You need apps to your TV, you need them in 4K HDR and also you need an ideal and fairly priced media streamer to do the job however which one do you purchase, the Amazon Fireplace TV Stick 4K or the Chromecast with Google TV? It is a superb query. Each have five-star evaluations from What Hello-Fi? however that does not imply that they are precisely the identical. Let’s take a deeper dive.
If you happen to assume that each one media streamers are created equally then put together to assume once more. There are few key issues to contemplate when looking for the correct one. The obvious is to ensure that they have all of the apps you are searching for. Not all will carry your favorite video streaming services and never all within the codecs you want. Additionally think about presentation and usefulness. Some are faster to navigate then others and supply higher search amenities.
Options are key should you’re trying to assist sure HDR and audio requirements to match your property cinema or TV audio set-up, after which there’s efficiency. Some simply look and sound higher, or no less than barely completely different, to others.
Fortuitously with the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and Chromecast with Google TV, each are on the prime of the sport. So, should you’ve narrowed it down to only these two, then relaxation assured you can’t go far flawed.
The variations in value could also be small for these gadgets however each penny counts at this extra price range finish of the media streamer market.
At launch the Chromecast with Google TV was the dearer of the 2 gadgets at £60/$50 whereas the Amazon Fireplace TV Stick 4K was a contact cheaper, £50/$40. On the time of writing that hole has modified with the Chromecast nonetheless the identical however the Fireplace Stick 4K out there at a cut-price £35 within the UK.
The actual trick, in fact, is to catch these gadgets whereas they’re on sale, as they often are. Amazon Prime Day and different peak buying and selling occasions are traditional moments to seize them on a budget or as a part of a bundle.
With the Chromecast significantly newer, standalone reductions are more durable to return by however you will see that bundles such because the free giveaways YouTube TV subscriptions. Hold an eye fixed out on Google’s store should you’re additionally available in the market for one more Google gadgets resembling a Pixel smartphone or Google Home speaker.
The Amazon Fireplace TV Stick 4K has been round for the reason that finish of 2018 and we have seen because it drop to as little as £30/$29. We totally anticipated to get right down to these reaches once more within the coming months however do be warned that, owing to its age, a brand new model of the Fireplace TV Stick 4K is more likely to launch sooner or later.
**Winner** Amazon Fireplace TV Stick 4K – typically cheaper and as little as half the value of the Chromecast when purchased on sale.
Each of those dongle-based streamers come from an analogous design ethos: make it small and hold it out of sight. They slot into considered one of your TV’s HDMI ports and require their very own energy by means of a USB cable that should run between the streamer and a wall socket.
The penny toffee-shaped Chromecast is a bit more sensitive feely. It is available in a selection of three colors – Snow (white), Dawn (pink) or Sky (blue) – whereas it is simply plain gun metallic gray for the Fireplace Stick. That is no large deal for these dongles themselves, given that they are tucked away, however the matching remotes of the Chromecast definitely look cheerier.
The voice distant was an all-new function launched with this specific Chromecast mannequin and it lifts the Google streamer’s usability proper as much as the superb degree of the Fireplace Stick. Each remotes are a great measurement, properly thought out and permit very fast and pure search and management of your on-screen expertise. You can too use them to energy on and off your TV in addition to flip the quantity up and down too.
When it comes to pure usability, although, the Chromecast is streets forward, no less than till the most recent Fire TV Experience UI arrives. The voice search capabilities are equally glorious however the outcomes you get on the Amazon streamer are very closely weighted in the direction of content material discovered on Prime Video even once you might need it without spending a dime on different companies.
That bias is much more apparent on the House web page which, though higher than it was once, feels a little bit an excessive amount of like a chance for Amazon to promote you its TV and movies. In fact, that is a wonderfully comprehensible strategy given the very low value of this stick however the newest Google TV platform, discovered on this Chromecast and now sensible TVs resembling these from Sony and TCL, has eliminated these shackles.
The For You house web page is a genuinely helpful content material discovery instrument. Content material is organised into useful rows of ideas, together with fairly just a few classes we’ve by no means seen on different companies, resembling Neo-noir, Futuristic Reveals, Movies about Robots and House exploration films. You’ll be able to refine the AI by telling it what you’ve already seen however, even from the off, it has a fairly respectable deal with on our tastes.
Once you observe down a movie or TV present that you’ve got rights to look at on a number of companies, Google TV provides you the selection of service and can even default to the most cost effective or free choice the place doable, somewhat than making an attempt to promote you the model from Google’s personal catalogue.
The UI on the Amazon Fireplace TV Stick 4K continues to be completely intuitive and straightforward to navigate. You will not wrestle within the slightest to seek out the apps or reveals you want. As soon as the upgraded model of the Fireplace TV OS arrives, it must also ship one thing related on the suggestions entrance to the Chromecast. Nevertheless, till that turns up, Google wins right here.
**Winner** Chromecast – whereas we watch for the Fireplace TV Stick 4K to get the most recent model of the Fireplace TV OS, it is the superior usability of Google TV that will get the win.
Apps are, in fact, key to this specific face-off. For a lot of, the acquisition of a low-cost media streamer like these is only for entry to these companies which their TV cannot handle.
