestions? We have an Isignia tv, and are also Amazon Prime members.

  • wally says:

    can io contue to use roku streaming stick after heatin gappears on screen then off after about 15 seconds

    • Cam Secore says:

      I’m not sure what you’re asking or saying. Is your Roku overheating?

      • david says:

        I have been getting the same warning about overheating while watching Amazon Prime. Hasn’t happened at other streams. It states your roku device is overheating and go to a roku link for advice. I haven’t done that but I’m pretty surprised at the event.

  • Julian says:

    I just wanted to say thank you so much for your great reviews and breakdown! All the info we could ask for, in an easy to understand form. Hope you and yours have a great Holiday Season.

  • Bryan says:

    A thousand thank-u’s for sharing ur knowledge with nary a condescending tone. Switching to roku from fire cuz of u. I just have hulu to binge..$$ kinda tight. Friend praises teatv, vader, etc. Im scared of vpn legality and ease of use. Any thoughts or good link to help pave way.? Tks again & stay awesome.!

    • Cam Secore says:

      Why do you need a VPN?

      • Kyle J Parker says:

        To hide the illegal streaming apps being used… they are currently under fire and being taken to court. Many of the apps websites are warning people that they could face penalties as well if caught.

        • Cam Secore says:

          Sorry, I don’t have anything for ya. I don’t jailbreak these devices or stream illegal content.

  • Ken Mason says:

    Hi Cam,
    We’re saying in an RV Park with very poor wifi and we gobble up our iPhone personal hotspot data quickly. I would like to download Amazon Prime content to my Kindle Fire and mirror it to the TV. Will the poor wifi prevent that. The KIndle model doesn’t have a micro HDMI so I can’t figure out how to tether it to the TV. Any suggestions. I have a 128 GB SD card for the kindle and downloading the content works fine.

  • JP says:

    looking to replace 3 comcast rental boxes with roku boxes – i know i should cut the cord completely but this is a first step – they are charging $10/month for a tiny xfinity box. This seems like a no-brainer but wondering if comcast is doing a bait n switch somehow. Any info or any Roku recommendations?

    • Cam Secore says:

      What do you mean by Roku recommendations? Streaming channels?

      • Unvalued cable customer says:

        I have the same question. I was informed that I could keep my main cable DVR and get rid of my other 2 boxes and replace them with Roku. I was informed that on ROKU you can download the xfinity app and use ROKU as if it was a cable box. Have you heard of this. I wanted to get rid of my cable and only pay for internet, but the cheapest and lowest speed in $109 p/month where I am and the speed I currently have is about $130, who wants to pay that price for internet only, only company in my area.

  • Patty says:

    Hi Cam, TY for making this understandable to people like me. We are looking into cutting the cord and I am going to purchase the Roku Streaming Stick that you recommended 3800R as we just have HD, not 4K. We are not gamers and will not use this on mobile devices, just 2 TV’s. What upload / download do you recommend? I believe that our ISP is currently providing 50 or 60. Thank you

  • Angelo says:

    Hello Cam, great article. I was hoping you could advise if any of the Roku’s you mentioned would work with an older Sony Bravia TV ( KDS-R50XBR1). I recently purchased my mother a lower end Firestick and after reading some reports found out it’s not compatible with her TV which was very odd to me.

    • Cam Secore says:

      Fire TV Stick and Roku Stick are compatible with any TV with an HDMI port. So your Fire TV Stick will work fine. What issue were you having?

      • Angelo says:

        The Firestick would just stay stuck on the Amazon Logo upon boot up. But when switched out to a different TV, it’s loaded up just fine.

        • Cam Secore says:

          How are you powering your Fire TV Stick? It’s either not getting enough power via your TV, which means you just need to power it from the wall or you have a bad HDMI port. But I can assure you, your TV is compatible.

  • Mac says:

    How can you tell if your FireTV Stick is 4K or not?

    • Cam Secore says:

      There should be a model number on the back of the device or you can see it in the settings, under the about/info section.

