Just a few years ago, streaming players that cost upward of $100 were the norm. Nowadays, video thrills can be much cheaper. While 4K dongles hover around $70 and premium players can cost almost $200, the reliable, no-frills, full-HD streaming stick can deliver thousands of channels at 1080p resolution, and all for the cost of an evening at a moderately priced restaurant.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick ($40), Google Chromecast ($35) and Roku Streaming Stick ($50) are not the fanciest streaming gadgets on the market, but they're some of the most versatile and reasonably priced options. If you're not planning to get a 4K TV anytime soon, but still want your favorite movies, TV shows and music in high fidelity on your TV screen, one of these gadgets is the way to go.
Read on to find out which one stood up best to our rigorous testing.
Design (10 Points)
The Roku Stick and Fire TV Stick are cut from the same cloth.
They're both rectangular dongles that plug directly into an HDMI port on your television. You can use an HDMI extender if the shape isn't convenient, but the design on both sticks is pretty plain.
The Fire TV stick gets dinged, however, for requiring a wall adapter to function properly. You can technically power it through a USB port on your TV, but you'll probably run into some performance issues if you do. Check out our guide on how to use the Fire TV Stick for setup tips and how to get the most from the affordable streamer.
The Chromecast, on the other hand, not only comes in a couple of different colors, but also attaches via a flexible HDMI wire by default. The device's circular shape is attractive, even though you probably won't see it much, as it stays hidden behind your TV. That you can either let it dangle or clasp the wire magnetically to the device's body means it's suitable for a wide variety of setups.
Winner: Chromecast. The Chromecast is not only the most attractive of the three devices, but it's also suitable to the widest variety of HDMI ports.
Setup (10 Points)
Each of the three devices is easy to set up. (If more than 10 minutes goes by between you removing the streaming player from the box and watching your first show, something has gone grievously wrong.) All you need is a Roku, Google or Amazon account and a Wi-Fi network.
There's no denying, though, that the Chromecast has the easiest setup of the three. Since it doesn't have a navigable OS of its own, the device is dependent on your smartphone or computer, and all the menus you're already familiar with. There's nothing to "set up," really, aside from getting the Chromecast connected to your network. (You do need to download the Google Home app on Android or iOS, or a similar extension on Chrome, but you don't need to use the app for anything except modifying settings.)
The Roku Stick and Fire TV Stick both have more-traditional setup processes, which require you to sign in, at which point the devices will sync your existing accounts. The Roku lets you enter your username and password through a smartphone or computer; the Fire TV stick doesn't, which is a feather in the former's cap.
Winner: Chromecast. While the setup process for all three dongles is very easy, the Chromecast's is almost foolproof.
Interface (20 Points)
Once again, the Chromecast's interface is only as good as your smartphone or computer — but there's a good chance that this interface is very good. (If not, you're at least intimately familiar with it well before you ever plug a Chromecast into your TV.) To use the Chromecast, you simply load up apps you already know how to use, then press a single button to cast the content. It's hard to see how the process could be any simpler.
The Roku Stick takes a close second, because it lets you customize your own home screen. You can organize channels any way you see fit, placing them into neat rows and columns. There's very little between you and what you want to watch, aside from a few extra menu items and some (admittedly intrusive) advertisements for other channels. If you don't want to futz around with your phone while you're watching a program, the Roku's remote gives it an advantage overall, but you'll still have to learn the ins and outs of a new OS.
The Fire TV Stick also lets you customize app placement, but clutters up the whole experience with a disproportionate focus on Amazon content. You'll eventually get to what you want to watch, sure, but unless you're in the mood for whatever movie or TV show Amazon recommends next, you'll have to skip through a few obtrusive menus to get there.
Winner: Chromecast. The Roku has a beautiful interface, but the Chromecast has almost no interface whatsoever, and there's nothing easier than that.
