Roku vs Chromecast is two of the most popular budget devices for streaming popular content at home. The two types of devices are designed to make it as simple as possible for users to watch their favorite streaming services through their TV. However, they both provide this capability in entirely different ways.
Roku provides a range of streaming devices that users connect to their TV directly or via an HDMI cable and remote control. Users can then choose from tens of thousands of channels on the Roku Channel Store, which they download, log in to, and start watching. The service is increasingly now available directly on Roku technology-powered smart TVs.
In contrast, Google’s Chromecast devices plug into the TV and enable users to cast their favorite content from their mobile phone, which acts as their remote control, or via a Google Chrome browser window on a Mac or PC. Chromecast users can watch any streaming service that provides Google Cast support, such as Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube.
This article will explore the difference between Roku and Chromecast and help users find the right device for their streaming requirements. Head here for an in-depth review of everything Chromecast has to offer.
Roku Streaming Stick
Get Roku Stick if you want a remote and a neutral platform to watch any world streaming service. Roku delivers the same picture quality and better compatibility.
The downsides to Roku are the advertisements and lack of smarts. Roku Stick Plus has the same features and speed with attached 4K compatibility for $59.
- Interface: It’s old-school and rough-looking, but it gets the job done.
- Content: It has every streaming service imaginable and tons of 4K content.
- Speed & Specs: Content appears on your screen at a similar rate to Chromecast, but it’s easier to pick shows remotely.
- Smarts: Voice search is excellent, but there isn’t a smart assistant.
- Remote: It has dedicated buttons, and you can control the TV’s power and volume.
Chromecast (3rd Gen)
Get Chromecast if you use Google Home and don’t want a remote. Chromecast is not for you if you’re a channel surfer or an avid TV watchman.
Chromecast is smarter and works with Google Home, but it’s not perfect. Chromecast Ultra has similar features and speed with added 4K compatibility for $69.
- Interface: There isn’t an interface. You stream apps on your phone, then tap cast.
- Content: Most phone apps are compatible. Look for the cast button in each app.
- Speed & Specs: You need to unlock your phone and locate the app to change the content. Casting takes 10-15 seconds.
- Smarts: You can ask Google Home to cast things, play, and pause hands-free.
- Remote: Your phone and Google Home are the remote.
Chromecast Pros and Cons
- 4K HDR support
- Includes ethernet adapter
- Simple to set up and use
- Not as full-featured as the set-top box
Roku Pros and Cons
- 4K HDR support
- Generous support for streaming services and apps
- Remote control with a headphone jack for private listening
- Not as compact as a streaming dongle
Roku vs Chromecast: Similarities
- Both Roku and Chromecast enable HD video streaming through HDMI ports that connect to Wi-Fi networks.
- Both IPTV devices provide content from lots of free and streaming sources from web-only providers, pay TVs, and networks.
- Both tools offer user-friendly smartphone and tablet apps supporting iOS and Android systems.
- Both units are easy to assemble.
Chromecast vs Roku: Apps
The same apps may not be accessible for each of these devices. If you use Netflix or Hulu, you’ll be happy to know that you can watch movies and TV shows through each of these devices. However, Amazon Prime is limited to Roku and Amazon Fire devices.
If you want to watch Amazon Prime Instant Video through Chromecast, you’re out of luck. Additionally, Amazon Music can only be streamed from Amazon devices. If you’re looking for apps other than what’s mentioned here, it might be worth researching on your own whether that app is compatible with a given product.
What Chromecast Does?
If you’re someone with many other smart home devices and want everything to be connected, the Chromecast is the one to buy.
If you don’t mind that it doesn’t have a traditional interface and relies entirely on casting what’s on your phone or tablet, then this device is the best option for throwing right from these devices to your TV.
The Chromecast is also an excellent option for settings like classrooms where you want information from your phone to be put directly on the big screen.
What Roku Does?
If you’re someone that wants to browse for new things to watch on your TV and have all the apps right there and ready for you, you’ll want to go for a Roku.
If you prefer having a remote in your hand and don’t want to rely on your tablet or mobile device, these devices are the best bet.
These devices are also best for people that can’t miss out on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and want a massive variety of channels.
A lot of your decision will depend on which products you already have in your home, which ecosystems you are tied into, and how you plan to use your device. Roku and Google Chromecast are both great options for people looking to cut the cord on cable.
The two companies provide simple devices that make it easy for users to quickly start watching their favorite movies and TV shows and stream their music. However, they go about doing so in different ways. 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 cast the streaming service apps easily, they have on their mobile devices or watch on their Chrome browser onto their TV. Both companies offer budget devices for the entry streamer and more expensive options that enable higher video quality and more advanced features.