  • Chan says:

    Cam, thanks so much for your info on the Roku stick. Your information was very informative. My sister told me the fire stick was better. I have looked at some reviews and it appears(reviews)your and mine’s zinc together with the Roku than the Fire Stick. Question though, would you get more channels from the Roku than the Fire Stick?

    • Cam Secore says:

      What services do you plan on using? Roku has any streaming service I can think of, while Fire TV Stick is missing YouTube TV and Vudu.

      • Woolval says:

        Wait… the FireStick won’t play YouTubeTV? I had YouTubeTV before and liked it, but my wife was resistant on using it because of the need to switch inputs.

        I just ordered the FireStick, but to get YouTubeTV sounds like I should get Roku!

  • Adam says:

    Why Youtube TV over Direct TV NOW?
    I have VZ triple play about to cut cord. Was gonna go with DTN and Firestick 4K. You recommend YouTube and Roku? And want to add HBO and SHO to streaming service.

    • Cam Secore says:

      DirecTV Now was a terrible service last I tried (18 months ago and things may have changed). Fire TV Stick is loaded with advertisements.

  • Marc says:

    Cam,
    Thank you for comprehensive comparison. Your article got me off my split decision and definitely towards Roku now.
    Great thanks again!

  • Claire Harmon says:

    My Vizio Smart TV no longer supports Amazon Prime streaming which is the main reason I subscribe to Prime. You speak of commercials on both Firestick and Roku. Are there commercials during the shows you watch on Netflix or Prime video or is it the same as what I currently have on my Smart TV? Thanks!

  • JW says:

    Thanks for all the great info. Just moving into the cord cutting. We’re used to recording our favorite programs to watch at our convenience and also ff through the adds. I just ordered a roku stick but also need to know how to record programs. Would this be a separted dvr – or will a streaming provide this?
    Thanks!
    JW

  • Marianna says:

    Thanks for the article. As I understand it then to “cut the cord” I will need a stick for each TV unit but will I need independent service for each TV? i.e. if i chose Directv Now Basic for $40. a month would i need it for each television and pay $120. a month? ALso i would need an antenna to get local channels on each TV?

  • Teresa Walsh says:

    Thank you for your great content! Getting ready to cut the cable cord and start streaming. I have purchased antennas for our 3 tv’s (2 are LG basic tv’s, 1 Samsung smart tv). Plan to get a Roku stick 3800r for the two LG tv’s. Will I need to get an antenna for the Samsung? Also, we watch sports (local teams) – FoxSports Midwest, ESPN, NBCSports. Also want the local ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox. YouTube, Hulu or Sling? Thank you!!!

  • GTS says:

    Cam:
    I am 80 years old and don’t have much knowledge of computer stuff. I have 3 Samsung TVs with Spectrum Cable TV, Internet and land phone. Cannot afford over $200.00 a month anymore.

    I want to get local news (abc, nbc, cbs) and other programs (music, sports, movies) and internet access and email (not using smart phone). Will keep land line phone.

    Your responses are so complete. In my case, could you recommend all I need to get rid of Spectrum
    TV and maybe Spectrum Internet.
    Thanks.

    • Cam Secore says:

      You’ll need your phone and internet still, but that doesn’t necessarily need to be with Spectrum, if you have other options in your area.

      Then, you’ll need one of the streaming sticks on this page. And finally, you’ll need content to watch on your streaming stick. These live TV services are around $40/month. You can read more about the lineup offerings here: https://allpowermoves.com/best-tv-streaming/

  • LB says:

    If we have Firestick in our living room, can we have Roku in our son’s room? Would we still only have to pay once for Netflix or Hulu TV live?

  • MAIZIE LUCILLE JAMES says:

    I’ve owned three ROKU streaming devices since 2012. I admit I became hooked. Actually, I PREFER the clean interface on ROKU, especially the options to choose backgrounds and screen savers. Yet, I wanted to try Fire Stick. That first stick was returned because of tech glitches. I decided to purchase another Fire Stick during Christmas 2018. No problems. I will use the Fire Stick when traveling. Yet, for all the reasons you mentioned, I will purchase ROKU. Thank you for your review!