Content and Apps (25 Points)
No one buys a streaming player because of how beautiful its menus look; people buy these devices to watch stuff (and, occasionally, to listen to stuff, or play stuff). When it comes to sheer, unparalleled variety of channels, Roku and Amazon offer a pretty similar selection. Each one has more than 5,500 options, from big names like Netflix and Hulu to niche channels for horror movies, fitness content or entertainment of a more risqué nature. Cable replacements, TV channel apps, music services — you're totally covered on either platform.
The only major difference between the two is that the Fire TV has an eclectic, but still pretty decent selection of casual games. You've already seen a lot of them on your Android or iOS phone, but playing Shovel Knight or DuckTales: Remastered without a dedicated gaming device is pretty cool. Roku's paltry gaming selection is best left untouched.
The Chromecast lagged behind the other two, as it's long lacked support for Amazon Video without some cumbersome work-arounds — but that issue will be solved in the coming months as Amazon and Google have stopped their bickering. It still has thousands of channels and even a few games.
Winner: Fire TV Stick. The Fire TV Stick has every channel you could want, plus a good, but not great selection of games.
Search (15 Points)
Unified searches on streaming players have been around for a few years, and they've come a long way in that time. Roku still boasts the best search in the business, trawling hundreds of services, to bring you not only the exact show, movie or actor you're looking for, but the best price as well.
Amazon and Chromecast have similar searches, but they have access to only a few dozen apps apiece. Chromecast's search in particular seems a little wonkier than its Amazon counterpart, often failing to find content on Hulu.
Winner: Roku Stick. Roku's unified search gives you results from the widest array of providers, and with the most accurate parsing of queries.
Remote Control (10 Points)
The Chromecast lacks a traditional remote control, relying instead on your phone, tablet or computer. This isn't really a problem, since controlling things with interfaces you already know and love (or tolerate) is still pretty simple. Casting content doesn't use up much battery, but if your device runs out of juice during a binge session, you'll be stuck until the Chromecast recharges.
The Fire TV Remote is a pretty unremarkable specimen, with the standard array of media buttons, as well as a voice search. The Roku Stick remote, on the other hand, goes a few steps above and beyond that. When you first set up the system, the remote will sync with your TV to control the volume and power for the whole set. This doesn't excuse the Roku remote's channel-specific buttons, which you can't customize, but it does make it the best remote of the three.
Winner: Roku Stick. The power and volume buttons on the Roku remote elevate it above the quotidian Amazon remote and the nonexistent Google one.
Value (10 Points)
At $35, the Chromecast is not the absolute cheapest streamer you can buy (that dubious honor goes to the Roku Express — which is not that great). However, the Chromecast offers an awful lot of functionality for a relatively small price.
At $40 and $50 for the Roku Stick and Fire TV Stick, respectively, you're mostly paying an upcharge for the remote controls. While $40 isn't unreasonable for a streaming stick and a remote control, Roku's $50 tag feels outdated.
Amazon Fire TV Stick
Save for its appearance, the Roku Stick is extremely similar to (albeit a bit more powerful than) the Express, but costs a full $20 more. The Roku Stick is a more versatile product than the $35 Chromecast, sure — but I don't know if it's $15 more versatile.
Winner: Chromecast. The Chromecast is the cheapest product of the three and offers almost as much functionality as its two closest competitors.
The Chromecast edges out the Roku Stick; both beat the Fire TV Stick by a comfortable — but not enormous — margin.
Swipe to scroll horizontally
|Amazon Fire TV Stick||Google Chromecast||Roku Streaming Stick|
|Content and Apps (25)||25||20||23|
|Remote Control (10)||7||5||8|
The Chromecast is ridiculously simple to use and less expensive, by a fair margin, than its competitors. For a foolproof setup that works with apps you already know, the Chromecast is about as good as it gets.
