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Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K vs Roku Streaming Stick 4K: Resolution rivals

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    Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

    A worthy victor

    $35 $50 Save $15

    Even though it may lack AirPlay or Chromecast capabilities, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K brings class-leading HDR capabilities and Dolby Atmos to the table.

    Pros

    • Excellent picture quality
    • Fast internet speeds
    • HDR10+, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support
    Cons

    • UI tends to favor Amazon content
    • No AirPlay or Chromecast support
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    The Roku Streaming Stick 4K

    Roku Streaming Stick 4K

    Second best

    $39 $50 Save $11

    The Roku Streaming Stick 4K is an awesome streaming device with lightning-fast internet speeds and great HDR capabilities. Unfortunately, it’s missing Dolby Atmos support.

    Pros

    • HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support
    • Solid picture quality
    • Great user interface
  • If you’ve been wondering how you can add popular entertainment apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ to a non-web-connected TV (or speed up a sluggish older smart set), one of the easiest and cheapest solutions is to invest in a streaming stick. Available from multiple manufacturers, these plug and play products will connect to your TV using HDMI. After pairing the device to your Wi-Fi, you’ll be able to enjoy on-demand movies, TV shows and other content, all without having to rely on a cable provider.


    Two of the most popular brands in the world of streaming devices are Amazon and Roku, and today we’re going to compare the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K to the Roku Streaming Stick 4K. With simple setup, fast performance and other useful features, you’re in good hands with either peripheral, but which is truly the best for your wants and needs? Let’s find out!


    Price, specs & availability

    The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K retails for $50 but is often on sale for as little as $35. You’re able to purchase the device from Amazon, as well as popular big box stores like Best Buy and Target.

    The Roku Streaming Stick 4K also retails for $50 and is often marked down to $40. You can purchase the Roku Streaming Stick 4K through Roku’s website, Amazon, and big box stores.

    • Amazon Fire TV Stick 4KRoku Streaming Stick 4K
      Operating SystemFire OS 6Roku OS
      Resolution4K4K
      PortsHDMI output, Micro-USB for power onlyHDMI output, Micro-USB for power only
      RAM/storage1.5GB/8GB1GB/4GB
      ConnectivityWi-Fi 6Wi-Fi 5
      Audio codecsDolby Digital Plus, Dolby AtmosDolby Digital Plus
      Price$50$50

    Design

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    The Roku Streaming Stick 4K plugged in

    In terms of cosmetics and core engineering, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and Roku Streaming Stick 4K look very similar. For the former, we’re dealing with a matte black gadget with an integrated HDMI connection and a micro USB port. Just plug one end of the USB into the provided power brick (which you’ll plug into an AC outlet), and the other end into the Fire TV Stick. The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K also comes with an Alexa-powered voice remote that includes four shortcut buttons, as well as basic volume, power and playback controls.

    The Roku Streaming Stick 4K is a little slimmer than its Amazon foe, but not by much. An integrated HDMI connection and Micro-USB for power makes it easy to plug the Roku directly into your TV, and the included remote shares a few design traits with Amazon’s own remote control.

    In our experience, we think the Roku remote is a little easier to hang onto, but the four shortcut buttons are already pre-mapped to Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV, and Paramount+.

    Performance

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    The Amazon Fire TV 2 Series

    Both the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and Roku Streaming Stick 4K are lightning-fast, especially in terms of screen-to-screen animations and overall buffering. The Fire TV Stick 4K is outfitted with a quad-core 1.7GHz processor and 2GB of memory. The Fire Stick also works with Wi-Fi 6 internet equipment and is able to connect to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz network bands.

    Load times are next to nothing when opening and closing apps, as well as starting a movie or show and using playback controls. Even content streamed in 4K HDR buffers quickly and looks fantastic once the stream is in motion.

    The Roku Streaming Stick 4K boasts long-range Wi-Fi capabilities, and is equipped with an ARM Cortex A55 CPU and 1GB of memory. This Roku product also connects to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz network bands, and delivers fast streaming speeds and great picture quality in seconds flat.

    Software

    A Roku TV mounted on a wall in a modern looking living room with plants around

    Source: Roku

    Like its other streaming devices and smart TVs, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is powered by Amazon’s Fire TV OS. As far as layout goes, Amazon opts for a simple tile-structure UI that can be customized to your liking. Downloaded apps and recommended content are quick to peruse, and you’ll be able to use the mic button on the remote to ask Alexa to search for content, as well as control your smart home devices. You’ll even be able to view live footage from compatible security cameras right on your TV screen.

    Unfortunately, Fire TV OS is limited to just Miracast and WiDi for screen mirroring from a mobile device or computer. If you’re looking for intuitive AirPlay capabilities, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K may actually be a better fit.

    The Streaming Stick 4K uses Roku TV OS. The software and UI haven’t changed much over the years, and why get in the way of something that works? All of your go-to apps and features are right on the Home Screen and are laid out in rows and columns that you can easily customize. And unlike Fire TV OS’s leaning toward Amazon-branded content, Roku gives you movie, show, and app recommendations from all different providers. You can also use the mic button on the remote to search for content with Roku’s own built-in voice assistant.

    And as mentioned, you’ll also be able to cast certain media, as well as your entire device screen, using Apple AirPlay 2.

    Video and audio quality

    The Fire TV Cube Home Screen

    Both the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and Roku Streaming Stick 4K have very similar picture and audio capabilities, although there’s one major difference between them.

    When it comes to what unites both streaming devices, both Sticks support full 4K video and the leading HDR formats, including Dolby Vision and HDR10+. Overall image quality between the Sticks is vibrant and colorful, with little in the way of frame drop or tiling.

    If you’re all about your audio, you’ll be pleased to know that the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K supports Dolby Atmos. This means you’ll be able to stream Atmos-encoded movies and shows through an Atmos-compatible TV, HDMI-equipped soundbar or A/V receiver.

    You’ll still get excellent Dolby and DTS surround playback over on Roku’s side of the playing field, but there’s no Dolby Atmos to speak of on the Roku Streaming Stick 4K – the biggest performance difference between the two devices.

    Which is right for you?

    At the end of the day, both Amazon and Roku make some of the best streaming devices on the market. The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and Roku Streaming Stick 4K are simple to install, easy to use and offer thousands of hours of movie and TV show content.

    That being said, if you want your mid-tier streaming device to support the Wi-Fi 6 standard, as well as Dolby Atmos, we’re going to recommend you invest in the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K.

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    amazon fire tv stick 4k

    Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

    Leading the charge

    A Dolby Atmos device for less than $50

    $35 $50 Save $15

    When it comes to fast streaming, awesome picture quality and pulse-pounding Atmos sound, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is one of the best devices in town.

    This isn’t to say that the Roku Streaming Stick 4K isn’t worth it though. In fact, if you really want to do AirPlay casting with your phone or computer, we’d urge you to go with Roku’s Stick lineup over any Amazon product.

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    The Roku Streaming Stick 4K

    Roku Streaming Stick 4K

    The AirPlay MVP

    A simple and intuitive user interface

    $39 $50 Save $11

    Roku has been making amazing streaming devices for years, and the Roku Streaming Stick 4K is another great addition to its growing lineup.

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