On the time of writing, the one notable absentees for Amazon are Rakuten and Google Play Motion pictures & TV. The Apple TV expertise is not one of the best – you possibly can’t purchase new content material utilizing the Fireplace TV app however you possibly can watch something you already personal or select to purchase utilizing one other machine resembling a cellular or laptop computer. It is also value noting that there’s Dolby Atmos shouldn’t be out there on Netflix content material.
These niggles apart, the Fireplace TV Stick 4K may be very, very properly stocked for app assist and can ship just about every little thing you can want. Apple TV and Prime Video make glorious PAYG choices for movies and TV, and all the opposite subscription streaming companies can be found, for sports activities and leisure, regardless of whether or not you are within the US or the UK.
The Chromecast shouldn’t be fairly so stellar on this division and that might properly develop into a deal-breaker for some clients. For the UK, Chromecast has no BT TV app and can be lacking the All four catch-up service, Twitch, Amazon Music, Britbox and Now TV.
That is mitigated by the truth that you may get round this by casting these lacking companies to your streamer from a Chromecast-enabled smartphone, pill or laptop. It is a respectable resolution nevertheless it does depend on having a type of gadgets handy and with sufficient cost within the battery.
The one time this may not do as a workaround is with Apple Music and Apple TV and that is a loss value contemplating given the wealth of 4K movies on supply on iTunes. Granted, there are already PAYG movie and TV choices from the Google Play Motion pictures & TV and Prime Video, the latter of which has content material out there in Dolby Imaginative and prescient and Dolby Atmos, however that many not placate anybody who has already paid for content material with Apple.
Lastly, it is also value mentioning that there are presently points with the Disney Plus app on Chromecast, which means that Dolby Imaginative and prescient and Dolby Atmos are unavailable till a DRM subject has been resolved.
**Winner** Amazon Fireplace TV Stick 4K – Virtually full app protection from Amazon. Small however important gaps for Google.
In absolute phrases, these two media streamers are equally good performers nevertheless it’s value drilling down into their strengths and weaknesses in case they reveal sides specific to your wants.
Each streamers assist the HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Imaginative and prescient and HLG requirements with 4K video at as much as 60fps. They’re additionally all set for 3D audio with Dolby Atmos, though it must be famous that there is no Atmos on Netflix with the Fireplace Stick.
Equally, the Chromecast would not have an choice for auto body fee matching of your TV to your content material, though you possibly can choose completely different body charges manually. Both means, it did not trigger any points in our testing.
When it comes to precise image high quality, there’s little or no to separate the 2 in any respect. They render photographs that are sharp, textured and tonally very properly balanced in the case of HDR viewing, and that makes for a superb expertise.
Colors for each are deep and pure whereas nonetheless sustaining sufficient nuance of manufacturing to present a way of realism to the image. Given the correct supply materials each will ship clear and thrilling viewing.
Efficiency is clearly much less stellar with SDR however, once more, every will get full marks right here. Each produce photos with a contact of noise and light-weight ranges are usually not fairly as expertly dealt with with out the useful metadata of HDR however element ranges are respectable and their photos stay color correct.
The actual distinction for these two in efficiency is as a substitute with the sound. The audio from each is sweet for the cash however they’re going to attraction to completely different tastes. The Chromecast has a superb sense of rhythmic drive. It is exact, clear and that enables us to select up on some beautiful moments of element. When streaming music it sounds crisp.
The Fireplace Stick is not fairly so good on this entrance however is dynamically superior. There’s a greater sense of depth to the sound which provides extra feeling to voices and devices for music.
For the AV expertise, that distinction interprets to extra influence and spaciousness to the sound with the Fireplace TV Stick 4K on the expense of readability for each dialogue and sound results. Those that do not thoughts lacking out a contact on the large hits of motion movies and a few of that sense of ambiance ought to go for the Chromecast and by no means miss a phrase as a substitute. For pure drama, the Fireplace TV Stick 4K wins.
**Draw** Each glorious for video. Amazon has a much bigger really feel to the audio however the Chromecast is clearer and extra rhythmic.
Each of those media streamers make glorious decisions and this isn’t solely a really shut name however one which can completely rely upon particular person wants.
With little distinction in value and efficiency, the distinction boils right down to considered one of apps versus usability and, provided that the primary function of price range media streamers like these is to make up for what’s lacking in your sensible TV, having a extra full app providing is what ideas the scales right here.
The Amazon Fireplace TV Stick 4K has customers virtually fully lined for video and music companies. There are stacks of 4K content material out there in each PAYG and subscription format. Solely these with appreciable pre-existing libraries on Google Play Motion pictures & TV and Rakuten ought to rethink. In any other case, the Fireplace Stick is the smart choice.
There are good causes to go for the Chromecast as a substitute, nonetheless, not least of which is the superb Google TV UI. It is slick, good wanting and, crucially, serves as an outstanding content material advice engine. If you happen to’re caught searching for what to look at subsequent, there’s a greater probability that it’ll clear up your drawback, and shortly.
As such, if lacking Apple TV is not an issue, then you need to rightly be tempted to buy Google, significantly within the States the place there aren’t so many native app gaps which require casting from cellular.
For one of the best all spherical supply proper now, although, it must be the Amazon Fireplace TV Stick 4K. It is clear, handy and the extra full.
**Winner** Amazon Fireplace TV Stick 4K