Still, it isn't the last word in cheap streaming. The Roku Stick is very nearly as good — better, if you want to watch Amazon Video content. On the other hand, the Amazon Fire TV Stick is a solid choice for viewers who want a little gaming in their lives or who lean heavily into the Amazon ecosystem.
For everyone else, the strangest-looking dongle on the market may also be the best.
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Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.
10 CommentsComment from the forums
the only time i suggest apple tv or fire stick is to someone who is deeply entrenched in one of those ecosystems.
they both force their content to the front and make it tricky to get to the other services stuff.
Roku takes the win for me for being able to watch everything i want and not have to fumble past content i don't want. the search feature is a big plus as well. searching a bunch of services at once and comparing prices is worth a couple extra bucks easy.
How is customer service should you need for each of these devices?
A BIG mark against the Firestick is a lack of native Youtube and YoutubeTV access. With the spat going on between Google and Amazon, those apps are not available. I don't have a Chromecast, so I can't comment if Amazon services can be sent to it, but I am going to guess probably not. I think you have to give the content and apps win to Roku based on that alone...
Accessing youtube on the fire tv is no different than it was before google forced the removal of the app. You still just click an icon and then youre on youtube with the same interface. Much ado about nothing from the endusers point view on that one.
The article author compares many aspects but forgets one very important one, i.e. the dependency on mobile. Chromecast cannot work without your mobile phone. It needs your mobile phone to be able to cast to it, without this it won't work. Whereas Fire Stick doesn't need any device like that, cause it runs its own small OS and all the apps inside are natively installed.
Chromecast uses standard protocols for streaming, however whether a particular app allows streaming on TV or not makes all the difference. My Smart TV already has Streaming Listener Services such as Miracast and WiFi Direct, so without any additional device I can stream my mobile display and videos etc on it. But Apps like Hotstar and Amazon Prime Video are smart in a way that they can detect that its content is being streamed over to a TV and it blocks the Audio/Video. Chromecast will fail here. But this is where Amazon Fire Stick makes all the difference (and perhaps Roku as well, haven't used it so cannot comment). Since it the same native apps there is no need of streaming from mobile at all.
IMHO, this is one of the major factors on the basis of which users make a decision.
Do let me know if any of the newest versions of Chromecast have any better capability.
One area missing is use for travel.
Minimum requirement would be the ability to sign in to hotel wi-fi. Although Chromecast seems ideal, Chromecast does not support multi-step signon (ie entering room number). You can connect your chromecast to a hotspot you set-up through your mobile device that is connected to the hotel wi-fi, but the chromecast needs data (and uses a lot of data), so you are using your mobile data (even if you use Netflix and have downloaded your movie/program to your mobile device, chromecast still needs data).
The roku sticks have a "hotel and dorm" signon feature that allows for multi-step wi-fi signon, but I would presume that you need to use the Netflix from roku and you are not able to download movies and run them from your mobile device (many hotel wi-fi are still very slow and make it difficult to show movies).
I have no experience with the Amazon Fire Stick.
Any comments or suggestions?
that is a good point. i do enjoy taking my roku with me when i travel. can use it at hotels, friends houses and anywhere else i can plug it into a tv assuming i want to use my mobile data for it.
was a HUGE upgrade for Roku 2nd gen sticks when they added the 2 step log in support. 1st gen did not have that and i used a ton of mobile data using it on the road. been hit or miss for me whether the hotel has sped enough to stream but i'd say a good 75% or more easily handled a netflix/amazon stream for me.
Sooo biased. Chromcast design winner? For a color you wont see for years also it requires plug adaptor (more cables behind TV...ughh) versus the elegance of HDMI power with no wires? Setup is the same basically, but you still favor Chromecast?? No interface, so no phone no streaming is a winner? What a load of crap. Bye tomsguide (for good).
I've used all of them. In order of best to worst:
Roku/AppleTV - Chromecast - FireTV
Roku/AppleTV: Tied, although price wise, you can't beat a Roku. Both have app stores, and both have pretty much the same abilities (depending on model).
