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Created:Friday, May 7, 2021
Members: Friday, May 7, 2021 at 10:55 eastern (38 days ago)
Public: Friday, May 7, 2021 at 11:42 eastern
This is an informational posting or a note regarding an existing deal
Heat level:this is a good deal
Countries:available in USA
Details:Deals and Review of Roku, Fire TV, and Google Chromecast:
Today, there are deals on all three popular streaming media players: the Amazon Fire TV Stick, the Google Chromecast with Google TV, and the Roku.

The deals: All of these support 4K display, and have similar features with different navigation menus and slightly varying remote controls.

Who should buy which? In our opinion:
  • The Fire TV Stick is for a household that pays for Amazon Prime membership and likes a streaming experience focused on Prime content. Also, Amazon Echo smart speakers integrate nicely with the player.
  • The Roku Streaming Stick+ is our pick because of its simple navigation, easy setup, compatibility with Apple AirPlay, and just about every streaming app is available including Netflix, YouTube, Apple TV+, Prime Video, HBO Max, Hulu, and others (except for YouTube TV, due to a contract dispute with Google).
  • The Chromecast with Google TV has a place in the household if you fit one of these:
    • If you already pay for a Netflix subscription and want a new streaming media player for nearly free, this Chromecast bundle costs $90 and includes 6-months of Netflix. It applies as an $84 credit toward a new or existing Netflix account, and activates when the Chromecast is setup on your TV. So, if you were already planning to pay for Netflix for the next 6 months, this effectively gives you a Chromecast player for $6 more than the cost of 6 months of your Netflix membership. Or,
    • If you want an Android-based player because of their vast app library of more than just streaming services, or
    • If want to add peripherals and storage to your player. The Chromecast with Google TV is compatible with any USB-C which provide USB ports. You can add hard drives, flash drives, memory cards, a webcam, a microphone, and an Ethernet port. USB-C hubs cost extra, and likely require buying a higher-powered USB-C power adapter than the one included with the Chromecast.
There is no wrong choice. These are our recommendations based on experience with all three.

People like their Roku. The Fire Stick is also well-liked, but we see more Roku's in living rooms and Fire Sticks in kitchens and bedrooms. More entertainment-focused living rooms may opt for a more expensive player like a game console (Xbox, Playstation) or an Nvidia Shield TV.

The remote:

The Roku's remote is the easiest to use on this list. The rubber arrow and OK buttons feel firm and easier to touch than the plastic circles on the other brand remotes. Our least favorite remote is Chromecast's. It has no play/pause button which left us with a less convenient way of reaching for the navigation wheel inconveniently placed at the top of the remote, every time we wanted to pause shows during bathroom and snack breaks.

The setup:

Chromecast was the most difficult to setup of the above three. Our Chromecast failed to connect to our strong wifi until the fifth try, and would not power the TV on & off like the others. However, the Chromecast's ability to use USB devices is a nice benefit, and we will soon try adding a webcam and microphone for video calls on the TV.

Streaming apps:

All players support nearly every streaming app available, with very few differences between them. The Chromecast with Google TV had more hiccups than the others, including occasional audio sync issues that would not automatically correct until we paused the video.

Voice control:

All worked adequately for launching apps and playing shows, such as, "play Bridgerton on Netflix." All were hit and miss with general commands, like "show me comedies." For Internet searches, smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home worked better than using any voice remote.
Companies:Amazon, Google, Roku

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