Streaming sticks and Android OS-powered set-top boxes have changed the way we entertain ourselves. Because of these two devices, we don’t have to purchase a smart television and can enjoy content on smart tv. During the peak of the covid 19 pandemic, the theaters were shut down, and film producers partnered with the OTT services such as Amazon, Netflix, etc to launch movies.
Since 2019, many big-budget movies such as Black Widow have been launched on OTT platforms. Another advantage of the streaming stick and set-top boxes is that you can watch the latest movies with your family from the comfort of the home without buying costly tickets. For example, a ticket costs 9 to 10 dollars in the US. If you purchase three tickets, you’ll have to spend 25+ dollars.
A streaming stick is priced between 30 to 70 dollars and to enjoy the latest movies, you’ll have to purchase a subscription plan of Netflix, Amazon Prime, video. The plans cost between 10 to 30 dollars per month. For 1 month’s payment, you can watch as many shows and movies as you want. Hence, we can say that streaming sticks/players are more affordable than theater tickets.
Streaming boxes or sticks have several advantages over a DTH connection. When the weather is terrible, the set-top box won’t get a signal from the satellite, and the only thing that the set-top box will show is a message. As the streaming boxes are WiFi-enabled or have an Ethernet port, you just have to activate your smartphone’s hotspot or the router and connect the box to the internet to enjoy live TV or your favorite show.
Smart televisions can cost between 250 to 1500 dollars. When you can make a regular LED television smart by simply connecting a streaming box/stick to it, why spend 100s or even thousands of dollars on a new TV. The top streaming devices and set-top boxes are Roku, Firestick, and Chromecast. Below, we’ve compared the three devices.
Roku vs Chromecast vs Firestick
The first Roku media player was introduced 3 to 4 years before Chromecast and Firestick were launched. Roku, at one time, sold only a few Roku players. Now, it sells a bunch of players with different capabilities. The most affordable player is Roku Express. Express is priced at 29.9 dollars only, and according to Roku, it is an excellent option for gifting to people.
Express works with Apple Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa. It supports 1080p resolution and comes with a basic remote. If you have a 4K TV and an unlimited internet plan, you can get the Express 4K+ player by paying $10 extra. This player supports dual-band WiFi networks, and it comes with a voice-enabled remote. Some Roku players have a long WiFi range, and some are enabled with a virtual surround sound system for a great audio experience.
The players are powered by the Dolby Vision video technology and support FHD, 2K, and 4K resolutions. They ship with a WiFi 802.11ac dual-band WiFi system and weigh 26 grams. The dimension of the Roku streaming player is 3.7 inch x 0.8-inch x 0.45-inch.
Roku streaming players come with the following offers:
HBO Max: Buyers of Roku players get a free HBO Max 1 month subscription worth 14.99 dollars.
Free TV channels: If you don’t have Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube Premium subscription, you can enjoy over 200 free channels of various types on a Roku player.
Energy certified: Each Roku player is an Energy certified product.
In addition to streaming players, Roku has also introduced streaming sticks. The players and sticks ship with similar features but their size is different.
Amazon Fire Stick
The first model of Fire Stick was launched in 2014. Since 2013, Amazon has launched several variants of the Fire Stick. Unlike Roku, which you can call a set-top box, Fire Stick is a USB device that must be connected to a television. When you connect the Fire Stick to the TV, establish a WiFi connection between the router and the Fire Stick to enjoy the services and applications that ship with the USB device.
Some variants of Fire Stick ship with a basic remote with dedicated buttons to open popular applications and some are enabled with Alexa digital voice assistant to let users control the playback, channels, and switch to different apps with the help of their voice. Fire Stick allows you to watch over 200k movies on free applications such as Tubi, IMBD, Pluto TV, etc.
Fire Stick is powered by the Amazon Fire operating system. It comes with Dolby, AC3, FLAC, MIDI, MP3 audio codecs and supports 4k resolutions. It also includes H.265, Dolby Vision, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.263, AV1 video codecs.
Amazon Fire Sticks supports HDR technologies and is enabled with Bluetooth 5.0 system. They include a dedicated 2 to 8GB storage memory and 1 to 2GB RAM. They also have a dual-core or quad-core processor. The Fire Sticks come pre-installed with applications that will allow you to watch television shows or stream web series, watch videos, etc. The modern version of Fire Stick ships with a low power mode option that reduces its power consumption.
Interestingly, Chromecast is older than Firestick. Google had launched Chromecast in 2013 and has partnered with various offline and online retailers to sell its streaming device. Unlike Firestick and Roku, Chromecast lets you cast, or mirror content played on a phone or laptop to a television. You won’t be able to install apps such as Prime Video, Netflix, HBO, etc on Chromecast.
The Chromecast features a dual-band WiFi system and resolutions up to 1080p at 60 frames per second. It supports Android, Mac, Windows, and iOS operating systems. It is 2-inch wide and 2 inches long. Chromecast comes with a USB port and features an HDMI port so that users can connect it with their televisions. It also ships with a remote through which you can control the TV volume, switch off the playback, etc. Chromecast is cheaper than Firestick and Roku. Some of its models are being sold for between 19 to 20 dollars only.