Roku vs. Fire Stick: Which Streaming Device Is More Cost-Effective?
If you’re ready to pull the plug on cable and switch to streaming, how do you know which device to use? Let’s look at Roku vs. Fire Stick.
In 2022, almost 6 million television households in the U.S. cut the cord on their cable television subscription, reports TVTech. Instead, Americans are watching their favorite shows on an increasing number of streaming channels like Netflix, Hulu, Peacock, and Paramount.
The two most popular streaming devices are Roku and Amazon’s Fire Stick. But if you’re ready to pull the plug on cable and switch to streaming, how do you know which device to use? Let’s look at Roku vs. Fire Stick to determine what may be the better fit for your viewing needs.
What is the cost of the Roku vs. Fire Stick?
Both Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV offer smart televisions already equipped with streaming capabilities. They also both offer several different versions of their streaming sticks. However, for this comparison, we are primarily looking at the Roku Streaming Stick 4K and the Fire TV Stick 4K, both devices you can connect to a USB port on your television to stream your favorite channels.
As far as cost, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K and the Fire TV Stick 4K are sold at the same price of $49.99. There are no subscription fees to use either streaming device, although you do have to pay for many of the individual streaming channels you want to watch.
How do the features compare on Roku vs. Fire Stick?
Both the Roku Stick and Fire Stick give you access to popular streaming channels like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Peacock, and Paramount. However, when it comes to free channels, Roku offers much more than its competitor. The Fire Stick only offers about 200 free channels, while Roku provides over 3,000.
Although you don’t need an Amazon Prime subscription to use the Amazon Fire Stick, without a subscription, you won’t be able to watch any movies or TV series that are offered on Amazon Prime Video. Roku’s The Roku Channel offers over 350 free channels to watch.
If you depend on Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, the Fire Stick may be a better option. With it, you can set up your Alexa to change the TV channels through voice commands. Roku does have a voice navigation option on some of its streaming sticks, but it isn't quite the same.
Home screen interface
Regarding the interface for Roku vs. Fire Stick, Roku’s home screen is simpler and easier to navigate than Fire Stick. Since the Fire Stick is an Amazon product, its home screen displays movies and shows available on Amazon Prime Video. However, those programs are only available to you if you are a Prime member. The home screen for Roku simply displays the streaming channels you’ve downloaded.
What is the long-term savings potential of Roku vs. Fire Stick?
Even though the cost of streaming channels has increased over the past years, and more streaming services are available to subscribe to, streaming via a Roku or Fire Stick is still more affordable than cable television. With streaming channels, you only pay for those you want and can cancel your subscription anytime. Plus, even if you choose not to subscribe to paid streaming channels, both Roku and Fire Stick offer free channels you can watch without spending a dime.