What Are You Looking For?
The difference between these three options isn’t as clear-cut or simple to decide upon without first knowing exactly what it is that you want your new media streaming device to do.
The very first reason that anyone would choose any of these three devices is simple: their television does not have Smart capabilities, or their Smart capabilities are slow or outdated.
All three of these options will provide the necessary upgrade in this case with the difference falling into user interface simplicity, speed and app compatibility for most people.
For many, the quality of the streamed or played media is extremely important, and very well should be. We spend a lot of money on a high-quality television and we want it to look and sound the way it should when media is played on the screen and through the speakers, right?
These three options are not extremely different in price, but there is a difference. Cheaper most often does not mean better, but we will definitely delve into this a bit more in this article.
Where Do You Live?
A very important question when purchasing a media streaming device is where you live. For some, there are certain restrictions on Internet Service Providers when it comes to streaming media, and that can cause issues. For some, what is available for apps or support in some cases will be vastly different than others.
Where you live could have an effect on which option might be best for you.
Let’s Compare The Benefits
We will start with the Roku Streaming Stick+. This device includes the following:
- Compatible with 4k content, including Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG and Dolby Atmos
- 802.11ac dual-band WiFi
- Pre-installed apps
- Alexa and Google Assistant compatible
For the Fire TV Stick 4k, the following are included:
- 4k, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HLG, and Dolby Atmos compatibility
- 1.7 GHz quad-core processor
- 8 GB of ROM storage, 1.5 GB of DDR4 RAM
- 802.11ac dual-band WiFi
- Remote with voice control, volume and mute buttons that work with the TV, receiver, or soundbar
- Separate downloadable remote control
- Easiest setup (pre-loaded with account info from Amazon)
Finally, the TEC H6 Android 9.0 TV Box has included:
- 6k capability, HDR10, H.265 decoding
- 1.5 GHz quad-core processor
- 32 GB of ROM storage (upgradable with SD slot), 4 GB of DDR3 RAM
- 802.11n dual-band WiFi (“n” has the ability to use 2.4 GHz to achieve greater range than the “n” 5 GHz connection, “ac” has a 5 GHz connection with the same range as “n” 2.4 GHz, 410 ft)
- Built-in Ethernet connection
- HDMI pass-through (HDMI in and HDMI out, so you can save an HDMI port on your TV)
- 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0
- Bluetooth 4.2 connection
There is no perfect product in any industry. You can make something that works exactly as it should and lasts much longer than a warranty, but it most likely won’t appeal to every person. This is due to personal taste, brand loyalty, budget, etc.
So, let’s look at the possible reasons you may not choose one of these options.
The Roku has a great user-friendly menu system, and they definitely make it simple.
However, there have been reports of people being brand-loyal to Roku and purchasing this device as their third Roku device. They have difficulty registering it, so they call customer service. As of the time of this writing, Roku only allows two devices on a basic account, and you must upgrade your account to register any further devices, even if you no longer use the first two. To upgrade your account is approximately $70 USD.
Another unfortunately hidden expense comes up if you ever have to update your new Roku device. They have “had issues” with people updating their hardware on their own, so one of their technical department employees will have to do it for you. This is also rumoured to be around $70 USD.
The Roku is already furthest from the cheapest option, and when you add all of these hidden fees, it shoots far above most people’s budget for a streaming media player.
Another problem arises if you happen to live outside the United States. Support for Canadians, in particular, is VERY limited and most of the apps you can use in the states are not available.
The Roku does have a very good WiFi connection, but it has no Ethernet capability at all.
You can only use the remote and voice control as there is no keyboard or mouse connection available. For some, this simplicity is not a downside.
The Amazon option is the only to support HDR10+ and shares Dolby Vision and HLG with the Roku. It also has the fastest processor and fastest RAM. It does fall short when looking at the amount of memory, both ROM (for saving apps and downloaded media) and RAM (how quickly apps load and work).
For Ethernet capability, you must buy a separate adapter, which isn’t a deal-breaker for most, as both combined still ends up being a very budget-friendly option.
One drawback of the Fire TV Stick 4k is that Google support is very limited, and a workaround must be used to gain access to YouTube.
There have also been verified customer reviews that have mentioned the remote being quite difficult when it comes to changing the batteries.
One of the most current media trends that could cause an issue for some is the fact that Disney+ does not support the Android 9.0 operating system, and will therefore not work yet. You can download and install the APK file, but it will not play videos as of the time of this writing.
The only other downside to the Android option is that there is a moderate amount of technical knowledge required to fully appreciate and operate all of the capabilities of this option.
The Android box does have the most memory and storage, is the only option with Bluetooth capability, and the only choice with the possibility of 6k output, however, it is lacking when it comes to Dolby Vision and Atmos, HDR10+ (only on the Fire TV 4k), and HLG. The WiFi connection is also one step behind the other two options, but it has Ethernet included (which is best for streaming anyway).
So, Which Option Should You Choose?
The answer to this depends on the questions we asked when you first started reading.
If you are looking for the simplest to use option, live in the United States, and are not concerned with anything else (including hidden fees), the Roku Streaming Stick+ would be the way to go.
If you the best quality video possible, Alexa capability, and most budget-friendly option, but don’t care about YouTube or Google support, then you should choose the Fire TV Stick 4k and the Ethernet adapter.
If you are technically inclined and want the most connectivity and the most storage and memory, and aren’t interested in Disney+, then your choice (and ours in this case) is definitely the TEC H6 Android 9.0 TV Box.
We truly hope you have enjoyed our breakdown of three popular media streaming devices, and that we have helped you make a decision on which is best for you. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.