Chromecast vs. Roku –

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What is the best streaming device?

Chromecast and Roku are two popular video streaming devices that have constantly added features and software updates to improve functionality. These are simple, reliable, practical and rugged devices that deliver entertainment directly to a TV. We’ve reviewed both technologies to help you make a confident decision about which one is best for you.

General findings


  • HD video streaming.
  • Offers basic and advanced models.
  • Has iOS and Android apps.
  • Content from hundreds of premium and free streaming providers.
  • Easy setup.
  • Watching with Chromecast requires an app for that channel or an app on a phone.
  • It doesn’t have a remote control.
  • Works with the Google Assistant.
  • Stream content from individual apps to a smartphone, tablet or laptop.


  • HD video streaming.
  • Offers basic and advanced models.
  • Has iOS and Android apps.
  • Content from hundreds of premium and free streaming providers.
  • Easy setup.
  • The remote control is easy to use and intuitive.
  • Use of the app is optional.
  • No integrated voice control.
  • Delivers content through channels and apps.

Roku and Chromecast are similar devices with strong media streaming capabilities. Both stream HD video through an available HDMI port in a TV, then connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network, delivering crisp, clean digital picture and sound.

Roku and Chromecast both have base models that support standard HD streaming, as well as more advanced models. Both are easy to set up and have intuitive mobile apps for iOS and Android. The content options for Roku and Chromecast are plentiful.

However, there are important differences between the devices. Roku streams content through channels and apps, while Chromecast has a less centralized approach, where you stream from individual apps to your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Chromecast also offers more voice functionality.

Content delivery: Roku comes out of the chrome casting


  • Roku’s remote is easy to use, intuitive, and anyone can control what’s on.
  • Use of the app is optional.


  • The Chromecast is controllable through a smartphone or tablet.
  • Watching with Chromecast requires an app for that channel or an app on a phone.

Roku’s overlay screen is easy to navigate, which bundles channels and apps together to stream content. Roku’s remote control and the official app (downloadable from the iTunes app store or Google Play) are both intuitive, using a familiar D-pad and the OK button.

Chromecast does not have a remote. Instead of a space where you choose what you want to watch, you stream from apps to a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. This is a less centralized approach, but one that may feel more familiar to those who watch a lot of videos on a phone or tablet.

The Google Home app offers basic controls for the apps that are streaming, but overall control is within the app that is streaming. Therefore, if you have six streaming video sources, you will be going back and forth between the six apps.

Voice Control Abilities: Chrome Wins


  • No built-in voice capability.
  • Improved functions allow some voice control.


  • Control some video sources from the Google Home app.
  • The Google Assistant can also control a Roku.

Using either the Google Assistant or a properly configured Google Home unit, say, for example, “Hey Google, play the game. Ballad of Buster Scruggs on living room TV ”, and as if by magic, the Coen brothers’ revisionist love letter to westerns hits your TV.

While Google Home only connects with a few content providers, Chromecast’s amazing connection capabilities can outperform the limited channels it is integrated with.

The Roku has certain voice control capabilities. The Roku Mobile App for iOS and Android, Enhanced Voice Remote, Roku TV Voice Remote, and Roku Touch Tabletop Remote can all search for content, as well as manage the playback commands you need for full control.

The Google Assistant can control a Roku with a few quick setup steps.

Channels and apps: Roku has more choices


  • A wide range of content.
  • Agnostic on providers, so no content struggle like the one between Amazon and Google.


  • Not so vendor agnostic. lists over 8,000 channels and apps available on Roku. From popular free TV channels like ABC, CBS, and NBC, to premium cable channels like HBO, and everything in between, there’s a lot to see on Roku.

Chromecast’s website lists over 2,600 Chromecast-compatible apps that cover a wide variety of entertainment sources. Chromecast and Roku both offer YouTube, Netflix, HBO, ESPN, news networks, major sports broadcasters, and Amazon Prime Video.

Setup and ease of use: both are intuitive and easy


  • Setting up Roku takes you step by step, making it clear to you what you’re doing and why.
  • Setting up Roku requires creating a Roku account and then linking it with PayPal or a credit card to purchase content.


  • The simplicity of Google’s product line makes shopping easy. If you have a 4K TV, buy the Ultra.
  • You are linked to the Google ecosystem.

Chromecast’s video product line is straightforward and it’s priced aggressively. Google offers streaming videos in two versions. The Chromecast costs € 35 and supports 1080p HD video and audio via HDMI, as well as Wi-Fi. The Chromecast Ultra costs € 69 and supports 4K HD video and audio via HDMI, Wi -Fi and Ethernet networks.

Setting up the chromatography is simple. Plug the device into an available HDMI port, sign in to your Google Account through the Google Home app, and connect your Chromecast to your home Wi-Fi network. You will need to sign in to your TV or cable company account to access pay and streaming TV channels. You can purchase subscriptions or rent content through Google Play.

A growing number of TV manufacturers are including Chromecast in TVs. However, with only two dongle choices, you’re really picking the Chromecast that delivers the picture your TV is capable of processing.

Seven roku options are available, and all stream at least 1080p HD video, connect to a home Wi-Fi network, and are controlled by compact, easy-to-use remote controls.

Prices start at € 29.99 on the Roku site. Mid-priced models add a voice-activated remote, while the top-of-the-line Roku Ultra model adds dual-band 802.11ac Ethernet and MIMO networking, memory expansion via USB or microSD, and a pair of JBL headsets. It will cost you € 99.99.

Roku’s device is a bit more involved. You will need to open an account with Roku, provide a credit card number, and sign into your TV or cable provider’s account on your Roku to access pay and streaming TV channels. Providing a source of payment allows you to purchase premium channel subscriptions, purchase or rent movies and TV shows, or make other purchases from the Roku Channel Store.

Roku goes with you every step of the way, and in about 15 minutes you can watch a movie. While setup is easy, entering passwords for Wi-Fi networks and subscriptions can be a bit of a hassle.

Download the Roku app and tap on the Keyboard icon to get a real keyboard to load usernames and passwords. This saves time and frustration if you practice good password security.

Final verdict: both options are strong

Roku and Chromecast are both great choices for streaming entertainment. Chromecast offers a range of simple products at reasonable prices and is an easy-going experience. It fits well in a connected home.

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