Fire tv stick

Fire Stick Tricks | Kodi Tips, Addons, VPNs

In this guide, you will learn how to jailbreak FireStick and install popular streaming apps for free movies, TV shows, Live TV, Sports and a lot more. The jailbreak method demonstrated here also works on FireStick 4K, Fire TV, and Fire TV Cube. Amazon FireStick is an incredibly popular streaming device. This simple yet feature-rich […]

In this guide, I will demonstrate how to install Gen-X addon on Kodi 18 Leia and Kodi 17.6 Krypton. The method provided in this tutorial works on Amazon FireStick, FireStick 4K, Fire TV Cube, Mac, Linux & Windows, Android Mobiles, and all other Kodi supported device platforms. Gen-X is a multipurpose entertainment addon that presents […]

In this guide, I will take you through the installation instructions for Cinema APK HD (formerly called HDMovies) on FireStick. This method works on all Amazon devices including Fire TV, FireStick and even Fire TV Cube. The method also applies to Android TV & Android TV Boxes to a certain extent. Cinema HD APK is […]

In this tutorial, I will guide you through the detailed and simple process to install Exodus Redux Addon on Kodi 18.1 / 18.0 / 17.6. The method outlined here works on Amazon FireStick / Fire TV/ Fire TV Cube, Android & iOS Mobile Devices, Windows & Mac Computers, Android TV & Boxes, and all other […]

In this article, we round up the best Kodi addons for FireStick, Fire Stick 4K, Fire TV Cube, Android Mobiles & Tablets, Windows & Mac computers, and all Kodi compatible hardware platforms. Majority of these addons offer forward compatibility with the latest Kodi 18.1 Leia. So, if you have upgraded from Kodi Krypton 17.6 to […]

In this article, we line-up the best Kodi builds for FireStick, Android Mobiles, Windows, Mac and other Kodi compatible devices. Most of the builds listed here work on both Kodi 18.1 Leia and 17.6 Krypton. However, since Leia has been officially released only recently, developers of many builds still have some catching up to do. […]

Torrent sites are the unmatched source for downloading songs, videos, movies, books, games etc free of charge. They provide easy access to otherwise unavailable material on the internet. Most countries in the world frown upon the illegal distribution of material on the internet. Therefore, they prohibit torrent use as well as the distribution of such material. […]

This guide will show you how to install Exodus Kodi Addon on Kodi 18.1 / 18.0 Leia and Kodi 17.6 Krypton. The steps given in this tutorial work for Kodi (formerly known as XBMC) on PC, Amazon Fire TV Stick / FireStick 4K, Nvidia Shield, Android, and other Kodi boxes. Before we start, let me […]

In this guide, I will show you how to install Gaia addon on Kodi 18.1 / 18.0 and Kodi 17.6. Our method works on all the Kodi devices including Android Mobiles, Amazon FireStick, Android TV Boxes, Windows, Mac, and more.  Gaia Kodi addon is a fork of one of the very popular addons, Bubbles. This […]

It is the FireStick apps that make for the incredible entertainment experience this device is so well known for. From your favorite movies to the latest TV shows, from music streaming to live TV, these apps bring all to you with a touch of the button. But, there is the huge library with hundreds of […]

In this tutorial, I will show you how to install Galactus Kodi addon on Kodi 18 Leia and Kodi Krypton 17.6. The steps provided in the guide will help you install the addon on all the Kodi-supported devices including FireStick, Linux, Mac, Windows, and more. Galactus is a Kodi addon to watch movies and TV […]

In this tutorial, I will show you how to install Medusa addon on Kodi. You can use the instructions to install the addon on all Kodi supported platforms. This includes Amazon FireStick, iOS & Android mobile devices, Android TV Boxes, Mac, Window & Linux computers and more. Medusa Kodi addon brings to you a huge […]

In this guide, you will learn which is the best VPN for FireStick, why should you use it, how to find the right VPN, and how to install a VPN on FireStick. The VPNs covered in this tutorial works with all the Fire TV devices including FireStick 4K and Fire TV Cube.  Amazon Fire Stick […]

If you stream with popular Kodi addons like Exodus Redux, Yoda etc, it is very likely you must have run into the Kodi pair error while trying to stream the content from certain sources. Whether you use Kodi 18.1/18.0 Leia or Kodi 17.6 Krypton, the error is generated when you open the streams from sources […]

In this article, we will learn how to reset Kodi 18.1/18.0 Leia or Kodi 17.6 Krypton to default factory settings on FireStick. Kodi is an incredible media tool that converts your device into a media center and lets you stream your favorite content – free and paid (of course, free for the most part). But, […]

Amazon Fire TV vs. Fire Stick: What Should You Buy?

