Comparing Top TV Streaming Services: Which One is Better ROKU or Amazon Fire TV

Gone are the days when we are forced to wait until a specific time of the week to watch an episode of a favourite show. Not all films now come out at the cinema. Streaming services and alternative content providers are on the rise. But, not all families have the smart entertainment systems to watch them and record them all.

TV streaming services are a great way of adding content to a regular television without paying out too much for subscriptions and installation cost. Some of the best services come as little plug-n-play devices that offer the very best channels, apps and other features to users. They are a great way for families and users of all ages to catch up with shows they have missed, find new films and enjoy a broader media experience.

These streaming devices can prove to highly beneficial to people that want more than just a basic list of channels but don’t want to pay out for an expensive smart TV. They are a mid-way point between the smartest tech for the most experienced user and the most basic media options. You don’t have to be a technophile to operate them, or be part of any major subscription service. They are generally easy to use with well-designed interface, remotes and plenty of choice. The best systems also have additional features, plenty of storage and strong wireless connections.

There is plenty of competition between companies to provide the very best TV streaming device.

Some people will turn to Amazon Fire – in one of its incarnations – because of its longevity in the industry and its reputation. Others will be lured in by Roku because it has converted so many users with a number of great features. Elsewhere, companies like Chromecast are keen to get their own piece of the pie.

At the moment, the main competition seems to be between Amazon and Roku. They have their place in the market, with their loyal users, and aren’t too concerned about the rise of smart TVs. Some users will switch to these integrated TV, with no need for the additional stick, while others stick with what works for them.

In this guide, we want to compare the different features and services of Amazon and Roku – more specifically the Amazon Fire Stick and the Roku Streaming Stick. This means looking at the content on offer – such as the TV streaming services, the film options and some of the other apps.

We will also look at the user-friendly aspects of the product, which includes the design of the remote, interface and installation. We will also consider additional benefits to the product. At the end, we will weight up the pros and cons of each option and deliver our final verdict.

What Types of TV Streaming Services Can You Get with Roku and Fire?

This is the most important question for most users. The idea here is that you can plug a device into the television to automatically boost the number of channels and catch-up services on offer. This means a great range of popular services including Netflix, Hulu, Vimeo, HBO Go and much more. Options can vary by location, but these are pretty standard for most Amazon users in the US. There are also specialist channels and Amazon subscriptions by genre, such as horror channels and kids channels. Another of the important selling points about the Amazon Fire service is the immediate access to Amazon Original content. Amazon is keen to present themselves as a viable alternative to Netflix in terms of the titles on offer. This means original films and dramas not seen elsewhere.

The Roku approach is completely different. Some would criticise Amazon’s shift into original content because it has resulted in a smaller range of titles from other services over recent years. This isn’t the case with Roku. This brand doesn’t have any form of original content. Instead, they focus on providing a broad range of channels so that there really is something for everyone. With 5000 options, there is always something to watch. Again, viewers have access to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Vimeo, HBO Go and many more major players.

It is difficult to choose a winner in this first category because both brands have taken different paths in the road. Choose Amazon for interesting original content and Roku for the breadth of channels.

Which One Has More Movie Streaming Options Roku or Fire?

There is a similar approach when it comes to the movie titles that are on offer with these systems. Amazon has begun to offer some exclusive titles, but not in the same range as their TV streaming. There are new movies for Amazon Prime members on a regular basis – some that are free to stream, others that can be rented or downloaded for a cost. The latter tend to be the most recent blockbusters and releases. Users can also create a watchlist to help them access titles of interest. Another nice feature with the Fire service is the way that it links up to IMDB. This means that you can pause a movie and find out why an actor looks so familiar.

Roku also has a number of channels in that list of 5000 that offer access to film content. Many of these are subscription services, such as Netflix and Hulu, but there are some free options dotted around. It might be worth searching for films by title and just seeing where the system takes you. The company said that there are thousands upon thousands of titles available right now, from classics to new releases. Costs and the quality of the film are sure to depend on the service.

Therefore, when it comes to movie screening, it is tempting to give the victory to Amazon. Both services have a wide selection of options to suit all tastes. However, it is the additional content and features that push Amazon ahead here.

Which One Has More Apps Amazon or Roku ?

