Roku and Amazon have other ideas about this concept, given their respective Streaming Stick and Fire TV Stick devices actually pull content from the internet only upon the command of a remote control or mobile app. That makes the Roku Streaming Stick or Fire TV Stick a better choice for viewers who prefer to hold a traditional remote in their hands, which are powered by a pair of AA batteries. Roku’s RF-based remote resembles the one that comes bundled with its current-generation set-top boxes, complete with shortcut buttons for favored nation channels M-GO, Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and Blockbuster on Demand; unfortunately, Roku skimped on the headphone jack featured on its more expensive hardware.
Deal for Prime Members
The company hopes to grab headlines with a special offer to Prime Members and maybe boost some initial sales figures. The Fire TV Stick will sell for $19.00 for Amazon Prime members
Remote: The moment Chrome cast was released more than a year ago, Google was quick to point out that no remote control would be required – after all, the required Smartphone, tablet or Chrome browser on a desktop computer essentially already offer complete control over playback. Amazon likewise cheaper out on the remote for its Fire TV Stick, which offers only basic navigation and playback buttons and none of the voice search or game controller functionality full-sized Fire TV owners enjoy. However, Amazon is separately offering both the $29.99 Fire TV Voice Remote so happens to be fully compatible with Fire TV Stick right out of the box. For those looking to toss hardware remotes in a desk drawer and forget about them, the news is even better: All three devices can be controlled from mobile apps on iOS or Android; although at this writing Amazon’s free Fire TV Remote app is a no-show on Apple’s App Store.
Roku has the best app selection, including access to Amazon Prime. However, Amazon Fire TV stick has the best games selection. Even though Chromecast has an awesome user interface, there is no advantage in the apps and games realm, especially since Amazon Prime is nowhere to be found. However, Google’s ‘Cast’ feature is super cool because at any moment play whatever is on any of your devices right on the big screen with no trouble.
|Google Chromecast||Amazon Fire TV Stick|
|Physical remote control||No||Yes|
|Phone/tablet app remote control||“Cast” apps only||Android (iOS “coming soon”)|
|Gaming support||Yes||Yes (optional $40 controller)|
|Voice search||Via select “cast” apps||Via remote app, optional physical remote ($30)|
|Screen mirroring||via Chrome browser or Android||via Kindle or Android (coming soon)|
|Wi-Fi antenna||Single-band||Dual-band/Dual antenna (MIMO)|
|Works with “captive portal” Wi-Fi sign-in*||No||“Coming Soon”|