What is Amazon Fire TV, What is Fire TV Stick, Are they same or different devices? These are the frequent questions I notice in several forums. This is the reason I have compiled this Fire TV vs. Fire Stick guide to answer your questions. If you wanted to know something which is not covered in this article, feel free to comment below and I will answer as soon as I can.

Amazon released the 2nd generation Fire TV Stick (or simply FireStick) media device on October 20, 2016. Almost a year later, the company released the 3rd generation Fire TV media player dongle. While both these devices are incredible media and streaming tools, we often can’t decide which one to buy. Therefore, in this article, we are going to lay out Fire TV vs Fire Stick and help you make the right choice.

Fire TV and Fire Stick plug into the HDMI port of your TV and let you watch your favorite movies and TV shows on the larger screen. These devices support hundreds of popular TV channels and you can watch live TV through proper subscriptions. You can also download and play games on your TV. Both these devices have built-in support for Amazon App Store from where you can download apps and games. If you need more, it is also possible to install Google Play on FireStick where you can access thousands of apps designed for Fire TV / Stick devices.  You can also side-load apps, such as Kodi onto Fire TV or Fire Stick.

Amazon Fire TV vs. Fire Stick

In the coming sections, we will be comparing the Processing power, RAM, storage, and other important factors for both the devices. I hope it will help you decide what is the best streaming stick for your requirements.

Processing Power

Better processing definitely results in better device performance and overall experience. Fire TV is costlier but it also packs a more powerful processor. While FireStick ARM Cortex A-7 clocks at the maximum 1.3 GHz, Fire TV’s Cortex A-53 goes up to 1.5 GHz. Given the fact that both have the same number of cores, the difference of 0.2 doesn’t seem like much. But, that’s not only the pick between the two.

When it comes down to Fire TV vs FireStick, former has a 64-bit process as compared to the 32-bit of the latter. For me, this is decisive. Having used both the devices, I can confidently say that Fire TV offers noticeably better performance than FireStick. Also, Fire TV has a larger RAM (which we will talk about next) and that too plays an important role.

RAM – Fire Stick vs. Fire TV

Both these Amazon devices are not supposed to be the high-end smart devices. They are designed largely for entertainment purposes. What most of us are looking for in both is the ability to play movies, shows and TV channels without any hassles. We know that Fire TV has a better processor. But, another advantage Fire TV enjoys over FireStick is that it also has a larger RAM.

FireStick carries a 1GB RAM while Fire TV has 2GB. I have already said that the RAM size makes a significant difference, especially when it works in conjunction with a better, faster processor. So, keep RAM and performance in perspective, Amazon Fire TV is a clear winner here.


This is the area where there is nothing to choose between the two devices. Both Fire TV and Fire Stick have 8GB internal storage without any support for external storage either through USB or MicroSD slot. If storage matters to you the most, you could buy any of the two. Of course, Fire Stick will save you $30, with some compromise in the performance.

These media players weren’t created to serve the purpose of storage. They let you install your favorite apps like Netflix through which you stream the content online. Therefore, 8 GB is good enough for most users. But, I still feel that slightly more storage space would have been better, especially for someone like me who likes to have several apps. I have noticed that the app data quickly consumes the space and when there is little storage left, the performance is affected.

Resolution – Fire TV vs. Fire Stick

The entertainment technology has evolved rather rapidly in the past decade. One aspect of the evolution was the advancement in the display technology. For the longest time, the best we could get was 1080, full HD resolution and a lot of us even settled for 720, partial HD. But, the introduction of 4K or UHD resolution completely changed our perception as well as the viewing experience.

4K offers more delightful, crisper display and 1080 stands nothing in comparison. In the Fire TV vs Fire Stick showdown, Fire TV is a clear winner here. Fire TV supports 4K resolution, while FireStick doesn’t go beyond 1080. If you have a TV with 4K support and you don’t mind spending an extra 30 bucks, Fire TV is a clear choice.