I used to have an Apple TV and it worked great, especially if you are invested in the Apple Eco-System. I was pretty much able to stream just about anything from my MacBook, iMac, iPad, iPhone. My only complaint was with iTunes (which made me make the move to Roku). You can have an iTunes server streaming your media without issues to your AppleTV. HOWEVER, if you do not have internet access, you will not be able to play any of your content offline, even though you have it saved locally on a server. Billing issues will also prevent you from watching your content, so keep that in mind. Anyway, this was big for me due to constant internet issues due to local ISP. This was not acceptable for me at all as I felt my content was being held hostage by Apple. Not Cool. I spent lot's of cash on iTunes content which did not work offline.
Roku eliminated this restriction and I can watch any of my content, even if my internet connection goes down. I use Plex/Emby for all my content and have had no issues, can watch content locally or remotely. I recently bought a Roku Stick 4K HDR, and it works amazing! Highly recommend it.
Chromecast is good if you have mobile devices in which you want to stream content from either YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, etc...... Works with most devices, so that's cool. The only drawback is that you need a device to stream to the Chromecast. If you don't, you will not be able to use it fully (or at all). I was able to run pretty much the same as the Roku, but relied too much on my Tablet.
FireTV was the worst. Nothing but issues with 4k HDR content, and in order to really experience FireTV to it's full extend, you need to be a prime member. Apps had nothing but issues at times, my primary apps that I used for my content did not work properly or were not available. Unless you are heavily invested in Prime (Alexa, Prime, Echo, etc..) I would stay away.
Hope this helps.
It's called a Chrome CAST. What about casting from another device?
The biggest difference between the Chromecasts and the various Roku products is the user interface. Roku devices run Roku OS. There's an on-screen interface with channels, a store, a settings menu, and search functionality. Chromecasts use Google TV as an interface.Which is best Firestick Chromecast or Roku? ›
It's unanimous — Amazon Fire TV devices take the gold when it comes to video and audio quality. Three Firestick models have a clean sweep in terms of 4K, HDR (high dynamic range), Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Only one Roku and one Chromecast model can match the Firestick on this count.Which is better a Roku Streaming Stick or a Fire TV Stick? ›
Fire Stick 4k has slightly better support and specs than Roku Express 4k. Roku, however knocks it out of the park when it comes to the sheer number of apps. Their extra functionality in form of the Roku app is also a great addition.What's the difference between a Roku and a Firestick and a Chromecast? ›
The Chromecast With Google TV has our favorite voice assistant, but lacks Apple TV. The Fire TV Sticks have Apple TV, but lack Google Play services, and Alexa, while useful, isn't as simple to use as Google Assistant. Roku has the best selection of services, but doesn't have a voice assistant.Why Chromecast is better than Firestick? ›
Chromecast with Google TV wins points for the exceptionally personalized interface, sleek, modern voice remote and top-notch streaming and audio quality. Firestick wins points for the range of models on offer for different budgets.What are the disadvantages of Chromecast? ›
- No apps on the device.
- No remote control.
- Casting creates an information security vulnerability.
Best overall Amazon stick
The latest Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max is the fastest, best-performing streaming stick Amazon offers. It costs a little more than some of these competitors, but it's a great option if you're looking to stream high quality 4K content from your TV.
When you navigate the controls of a smart TV, you may notice it's slower than a streaming stick because smart TVs have more complex hardware. So, with all this in mind, you may find a streaming device is a better option for your needs.What is the difference between the different TV sticks? ›
Aside from price, the biggest differences between the various models of Fire TV Stick are the video and audio formats they support. The lower models only support 1080p, while higher models start to include things like 4K, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.Why does Roku charge me 7.99 a month? ›
Even the Roku channel is free. If you see a recurring charge on your credit card billing statement, it means that you have subscribed to a paid or premium subscription (or someone with access to your Roku player has signed up for a channel).
