Last Updated on December 10, 2021
The demand for home streaming services is higher than ever. Since the pandemic, most people have had limited outside entertainment. Sitting at home and watching movies has become the best way to kill time.
Among the sea of streaming devices, Google’s Chromecast and Amazon’s Firestick take the lead on the market. Both are trending with their own characteristics and features. Getting both may be unnecessary and there is an overlap of features. But choosing the right one for the household isn’t always easy.
Which one is more suitable for you? What are the differences? How to choose the best option? Read the article to find out everything you need to know about Chromecast and Firestick.
Chromecast Vs. Firestick at a Glance
- Cheaper price for a wide range of features ($35 per month)
- Easy to use even for people who are not good with technology
- A great choice for shared households like in student dorms or shared flats with friends as you do not have to log on and off once you stop casting
- There is no built-in app for streaming services so it’s rather restrictive when you watch on your smartphone or tablet as you can’t multitask
- There is no physical remote which means you will always need your smartphone to control it
- The physical size of Chromecast is big and cannot fit behind any TV. You will need to keep it somewhere in the cabinet
- A wider range of features including voice control. Its streaming services are also more comprehensive with ample TV shows and movies from various channels around the world
- The physical size of Firestick is compact. You can easily hide it behind a TV. It’s easy to store and does not take up much space at all
- Connection with other smart home devices like Alexa
- The functions can be difficult to navigate around, especially if you are not used to using streaming services
- The complicated and extensive features make the user interface a bit chaotic and confusing. Its visual designs are not as pleasing
- You are often presented with choices Amazon is promoting rather than according to your preferences. Email promotions are frequent
Editor’s choice: Want to skip to the big reveal? Firestick wins!
If you don’t want the full, detailed comparison between the two, here is the answer you are seeking. While both Chromecast and Fire TV Stick do an exceptional job in offering high-quality streaming services, Firestick wins by providing a wider range of options and more trendy services.
Chromecast still needs an update to catch up on the details. For just $10 more, Firestick is offering value way more than that. It is worth your investment and just what you need to enjoy a comfortable night at home.
What’s the Difference Between Them?
Which one is easier to use and set up?
Both devices are incredibly easy to set up. You can plug the device in the HDMI input and connect it with wifi. Then, you are good to go. The setup process is smooth and seamless. Even if you have never used similar services before, you will be able to do it. Follow the instructions and you can start streaming in under 15 minutes.
The benefits of each device depend on the dynamics of your household. If you are in a shared flat, you may find Chromecast to be more convenient as you do not have to log on and off every time.
Chromecast stops the services automatically every time you exit the system. Other people will not have access to your accounts to override your watch history. You don’t have to worry about accidentally mixing your accounts with your friends.
For Firestick, you will have to sign in and out if you share your accounts with others in the household. This is slightly troublesome if you live in a big household or in a dorm where Firestick is in the common area. If you forget to log off, others may use your accounts and their watch history will be saved.
Hence, the recommendations will also change because the system thinks you have changed your show preferences.
Despite that, Firestick has an undeniable advantage that Chromecast cannot compete with, a physical remote. Everything about Chromecast is smart and virtual.
Therefore, it does not offer anything physical control to users. You must connect it to a smart device to control it. It can be annoying for those living with your family or older parents who do not necessarily understand how it works.
Firestick comes with a sleek, thin, and tiny black remote that allows you to switch channels, browse shows, and add movies to your favorite. It’s easy to use and much more convenient if you just want to relax without having to hold your phone again.
Winner: Both have their own merits and demerits when it comes to setting up and regular usage. Firestick would be the better choice although its multi-user feature is slightly less convenient than Chromecast.
After much consideration, having to sign on and off to store your account history is still less of a disadvantage than having no physical remote.
Chromecast requires you to connect to a physical device so you will always have to have your smartphone ready to stay connected even if you just want some alone time.
Firestick comes with a modern remote where you can control all the features with just one click. It is also more ideal for families with old people who cannot understand smartphones and young kids that you want to keep the smartphones away from.
Which one has better quality?
First, both devices are of the best quality on the market. They offer excellent streaming experiences and fast connections. That being said, there are still some differences that you should consider before making a decision.
Chromecast tops out at Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 while Firestick supports up to Dolby Digital Plus 7.1. If you are big into sounds systems or have your home cinema set up, you will find Firestick to offer a more all-rounded experience. Firestick is also smoother when connected with other devices.
Although the difference is not significant, Chromecast sometimes lags when multiple devices are connected, which slows down the playback speed if you are playing video games or watching a big video file.
There are some lip-sync issues with Chromecast while casting certain videos or from certain platforms. It is unclear what causes the issue but users have reported the same online.
Both have a wonderful dynamic of sounds. You will not be disappointed connecting them to your stereo system. But Firestick has a smoother connection and Chromecast would occasionally experience disconnects. It happens very rarely but it is something to consider.
In terms of video quality, Firestick is crisp and vibrant handling different content. Its brightness and contrast automatically adjust according to the video.
Watching any movie is like attending the Cannes Festival. The value for money far exceeds expectations, particularly in handling night scenes. Firestick stunningly handles darkness with grace.
There are no patchy spots or blurry, uneven blackness in extremely dark scenes. The details are still crystal clear, which is quite a surprise.
On the contrary, Chromecast does not handle colors as great as Firestick. Its daytime colors are still vibrant and perform way above industry standards. But its nighttime performance would require an upgrade.
It does not process dark colors meticulously like Firestick. Patches of dark spots are visible and the streaming quality is visibly lower. This decreases the quality of the screen.