  • jack says:

    I started using the Fire Stick 2 months ago and brought a wireless router into the room with the TV for a “strong” signal but 5-6 times an hour I get the “no signal” pop up and I have to hit the remote’s button to restart a show. I’ve rebooted, unplugged and replugged, etc. Nothing seems to work. Is it a faulty stick? Would Roku be a better choice?

    • Cam Secore says:

      Possibly if you have a Fire Stick that’s broken (you should return it for a new one if it is), but probably not. It sounds like an internet issue.

  • Ale says:

    Hi!!!! Cam I cut the cord with Direct TV they had me paying $120 a month and we didn’t even watch it!!! So all my husband ever watches is FOX sports and Univision both for the Mexican Soccer League my son watches Disney XD and that’s it we never watched any other channels I already have a Netflix account and we watch it on a Smart TV so what do you recommend ???? Does Fire Stick or Roku have UNIVISION or FOX sports???

    • Cam Secore says:

      Please read the post. Neither of these have free content of value. You can pick either device here, then add live streaming services to it for $40/month.

  • Allison says:

    Thanks for the information! This was really helpful. We are trying to decide whether to switch to Roku and realize that it is not for us. I really am not bothered by and don’t even notice the adds with Fire Stick. Plus, the Amazon ecosystem is “da bomb!” My favorite feature of the fire stick is being able to point the remote at the TV, press the button and say, “Play the movie St. Elmo’s Fire,” and have it show up on my screen. The voice interface on fire stick is AMAZING!

  • Robbie Lottero says:

    So I bougjt a mew Roku Express to replace my OLD Roku box, which simply stopped working. However when ever I switch from HDMI I to HDMI II ( the Roku streamer) is simply keeps trying to boot. Every time I have to unplug the Roku power and plug back in after 20 sec. Then and only then will it properly boot. Further my biggest issue with Roku is that there is zero customer support, unless of course I want to read thru endless reems of FAQs (none of which was helpful). Thoughts?

    • Cam Secore says:

      Type in “Roku Support” on Google and there’s a phone number right in the big box. Call it.

  • Bob says:

    Can I use 1 streaming device in multiple TV’s?

  • Grandpa says:

    I received MLB.TV for Christmas and don’t have smart tvs. They do have HDMI inputs (not all the same number). How can I use A ROKU or Fire stick along with my VZ cable? Also what would the cost be to do this? Thanks, Grandpa

    • Cam Secore says:

      Plug your Roku Stick into the HDMI port on your TV. Turn on Roku. Download MLB.TV on Roku. Enter your MLB.tv credentials and log in. Enjoy baseball.

  • Sherry says:

    Hi Cam, I am very new to this kind of stuff so I really appreciate your advice. Can I get good results with the Roku Premier if I use my mobile hotspot on my Android phone with Verizon 15 gigs of data at 4g. I don’t have a smart TV but it’s an Element HD TV.

    • Cam Secore says:

      You don’t need a smart TV, that’s what the stick is for. But 15 GB will get you about a day or two of streaming.

      • Sherry says:

        Thank you for your help. I am going to have to figure something else out. I really appreciate your advice and I like your forum because it is very helpful. Thank you!

  • Connie Lewis says:

    Loved your review. I have Xfinity. Have 3 TCL Roku TVs. Can I get rid of the cable box & just run all my cable thru the beta Xfinity ap? I’m already running 2 of the TVs thru the ap.
    2) at boyfriends house with Xfinity have a Visio & Samsung tv. Just bought roku streaming stick for 1 tv to replace box renting for $6.99 monthly. It’s working fine. Can I get another roku streaming stick plus to replace main box that’s costing $13 monthly to rent?

  • Steven Jacobs says:

    Cam, great work, thanks. I am currently on ATT U-verse and plan to cut the cord. However, my wife is not comfortable with technology and wants to go to voice activated xfinity. Can you comment on Roku and Fire stick voice activated remote?

    Also, will either remote turn on my AV receiver? Bose solo 5 sound bar, which requires specific “power on”?

