Digital streaming is what’s trending these days. Technology has literally made the saying, “served on a silver platter”, true to the core. Maximum convenience at best prices, watching your favourite content streamed live from your phone on a large TV screen couldn’t get better than this. And it’s all thanks to the latest streaming devices in the market. Amazon Fire Stick and Google Chromecast are a few examples.
While both have managed to gain immense popularity in a short span, both pride in their exclusive features preferred by many, loathed by some. This is why we bring up a list of some of the most discussed pros and cons of these two streaming devices to help you make an informed decision if you’re planning to purchase one soon.
Before we get on to the comparative mood, here’s a brief overview on both these new technologies for the not-so-tech-savvy readers.
What is Amazon Fire Stick?
The Fire TV Stick is the newest offering from Amazon designed to offer an unforgettable home entertainment experience to the user via Internet streaming. The stick-like device can be plugged into the HDMI port of your TV. You can then sit back and relax, watching your favourite TV shows, movies, music, photos, and games made available to you via streaming from the internet.
Owing to its portable nature, the stick offers great advantage such that you can now carry your full-fledged entertainment with you anytime, anywhere.
What is Google Chromecast?
Now coming to the closest competition to Amazon Fire TV Stick, this one has been in the market for relatively longer. Chromecast refers to a streaming media adapter from Google’s kitty. It enables users to stream and play digital content on a digital television.
For this, the adapter serves as a dongle that can be plugged into the HDMI port of the TV, while a cable connects to a USB port to run the device. A mobile app facilitates using any device such as smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop in the form of a TV remote.
What’s more, when the streaming is in progress, you don’t need to keep the app open on the device; the latter can be used for other purposes in parallel.
Amazon Fire Stick vs Google Chromecast
Now that we somewhat know the basic idea behind both the streaming sticks, let’s get on the understanding the key differences between the two. After all, that’s our main motive in order to make a wise and worthwhile buying decision, right?
- Use of remote – For ages, we’ve grown accustomed to the idea of using a remote to power the TV, to navigate it, to manoeuvre it; basically, to keep its control in our hands through a small device called the TV remote. Now in the age of digital streaming too, especially when it can be done on the TV itself, we expect similar functionalities in the devices that offer streaming services.
Unfortunately, Google Chromecast doesn’t use a remote control to navigate through the streaming process. This is unlike most other media streamers in the market, including Amazon Fire TV Stick.
The latter still accepts the conventional interface of plugging in, switching on the TV, and using the provided remote to choose from a whole range of videos available for streaming. On the contrary, Google Chromecast tries to shove the traditional TV interface completely out of sight. This would mean that full control comes in the hands of the mobile or device you wish to choose.
- Content options – Here too, Fire Stick vs Chromecast can be said to have one key difference – while the former relies heavily on Amazon Prime for its content streaming, Chromecast gives you the option to choose videos from Google Play for streaming.
- Search options –The efficiency of either can be assessed from one major fact, it’s clean usability features and better UX. Fire Stick comes with a specific search tab allowing for easier searches. Of course, with the voice remote control, you can even put forward your query by saying it out aloud.
Chromecast comes with certain limitations here. The catalogue indexing is limited to YouTube and Netflix only, with no search option. Plus, you may have to end up manually searching for what you want to watch by opening different apps on your phone, which may not always be convenient.
- App offerings – Google currently claims to have around 20,000 apps for Chromecast, while Amazon offers 3,000 apps, games, and other services all put together for its Fire TV Stick. Meanwhile, access to popular streaming services such as Netflix, Hotstar, Eros Now, Voot, Sony Liv, and Airtel Movies, can be enjoyed on both.
How to Connect to Chromecast and Fire Stick?
You may choose either depending on your need and preference (based on our points of difference detailed above) but once you buy one, you’d need to know how to set it up. So here it is.
- Plug in Chromecast into the TV and download the Google Home App on your phone or tablet.
- Connect to Chromecast via Wi-fi.
- Configure your Chromecast on the app and you’re done.
Fire TV Stick Setup
- Plug in the USB micro cable into the power adapter and plug the other end into the Fire TV Stick.
- Now plug the Fire TV Stick into the HDMI port of your TV.
- Press the Home button on your TV remote
- Press Play/Pause on your remote and select your preferred language.
- Select your Wi-Fi network, enter the password and connect.
- Register to create an account.
Best Streaming Devices in 2019
Besides these two market leaders at the moment, a lot of streaming fans are open to trying out other options as well. Based on their popularity in the year so far, we’ve put down the top streaming devices doing the rounds:
- Amazon Fire TV Cube- MSRP: $120; Available on Amazon at $99.99
- Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K- Price: $50
- Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote- MSRP: $39.99
- Roku Premiere+ -Price: $50; Available on Walmart at $44 and Currys PC World at £59.99
- Apple TV 4K- Price: $179 for 32GB version and $199 for 64GB version
- Google Chromecast Ultra-Price: $69
- Nvidia Shield TV- Price: $200
- Roku Ultra – Price: $100
- Google Chromecast- Price: $35; Available at Currys PC World at £30
- Roku Premiere- Price: $40; Available on Amazon at $39 + free shipping
There are a host of media streaming devices in the market these days, all vying for consumer attention to get a strong grip in each household. All of them come with special performance features, each unique than the other and better than the older.
In this article, we’ve tried to cover a detailed overview of two of the leading and most popular streaming devices – Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV Stick. Which one is better is subject to personal opinion, depending on individual user experience and satisfaction.
Petr is a serial tech entrepreneur and the CEO of Apro Software, a machine learning company. Whenever he’s not blogging about technology for itechgyan.com or softwarebattle.com, Petr enjoys playing sports and going to the movies. He’s also deeply interested about mediation, Buddhism and biohacking.