Winner: Firestick wins by a margin in this round. Chromecast fails to compete with Firestick. Firestick has a higher range of services like better sound dynamics and support systems with Dolby Digital Plus 7.1.
Its projecting quality is also significantly better than Chromecast, especially in dark colors. Chromecast struggles to stay smooth with advanced sound systems. There are often delays or playback issues when connected to other strong devices.
Lip-sync issues are also commonly reported by users.
Which one has better features?
This is a hard category as both have very similar services. You can stream anything you want on both devices. From Hulu, Netflix, Prime Video, to gaming, Chromecast and Firestick support all your daily entertainment needs.
One thing worth mentioning is that while both devices support casual gaming, they do not replace your regular gaming controller. They are not powerful enough for advanced gaming. You will still need your PS4 or Xbox.
Chromecast advertises its smart features but it does not support Apple TV+ on a smartphone, only via a laptop or a computer. You will find some features quite restrictive as well. Firestick has greater flexibility in options. Most importantly, it is the best partner for your Alexa.
If you are a fan of Alexa or have been using it for a long time, you will find adjusting to Firestick a piece of cake. You can connect it to Alexa and voice command the device. It is easy and convenient. Choosing Firestick is almost a no-brainer for those who love Alexa.
Chromecast supports voice command and does quite well in its job as well. It may lack a virtual assistant, but the difference is not massive.
Winner: Firestick also wins this category with its thoughtful feature connecting to Alexa. Chromecast is not far behind. It is just not there yet, compared to Firestick who has more comprehensive and appealing features.
You can rest assured that Chromecast is enough to satisfy your basic needs. It is by no means subpar or inferior. Firestick simply offers more features that fully justify the slightly higher price and shows a better value for money.
Will you get hacked through Chromecast or Firestick?
Cybersecurity is always a big concern nowadays. Everything you do online leaves a digital trace. And it feels like anyone good with IT can hack into your accounts with ease, or at least so do movies advertise. Many are scared of the security issues and therefore are hesitant about getting a Chromecast or Firestick.
Nothing is 100% safe. Indeed, hackers can use your account as a cryptocurrency mine or dig up personal information about you through your wifi connection. There are new reports of a crypto-mining virus hitting these devices.
Once a device has been hit, the streaming services slow down drastically and do not connect well with other devices. You may lose your history and preference settings. But this is an extremely rare and unlikely scenario with both Chromecast and Firestick.
IT giants like Google and shopping platforms like Amazon strive to tighten their security systems like Fort Knox. They store millions, or billions, of customer information. Over the years, their products have been proven to be safe and protect user privacy.
Security leaks do happen from time to time, but these companies are the toughest on the market in safeguarding your home security. You will not find other brands with better cybersecurity.
Furthermore, both companies connect your devices automatically to your smart system. Any security threat detected is instantly reported. You will not miss out on any warning or suspicious activity.
You can also set up a reminder or notification every time someone starts playing. This provides extra security. When you see unusual activities, you can immediately report them to the company. The best part about Chromecast and Firestick is their superb customer service.
Their help teams are readily available and there is a 24/7 live chat for both devices. Should you encounter any technical difficulties or security issues, there will be experts to guide you anytime.
Will your TV be damaged if you connect it to Chromecast or Firestick?
There are rumors that you should not connect Chromecast or Firestick to your TV because it damages the original quality and makes your TV less long-lasting. These claims are absolutely unbiased and fundamentally wrong.
Most of these concerns come from the fact that a device like Firestick would require an adapter that omits power. People believe this will damage the properties of the TV. But in fact, the power pulled from the sources is extremely small and does not steal the power from a TV.
It does not play any role in the deterioration of a TV. There is no study that a TV will erode the system or cause any problems that shorten a TV’s lifespan.
Chromecast is said to jam the TV, causing lags and performance issues. These lags will in turn slow down your TV and overwhelm the system. While it is true that sometimes Chromecast sometimes experiences lags, they will not and should not impact your TV in any negative way.
All you need is to gently stop the services causing these lags. Once the loading time is over, everything is back to normal. It is not sound to conclude that a TV living shorter than its expected time relates to the streaming services.
Streaming services have been around for years but they just started to take off in the last 3 years. Now, it is an inseparable part of many people’s lives. It is rarely reported by users or study groups that Chromecast or Firestick would damage your TV.
Not only that, but they are a great addition to your collection. Now, you can stream your favorite TV anytime from anywhere.
How long can Chromecast of Firestick last?
If you think Chromecast or Firestick needs to be periodically replaced to stay up to date like your smartphone, think again.
They are durable and can last up to 6 years if used and stored properly. Since their features are universal, you do not need to upgrade to the latest version every year. The investment is practically one-time. Then, you can enjoy some good years of streaming on your TV.
One of the most frequently asked questions is how to store your Chromecast or Firestick properly and if you should unplug it when you are not using it. Typically, you do not need to remove it if you don’t use it. The whole point of Chromecast and Firestick is to make your life easier.
They put themselves to sleep when you are not using them and will not interfere with your devices when resting. There is no need to unplug it.
Besides, keeping the device right where you would keep your TV is good enough. You do not need additional care or maintenance. Both companies have excellent after-sale services that will handle all your inquiries promptly.
A smart device is a household essential. You will not regret choosing either Chromecast or Firestick. But upon a thorough investigation, it is obvious that Firestick is more suitable for general use as well as in various settings.
Whether you are buying one for your home, shared flat, or company, Firestick is more comprehensive with better quality and decent features.
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