Choosing between an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and the Roku Premiere might just down to your allegiance to Amazon's larger ecosystem of products and services because they both offer a ton of great content to stream with user-friendly interfaces. Both can deliver 4K HDR quality where available, while the Fire TV Stick offers a remote with built-in voice controls. While Roku lacks support for Alexa — strangely enough, there's not even an Alexa Skill for Roku — it instead offers its own compatibility with Google Assistant for searching for and playing content.
Let's break it down
There are some distinct differences in design between the two. The Fire TV Stick is a compact dongle that plugs right into the back of your TV, with an included HDMI extender cable if space is pretty tight. The Roku Premiere is similarly compact and includes an HDMI for connecting to your TV, but it's light enough to be mounted to the back of your TV.
|Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K||Roku Premiere|
|Dimensions||4.7 x 1.6 x 0.5 in||3.3 x 1.4 x 1 in|
|Remote with microphone||Yes||No|
|Works with Alexa||Yes||No|
|Works with Google Assistant||No||Yes|
On the software side of things, you're bound for a similar experience no matter which device you choose. Both Roku and Amazon's let you customize your home screen with your favorite content sources, and the interface is intuitive and familiar if you've ever used a streaming service before. Amazon does a predictably good job pointing you towards its own video streaming and Alexa's built-in functionality. You'll be able to find the most popular streaming services, but you won't find an official YouTube app on the Fire TV any time soon. There's always a workaround available, but if you love to stream YouTube it might be a deal-breaker.
Roku has no direct stake in the streaming service game and isn't competing so head-to-head with Google, so there's a ton of streaming services and channels under the Roku umbrella. Each service gets equal weight on the Roku platform, but the remote does prominently feature hotkey buttons for Netflix, Sling, Hulu, and DirecTV Now so that's a convenient inclusion if you're a subscriber to any of those services. Another cool feature that Roku offers is the Roku app for Android which lets you control everything from your phone, plug in headphones for private viewing sessions, and use a mobile keyboard when you're searching for content to watch. You can also conveniently cast content from your phone to your Roku-connected TV which might come in handy especially around the holidays.
Amazon's Fire TV Stick 4K offers a quick and simple upgrade to most any TV in your home.
Powered by Fire TV OS with Alexa available at your beck and call, the Fire TV Stick 4K is your best streaming option from Amazon. It's a full-featured dongle with support for HDR 4K and Dolby Vision that can also be controlled by your Amazon Echo speakers. Available for just $50, what's not to love?
Roku offers best streaming content all contained in a compact package.
Roku managed to undercut Amazon in price but comes up a bit short in terms of features. Having said that, Roku devices are both easy to set up and use and there's a ton of great content channels available. If you're not already bought into the Amazon Echo ecosystem, it's a pretty great option.
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