Set-top streaming boxes have grown exponentially in popularity as services like Netflix and Hulu Plus have gained more traction. Initially this was a market dominated by devices like the Apple TV and the Roku, but a new wave of video streaming sticks have begun to crop up and entice consumers with their low prices and small sizes. These tiny devices are roughly the size of a USB flash drive, but are capable of streaming countless hours of entertainment right to your television set.
Among the leaders in this market are Amazon’s Fire TV Stick and the Google Chromecast. Both are remarkably powerful devices that connect directly to an HDMI port on your TV and boast very low price tags. But they share a lot of similarities, so you might be having trouble choosing which option is best for you. Our article below will point out some of the key differences between the two products in an effort to help you find the option that best meets your needs.
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Amazon Fire TV Stick and Google Chromecast Comparison
Fire TV Stick
|Additional video outputs||No||No|
|Wireless internet connection||Yes||Yes|
|Wired internet connection||No||No|
|Available Gaming Controller||Yes||No|
|Dolby Digital Surround Sound||Yes||No|
|Optical Audio Out||No||No|
|Check prices on Amazon||Check prices on Best Buy|
*Voice search on the Fire TV stick requires a separate remote or remote app.
Why Should I Get the Amazon Fire TV Stick?
The Fire TV stick is the superior piece of technology. It is newer, faster, and has better Wi-Fi capabilities. This is largely due to the fact that it was released one year after the Chromecast, but the massive differences between the hardware of the two devices is certainly not something that can be ignored when comparing them.
The Fire TV stick also boasts access to Amazon Instant and Amazon Prime content, which the Chromecast does not. So if you have an Amazon Prime subscription (if you don’t, you should probably visit Amazon and check it out) then the Fire TV stick might be the right choice for you.
The Chromecast requires you to use your phone, computer or tablet to control it, while the Fire TV comes with its’ own dedicated remote control. The Chromecast is actually pretty easy to manage from another device, but many people find that having a dedicated remote control is a huge benefit on devices like this.
Why Should I Get the Google Chromecast?
There are a lot of pros in the Fire TV stick’s corner, so you might be wondering why you should even be considering the Chromecast at this point. Well, the Chromecast may be lacking in hardware and Amazon Prime compatibility, but it more than makes up for it in other areas.
The first big feature of the Chromecast is the ever-increasing number of compatible apps and channels. Since the device was released in late 2013 there have been dozens of new services added that dramatically increase the amount of content available to view on the Chromecast. The Amazon Fire TV ecosystem has been slow to add more channels, so if you are looking for a large selection of content to watch, then the Chromecast is the clear winner (right now) in that area.
You can also stream from the Google Chrome browser to your Chromecast, thereby allowing you to easily browse the Internet on your TV. This also means that anything that is on your computer and can be played in Google Chrome is something that can be watched with the Chromecast. The Fire TV does not currently have a comparable feature to this.
One thing to consider when you are deciding between the two streaming stick options is that they are both amazing additions to your home viewing environment. Whichever option you choose to go with will provide you with countless hours of entertainment at a very low price. The portability of a streaming stick makes it a simple process to move it between TVs in your home, or to bring it along when you are travelling. Plus, if you have been lamenting a growing cable TV bill, then this is one of the first steps towards finally cutting the cable cord.
Read more about the Amazon Fire TV stick and check pricing on Amazon here.
Read more about the Google Chromecast and check pricing on Best Buy here.
Matthew Burleigh has been writing tech tutorials since 2008. His writing has appeared on dozens of different websites and been read over 50 million times.
After receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science he spent several years working in IT management for small businesses. However, he now works full time writing content online and creating websites.
His main writing topics include iPhones, Microsoft Office, Google Apps, Android, and Photoshop, but he has also written about many other tech topics as well.