One of the important features with any streaming service is the provision of apps and connectivity to a range of different services. Content is king. Diversity of content is even better to draw in a wider demographic of users. Amazon is able to provide this in two very important ways. First of all, there are the key apps that users need for social media, YouTube videos and other popular sites. They can be found with either the Silk or Firefox browser. Secondly, there is the chance to play games through the Fire system. This doesn’t just mean low-key arcade game. The Amazon Fire TV Game Controller and other Bluetooth controllers also mean that Fire users can play Minecraft and other major titles.

There is also the chance to download and use a similar series of apps with the Roku system. They seem to understand that their key demographic of users has the same basic needs. There isn’t the same approach to gaming as there is with the Fire system. However, there is a Roku phone app that many users will appreciate. The idea here is that you can pick the streaming service or app via the touchscreen of a phone and will appear on your TV screen. When successful, this can eliminate the need for traditional remotes. Although, as you will see below, there is no reason not to like the Roku physical remote either.

It is too tough to call a winner on the subject of apps. The Roku system is functional and user-friendly while the Fire will appeal to gamers. It all depends on your expectations of the product.

Design of Amazon Fire and Roku

Is the remote well-designed? Many loyal Amazon Fire users with be impressed with the shape and design of the new Fire remote. The remote is longer than some from previous systems, which means that it should fit in the hand a little better. The buttons are pretty much the same – just with the obvious difference of the voice button. These include the standard power, play, volume and mute buttons to control the output of the TV. They are small and minimalistic in the look. This will appeal to those used to the system, but perhaps not to all newcomers.

This is why the Roku streaming stick remote is so much more appealing on first impressions. The key reason for this is the design and layout of the buttons. This one actually looks like a remote that you would typically use for a normal television. The controls are in the same place and have similar labels. There are clear labels on the content specific buttons and the rest are all familiar. Those that are completely new to the system could probably get by on intuition alone here – without getting into too much of a mess with the menus. The remote is also a good size and easier to hold in the hand.

Therefore, this time the winner of this category has to be Roku. Style doesn’t always beat substances or a user-friendly experience. The Amazon remote is more functional in some ways but the Roku is nice and familiar.

Voice Control Options for Fire & Roku

The opportunity to use voice controls depends on the product. There are older Fire streaming sticks that don’t have this option. The latest models do include an Alexa Voice Remote. This means that the system is sold as having the “most comprehensive voice experience of any streaming media player”. The idea here is that you can do more than just ask the system to search for a particular title. There is also the chance to tap into some of the skills that Alexa has via some Fire apps. This includes the chance to interact with other connected devices in the home, access music systems, look at calendar dates and check the weather forecast.

Roku also has a voice control system, and this is perfectly fine for the product and the needs of most users. All you have to do is hold down the button and say the title of a TV show or movie. This cuts out a lot of time searching through menus if you know exactly what you want. There is the warning here that you do need to hold the remote quite close to your mouth while pressing the button for the best results.

Therefore, the winner of this category is Amazon. This is a simple, effective feature. But, it doesn’t compare to having Alexa onboard. AI is the way forward and Amazon have used this well.

Which One Has Better Interface & Which One is Easier to Navigate

First up, there is the menu system of the Fire TV Stick. The main issue here is that it is too easy to get lost in all the different categories and take five steps finding a program when you could have used two.

The look is modern and should be appealing, but the navigation lets it down. It doesn’t that that there are so many Amazon adverts on the screen that take up a lot of space. They are keen to promote their new big show or product, rather than show you the apps. There are also lots of adverts for sponsored products.

This isn’t quite so bad when we get to the interface and menu system of the Roku stick. Users here tend to find that they aren’t bombarded with intrusive adverts in quite the same way. They exist – because Roku needs them for revenue – but they are more discrete. The system is easier to navigate – partly because there is a more old-fashioned look to the menus and approach. This might not be so appealing to all those looking for the best possible high-end system for their home hub. Instead, it suits the average user that wants easy access to the same shows and apps with little fuss.

Therefore, the winner in this category is Roku. Simple navigation always wins over something that looks flashy but isn’t user-friendly.

Which is Easier to Install- Amazon Fire or Roku?

Each of use also relates to the installation process. So, what is the experience here?

