Which media streamer should you buy? That is a question best left to PhabletGuru.
-This is definitely a tough matchup. Part of me wants to say buy both of them, especially if you’ve got more than one hdmi port (most modern tv’s do) or multiple tv’s. However, if by chance you only want one of them, you might ask yourself “Which one should I buy”? Well you are in luck my friends because PhabletGuru has an answer for you. Let’s start with Chromecast pictured below..
The Google Chromecast 35$
-Here are the geeky specs for those of you interested….
- Output: HDMI, CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) compatible.
- Max. Output Video Resolution: 1080p.(unless you get the Ultra, which supports 4k)
- Wireless Standards: 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi (2.4GHz/5GHz)
- Wireless Security: WEP, WPA/WPA2.
- Ports: HDMI, micro USB
-For the sake of comparison we are comparing the base models of each. Chromecast also has the Chromecast ultra, and Chromecast audio. With a device like this, specs don’t really tell you much. My experience with the Chromecast has been mostly an enjoyable one, save for a couple of minor glitches. Most notably, sometimes devices will not connect to the Chromecast when trying to use the YouTube or Netflix app. The only way I’ve seen to fix this problem is to unplug the Chromecast and then plug it back in as well as turn the Wi-Fi off of my phone and then turn it back on. This is somewhat troublesome I do not know if it’s my phone, the Wi-Fi or the Chromecast or if it’s even a known issue. Other than that the Chromecast is an awesome streaming media device with little to no hiccups.
-When you download Google Home, formerly known as Google Cast, you get a world of options opened up to you. Namely casting your screen (in real time) to your television. This is a cool parlor trick to show off to any family and friends you might have as company. After you’ve selected “Cast screen” from the Google home app on your mobile device, navigate to your photo album and they see your screen from your phone or tablet or computer as it is, on the big screen. Do this while playing a playlist from Google Play Music and viola instant entertainment. With casting of your screen you can do things like mobile gaming, use your phone as the controller while viewing your game on your TV. You get the gist of it.
-Lastly, native apps such as YouTube and even third-party apps like Netflix, at least on an Android (a Google owned company) device run smoothly with Google Chromecast. A lot of apps will have a little square icon usually in the top right corner of the app, which will connect directly to a corresponding native Google Chromecast function. You can have several people connected to Chromecast and there are games designed specifically for that. Everyone with the YouTube app can add to the communal playlist. You just have to experience Chromecast to understand how amazing and enjoyable and entertaining it is.
-It is now time to talk about another media streaming device, The all powerful Roku.
Roku Streaming Stick (3600) 49$
–Keeping with good form, here are the Roku specs, keep in mind, as with the Chromecast, there are different models.
- 802.11 (b/g/n) dual-band wireless
- Video output: 1080p (4k with Roku 4)
- Digital stereo over HDMI®, DTS Digital Surround™ pass through over HDMI®
- Point-anywhere RF remote with channel shortcut buttons
- Over 2,000 channels available
- Quad core processor
- Integrated ui software
-Navigation is a breeze with the included remote control. Or, alternately, you could download the Roku app (which I highly recommend) that has a virtual remote you can use on your phone. The Roku app is very user friendly with tons of features. The design of the Roku Streaming Stick is inherently different than that of the Chromecast. It is a stick, which might be a problem for wall mounted tv’s with rear facing HDMI ports. Otherwise, at ground level, the Roku stick seems to be more powerful. This is due to the channels available and the quadcore processor within.
-A main difference between the two is the fact you have actual channels, (2,000+) as mentioned above, including Amazon video, Disney, Fox News, and others within the Roku channel store. Granted a lot of channels could potentially cost money, however there are a lot of free channels as well from the basics like Netflix (With a specialized Roku ui), YouTube, etc to the rare/underground and or alternative media channels such as Technobuffalo, the Young Turks online news organization, Android Authority and many more. There are no built in channels on Chromecast, everything is done from supported apps and or screen casting.
-Little things like being able to plug headphones into your phone for private listening, or the included dedicated remote control make the Roku feel more like a new novel set top box as opposed to the streaming stick that it is. As with Chromecast you can cast content from you tablet or phone directly to your TV. I will say that the Chromecast works a tad bit smoother with Android native apps, being Google and all. In the end, it all depends on what you’re looking for.
-So where does that leave us. If you do not have a cable or satellite subscription service I say go with the Roku. if you do I say go with the Chromecast. Keep in mind that both of these streaming devices use Wi-Fi. If you were to get both, however, you could possibly save some money and do away with your cable or satellite. I enjoy both my Roku and my Chromecast equally. All that being said we have to pick a winner. In this reviewer’s opinion, if push came to shove, I would choose the Google Chromecast.
Thanks for reading, and remember every word read donates ideas to the ontological fabric of consciousness.
-This is PhabletGuru signing off-