The Battle of the Budget Streaming Platforms!! Roku vs Amazon Fire TV

Today we’re talking about Roku vs Fire TV, and right off the bat there’s potential for confusion, because there’s a difference between the platform and the device. We’re going to start out in this video by comparing the platforms first and then we’ll move on to the devices themselves later in the video.

If we’re talking about the overall experience with each platform, Roku takes the top spot for me. Whereas Fire TV kind of mixes apps and shows and movies on your home page, which can get kind of confusing, Roku puts the apps right of front, easy to see, and you can arrange them any which way you’d like. Honestly, there are some advantages to the Fire TV way of doing it, especially if you know that most of what you watch will be on Amazon Prime. But if you’re like me, you use Prime and Netflix and Hulu and HBO, and PBS Kids, and MLB TV and on and on. I’m bouncing between those apps enough that having them right on my homepage makes it much easier for my situation. Both home pages feature ads, but Roku’s ads are off to the side, making them easier to ignore, while the Fire TV’s ads are integrated with the rest of the tiles, really cluttering things up.

The search feature on Roku is also superior, and this is something I’ll shout from the rooftops until someone can come up with something better. When you search on the Fire TV, it can be a little confusing with multiple options coming up, and then when you click the title you actually mean, you’re only shown a single service to watch it on. (GUESS WHICH ONE THAT USUALLY IS!) You can get more options if you click through, but that’s an annoying, additional step. Roku on the other hand is brand-agnostic, so when you search for something, it will show you a price-ordered list of where you can watch that show or movie. And if you’re subscribed to a service where you can get it for free, it’ll put that right at the top. So if you’re brand-agnostic like the Roku, you can see how nice this would be.

As for the apps you can get, don’t worry too much here. Both system run pretty much every app out there. For a long time, Fire TV has been missing YouTube and YouTube TV because of some … disagreements between Amazon and Google. But they’ve patched those up, and Google’s apps will soon be on the Fire TV platform. The biggest holdout now on Fire TV is probably Vudu, Walmart’s streaming rental service. There are backdoor ways to get Vudu to work on a Fire TV device, but that’s a topic for another video. The point here is that when it comes to apps, Amazon has pretty much everything, while Roku is even closer to actually everything.

At this point, I think we can start talking about the devices themselves. Fire TV offers a trio of devices, all of which are great: the Fire Stick, the Fire Stick 4k, and the Fire TV Cube, which is basically the 4K stick with an Amazon Echo Dot mashed in there. The Cube is cool, especially if you want to use a lot of hands-free voice commands. The Roku doesn’t have anything to match that right now. (They’ve been talking about a Roku voice assistant that would rival Alexa and Siri and Google, but it’s been 18 months and we haven’t seen it yet, so I stopped holding my breath.) What Roku DOES have is a larger suite of devices to fit different situations. There’s the super cheap Roku Express, which only does 1080p, and there’s even an Express Plus, which comes with composite video hookups, in case you’re still clutching your old tube TV in a death grip. And it goes on up the line through several 4K boxes and sticks, up to the Roku Ultra, one of my all-time favorite streaming devices.

But I think Fire TV might take the cake on the device front, thanks to the fact that the Fire Stick 4K, which is my recommended Fire TV device, includes Dolby Vision HDR. If you don’t know what that is, it’s probably not a big deal that Roku doesn’t support it. If you do, then you know that in terms of video quality it is just awesome.

So the Fire TV wins in a few discrete categories, like Dolby Vision, hands-free voice control, and a slick remote. And if those are the most important things to you, then you’ll love your new Fire TV. But on the whole, I prefer the experience on the Roku platform, which has a simpler interface, a better search feature, and is more brand agnostic.


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42 thoughts on “The Battle of the Budget Streaming Platforms!! Roku vs Amazon Fire TV

  1. I only watch you tube to catch up on some TV shows. I pay only for the internet service. My daughter wants to watch netflix(she shares a subscription) and listen to Spotfy(pays for it) I don't have a TV, so she is wanting a TV and a stick. IDK anything about these. Help.

  2. Thanks for the great review. The search feature on Roku makes me not even want to consider the Firestick. Also, with Amazon having it's own streaming service, they will have a harder time getting and keeping certain competitor services.

  3. How the search engine works is clearly one of the most important feature, you talked about it but you didn't show us. Big fail.

  4. Roku don't support Twitch.
    And if someone is planning to use with Computer Monitor (instead of TV), then good luck controlling volume by physically reaching out to monitor buttons everytime. This is where Chromecast blows both Roku and Firestick away.

  5. own both roku ultra 4k and amazon firetv 4k… been using the firetv more since roku has no Twitch support anymore.. really sad.. otherwise, I'd prob still be using the roku.

