Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Roku or Fire TV?

For years, I've been firmly on Team Roku. However, lately I've used Android/Google TV in the form of Chromecast and NVIDIA Shield devices. I have to say I like them.

This does not mean I've left Team Roku. It simply means that I'm using other devices in order to ensure I know about them, and can answer questions when asked.

I've not mentioned Fire TV yet. Well, until now. I've used Fire TV, and it's a user friendly device as well. While I'm still using Android/Google TV, I'm going to take a minute and talk about the two top platforms, Roku and Fire TV. Many new streamers want to know which is better: Roku or Fire TV. The answer to that isn't simple.

The choice between Roku and Fire TV often depends on your personal preferences and and what you are looking for in a streaming device. Both Roku and Fire TV offer a range of streaming devices from which you are able to access the popular streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Disney Plus, Max, Paramount Plus, Peacock TV, and more.

So, what's the real difference?


  • The Roku interface is much simpler and very easy to navigate. The Roku interface easy of use.
  • The Fire TV interface is also user-friendly. As mentioned, it works well with Amazon content. The design is more cluttered, but offers content suggestions if you want to find something new to watch. The suggestions don't work as well as Google's, for instance, but if you want suggestions, Fire TV offers this that Roku doesn't have.


  • Roku offers a wide range of apps, including all the top streaming services. Generally, Roku is does not favoring any particular content provider, other than Roku Channel. Even then, it's not as in your face as Amazon.
  • Fire TV devices are closely integrated with the Amazon ecosystem. This actually is an advantage if you are an Amazon Prime member and use a lot of Amazon services. The app catalog is not as large as the Roku catalog, but it's pretty darn big.

Device Selection

  • Roku has a wide range of streaming devices, raning from budget-friendly options to high-end devices such as the Roku Ultra.
  • Fire TV also has a variety of devices, including the Fire Stick and Fire TV Cube. The low end items are inferior to the comparable Roku devices. The high end devices are roughly equivalent.

Voice Control

  • Roku has voice search and control through the Voice Remote ($20) and Voice Remote Pro ($30). High end (more expensive) Roku TVs have this as well. The cheapest Roku devices with the Simple Remote don't include this.
  • Fire TV utilizes the Amazon Alexa assistant. You can contron the interface and some compatible smart home devices. I've found this feature hit and miss, but the functionality is greater than that of Roku.


  • Roku does offer some games, but it is not a gaming platform, to put it bluntly.
  • Fire TV devices, particularly the Fire TV Cube, have more gaming capabilities. It is possible to play a variety of games through the Amazon App store. However, it's not Xbox or PS5.

Working with Other Devices

  • Roku works well with a variety of devices, such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Roku has expanded their catalog of devices to include smart home devices, such as home monitoring, cameras, doorbells, lights and such. I've used some of them and they work fine.
  • Fire TV integrates smoothly with Amazon devices, including Echo speakers. The Fire TV Cube, for example, includes Alexa home assistant, which makes for a more connected experience for your smart home.

The bottom line is that the better choice depends entirely on your specific preferences. If you are already heavy into Amazon Alexa, then Fire TV is probably the way to go. If not, Roku is an excellent choice. Both Roku and Fire TV are excellent platforms, and either could be a good choice based on your needs and preferences. My Streaming Life utilizes Roku more than Fire TV, but if Fire TV has been around in 2010, I may have gone that way instead.

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