    Any idea if Amazon will allow app for YouTube in the near future?

    • Cam Secore says:

      1. Fire TV uses Alexa and works similarly to Echo speaker. On Roku, you can perform movie/tv show searches via voice.
      2. These remotes can’t control the receiver unless your receiver is using an ARC HDMI port on your TV. But even then, I don’t think you’d be able to power it on.
      3. YouTube won’t be coming to Fire TV anytime soon.

  • Unvalued cable customer says:

    Thanks for the comparisons great information.

  • Lorelei says:

    I have Ruko Premier and all of the sudden my tv jumps and i get a hum in the background. It is hooked up to my soundbar and i am not sure if that is the issue or my device needs to be replaced. What do you think. I am at my wits end. Please help.

    • Cam Secore says:

      It could be a million different things and you haven’t given enough details. Call support.

  • Jim says:

    What is you opinion of PHILO? From what I am seeing, I can get ALL the channels I enjoy on Dish for only $16/month. I’m thinking a TIVO for all my OTA programs ($6.99/mo) combined with PHILO installed onto Roku, I have EVERYTHING I watched on Dish for just $22.99/mo. Each provide DVR features for recording or later viewing.

    • Cam Secore says:

      I’ve never tried it, but if you don’t need your local channels or sports, it might be worth a look!

  • Laura says:

    Cam, thank you for all the great information. I am currently tv shopping, need a 40-43″. If I buy a tv that is “Fire TV Edition”, will i be able to use disable/override that and use Roku?

    • Cam Secore says:

      Yeah, you should be able to put your TV on the Roku’s HDMI input and you’ll be set.

  • O says:

    Which one is better for jailbreak Roku or fire stick?

  • Bobbi Shelton says:

    I am having trouble with my bedroom roku which is at the far end of the house. It was free with Sling purchase. I have 2 firesticks and another roku on the other tvs. It is constantly cutting out. My son’s tv is close to mine so I don’t feel it is the wifi as he doesn’t have issues. My internet is 100/kbps. Thanks for any suggestions.

    • Cam Secore says:

      Do you mean 100/mbps? Otherwise your internet isn’t going to cut it. Download the an internet speed test app with your phone and test the speed from the streaming stick’s location. This will tell you everything you need to know.

  • TB says:

    I bought the Roku stick + for a small tv in our workout room. However, I think I read that the fire stick allows me to download the dish anywhere app so I could get all my programming and dot shows. Is this true? Seems like a big advantage? Or better to have more apps available on Roku that I could use via my dish login?

  • Tom says:

    I’m trying to get the Spectrum app for Firestick 4G. Not sure how to go about it. Any idea?? Thanks. Tom

  • Darlene says:

    Thank you for all of your comments. I’m new to all this but Roku Streaming Stick seems the way to go. We presently have Dish Satellite. We lost HBO months ago both companies cannot come up with an agreement yes old news. HELP I need HBO for Game of Thrones I never missed an episode Help!!! Would the Roku Stick be an easy installation and are there prompting steps? Thanks

    • Cam Secore says:

      You download the HBO Now app and start a subscription for $15/month paid directly to HBO. It’s easy!

  • Chadd Arnold says:

    Firestick is better. I have both. You can do more with the firestick.

  • JA says:

    Are Samsung TVs incompatible with the Roku Streaning stick?

    • Cam Secore says:

      As the post says “Any streaming stick will work with any TV brand or style. The only requirement of the TV is that it has an HDMI port.”

  • deb says:

    we just ditched DISH and are using the Amazon fire-stick 4k. after one day, some of the shows with a laugh track are causing issues. While i can hear the laugh track, we cannot hear the actors voices. Hulu AND amazon walked me thru some troubleshooting to no avail. got a replacement firestick and same thing. Only on our newer tv, not the bedroom one. I want to replace it with a ROKU 4k. do you think that this could help? no one knows why this issue.

