Roku vs. Amazon Fire TV Stick – Two Streaming Dongles in a Tight Fight

Both of these media streamers look like your average memory stick, but the question is which is best-the Roku or Amazon’s Fire TV.

These two streaming dongles are perhaps an answer to Goggle’s Chromecast. Both of them are feature-rich setups and relatively cheap with only one purpose in life;to turn your HDTV in a web-connected media giant. Let’s take a look at their hardware, functionality, and specs in order to find out which is best.

Design and Compatibility

The design of the Amazon Fire TV Stick and the Roku is virtually the same from an aesthetic perspective. Each takes the shape of a dongle and has HDMI port on the end that you just slip in the HDMI port on your TV. The Fire TV Stick’s color is matte black while the Roku Streaming Stick’s color is bright purple. The down side of both sticks is that they aren’t able to draw power from the HDMI port of your TV; therefore both sticks need to be plugged into the USB port of your TV or an included USB wall charger in order to be powered. The Roku Streaming Stick accomplishes this via microUSB while the Fire TV Stick accomplishes this through a regular USB cable.

Compatibility of both devices is equally similar. The Fire TV Stick and the Roku Streaming Stick support a vast variety of devices, including the ones that run the Android and iOS.

Specs

Regarding the specs of these devices, the Fire TV Stick is way superior when it comes to RAM, storage, and processor. However, these specs don’t really matter if you’re using the stick to stream video, which is basically its main purpose. But these specs do matter significantly if you use the Fire TV Stick’s gaming features.

OS and UI

The majority of the Fire TV Stick and the Roku Streaming Stick’s physical characteristics are the same, but once you begin delving into the UI and the software, you will see that that’s where these two sticks start to diverge. The Roku Streaming Stick works on its own Roku OS and presents its users with a modular UI. Modular user interface means that the Roku Streaming Stick won’t force you to go through all the channels it has got and it has more than 1000 channels. A select number of channels are pre-installed in the user interface, and Roku users can simply add the rest by just downloading the channels from the Roku channel store that is built into its OS. On the other hand, the Amazon Fire TV Stick runs Android along with a custom HTML5-based skin. It contains various-sizes tiles which represent different content (TV shows, movies, games), and on the left fifth of the Fire TV’s screen is a list-type menu that allows the users to navigate anything from search to mo movies to settings the games. Unfortunately, unlike the Roku, the Fire TV Stick’s UI doesn’t allow its users to customize their channel placement.

Overall, it’s up to you to decide which device you like the most. Both of them boast some amazing features, so it all comes down to personal preference.

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