For those looking for streaming devices, there are no shortage of options. Roku, Firestick, Chromecast, and Apple are the most commonly used streaming devices. Whether you have a brand preference or not, three of the largest tech companies out there have streaming options, and there is one company that produces one as their only product. There are multiple price points and different features that give everyone looking great options.
At the end of the day, all of the devices do generally the same thing and may depend on which ecosystem you prefer to use. Price is also a big factor since devices from Apple tend to be more expensive than their rivals.
To help make a better decision, continue below!
Which Option is the Most Economical?
Chances are you will be pleasantly surprised that most of them are less than $100. Apple TV is the most expensive at $149. The Roku Ultra now costs $72.99. The 4k version of the Firestick comes in next at $54.99. The Google Chromecast with Android TV built-in is the lowest-priced option as only $49.99.
All of these devices have the same 4k capabilities, and they all have excellent remote controls included. This is fairly new since the Chromecast only recently got a remote as an option.
There are other, less expensive versions of each device that have lower price points, but for this comparison, we will only be comparing the top-of-the-line versions. This is because, typically, people tend to settle on when making a purchase. It is not worth it to buy the cheapest option of any of them since they are all pretty affordable.
Which One Has the Most Features?
At this point, they all have nearly identical feature sets. Once again, 4k video is supported, and each remote has a voice search function. They all provide an excellent interface to navigate through and have very short learning curves for new users.
One benefit of the Google and Apple versions is their Cast and Airdrop features. Google’s Cast allows you to connect your Chrome web browser, your phone, or even your tablet to your screen to allow for virtually unlimited media. Apple has a very similar features known as AirPlay, and since iPhones tend to be the most popular smartphones out there, this may be a no-brainer for those users.
Which One Has the Best User Interface?
This is a difficult question to answer since a lot of it is based on what people are used to. Personally, I would say that Android TV is the easiest to use since I have had mostly exposure to Google products for a long time. Conversely, someone that just used Apple devices would say that Apple TV is the easiest one to use. It is for sure the best-looking option.
The Firestick lags in this area but does provide Alexa as a voice assistant through the remote. It works exceptionally well, but the graphical interface is not as good as the other three. Most people would say that the Roku has the cleanest interface, but its voice assistant does lag a little.
Here, the Roku would probably be the winner because the menus are so easy to work through. Although, as mentioned before, if you have any brand preference, that may not be a huge factor since you are already used to what Google and Apple provide.
Which is the Overall Best Value for the Money?
No question here. It would be the Google Chromecast with Android TV. For the lowest price, you get 4k video, an excellent remote with the Google Assistant built-in, and a very easy-to-navigate interface. No other option out there combines all of this at the price point. As mentioned before, the benefit of having Cast built-in means you will literally never run out of options to watch.
The second best would be the Roku because of how good the interface is, followed by the Firestick with Alexa, and the last being Apple TV. Apple TV is a great option, but you have to remember, it is also the most expensive by quite a bit. You could get three Chromecasts for all of your televisions at home for the price of just one Apple TV.
So, Which is the Best Overall?
Since the value vs. feature proposition is so high for the Chromecast, it is just too hard to beat. The features and ecosystem make it the perfect complement to any home entertainment system. The next best choice is the Roku, followed by the Firestick, and then the Apple TV. Sorry, Apple fans, but there is not enough differentiation between the Apple TV and the others to warrant the price.
You could make a strong argument for any of these devices as being the best for any number of factors, but the Chromecast is simply the best overall.
With all the options available, people have no shortage of choices for streaming their media. Ultimately, it comes down to user preference and what they are willing to spend. You really cannot go wrong with any of them, but the Chromecast with Android TV is the best choice overall.