  • Jerry Hastings says:

    I’m new to this stick technology. Read your comparison between Roco and Fire. Seems Roco is the way to go, but questions: 3 TVs now on AT&T Uverse cable with AT&T wifi. I want to cut the cable. How do I get local chanels, HBO, and Direct TV and how do I record? And what’s the cost? Your previous replies indicated I need an antenna: like what kind? Then how do I switch back and forth between streaming and local? With 3 TV what internet speed do I need. Any help is appreciated.

    • Cam Secore says:

      Read the “common misconceptions” part and it’ll answer all of those questions. If you’re still confused, I can’t help.

  • IW says:

    Thanks for the great, straightforward review. Keep ’em coming!
    (I just bought the Roku Streaming Stick through your link)

  • Ronald L Monroe says:

    Hi ! This is Ron
    Dose a WiFi booster help with reception ?

    • Cam Secore says:

      Potentially. But if you have slow internet to begin with, it’s not going to help.

  • Jack Curtis says:

    I have Comcast x1 Service and bought a Roku Premier unit for another UHD TV but if I do get it to connect to wireless, requiring 50+ tries, it will drop out again in seconds or minutes. My wireless signal is full strength. Any options? We really like the content availablity if it would work.

    • Cam Secore says:

      Check your internet speed with a speed check app from the location of the streaming stick. You’re not getting enough WiFi strength to that spot.

  • Vince says:

    Thanks for your reviews, best explanation on how to unhook from direct tv/cable. I need to get the satellite dishes off my house !
    So I get it, local channels, buy the service, HBO, Showtime, buy the service.
    Ok question, sorry if you answered it already, NFL ticket, I need it, this is why I switched to direct tv years ago, can I still get it via streaming, if yes how ?

  • RODERICK M RICHARDS says:

    I am thinking of changing: I currently have an original ROKU in my SMART TV sets, so if I understand you correctly, you are saying I should get the updated ROKU Stick?

  • NuNyABiZiNeSS says:

    Apple TV appeals to iOS users but is far from rivaling the power of ROKU. Saying “Unlike Apple, Roku has ads” & personal data is being used as a condition for using Roku is BS. Roku allows users to prevent personal data collection for ad relevancy. Apple TV might not push ads, but personal data “is” collected & can’t be prevented. Anyone thinking Apple isn’t violating privacy is pretty gullible.

    • Cam Secore says:

      Powerful? In what way? Apple TV wins in any benchmark, speed test or spec sheet battle. The data is public and I have my own real life tests to back it up.

      Apple stores data locally on their devices and it’s encrypted. I’m not sure why not wanting ads on my interface makes me gullible. There are drawbacks to Apple’s encryption and data usage and a big reason why Siri sucks so bad on iPhone.

  • Kathryn McKeever says:

    If you purchase a Roku stick or a Fire Stick and you buy enough for as many tv’s as you have, do you have to pay for one service plan or a service plan for each tv?

  • David Tyce says:

    Wish I’d seen this before buying an Amazon FireStick 4k. It has intermittent, but, annoyingly frequent “loss of signal” or “Home is not available.” It’s about 3-feet above and 10″ to the right of my wifi modem, with nothing else between them. While the FireStick is having issues, my Amazon Fire HD tablet and Moto phone are having no issues, and using NetGear shows a very strong, fast wifi…and Amazon forums are full of complaints. Gonna switch over to Roku…

  • patricia woods says:

    Help Me, Obi Wan Cam. We have 2 insignia TV’s and a Roku in each. I tested them for a month with existing Spectrum internet before cutting the cord. I switched to Fios (50/50), I am constantly seeing buffering and weak WiFi on the TV’s and the android phone is also losing it’s WiFi signal. The Fios router is an Arris NVG468MQ. We are not gamers and all we have is a PC, 2 phones, and 2 TV’s. we are using a wireless connection on the PC and the TV’s. Any suggestions?

    • Cam Secore says:

      What speed are you paying for and what speed are you getting? Test it in the areas that you’re having problems with speediest.net.

