Streaming stick is a great option for individuals looking to give their TV streaming capability, but without occupying additional shelf space; these sticks are also less expensive alternatives to the regular set-top boxes. Google, Amazon, and Roku are the three companies that currently make streaming sticks that allow people to watch TV programs and movies from services such as Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime Instant Video and Netflix.
None of these three sticks are much bigger than a standard portable flash drive, and all of them can be easily plugged into a TV set’s HDMI port to enable video streaming using Wi-Fi connection. It’s true that certain things like additional storage, inputs and beefier processors will be missing, but these small devices will amaze you with great HD output; additionally, you will be served with a huge collection of content to view as well as the ability of sharing videos and photos on the TV screen.
Now, the question that must be bothering you is: which device should I buy the Amazon Fire TV stick, the Roku streaming stick or the Google Chromecast? You will get a perfect answer to this question once you know how exactly you would like to use a streaming stick.
Individuals who don’t have any intent to increase the number of remote controls in their entertainment room or are not very fond of menus displayed on television screens would love using Chromecast as it neither involve use of remote control nor is operated via onscreen menus. Chromecast is controlled either with a smartphone or a tablet.
Users who have no issue with remote controls can choose any one between the Fire TV stick and Roku’s stick. However, if you want to get more options to choose from, Roku’s device is what you should pick. This is because searches on Amazon Fire TV are mostly limited to the company’s own catalog. The streaming stick by Roku, on the other hand, comes up with matches from a number of services for every search and thus makes it easier for the user to find the cheapest option.
The practical difference between these three sticks is not very significant. Roku does boast as many as 1,800 channels, but one would end up watching only a few of them. Each of these sticks covers popular services such as Hulu Plus, ESPN, Netflix, and so on; additionally, users are allowed to view YouTube videos on them. However, for fans of Game of Thrones, opting for the Fire TV stick would not be a good idea as Amazon has not yet started offering HBO Go.
As far as content is concerned, the best option of the lot is definitely Chromecast as it possesses the ability of casting web content from computers using Google Chrome.
Roku is the most expensive of the lot; it is available for $50. This price can increase even further if you want to offer streaming access to multiple television sets. Chromecast is the cheapest of the lot and thus is also the most frequently bought device among the three; it costs $35. The Fire TV stick is priced at $39. So, if you weigh usability against price, Chromecast is the best option.