If you are someone who loves streaming, you might have heard about two popular devices, i.e., Roku and Firestick. Since smart TV can be costly, these devices come in handy for turning your regular TV into a smart TV over the internet.
Both Rokustick and Firestick provide exceptional streaming experiences at a similar price. So, choosing among them can be pretty tough. Therefore, to ease your decision, we have highlighted the differences and similarities between each product.
In this article, let us help you decide which device is better for you.
What Is Roku?
Roku stick is a streaming device that allows you to stream free and paid channels on your bigger TV screen over the internet. You can watch shows on your favorite apps like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, etc., by subscribing to the whole channel or renting the movie separately. Moreover, you can also download or purchase local channels on your Roku. Thus, you can use it as a TV and cut your expensive cable services.
Roku has a wide range of powerful streaming players. For instance, Roku Streaming Stick 4K+, Roku Ultra, Roku TV, Roku Express, etc.
- Supports Dolby Vision for better picture quality
- Private listening feature
- Lost remote finder feature
- Supports long-range WiFi
- Hands-free Voice Command
- Compatible with AirPlay, Alexa, Google Home, Apple Home
- Voice remote that supports TV power and volume control
- Available in limited countries
- It does not support web browser
- No YouTube TV channel
What Is Firestick?
Amazon Fire TV Stick is a streaming device that allows you to download apps, watch your preferred shows, and play games on the TV. You can make your standard TV a smart TV by simply setting up a Firestick. Moreover, if you have an Amazon Prime subscription, you will instantly have access to more than 100 channels.
The multiple profile feature of Firestick makes it stand out among several streaming devices. Since Firestick has 8 GB storage capacity, you can add a lot of channels. Some of the popular devices are Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Stick 4K Max, etc.
- Easy Setup
- Low Power mode
- Alexa voice remote
- Multiple Profile
- Thousands of Live TV and Free TV channels
- More channels for Prime members
- Supports YouTube TV channel
- Geographical and language barriers on some apps
- It does not support AirPlay
- No private listening
Roku VS Firestick: What’s the Difference?
Although both Roku and Firestick are streaming devices that offer a wide range of channels and apps on your TV, there are some differences. You can check out more detail below.
Roku has an organized and easy-to-navigate UI with different categories. Since you can move the installed channels, you shouldn’t have trouble locating them while streaming. Moreover, you can also customize your Roku home screen with themes of your choice.
Compared to Roku UI, Firestick UI is a little inflexible and cluttered. Especially after the latest update, users did not like the new UI. You will have fewer options to customize your Firestick. However, since the system is quite smooth, navigating through the menu can be quick.
Roku has a fast network connection, connecting on 2.4GHz or 5 GHz bands. Moreover, most devices are designed to receive long-range Wi-Fi. Therefore, you will enjoy seamless streaming with 2X internet speed even when you place the Router far from your Roku.
Fire TV sticks use dual-band Wi-Fi routers and antenna. Unlike Roku, it supports Wi-Fi 6. So, you will less likely encounter dropped connections while streaming. However, since Firestick devices do not support long-range Wi-Fi, you might need to position them closer for better internet connectivity.
One of the striking features of Roku is that it supports Private Listening. This is handy when you want to block surrounding noises and enjoy your streaming seamlessly. You can connect headphones to your smartphone and listen to audio from your TV. It allows you to connect a maximum of four devices at once and use it.
There is no default private listening feature on Firestick. Although you can connect Bluetooth headphones with your Firestick, many users reported that it did not work.
Roku does not support the multiple profile feature yet. When you sign in to your Roku account, you will have a single profile for all users. Therefore, you might lose track of your personal preferences or watchlists. However, there is a guest mode if someone wants to stream on your Roku device with their account for a certain time.
You can have a more personalized experience on your Firestick as it allows you to create a maximum of six profiles. So, you will have access to manage your own preferences, apps, watchlists, etc. Also, you can set up a profile for your children with kid-friendly streaming content.
