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Streaming comparison: Roku vs. Apple TV vs. Fire TV vs. Chromecast

The pandemic boosted the popularity of streaming as social distancing and remote work caused people to stay home. Online media companies helped fill the void by expanding their libraries and adding new content to stream, including big-budget productions that never made it to theaters.

All this great content costs something, and your bills will show it. Between cable, internet and streaming services, your subscriptions fees can add up quickly. There are ways to save without sacrificing too much in the form of options. Tap or click here for 12 tips on lowering your monthly bills.

One way people have been saving money is by cutting out cable TV entirely. You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to streaming options, and you don’t need to buy an expensive smart TV. Streaming players make it easy to pick and choose the services you want, and they are compatible with most televisions with an HDMI port. Let’s compare some of the best options.


Roku’s streaming players range from $30 for the Roku Express to $130 for the Roku Streambar, with several models in between. The price denotes the video quality, such as HD, 4K and Dolby Vision, as well as convenience features like voice commands.

Roku players work with all the popular content providers, including Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Hulu, Plex, Sling TV and Apple TV+.

Roku Express

Roku Streaming Stick+

Roku Ultra

Roku Streambar

Apple TV

Apple devices work best in conjunction with each other. A case in point is Apple TV, which is best for those who live in Apple’s ecosystem with iPhones, iPads and Macs. Apple TV got an even faster processor and a new Siri Remote in 2021.

You can use it to play your iTunes content, including movies and music. Apple TV is compatible with Airplay, Apple Music and other HomeKit appliances. You’re not stuck with Apple content, as Apple TV also works with Disney+, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Hulu, HBO Max, and Sling TV.

Apple TV 4K (2021)

Fire TV

Amazon offers quite a few models of its streaming sticks, which start at $30. As with Apple, you may want to look at a Fire TV device if you have more Amazon-branded tech, such as Echo speakers and Ring cameras. If you’re a big fan of Alexa, that applies here too.

Stream your favorite content from Prime Video, Disney+, YouTube, Netflix, Vudu, Hulu, Plex and Sling TV. Stream your favorite tunes with Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora and more.

Fire Stick TV Lite

Fire TV Cube

Fire TV Stick 4K Max


Love your Google Nest and Google Assistant? Look into Chromecast devices. If you’re a seasoned Android user, you’ll have no problem learning your way around these devices.

You can cast or stream content from your iOS or Android device or Chrome browser to your TV with Chromecast. Get your content from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Prime Video, Sling TV, Plex and Vudu. Chromecast works with Google Home to control just about any smart home function.

Chromecast (3rd gen)

Stream from your phone to TV with Google Chromecast while using your phone as you usually would for calls, texting, browsing, etc. Voice control and Google Home compatibility allows you to ask for your favorite show to play from a specific TV in your house.

Chromecast with Google TV

Chromecast with Google TV brings 4K streaming content. Press the Google Assistant button on your included remote and ask for a recommendation. Your home screen displays movies and shows from all your services, including live TV and streaming so that you can see everything in one place.

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