Roku devices are cheap and easy to use. You can get a Roku Streaming Stick that connects to any TV via HDMI for not a lot of money. With a simple interface, plenty of movies and TV shows to stream, and a straightforward remote, Roku is hands down the best streamer for seniors.What are the pros and cons to Roku vs Fire Stick? ›
|Streaming Quality:||Up to 4k, depending on the model.||Up to 4k, depending on the model.|
|Price:||Ranges from $17.99-$320.00||Ranges from $29.99-$119.99|
|Voice Control:||Compatible with Google, Alexa, and Apple||Only compatible with Alexa|
Roku provides devices that come with an engaging user interface and a dedicated Roku Channel Store, housing more than 10,000 apps from popular streaming services. Whereas Chromecast enables users to easily cast the streaming service apps they have on their mobile device or watch on their Chrome browser onto their TV.Can I use a Roku or Firestick on a non smart TV? ›
The good news is that users don't need a smart TV to use their Fire TV stick. Instead, it can be used with any old TV that has an Hdmi port, as the Fire TV stick comes with an Hdmi connector to connect to any LCD or Oled television.Is there a better device than Chromecast? ›
Another great alternative to Chromecast is the iPazzPort Cast, which lets you stream both online and offline content from your phone to your TV in 1080p. The HDMI dongle connects directly to your handheld device via Wi-Fi and has support for Miracast, AirPlay, and DLNA. Pros: Compact size.Why would I need a Chromecast? ›
Chromecast built-in uses the cloud to stream content to your TV, so you get HD video (and Ultra High Definition video using select devices and apps) with high-quality sound. Send texts and accept calls while streaming without disrupting what's playing on the TV or draining your phone's battery. Game on. Game big.Why was Chromecast discontinued? ›
With the advent of Google Home smart speakers, the device became tangential to Google's product strategy and was discontinued in January 2019. In addition, the third-generation Chromecast supports Chromecast Audio technology, allowing it to be paired with other devices for multi-room synchronized playback.Is Chromecast being phased out? ›
Customers could stream content to their TVs without the need for native apps. The third-generation Chromecast is now being discontinued as the device has reached its endpoint. Today marks the formal end of the third generation Chromecast, with the release of the Chromecast with Google TV (HD edition).Why is Chromecast shutting down? ›
One of the more prevalent issues with Chromecast is repeated crashing and restarting. The possible reasons for this issue include a faulty power supply, poor internet connection, and outdated firmware.What is better than Roku stick? ›
Our editor's choice – the Chromecast with Google TV (4K) – has a lot going for it. It offers a modern user interface, a snappy performance, and access to its solid voice assistant. But if you need power and versatility, it's hard to go wrong with Nvidia Shield TV Pro.
Best TV streaming stick for weak Wi-Fi: Roku Streaming Stick + If the Fire TV Cube is a little out of your budget, but you still need a streaming stick that can handle weak Wi-Fi, then go for the Roku Streaming Stick +, with long-range wireless receiver. This powerful little streaming stick gets a great signal.Which device is best for streaming? ›
- Best streaming stick: Roku Streaming Stick 4K. ...
- Runner up: Chromecast with Google TV. ...
- Best budget streaming device: Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite. ...
- Another budget option: Roku Express. ...
- Best set-top box: Roku Ultra. ...
- Best premium streamer: Apple TV 4K.
- Roku Express 4K Plus. Best streaming device overall. $39 at Amazon. ...
- Google Chromecast with Google TV. Best streamer with voice control. $30 at Amazon. ...
- Roku Streambar. Best sound and streaming combo. $80 at Amazon.
- 2022 Apple TV 4K (64GB): $125. Best for power users. $125 at Walmart.
