In the last few years, streaming has exploded, and now there are more TV shows and movies to keep track of than ever before. Because of this, almost everyone has had to bring some kind of streaming technology into their living rooms, but this adds to the stress of having to make choices.
Since a long time ago, the streaming world has been going strong. We know it can be hard to keep up with all the new streaming devices and services, no matter how cool that is. In this post, we will compare the Firestick and the Chromecast, two of the biggest names in streaming media.
People feel confused about streaming devices for a simple reason. You may have heard of Amazon Firestick and Google Chromecast, but if you look more closely, you’ll find that each device comes in more than one version. So I spent hours reading reviews on the Internet to try to put everything together. Probably not the most fun way to spend an afternoon.
We’ve already done all the hard work for you, so you don’t have to. Put your feet up while we cut through all the jargon and help you figure out which streaming device is best for you. Check out our guides to the Amazon Fire TV Stick and the Google Chromecast to learn more about how each one works.
Price and availability
Amazon’s line of Fire TV sticks has grown over the years to include five devices, while Google seems to be focusing on its new Chromecast with Google TV devices (4K and HD), which make the products more like other streaming devices. Overall, Google’s offer is a little cheaper. The HD model costs $30, while the same thing from Amazon costs $40. But Amazon also sells a $30 model called “Lite.”
It’s important to note that you have to sign up for both services, but Amazon is the only one that has its own streaming service. Google TV is more like a platform for video-on-demand, where you can buy or rent movies.
Chromecast vs Firestick key Features
- Amazon Fire TV devices and Chromecasts are easy and inexpensive ways to get smart TV features without having to pay smart TV prices. Most of the time, it’s up to you to decide which device to use.
- Chromecast with Google TV gets high marks for its highly customizable interface, sleek, modern voice remote, and high-quality audio and video streaming.
- Firestick gets points for having a variety of models for different price ranges. Every model also comes with a voice remote and supports both HDR and Dolby Atmos.
Chromecast vs Firestick Design
Both the Amazon Fire TV Stick and Chromecast are designed to fit into the HDMI port on the back of your TV, but that’s about all they have in common. The Google Chromecast is a small black dongle with a short, flexible HDMI cable. With this flexible cable, you can fit the Chromecast between other devices that are using other ports.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick looks like a USB stick and is black, just like the NOW TV Smart Stick. It is small and thin, so it can fit behind the TV between any other devices that are plugged in. Both are then hooked up to power adapters and hidden when they are being used.
A remote control is also included with the Amazon Fire TV Stick. The Alexa Voice Remote is small, black, and has 11 buttons, just like the Fire TV Stick. This has a voice button that lets you use Alexa by holding it down and saying what you want. Controls for power, volume, and play/pause are on the others.
Chromecast vs Firestick Streaming quality
Everything about streaming sticks and devices is just a distraction from their main purpose, which is to let you watch your favourite movies and TV shows.
Except for a few things, both Fire TV and Google TV have almost everything you could want. Big channels like All4, Britbox, and Now TV are not available to people in the UK. You can get around this by using your phone to “cast” content from these services, but if you’re used to having everything in one place, this can be annoying.
Both devices have HD versions that are less expensive and 4K versions that cost a little more, and both work with Alexa and Google Assistant, respectively. Dolby Atmos surround sound, HDR 10, HDR 10+, and Dolby Vision are all supported by both the Firestick and the Chromecast 4K.
Chromecast vs Firestick Interface
Neither the home screen for the Fire TV OS nor the home screen for the Chromecast are perfect. They can both do what they say they can do, and they are both good at putting content from live TV services like Sling and YouTube TV on the home screen.
Still, the Chromecast’s Continue Watching row has bugs and isn’t always reliable, and the home screen has some paid ads (but so does Roku). Still, the Fire TV interface has almost every kind of advertisement and paid content you can think of. There are ads for cars, ads that say you can buy everything you need for Halloween on Amazon, and, of course, ads for shows on Amazon’s Prime Video and Freevee services.
Chromecast vs Firestick Voice control
Both the Google Chromecast and the Amazon Fire TV Stick have their own voice assistants that let you control them with your voice. With the Chromecast, voice commands are handled by Google Assistant, while the Fire TV Stick uses Alexa.
We’ve already said that this is done with the remote that comes with the Amazon Fire TV Stick. Alexa can be used to turn up the volume or search the Fire TV homepage. It is activated by pressing a button on the remote.
This is done with Google Home devices for the Chromecast (also known as Google Nest). For example, you can connect the Chromecast to any Google smart speaker, like the Google Nest Mini, and then tell Google Assistant what to do to control the TV. But this does mean that you need a Google Nest speaker to get the most out of voice control and the Chromecast device.
Chromecast vs Firestick Remote Controls
When you add Google TV to Chromecast, you also get a remote. The remote is shaped like a long oval, which makes it easy to hold. It’s small and not very fancy. Google’s remote was different from most because it didn’t have a play/pause button.
When watching a video, the middle button of the navigation wheel lets you play or pause it. On other menu screens, it lets you press OK or Enter. It’s counter-intuitive to how any other remote works and requires practise to remember. The power button is on the bottom of the remote, which is also strange. There are only two direct buttons for YouTube and Netflix, and the audio controls are on the side (similar to a Roku remote).
On the other hand, the Alexa remote is thin and has a button layout that is pretty standard. At the top of the black remote, the blue Alexa button stands out. At the bottom are buttons that let you start Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu right away. The Live TV schedule grid comes up when you press the TV button.
Chromecast Pros and Cons
- Google TV is good at aggregating content
- Remote does both IR and HDMI-CEC
- 4K with wide HDR support
- Smart home features
- No Apple TV app
- No Ethernet port
- Remote could use playback buttons
- No Stadia support until 2021
Firestick Pros and Cons
- Dolby Vision, Atmos, HDR10+, and HDR10 for $40
- Impressive performance
- Responses are lightning fastAmazon needs to chill with the self-promotion
- No Google Play apps
- The menu system is still too bloated
- Amazon needs to chill with the self-promotion
- No Google Play apps
- The menu system is still too bloated
Which one should you consider?
You can’t go wrong with either device in the battle between the Chromecast with Google TV and the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max. Still, despite all the similarities, at the end of the day, it’s the everyday experience that is most important. When we sit down to stream movies or TV shows, it’s essential that we can easily get to the videos we want to stream or discover new titles that would be interesting for us to watch.
If you have Wi-Fi internet issues inside your home and a Wi-Fi 6 router, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max might be the way to go. It may also be the better choice for those who watch a lot of live TV and want to see the schedule from all live apps at a glance.
Is chromecast 4K better than Firestick 4K?
Dolby Atmos surround sound, HDR 10, HDR 10+, and Dolby Vision are all supported by both the Firestick and the Chromecast 4K. Winner: The Firestick wins because some key apps are missing from Google TV in some places, but Chromecast means you can still watch almost everything.
Do I need a Chromecast if I have a Smart TV?
You don’t need a Chromecast if your Smart TV is already connected to the Internet. There are apps and a web browser already on these TVs. But if you want to use Google Apps or the Chrome browser in particular, you can buy a Smart TV with Google TV already built in.