Deciding Between Chromecast or RokuSay goodbye to streaming boxes and hello to even smoother services. Chromecast and Roku both offer stick HDMI thumbnail sized devices that plug into the HDMI port on your TV. You just plug in the stick and connect it to your Wi-Fi network. Both products look alike, but perform differently, so it is important to understand how each product functions. Chromecast Functions Chromecast streams video straight from your tablet, smartphone or laptop to your TV through an app on your mobile device. It is different from other airplay devices because you operate it only from your mobile device. When you access the service on your device, you’ll pair your Chromecast app with a services app like Netflix. Simply select the movie/show you want to watch and it will play on your TV screen. Your mobile device acts like a remote, but the interface operates within the app on the device. Positive Features of Chromecast Chromecast retails at $35, and is one of the cheapest options for streaming on the market. Chromecast is good for those who have an extensive media library on their computer because you can easily stream that library to your TV. Negative Features of Chromecast The Chromecast product acts as an accessory to your mobile devices. It has no traditional on-screen TV menu interface or remote control, as you need a mobile device to control it. The selection for channels and sites is not as extensive as the competition. Chromecast-compatible services include Hulu Plus, HBO Go, Netflix, Google Play, Pandora, Crackle, YouTube, Plex, Viki, Vevo, PostTV, RealPlayer Cloud, Rdio, Songza, and PostTV. How Roku Streaming Stick Functions The Roku streaming stick retails at $49.99 and acts as an airplay device similar to Apple TV or Amazon Fire, but for a lower price tag. Roku comes with a remote and a typicalmenu interface. You can add a Roku app to mobile devices similar to Chromecast, and control it from there. There is even a feature that can stream your favorite photos, movies or music from your mobile device to your TV, so you can show off those family vacation pics or listen to music while you make dinner. Positive Features of Roku Streaming Stick Roku is a simple, affordable way to turn any TV into a Smart TV with an easy remote. Roku offers over 1,000 choices in sites including Hulu Plus, HBO Go, M-Go, Amazon Instant Video and Netflix. Negative Features of Roku Streaming Stick If you prefer to watch or listen with headphones, then it should be noted that the Roku streaming stick remote does not have the headphone jack like other Roku products. The Roku costs about $15 more than Chromecast, but that payout gives you more of a viewing selection, so that may be worth it to you. The Future of Streaming Sticks Streaming sticks are still fairly new to the marketplace, but are attractive to consumers because they are affordable and small and don’t take up space in your entertainment center. Roku is your best bet for overall viewing selection and price. Find John on Google+
John Dilley continually offers unique insights and a fresh point of view. He writes for several websites including CableTV.com and HighSpeedInternet.com. Along with writing, John has a passion for music. He is the lead vocalist and secondary guitarist for The Family Gallows in Salt Lake City. John also shares his personal ideas and philosophies through stories he publishes on his blog, JDilley’s Questions.