Amazon really couldn’t have made it much easier for regular Amazon customers to set up a Fire Stick. You just plug the stick into the TV, connect it to a wall socket, connect it to the internet and start searching. The Fire TV Stick is smart enough to understand the current situation with the account holder. It can recognise accounts, so there is no need to start figuring out log-in names and passwords. It also connects to the Wi-Fi linked to a current Amazon system. Furthermore, there is the chance to add on additional devices and family members, who then receive a stripped down streaming service as part of the deal.

Unfortunately, it isn’t quite so easy with the Roku Streaming Stick. This time you do need to register for a new Roku account in order to gain access to all of the content. This can be a little time consuming for those expecting the same sort of plug-n-play system where they are playing games and watching TV in minutes. Otherwise, the installation is just as simple.

Therefore, the winner of this category has to be Amazon. This is the pure definition of a simple plug-n-play system.

With so much going on here, and so much to download, you need a good storage system. Which system delivers here?

The winner here is pretty obvious because of the brilliant storage facilities offered with Amazon and their Fire TV Stick devices. These products are said to have “more storage than any other streaming media stick” There is an 8GB internal storage for all kinds of content, such as all that music, downloaded episodes and the different apps. There is also free cloud storage for all Amazon content, which increases the potential of this system even further.

The Roku’s Streaming Stick is a little bit of a lightweight by comparison. This product only has 256MB of storage and 512MB of memory. This is a vast difference that will be a deciding factor to those that know that they will take full advantage of any internal storage. Those Roku users that are only here to stream episodes of a favourite show or the occasional movie aren’t going to have many issues with this.

The figures alone mean that Amazon has to come out as the winner in this category.

Which One is Cheaper Amazon Fire or Roku?

The Amazon products in the Fire streaming range have always stood out as being an affordable option. There is a great sense of value for money with the standard systems – and the older generation models – because users still get a lot of content and great tech for a low cost.

At the time of writing, the standard model of this Amazon Fire stick is $39.99, which makes it a cheaper option compared to Roku $60.  This makes it a low-cost option for many households on a budget. Also, it doesn’t cost much more for the 4K version for a better viewing experience. There is also a package with an Echo Dot assistance system as part of the deal for around $75.

The main Roku Streaming Stick Plus tends to retail for about $60. This is still a great price for all the tech and streaming capabilities that are on offer. Many households can still budget for this and improve their streaming options with ease. However, this is $20 more than the high-value Fire stick and only $15 less than the product with the Amazon assistance tech.

The choice of products and the lower costs mean that Amazon wins this category – even though it is difficult to fault the price of the Roku. So what have we learned about Amazon Fire’s streaming sticks?

There are some great benefits to turning to Amazon for a high-end streaming stick. The company are continually adapting their products to create products with better quality streams and other features. The new voice controls and new Amazon original content are appealing to those after a user-friendly experience. There is plenty of content to search for and plenty of storage for all the apps and music. However, there are issues with the interface on this system. The design of the menus isn’t intuitive enough for all new users and there are far too many in-your-face adverts.

How Does the Roku Streaming Stick Compare with Amazon Fire?

There are aspects to this option where it seems to lag behind the Amazon stick. There isn’t the same amount of storage, it takes longer to get this installed and it isn’t much cheaper than a Fire Stick with an Echo Dot. There is a lot in the design and specification that makes this look like the smaller, weaker cousin. Yet, there are lots of interesting apps on board here, as well as plenty of channels for TV streaming. The interface may be old-fashioned – as is the remote in some ways – but both are more familiar and intuitive.

So Which is Better Amazon Fire or Roku Streaming Stick?

If we judge this solely on the points scored and direct competition in our guide, Amazon comes out on top. There are so many areas where it just edges ahead in terms of the technology on offer. There is also great content and that Alexa compatibility. The range of Fire sticks available also means that there is something for different households. Users can pick a more high-end system with the 4K and home hub connectivity, or they can find a cheaper model from an older generation that suits their budget.

Despite all this, we can’t rule Roku out completely as an option for those less used to modern technology. The design and interface of the Fire system may be too annoying for seniors and the less-able. Here it may be best to enjoy the more familiar, out-dated remote and interface as the media content is pretty similar.

The final choice here is up to you. Take your time to compare the specifications – not just of the different brands, but of the different sticks and packages that they offer. Some will have more benefits that suit your personal needs.