Hearth Stick vs. Roku: It’s a Coin Toss

You’ve minimize the cable twine however you continue to wish to stream the most well liked reveals on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Disney+ and extra.

However how will you entry these streaming providers now that you just’ve well ditched the cable field and the invoice that comes with it? Most individuals discover themselves narrowing it all the way down to Hearth Stick or Roku. This information offers you the inside track on Hearth Stick vs. Roku. You will discover:

Moveable Streaming Units

Hearth Stick and Roku are moveable streaming units that allow you to present applications in your TV by way of entry to the web. Hearth Stick is an Amazon product. Netflix was an early investor in Roku, which is a publicly held firm as is Amazon.

These moveable streaming units flip any TV into a wise TV so long as it has an HDMI port. They each look one thing like a distant management and you may add them to your different good residence units.


So far as pricing goes, Roku and Amazon’s Hearth Stick are nearly equivalent, with a couple of small nuances.

Probably the most fundamental Roku and Hearth Stick each value $29.99. The remotes that include both of those units at this pricing tier don’t permit you TV controls like quantity. Streaming is on the market in 1080p, with HDR help for the Hearth Stick.

On the subsequent pricing tier — $39.99 — you may get HDR and 4K with Roku. You can even go for a Hearth Stick mannequin that means that you can stream 4K at this value level. At this value, the distant on each units can management TV settings like quantity.

Then there are dearer choices, just like the Amazon Hearth TV Dice for $119.99, which will be synced along with your Alexa for voice controls.

Roku’s higher-priced merchandise vary from $99.99 to $179.99 and include superior audio and visible presentation options.

When you’ve bought the system, there aren’t any month-to-month charges. You’ll need to pay cash to the streaming platforms you subscribe to, like Hulu or Netflix. However you gained’t owe any cash to Amazon or Roku merely for utilizing the system on a month-to-month foundation.

Free Prime Subscription with Amazon Hearth TV Stick

Once you buy a Hearth Stick, you’re going to get a month-long free trial of Amazon Prime, together with Prime Video. On the finish of the primary month, billing will start.

Content material

Within the battle for content material entry, Roku comes out barely forward of the Hearth Stick. The one main streaming service Roku didn’t carry was HBO Max, however that modified on the finish of 2020. Now you can entry HBO Max on Roku. Amazon added HBO Max to its Hearth TV Stick in early 2021.

You continue to can not entry Peacock from NBC via the Hearth Stick’s major app retailer, however it’s out there via Roku. Technically, you possibly can obtain Peacock to your Hearth Stick via a course of known as sideloading — which is basically downloading the Peacock app outdoors of Amazon’s app retailer. You do need to watch out, although, as the method of sideloading can doubtlessly open you as much as safety threats.

Roku additionally has its personal streaming channel often known as The Roku Channel. Right here, you’ll discover free content material to look at together with ad-supported streaming of stay information.

Person Expertise

Total, each Roku and Hearth Stick have an easy-to-navigate consumer interface. Each search engines like google work effectively, however the algorithms behind them are completely different.

Once you seek for a present utilizing your Roku, the system will deliver up your search ends in order of value. Content material that’s free-to-you will present up on the high, with the costliest gadgets on the backside. Content material may very well be free to you as a result of it’s free to everybody, or it may very well be streaming on a platform to which you’re already subscribed.

Amazon, however, pushes its personal content material. Content material on the Prime Video platform is extra favored and due to this fact extra prone to present up on the high of your search outcomes. The search operate nonetheless works effectively, however if you wish to watch one thing from one other platform you could have to scroll a bit.

Amazon additionally pushes its personal content material on the Hearth Stick’s homepage. Proper alongside Netflix, Hulu and Disney+, chances are you’ll discover native adverts for “Jack Ryan” or “The Underground Railroad.” The objective is to get you to interact with Prime Video content material extra usually, which generally is a little invasive and annoying if that’s not what you wish to watch. However it doesn’t have an effect on the general utility of the Hearth TV Stick interface.

Choosing One

Roku and Hearth Stick are comparable in value and streaming platform entry. One isn’t overwhelmingly higher than the opposite.
Roku does include entry to Peacock and The Roku Channel, and also you gained’t be bombarded with the Amazon advertising and marketing push built-in into Hearth Stick’s consumer interface.

Nonetheless, in the event you’ve been serious about getting an Amazon Prime subscription anyway, the free month of Prime with a Hearth TV Stick could also be a pretty supply for you. And whereas Amazon does put a heavier emphasis by itself content material, it nonetheless offers you entry to nearly all the hottest streaming platforms.

Prepared to leap off the streaming deep finish and save much more? Think about these free streaming apps. Be warned although, you’ll get loads of free films and “Bewitched” episodes however “Bridgerton” shall be as out of attain because the Duke. And in the event you’re nonetheless attempting to resolve about slicing the cable twine, learn this earlier than you cancel.

Pittsburgh-based author Brynne Conroy is the founding father of the Femme Frugality weblog and the writer of “The Feminist Monetary Handbook.” She is a daily contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

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