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Forget the stupid Chromecast vs Fire TV wars and just buy a Roku

Roku vs Chromecast, Fire TV

Google and Amazon are locked in a bitter fight right now, and you’re the one losing out. Google is pulling YouTube apps from Amazon’s Fire TV streaming sticks and Amazon’s Echo Show. Google straight-up admitted this is retaliation: Amazon doesn’t allow Google’s Chromecast devices to stream Amazon Prime Video, and it doesn’t sell Chromecast products, so why should Google put its services on Amazon’s platform?

What you have is a classic fight for control. Both companies make great streaming services and great streaming devices, and neither company wants to give up either. Making YouTube available on Amazon’s Fire TV dongle would make it a better buy than Google’s own Chromecast, so that’s not going to happen, and Amazon won’t give up either.

But forget the stupid wars for a second, because there’s an easy way around this: don’t give either company your money for a half-assed streaming stick, and just buy a Roku instead.

Now, what’s about to be said will sound dangerously like an informercial for Roku, and that’s not the case. I actually prefer the interface of Chromecasts, which is why I have a stack of them installed through my house. But right now, Roku is the cheapest single way for you to watch any streaming service you might subscribe to, without having to worry about massive internet giants getting into fights.

Roku supports a huge list of services, including Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV, PS Vue, Hulu, DirecTV Now, HBO Go, and the free Roku channel, which shows a rotating menu of movies. The cheapest dongle is $29.99, and it works much like a Chromecast or Fire TV stick: plug it into the back of your TV, sign in to your accounts, and you’re off to the streaming races.

The interface feels a little more like cable than a Chromecast, since you use a remote to flick through “channels” and see what’s on. Still, it’s much better and cheaper than cable, and — I’m going to keep saying this — there’s no better or cheaper way to stream all the stuff you love. The best part is that since Roku doesn’t have a its own major streaming platform like Google, Amazon, or Apple, there should be no reason for it to engage in commercial wars that end up messing with your TV watching.

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