4K, however, is not the only thing that makes Fire TV a better option – it also has HDR (High Dynamic Range). I can go a whole length talking about HDR, but what you really need to know is that it enhances and balances the contrast and brings out more details in the video. HDR can dramatically make your viewing experience more delightful. Your TV must support HDR for you to enjoy it through Fire TV.

Remember that Fire TV will work on HDTV and FireStick on 4K TV. But, Fire TV will be restricted to 1080 and Fire Stick will not be able to maximize the full potential of 4K.

Design & Exteriors

Fire TV is a dongle while FireStick, well, is a stick. Fire TV is a little bigger in size as compared to FireStick, which is more compact and portable. But, I have been using these devices for a while and never had to carry them frequently. So, even though, unlike FireStick I might not feel very comfortable keeping Fire TV in my pocket, I can easily slip it in my bag.

When I am pitting Fire TV vs Fire Stick, size is barely the factor I consider. Both are plugged into and dangle from HDMI port of the TV. Yes! Fire TV is not a box and doesn’t have to be kept on the table or something. Just leave it hanging behind your TV set.

So, to sum it up, Fire TV might be a bit bigger in size, given that it offers better performance and higher resolution, I will always choose it over FireStick.

Operating System – Fire Stick vs. Fire TV

Fire TV runs on the Android-based Fire OS 6, which is further based on the design of Nougat OS for Android smartphones and tablets. Fire Stick, on the other hand, operates on the older Fire OS 5 version.

Fire OS 6 brings several patches and bug fixes. But, overall, I don’t see a lot of difference between the two. As a layperson, I haven’t found any remarkable distinctions based on which I can unambiguously tell one better from the other.

When you are evaluating Fire Stick vs Fire TV over various parameters, the operating system wouldn’t really be the one put into perspective.

Channels and Games

Again, there isn’t a lot to choose between Fire TV and Fire Stick as far as the channels and games are concerned. Fire TV has slightly more channels and games than Fire Stick, but the difference isn’t that great. Both offer more than 5000 channels and over 1000 games. Unless you are looking for something specific and whose absence would be a deal breaker, both are much the same.

Price – Fire TV vs. Fire Stick

Of course, the price! At $70, Fire TV is clearly costlier than Fire Stick, which is priced at $40. The difference of $30 could be a deal breaker for many. But, we have also established that Fire TV offers better performance and higher resolution. I am not saying that $30 has no value. But, Fire TV is certainly more value for money, especially if you are looking for a better entertainment experience.

The Verdict – Fire Stick vs. Fire TV

In the Fire TV vs Fire Stick playdown, Fire TV clearly emerges as the winner. Fire TV is faster and supports 4K (UHD) and HDR. But, it also costs $30 more. What’s also noteworthy is that for Fire TV you need a TV that supports 4K and HDR. If you don’t have that TV, Fire TV will be just as good as FireStick, only you would have paid more money. Weigh your options and make a choice accordingly.

Have a question or suggestion? Feel free to drop a comment below.

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Legal Disclaimer - does not verify the legality or security of any add-ons, apps or services mentioned on this site. Also, we do not promote, host or link to copyright-protected streams. We highly discourage piracy and strictly advise our readers to avoid it at all costs. Any mention of free streaming on our site is purely meant for copyright-free content that is available in the Public domain. Read our full disclaimer.

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How to Install Google Play on Fire TV Stick (Alternative)

In this guide, I am going to talk to you about getting Google Play on FireStick and Fire TV devices. Google Play Store is the most widely used app repository with thousands of apps, games, and utilities. The huge collection of apps and the ease of use are its biggest draws. But, Play Store is not available on all the Android platforms. For instance, Amazon FireStick and Fire TV devices have Amazon Store and they do not support Play Store. Sadly, Amazon’s app inventory isn’t as large and that’s why FireStick users often go seeking other options.

Play Store isn’t officially available on these Amazon devices. So, is there a way to side-load it? The answer is Yes! However, here, I am going to tell you about something which is way better than Google Play on FireStick. In this guide, I will introduce you to the third-party app store called Aptoide TV, which is the best Play Store alternative and optimized for Fire device platforms.

How to Install Google Play on Fire Stick (Alternative)

The process to sideload Play Store on FireStick is tedious, long-winding, prone to glitches and often does not work. You would have spent an hour and a half to no avail. I don’t want to waste your time. You can get everything from Aptoide that you can from Google Play and even more. Aptoide TV works error-free on FireStick for the most part. It also has a decent collection of apps for FireStick that you will ever need. So, let us now learn how to install and use Aptoide app store.

