the only time i suggest apple tv or fire stick is to someone who is deeply entrenched in one of those ecosystems.
they both force their content to the front and make it tricky to get to the other services stuff.
Roku takes the win for me for being able to watch everything i want and not have to fumble past content i don't want. the search feature is a big plus as well. searching a bunch of services at once and comparing prices is worth a couple extra bucks easy.
A BIG mark against the Firestick is a lack of native Youtube and YoutubeTV access. With the spat going on between Google and Amazon, those apps are not available. I don't have a Chromecast, so I can't comment if Amazon services can be sent to it, but I am going to guess probably not. I think you have to give the content and apps win to Roku based on that alone...
Accessing youtube on the fire tv is no different than it was before google forced the removal of the app. You still just click an icon and then youre on youtube with the same interface. Much ado about nothing from the endusers point view on that one.
The article author compares many aspects but forgets one very important one, i.e. the dependency on mobile. Chromecast cannot work without your mobile phone. It needs your mobile phone to be able to cast to it, without this it won't work. Whereas Fire Stick doesn't need any device like that, cause it runs its own small OS and all the apps inside are natively installed.
Chromecast uses standard protocols for streaming, however whether a particular app allows streaming on TV or not makes all the difference. My Smart TV already has Streaming Listener Services such as Miracast and WiFi Direct, so without any additional device I can stream my mobile display and videos etc on it. But Apps like Hotstar and Amazon Prime Video are smart in a way that they can detect that its content is being streamed over to a TV and it blocks the Audio/Video. Chromecast will fail here. But this is where Amazon Fire Stick makes all the difference (and perhaps Roku as well, haven't used it so cannot comment). Since it the same native apps there is no need of streaming from mobile at all.
IMHO, this is one of the major factors on the basis of which users make a decision.
Do let me know if any of the newest versions of Chromecast have any better capability.
Minimum requirement would be the ability to sign in to hotel wi-fi. Although Chromecast seems ideal, Chromecast does not support multi-step signon (ie entering room number). You can connect your chromecast to a hotspot you set-up through your mobile device that is connected to the hotel wi-fi, but the chromecast needs data (and uses a lot of data), so you are using your mobile data (even if you use Netflix and have downloaded your movie/program to your mobile device, chromecast still needs data).
The roku sticks have a "hotel and dorm" signon feature that allows for multi-step wi-fi signon, but I would presume that you need to use the Netflix from roku and you are not able to download movies and run them from your mobile device (many hotel wi-fi are still very slow and make it difficult to show movies).
I have no experience with the Amazon Fire Stick.
Any comments or suggestions?
that is a good point. i do enjoy taking my roku with me when i travel. can use it at hotels, friends houses and anywhere else i can plug it into a tv assuming i want to use my mobile data for it.
was a HUGE upgrade for Roku 2nd gen sticks when they added the 2 step log in support. 1st gen did not have that and i used a ton of mobile data using it on the road. been hit or miss for me whether the hotel has sped enough to stream but i'd say a good 75% or more easily handled a netflix/amazon stream for me.
Sooo biased. Chromcast design winner? For a color you wont see for years also it requires plug adaptor (more cables behind TV...ughh) versus the elegance of HDMI power with no wires? Setup is the same basically, but you still favor Chromecast?? No interface, so no phone no streaming is a winner? What a load of crap. Bye tomsguide (for good).
Roku/AppleTV: Tied, although price wise, you can't beat a Roku. Both have app stores, and both have pretty much the same abilities (depending on model).
I used to have an Apple TV and it worked great, especially if you are invested in the Apple Eco-System. I was pretty much able to stream just about anything from my MacBook, iMac, iPad, iPhone. My only complaint was with iTunes (which made me make the move to Roku). You can have an iTunes server streaming your media without issues to your AppleTV. HOWEVER, if you do not have internet access, you will not be able to play any of your content offline, even though you have it saved locally on a server. Billing issues will also prevent you from watching your content, so keep that in mind. Anyway, this was big for me due to constant internet issues due to local ISP. This was not acceptable for me at all as I felt my content was being held hostage by Apple. Not Cool. I spent lot's of cash on iTunes content which did not work offline.
Roku eliminated this restriction and I can watch any of my content, even if my internet connection goes down. I use Plex/Emby for all my content and have had no issues, can watch content locally or remotely. I recently bought a Roku Stick 4K HDR, and it works amazing! Highly recommend it.
Chromecast is good if you have mobile devices in which you want to stream content from either YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, etc...... Works with most devices, so that's cool. The only drawback is that you need a device to stream to the Chromecast. If you don't, you will not be able to use it fully (or at all). I was able to run pretty much the same as the Roku, but relied too much on my Tablet.
FireTV was the worst. Nothing but issues with 4k HDR content, and in order to really experience FireTV to it's full extend, you need to be a prime member. Apps had nothing but issues at times, my primary apps that I used for my content did not work properly or were not available. Unless you are heavily invested in Prime (Alexa, Prime, Echo, etc..) I would stay away.