For expanding the capabilities of your high definition TV set at home, the Chromecast device from Google is a great solution. It will allow you to broadcast content from a range of internet and mobile app sources. Your TV becomes a smart device, connected to the internet and able to access shows, games, and other. While the Chromecast is available at a relatively cheap price point, it now faces stiff competition from alternatives. These include the Amazon Fire Stick, as well as Apple TV and the Roku Stick. Below, we pit the Chromecast 2 against the Amazon Fire Stick so you can see which device would suit you best.
Competing Smart TV Ecosystems "Head to head, the two devices look quite evenly matched. Both Google and Amazon have targeted their devices at tech savvy consumers who want a smart TV and broad home entertainment options. The Chromecast 2 is available at a price of $35. It can be purchased from Google as well as retailers like Best Buy and Target. For a comparison, Amazon’s Fire Stick is available for only $5 more, at a price of around $40.
In a battle to control the future of smart TV technology, both Google and Amazon have invested into building large ecosystems around their streaming technology. While this has led to much choice in the content available, buying one or the other device locks you into a particular ecosystem.
A look at the feature set of the devices shows that both Chromecast 2 and Amazon Fire Stick overlap significantly in terms of functionality. However, the Amazon Fire Stick adds a few unique features of its own. The Chromecast 2 integrates seamlessly with TV show providers and streaming services including:
- Netflix - access to on demand movies
- Youtube - free videos as well as paid premium options
- Hulu - streaming movies and TV shows
You can use Chromecast 2 to stream from the Google Chrome browser running on a computer, as well as a variety of Chromecast-enabled mobile apps. Likewise, Amazon Fire Stick gives you access to a wide selection of streaming content. The Amazon Fire Stick comes with a remote control that has Alexa voice search functionality as well as a TV attachment.
When You Should Pick the Amazon Fire Stick
Deciding between the Amazon Fire and Chromecast can be hard, but there are situations where it's easier to pick a clear winner. The most compelling reason to go with the Fire Stick is if you are a member of Amazon Prime and already use some of the perks Amazon offers.A subscription to Amazon Prime unlocks a plethora of TV shows, movies, games, books, and other media that can be streamed via an Amazon Fire Stick. Prime Video is Amazon's movies and shows program, which airs Amazon Originals as well as blockbusters from other producers or movie houses.
Besides the Amazon Prime perks, you might also to choose to use the Amazon Fire Stick if you want to do things like order pizza using the Alexa voice commands. In such cases, the Amazon Fire Stick presents unique capabilities the Chromecast can't match.
When the Chromecast 2 is Better for You
Chromecast 2 is best for those who rely on Android as their mobile operating system. You can easily hook it up and play your best games from the Google Play Store or stream your music. Out of the box, Chromecast 2 might be less featureful than the Amazon Fire Stick, but it allows you many options to customize the device. If you are a do it yourself type who likes playing around with the technology to find what works for you, Chromecast 2 could be a good option. With a little tweaking, you can even get voice commands set up with Google Assistant for your Chromecast 2. The experience might not be as seamless as that on Amazon Alexa, but it will get the job done.
To Consider Before Your Purchase
- The next-generation 4K high definition streaming technology is available in the Amazon Fire Stick 4K for around $50, slightly more than the non-4K Fire Stick.
- For the Chromecast, the 4K capable Chromecast Ultra is around $70.
- It's worth considering the upgrade options if you want the latest technology.
Compatibility: Amazon's Fire Stick works with any HD TV, not just with Amazon Fire TV. This makes it accessible to users of other TB brands who may be concerned that they need a Fire TV to use the Fire Stick.
What Do They Say on Other Sites
"Besides my own media I am an Amazon Prime member which means hundreds of TV's and Movies can also be directly streamed through this little Fire TV stick, as well as Hulu/Netflix if you are a paying subscriber to those as well." (Grumbo on Amazon)
"Never had a bad experience until now. The Fire stick didn't work. Called service and talked to a rep who was hard to understand and it sounded like a party going on in the background" (Patrick on Amazon)
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