If you already have a smart TV, you don't need a streaming device. However, if you have extra needs or an older smart TV, a streaming device could be a better choice for you. Streaming devices provide more content. If you want endless options for entertainment, a streaming device is more beneficial.Is it better to get an Android or smart TV? ›
As mentioned earlier, Android TV is essentially a smart TV, though it has more choices in some auxiliary functions and application libraries. Smart TV providing a user-friendly and straightforward interface usually performs better and runs faster than Android TV because there are fewer applications to launch.Is the TV box better than the stick? ›
There's really not much difference between the two devices except in form factor and resolution. Almost everything the old bigger Mi Box S has, the Mi TV Stick also has. The only difference is that the Mi TV Stick is a pocket-sized little streaming stick that takes on a rectangular shape akin to Amazon Fire Stick.Is Roku stick better than Roku? ›
Both the Roku Streaming Stick and the Roku Express top out at 1080p. In practice, we haven't found much of a difference between the two in terms of streaming performance. The Roku Streaming Stick, however, is the more powerful device.What is the difference between Fire TV Stick and 4K stick? ›
This version supports Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos audio, as well as HDR for crisper images. Compared with the Fire TV Stick and Lite models, the 4K version features 1.5 GB of memory, making for faster load times and snappier performance.How much is Roku monthly bill? ›
Does Roku Charge a Fee? You will need to pay for your Roku device initially. After that, Roku does not charge a fee. There's no monthly subscription.Why am I getting a monthly charge from Roku? ›
Free streaming subscription trials automatically turn into paid subscriptions that are billed on a recurring basis. To avoid being charged for a subscription, you must cancel your subscription on or before the last day of the free trial period.
In addition to ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox stations, you also get access to some other syndicated stations in your area, plus your local PBS channels. The CW is available, but only as an on-demand service and not as a live TV channel.What is the simplest streaming device? ›
Roku is our favorite streaming system, with the most streaming app options, the simplest streaming platform interface and the best search. It also has a content-agnostic platform that doesn't push any one media streaming service provider, like Amazon Prime Video or Apple, over another.What is the best TV channel for elderly people? ›
"Redefine Life Television (RLTV) is the only network specifically targeting people over 50. Our programming, from news to entertainment, is created for knowledgeable, experienced adults who understand the importance of television.What is the simplest TV for seniors? ›
#1 LG C9 OLED TV for Seniors
This easiest TV for seniors is well-rounded, starting with 10-bit color support for exceptional color range and Alpha 9 Gen 2 processor to optimize noise reduction and upscaling of non-HD content to near 4K.
You can get local channels on Roku via the Roku Channel Store, third-party apps, or even an antenna. The Roku Channel Store is a good place to start looking for local channels. If you have a cable subscription, you can watch local channels on your Roku via the service's app.Can you use Roku without Internet? ›
The most notable things the Roku can do without an internet connection include: Streaming content from local or external storage like USB sticks and SD cards. Showing pictures or videos from your phone via mirroring.Which Roku is best for non smart TV? ›
The Roku Ultra is both the best Roku player and our pick for a streaming device. The Ultra gives you access to thousands of streaming services playing at the highest-quality 4K possible. It's also quick to start streaming and easily navigable using the handy voice-controlled remote.What is Google's version of Roku? ›
Google Chromecast and Roku both allow you to access similar services, but the method used by each device is quite different. Roku operates in a more traditional manner with a physical remote and a full user interface on your TV.Is it better to buy a smart TV or Chromecast? ›
If you have a Smart TV that directly connects to the web, then you don't need a Chromecast. These TVs have pre-loaded apps and a built-in web browser. But if you want to specifically use Google Apps or the Chrome browser, you can buy a Smart TV that has Google TV built-in.Why would I need a Roku? ›
With the aid of a Roku app or device, internet material may be seen on any TV. Even if you don't have a smart TV, you can use a Roku to get on-demand entertainment from OTT providers like Netflix and Hulu.