  6. Have both roku in bedrooms and firestick in living room. Roku was my favorite but firestick slowly taking over in the household because the roku keeps returning back to the homescreen in one bedroom. Can be watching a show and 15 minutes in the Roku returns to the homescreen. But love Roku other than this one glitch on the kids bedroom tv

  7. This is probably a dumb question here. Can you hook a sound bar to these sticks ?
    I have a Samsung TV and none of the 3 chords my soundbar came with fits a thing on the back of my TV…BUT i can hook my sound bar to my blu ray player with which i use to stream with now..BUT apparently I have to upgrade to a stick or something, because come Dec 1st (according to Netflix)my blu ray will no longer work for streaming. That's why I ask. Anyone know ?

  8. I have a roku express HD and Fire TV Cube and I notice the audio from Netflix on the roku is stronger than audio from Netflix on the Fire TV Cube

  9. I don’t know why? but the Roku Express streams better then the amazon fire stick It doesn’t glitch so much and the pictures seems to be clear both brought in the UK and used in the UK we take them on our travels west Africa etc the Roku works better please tell me why this is

  10. Great review thank you . you probably should have mentioned something about the accompanying apps that support each device personally I feel Roku has the better app which seamlessly integrate with The Tv experience

  11. technically Roku DOES support dolby vision, however that feature currently only exists on some Roku Tvs, just thought I'd clear that up

  12. I use both Fire Stick 4K and Roku Ultra. Honestly I like the former better because most of the apps are a lot smoother & also have better sound quality on the Fire Stick compared to their Roku versions. My Roku Ultra at this point is mainly a Spectrum TV machine. I also like the fact that the Fire Stick 4K supports all HDR formats whereas the Roku is just HDR10 only.

  13. Roku. Is a waste of money 💰 .
    There are more developers for the amazon product then for ruko. I gave my mom a roku for Mother’s Day and she said
    I want your amazon 4 k stick and you take take my Useless Roku .

    If you are a true cord cutters, you keep all options open. Going with rouko. You limited your self .
    But, if you want the best streaming product on the market Nivida shield

    Roku does not support Pirate 🏴‍☠️ software which is fine but if rouko doesn’t like that legit vendor they won’t go with them and they will probably go
    With android or Apple 🍎 prouduct .

    Remember cord cutting is about saving money 💰 in the long run
    Not wasting it

    You decide do I want more or do I want less(roku. ) 🤔
    Thank you For letting me share

  14. Dolby Vision is nothing but a marketing gimmick!! Unless u have a 12-bit panel with hdmi 2.1 ur not really seeing Dolby Vision at it's full glory. No 10-bit panel aka 4k UHD tv shows true Dolby on it, this is why their throwing 8K panels at everybody cause its all about more money for the Samsung,Sony ,LG and Vizio companies of the world.

  15. You argue that Roku's search feature is better because it lists several apps that you can stream content from right? But why pay through an app when most content is free for amazon prime subscribers? search for police academy and boom! there it is. But in Roku I have to decide which service is going to be the best way to stream. That's dumb! Just go with one single place to get content and if it's not there, then search on the Kodi app to get it. Does Roku even support Kodi? BIG NO! Roku is controlled by the big entertainment industry so your money goes right into funding global commercialism. Foget abbbout it!

  16. I have both and my preference is Fire Stick. I just enjoy the assortment of apps, as well as their shows and now you can get live tv through Amazon Prime Video! I can see my local news now live though that is an additional $13 a month but you have 12 channels to choose from live.

  17. Love Roku over Fire stick . Roku is so much more easier to use and set up then the Fire stick. I dont own a Fire Tv but I do own a Roku tv and u are wrong about Roku having voice command on the remote. As well as vol on there lower device's. I own 3 Roku devices and one Roku Tv. I have the Roku Exspress Plus, The Roku Prim Plus and the Roku Ultra. All of them are there most recently released new units. All have volume control on them. I love the remotes on them cause there are not to small or to big and do not have lots of buttons on them whitch makes it easier for my dad how is 70yrs old to use.

  18. I have both. Roku 2 in the living room, and Fire TV in the bedroom. I like them both, but I agree with him that there are pluses and minuses to both.
    I like that there are more apps available for the Fire TV, but the Roku streams better.

  19. Okay so I bought a Roku TV my daughter got one first a couple months ago and it came with free channels so week ago I went and got one they wanted me to pay $199 for the channels! But when she got her TV she didn't have to pay anything for her channels Roku is a rip-off and I'm telling everybody

  20. Helpful, but , in order to use either it must have an internet connection, the fire stick is the only one that has a web interface popup if it is required for a Public network, Even the Google brand does not have the web popup. I have several of each sticks, and the Fire TV is the only one I can use in these situations. So in the end, no internet , no work. 🙂

  21. ill take fire tv over roku hands down!! roku just plain sucks and most stuff you have to pay for and unlike amazon, it's harder to install third party apps!!!!!!

  22. You wanna try and rate these in the uk where we don’t get anything on them. Hell we don’t even get the Roku channel on the Roku stick and I won’t bother to mention cbs hbo bommerang etc etc

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