When it comes to streaming media devices, we are spoiled for choice. There are dozens of products vying for our attention, and in this article we'll pitch Chromecast vs Roku.
Chromecasts are always popular, but they face stiff competition from some of Roku's products. The right product for you depends on the features that are most important to you.
Roku is always changing its product line. In 2017, Roku released new hardware, which was made with the goal of simplifying its lineup. However, the company's list of devices has grown again with the reintroduction of the Roku Premiere.
Today, there are six devices that you could reasonably consider to be direct competitors to Chromecast. They are Roku Express, Roku Express +, Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere +, Roku Streaming Stick, and Roku Streaming Stick. +.
The only Roku product that isn't a Chromecast competitor is the Roku Ultra. This is a decoder instead of a dongle. As such, it will not be part of this article.
So let's talk about the six Roku products and contrast them with the Chromecast in a few key areas.
The cheapest of the six Roku products is the Roku Express; It's $29. The most expensive device is the Streaming Stick+, which will set you back $59. That means there's only a $30 difference covering all six roku dongle devices.
The standard Chromecast is $35. That's the same price as a Roku Express+ and just $4 cheaper than the Roku Premiere. A Chromecast Ultra, which adds 4K support, costs $69.
If you want to buy a Chromecast or a Roku so you can cut the cord, the narrow price spread means costs shouldn't be a major consideration. After all, the average cable bill in the US is over $100 per month; You could buy any of the models and still save money..
The biggest difference between Chromecasts and the various Roku products is the user interface.
Roku devices run Roku OS. There is an on-screen interface with channels, a store, a settings menu, and search functionality.
Chromecasts do not offer an on-screen interface. They will simply mirror your phone, tablet, or computer screen to the TV.
Set up and manage your Chromecast How to set up and use your Chromecast How to set up and use your Chromecast If you just got a Chromecast, here's everything you need to know to set it up. Read More Which is available on Android and iOS.
All devices connect to your TV through an HDMI port.
The one exception is the Roku Express+. In addition to HDMI connectivity, it also offers composite A/V ports. If you have an older TV that doesn't have HDMI ports, Express+ is the only device that will work for you.
All three Roku products:Express, Express+, and Streaming Stick only offer standard 1080p HD video. The other three devices:Premiere, Premiere + and Streaming Stick +, all offer 4K video and high dynamic range (HDR).
Of the two Chromecast products, only the more expensive Chromecast Ultra supports 4K.
Before you rush out and buy a 4K model, stop and think. First of all, does your TV support 4K? It is not yet commonplace in mid-range and low-end products.
Second, do you actually watch 4K content? Remember, many popular streaming services will charge you more if you want to stream in 4K.
For example, the cheapest Netflix plan is $7.99/month, while the 4K plan is $13.99/month. And even if you pay for 4K, not all shows and movies are available in 4K.
All Roku devices come with their own remote. The three cheapest models have a simple remote control; it allows you to control your Roku and little else. All three premium models ship with a voice remote.
Unsurprisingly, the voice remote allows you to search for content verbally. However, it also includes a TV power button and volume controls, which means you can offload your TV remote and have fewer devices lying around.
Roku also sells more powerful remotes individually. There's the Enhanced Voice Remote (with a headphone jack for private listening) and the Gaming Remote (which includes dedicated game buttons).
Lastly, you can download a Roku app on both Android and iOS. It allows you to control your device and switch between the different Roku devices in your home easily.
In contrast, Chromecast devices are controlled entirely from your mobile device or computer. Because they mirror your screen, any input you make locally will be reflected in what you see on your TV.
Some apps, like Netflix, are cast-enabled. You just need to press the Cast button in the app to start watching. Others, like Amazon Prime Video, are not cast-enabled. Fortunately, there are some solutions that allow you to watch Amazon Prime video using Chromecast How to watch Amazon Prime video on your TV with Chromecast How to watch Amazon Prime video on your TV with Chromecast As you may have discovered, Amazon Prime video it does not work on chromecast. However, there are a couple of ways around this. Read more.
According to Roku literature, there are over 500,000 channels you can install on your device.
Of course, a large percentage of these aren't worth the time of day, but you'll be able to find all the heavy hitters like Spotify, Hulu, Sling, Netflix, Amazon Video, etc.
Roku also has a nearly endless collection of private channels. We've covered some of the best private channels on Roku. 20 Private Roku Channels You Should Install Right Now. 20 Private Roku Channels You Should Install Now. Here's how to add private channels to your Roku, along with some of the best private Roku channels you can. Install right now. More information as well as how to install private channels on Roku How to Install Private Roku Channels and Unlock More Content How to Install Private Roku Channels and Unlock More Content Roku devices have one big advantage over all other streaming devices:channels. private. Read more if you want to learn more..
Chromecast devices are different. Not all apps are Chromecast-enabled, which means sometimes you'll have to manually cast the entire screen. If you're streaming from a mobile device, it has a negative impact on battery life. Also, you will not be able to use your phone for anything else while the casting is taking place; It may not be a suitable arrangement for you.
Also, some apps won't play successfully even if you launch the whole screen. If they depend on Silverlight, Flash, QuickTime, or VLC, they won't work.
Roku devices and Chromecasts have a few extra features that can help tip the scales, depending on what's important to you.
The Chromecast Ultra has an Ethernet port. Using it should provide a faster and smoother streaming experience. The only Roku device with an Ethernet port is the Ultra, but as explained above, we haven't included the Ultra in this matchup.
Roku devices are Miracast enabled. Miracast is often promoted as a replacement for HDMI. This means you can mirror Android and Windows screens directly to your TV. Unfortunately, you won't find Miracast on Apple devices.
Lastly, since September 2018, Roku OS has supported Google Assistant. This means you can use any Google Assistant device, like Google Home, to find and play content on your Roku device.
Much of your decision will depend on what products you already have in your home, what ecosystems you're tied to, and how you plan to use your device.
Generally speaking, if you're looking for a platform-independent way to cut the cord, you should buy a Roku. Whereas if you just want to stream some TV show or movie to your TV, you should buy a Chromecast.
To learn more about the two devices, check out our tips for getting more from your Roku Get more from your Roku with these 10 tips Get more from your Roku with these 10 tips OK, so you've got your Roku up and running, but you probably don't. you are maximizing its utility. These 10 tips will help you get the most out of your Roku. Read More Hack your Chromecast experience with these tricks. Hack your Chromecast experience with these tricks. Did you know that your Chromecast is capable of much more than just streaming video? In this article, we'll show you eight clever hacks that will make your Chromecast experience even better. Read more.