      • patricia woods says:

        Supposed to be 50/50 guaranteed. I was just on the phone with the ISP and checked the Roku while we were talking. the DL was 39 and the signal strength was excellent (first time in a long time for that). he asked me to power the router down and back and now the Roku is showing weak signal again and bad connectivity

        • Cam Secore says:

          50 should be plenty. When the signal was weak on the Roku, do you know your internet speed was at the point? It sounds like you’ve got router/modem/internet issues.

  • Melanie Dvorak says:

    Does Roku premiere and fire stick have hulu LIVE because I don’t want classic hulu. Need hulu LIVE for sports???

  • Kelly E says:

    I spend $200 monthly on cable tv & looking for other cheaper alternatives. I watch tv movies, HBO/Showtime and your everyday tv shows. I also use the on “demand” feature alot to catch up on missed tv episodes. What are your suggestions ?? All the information that I have been reading can be so overwhelming especially for someone that is NOT TECH SAVVY AT ALL !!
    What are your suggestions ?
    Thank you

  • Kelly E. says:

    So are you suggesting You Tube TV or Playstation ? Firestick wouldn’t be a good option for what I need and it doesn’t have on “demand” capability ? Thanks

    • Cam Secore says:

      Roku and YouTube TV is my recommendation for most people (without knowing your unique circumstances).

  • Patrick Mckinney says:

    So I have Xfinity Extreme Pro 400 Mbps download speed and 10 Mbps upload speed. I was trying to watch a movie and kept getting the buffering circle. Seem like it was taking a while to start watching the movie. Ended up having to download the movie adn it said it was downloading at 2.5 mbps. Is this as fast as a stick will download?

    • Cam Secore says:

      Test your real internet speed from the spot of the stick. You’re not getting enough juice there.

      • Patrick Mckinney says:

        They are right beside each other. I have xfinity testing the speed on their end. Just weird why it is doing that.

  • Tonhy says:

    Does the Fire Stick 4K run the Philo app better than the Fire Stick that I’m watching it on now? Cause Philo is a NIGHTMARE on the Fire Stick compared to on Roku.

    • Cam Secore says:

      If you’ve got issues with the look of the interface, go with Roku because the interface is the same on all Fire TVs. If it’s a speed issue (in and out of menus) Fire TV Stick 4K is huge upgrade and much snappier. Fire TV stick is a terrible device.

  • Bob says:

    Does Roku have the ability to consolidate your billing info for rentals/subscriptions/etc.? I like Fire TV because I don’t have to enter payment info and have consolidated a lot of billing like for Prime and Starz through Amazon. We’ve been on Vue, but now that YouTube TV has added more channels and is known to be a better experience we’re considering switching. Got bit by the Google/Amazon catfight.

    • Cam Secore says:

      Roku does have streamlined billing, like Amazon’s but I’ve never tried it and can’t vouch for it. YouTube TV is coming to Fire TV soon though.

  • david says:

    I may be displaying my ignorance for asking but: Between the Roku 3800r and the Fire TV Stick 4k is there a difference in the ‘range’ of these devices. I understand that every situation is different but at distance ‘x’, with ‘y’ walls in between, does one out perform the other in your experience? Thank you for sharing so much.

    • Cam Secore says:

      Both devices have the same bands, so it should the same range. BUT Roku’s wireless antennas are located in the cord, so you can move it around for better signal.

  • Big Nene says:

    can you jail-break a Roku, just asking.
    I am trying to break free from cable because its becoming too expensive, as I was reading your info, If I go Roku I will have to subscribe to shows such as “Murder Chose Me” or subscribe to channels like Discovery ID channel or OWN, TLC, Oxygen

  • Valerie says:

    I have had 3 fire sticks in less than 5 months. They quit working saying “no signal”. What does that mean?

  • Wayne says:

    Thanks for your hard work and detail here.

    YouTube TV: “There isn’t an app and won’t be”

    You might consider changing this as this is what I’ve read, “We are excited to work with Amazon to launch the official YouTube apps on Fire TV devices worldwide,” said Heather Rivera, Global Head of Product Partnerships at YouTube.

    • Cam Secore says:

      The app still isn’t out yet and we’ve been teased before, but it surprised me that Google and Amazon got on the same page.

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