You can often cast to a smart TV without a Chromecast. These televisions sometimes use the software of the Chromecast. Televisions with a built-in Chromecast don't exist. You can stream series from your smartphone or laptop to the television because you connect 2 devices that have the same internet connection.Does Chromecast use a lot of Wi-Fi? ›
In standby mode, Google Chromecast uses roughly 15 GB of Wi-Fi per month. A second device will double that, and so on. 4K streaming amounts to 7.9 GB per hour, while 1080p HD and 720p HD will consume 1.5 and . 9 GB per hour, respectively.Do you need a Chromecast for each TV in the house? ›
You will need a Chromecast device attached to EACH TV that you want to view content on. Give them all different names and rooms in the Google Home app so you can keep them straight.Which is best chromecast or Fire Stick? ›
Verdict: These 4K streaming devices are far more alike than dissimilar in these categories. That said, we recommend the Chromecast with Google TV 4K over either of Amazon's 4K sticks, because it beats the Fire Stick 4K on performance and the 4K Max on price (by that narrow $5 margin).Can you get local channels on Roku or Fire Stick? ›
While you can get live channels on any Roku device, a Roku TV – HDTV with the Roku operating system – works quite well. Just connect an antenna and get all your local channels free.Can you watch normal TV on a Roku TV? ›
To access “over-the-air” broadcast television, the HDTV antenna must be connected to the Live TV input of your Roku TV. Connect the coaxial cable from your HDTV antenna to the “Ant/Cable In” connector on the back of your Roku TV. Turn on your Roku TV, go to Home and select Live TV.What are the benefits of Google chromecast? ›
Chromecast built-in uses the cloud to stream content to your TV, so you get HD video (and Ultra High Definition video using select devices and apps) with high-quality sound. Send texts and accept calls while streaming without disrupting what's playing on the TV or draining your phone's battery. Game on. Game big.What are the pros and cons of Chromecast? ›
|Chromecast with Google TV Pros||Chromecast with Google TV Cons|
|Remote included Supports 4K, Dolby Vision and Atmos Reasonably priced||Not all TVs will power it You'll need a Google account Sometimes slow when changing apps or using voice control|
The Final Word on Chromecast vs Smart TV
A Smart TV and Chromecast serve the same function – they load the internet onto your TV screen. But while they both have built-in apps, a Gen#4 Chromecast can use a separate source device like a phone, laptop, tablet, etc. so it can project this external content onto your TV.
By comparison, Chromecast merely sends a set of instructions to the television, which then starts streaming straight from the Internet, so you're free to use your phone or tablet however you want. Casting has virtually no impact on battery life either, since it's not responsible for beaming the actual content.
While the service is free and there are no monthly fees, you must have a Google TV or Chromecast with Google TV device, which costs around $30 at Walmart. From there, simply launch Google TV and you'll see the new channels in the “Live” tab on your screen.What is better than a Chromecast? ›
AllCast is the perfect Chromecast alternative for those who don't want to spend money on a dongle. It's an app that lets you stream photos, music, and videos from Android and iOS phones on your TV. You can even connect to devices like Apple TV, Xbox, and Roku.Is it worth it to buy a Chromecast? ›
If you only judge by the sticker price, the Chromecast with Google TV HD is the best streaming device you can buy for the least amount of money. For $30, you get a streaming dongle with a feature-rich remote, powerful voice controls, and a useful system for figuring out what to watch.Do you need a Chromecast for every TV? ›
You can often cast to a smart TV without a Chromecast. These televisions sometimes use the software of the Chromecast. Televisions with a built-in Chromecast don't exist. You can stream series from your smartphone or laptop to the television because you connect 2 devices that have the same internet connection.Can anyone see my Chromecast? ›
There's no need to worry someone can see what you were doing on the Chromecast after you're done using it.Do I need a TV box if I have a smart TV? ›
A smart TV is a TV that can connect to the internet without the need for a set-top box or streaming device. While both of those devices provide a whole host of new content, most smart TVs will have the same content available in their built-in app store.