Are You Concerned about Your Online Privacy?

Before we proceed, there is one important matter I would like to draw your attention to. Privacy is a huge concern in the World Wide Web landscape. You are probably being watched and tracked by hackers and identity stealers and even your own government and ISP. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to find a way to stay anonymous and maintain your privacy in the digital span of the internet.

Get yourself a VPN now and enjoy the peace of mind. VPN encrypts all the traffic from your devices and offers complete anonymity. VPN also ensures you do not become the victim of Internet throttling, a practice rapidly becoming more prevalent by day.

Read: How to install and Use VPN on FireStick

Prepare FireStick for Sideloading Aptoide TV

Aptoide, the most promising alternative of Google Play on FireStick, is a third-party app store and no surprise that it isn’t hosted on Amazon Store. Since we are going to get the app from outside the official store, we will have to instruct FireStick to allow the installation. The Apps from Unknown Sources option is disabled by default.

Here are the quick steps to enable third-party app installation

Step 1: Use your remote direction keys to select Settings from the FireStick home screen. This option is on the top menu bar. Now, navigate to Device as shown in the image below:

Step 2: Select Developer Options on the next screen that follows

Step 3: In the Developer options section highlight the Apps from Unknown Sources option and press the Select button on your remote

Step 4: When you see the following prompt, ignore the warning and press ‘Turn on’. It is true that some third-party apps can cause harm to your device. But, apps like Aptoide are highly reputed and completely safe. There is no need to worry.

Now you are set to install Aptoide (or for that matter any third-party app) onto your device.

Steps to Install Play Store Alternative (Aptoide Store) on FireStick

I will now show you how to install Google Play Store on your Amazon Fire Stick device (the alternative Aptoide to be more precise). You will be able to install this app using Downloader app as well as ES Explorer app (with and without a computer)

Why two apps, you may ask. Downloader is the most popularly used app to sideload the third-party apps on Fire Stick. But, the app is not available everywhere on Amazon Store and has to be side-loaded for a few regions. On the other hand, ES File Explorer can be downloaded from Amazon Store regardless of your country or region.

The first thing you need to do is get the Downloader app if you don’t have it already. You will find it in Amazon Store, and if you don’t, check out how to install Downloader.

Once you have installed the Downloader app, here is how you can use it to install Aptoide on Fire Stick or Fire TV.

Step 1: Run the Downloader app from the Fire Stick home screen (if you have moved the app icon here).

If you can’t see the app on the home screen, hold down the Home button on the remote and select ‘Apps’. You will see the list of all your apps. Scroll down to Downloader and run it.

Step 2: From the Downloader home screen, make sure Home option on the left sidebar is selected

Step 3: You will see the cursor blinking in the URL field. Press ‘Select’ button on your remote to bring up the onscreen keypad. Enter the URL and press the ‘Go’ button on the keypad (or the Play button on your remote). Look at the image below. This is the link to get Aptoide, alternative to Google Play on FireStick.

Step 4: Aptoide APK file will now start to download automatically to your device storage

Step 5: Once the download is complete, you will see the following screen. Keep pressing the down button on your remote until ‘Next’ button on the bottom right changes to ‘Install’; and then highlight the ‘Install’ button and click it.

Step 6: The installation progress screen will thus appear. Once the installation is complete, you will get the ‘App installed’ notification along with the ‘Done’ and ‘Open’ buttons.

Step 7: Click the ‘Done’ button as we don’t want to open the app just yet (but if you really want to open the app right away, go ahead and click ‘Open’; your call!)

Step 8: You will now see the following dialogue box. Don’t need to click the ‘Install’ button as the app is already installed. Instead, click the ‘Delete’ button to remove the APK file. We don’t need it any longer and it will take the storage space unnecessarily.

That’s it! You have successfully installed Aptoide app, a Google Play alternative on FireStick.

Install Aptoide on FireStick Using ES File Explorer WITHOUT Computer

If you can’t get Downloader or don’t want to sideload it, or simply prefer ES File Explorer better, I will show you how to use the latter to install Aptoide app on Fire TV Stick.

ES File Explorer is also extensively popular and as I have already said, it is more widely available than Downloader, therefore, it only makes sense to include this method.