Roku devices have two kinds of remote control: an Infrared (IR) Signal or Radio Frequency (RF) remote to control the TV. Some remotes have in-built rechargeable batteries. While some of them also support the lost remote finder. Therefore, you can locate it quickly when you lose track of your remote.
On the other hand, Firestick remotes use Bluetooth to control the TV functions. The remotes do not have the lost remote finder feature. However, you can pair 7 Fire TV Stick remotes at once at maximum. So, even when you lose it, you can use another remote if paired already.
Roku’s official app also has a simple and organized UI, like the device interface. Unlike Firestick, the Roku app remote has a lot of functions. You can see the remote’s voice search icon, back button, and private listening button. Moreover, you can also find the screencast menu.
Firestick App has a pretty basic UI, as you can only find a few functions on the virtual remote. You can see a directional pad and basic playback buttons. However, you can choose to change from a directional pad to a swipe gesture on your app remote. Also, if you are an Android user, you can enable Mini Remote, which allows you to control your smartphone’s lock screen.
You can also stream local channels on your Firestick and Roku. Roku supports HDTV antenna for accessing free live and local channels. In contrast, Firestick is compatible with Fire TV Recast for streaming local news and sports without a monthly subscription.
Roku supports screen mirroring on both iOS and Android. Therefore, you can easily cast anything from your devices to your Roku. There is default screen mirroring settings for Windows and Android. Similarly, for Apple devices, it has an in-built AirPlay feature.
On Firestick, you can screen mirror only from your Android and Windows devices by default. There are no in-built AirPlay settings on Firestick. Thus, in order to screen mirror from Apple devices, you must use third-party alternatives.
Since Roku devices have an ad-free user interface, you won’t have to worry about a lot of advertisement pop-ups while streaming. You will encounter ads only when you stream free movies/shows on Roku Channel.
You might encounter multiple ads while streaming through Firestick. Too much advertising can be very annoying. Therefore, you might have to use a third-party adblocker to bypass ads.
Roku has a private listening feature that is compatible with both iOS and Android mobile apps. Similarly, there is a screen reader and close captioning for an enhanced playback experience.
In terms of Accessibility, Firestick has more advanced features than Roku. There is a VoiceView Screen reader, screen magnifier, Audio Description, etc.
Roku VS Firestick: What’re the Similarities?
Despite the differences between Roku and Firestick, they have a few similarities. For using it, both devices require an HD TV with HDMI input. Also, you need a strong Wi-Fi connection during the setup and streaming.
In terms of audio and vision, they support Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision. If you use 4K streaming sticks, the maximum playback resolution is 4K60fps. Moreover, both devices have an official mobile app. So, you can use the virtual remotes on the app in case of an emergency.
Which Streaming Device Should You Pick?
If you are already an Amazon products user such as Echo, Alexa, Prime, etc, you are familiar with Amazon products. With Firestick, you will have a more integrated experience. For instance, in terms of voice assistant, you can benefit from additional features than Roku.
If you want more advanced features in your streaming experience, you can choose Roku. You can stream in 4K quality with long-range Wi-Fi. Also, some of the devices support night-mode audio. Moreover, if you are traveling, you can connect your Roku stick to a hotel or dorm.
After analyzing both devices, it is up to you to decide whether you choose Firestick or Roku. However, for your ease, we have summarized the key features in the table below.
|Maximum Playback Resolution||4K60fps||4K60fps|
|CPU||ARM Cortex||Quad-core 1.8 GHz|
|Connectivity||Ethernet adapter, Bluetooth, Long-range and speed WiFi||Ethernet adapter, Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi 5 and 6|
|Advertisement||Ad-free interface||Ad pop-ups on the interface|
|Private Listening||Yes (On both apps and some remote)||No|
|Lost Remote Finder||Yes (On some Roku devices)||No|
|Multiple Profile||No||Yes (Maximum 4 profiles)|
|Screen Mirror||Windows, Android, iOS, and Mac devices||Windows and Android Only|
|Remote||Roku Simple Remote, Roku Voice Remote||Alexa Voice Remote|
|Local Channels||HDTV Antenna||Fire TV Recast|