There are two ways to install Google Play on Fire Stick alternative, one with the computer and the other without.

The method without the computer is easier and quicker. We will talk about this method first. In case you happen to have downloaded the Aptoide APK on your computer, you may want to look at the second method later.

Here comes the ES Explorer method that does not require any computer.

Step 1: Open ES File Explorer, navigate to Tools on the left sidebar and expand it. From the Tools submenu, select ‘Download Manager’ and then click the ‘+’ button on the bottom

Step 2: You should now see the Download dialogue box

Step 3: In the Path field enter the URL In the Name section, enter any name you want but make it relevant to the app we are installed. I gave it the name Aptoide TV as is the name of the app I am installing.

Step 4: Now click the Download Now button and wait for the APK to download

Once downloaded, click ‘Open file’ button to run the APK file. This will start the installation process.

Step 5: Now, when you see the following prompt, click ‘Install’

Step 6: On the next screen, press the ‘Down’ button on your remote multiple times until a button on the bottom is highlighted. The ‘Next’ button on the bottom right will change to ‘Install’ button. Click it to proceed

Step 7: Here’s what you will see when the app is installed. If you want to launch the app immediately, click the ‘Open’ button. Else, click the ‘Done’ button. You can run the app later from Apps & Games section

That will be all! Now, let’s see how to install Google Play on FireStick substitute app, Aptoide using ES File Explorer and computer.

How to Install Aptoide on FireStick Using ES File Explorer WITH Computer

You will need a computer. Windows, Mac, or Linux – any will do!

And, make sure that your computer and FireStick are both connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

So, here we go!

On Your Computer: First, download the Aptoide APK file on your computer from

On FireStick: Now, get the ES File Explorer app from the Amazon Store on your FireStick device. Just select the Search option on the top left of the Fire Stick home screen, look up for ES File Explorer and follow the simple onscreen instructions to install it.

Step 1: Run ES File Explorer from Your Apps & Games section. Scroll down to Network menu on the left sidebar and expand it. Now select Remote Manage from the available network options (image below)

Step 2: Now, click the big ‘Turn on’ button. You should now see an FTP address. Mine is

Your address will be different. Note down this address. You will need to enter it on your PC. It will allow you to manage all your FireStick file and folders from your computer

Step 3: On Your Computer: Now return to your computer and open any folder. Type the FTP address of your Fire TV Stick that you see on ES Explorer screen in the address bar of the folder window on your computer and press Enter. It will open the ES File Explorer contents on your PC.

The image below has been captured on Windows 10. But, this will work just as well on your Mac and Linux.

Step 4: Now, copy the Aptoide APK for Fire Stick that you downloaded earlier on your computer. And paste it into any ES File Explorer folder that you opened with FTP address in the previous step. You may even create a new folder if needed.

I always choose the ‘Download’ folder to copy the APK file from my computer. Somehow, it makes more sense to me. But, that’s just me! The choice is all yours!

Step 5: On FireStick: Go back to FireStick and open ES File Explorer if it is not already.

Navigate to ‘Local’ menu on the left and expand it. Select the second Home option (not the one with the home image). See the image below for more clarity.

Step 6: Now, use the remote to navigate to the ‘Download’ folder on the right of the screen

Step 7: Open the folder and you will see the Aptoide APK file here (remember? I saved this file in the Download folder. If you copied it to any other folder, choose accordingly)

Step 8: Press the ‘Select’ button on your FireStick remote to run this APK file. Click the ‘Install’ button when you see the prompt titled ‘Properties’ (image below)

Step 9: Now business as usual! Navigate to the bottom of the next screen and click ‘Install’ on the bottom right to confirm your action and install the app.

Step 10: When the app is installed, this is what you see like before. If you want to launch Aptoide TV right away, click ‘OPEN’ or else hit ‘DONE’ to open it later.

How to Use Google Play (Alternative) on Fire TV Stick

You have installed the alternative of Google Play on Fire TV without root. Now, go ahead and run it!

You probably already know you can access all your apps in the ‘Your Apps & Games’ section. Simply press and hold the ‘Home’ button on the remote and when you see the following menu, select ‘Apps’

That’s cool! But, the recently installed apps do not show up on the home screen and in the Apps list, they are at the bottom. You would like to move the frequently used apps to the top instead of quick access.

As you can see, Apptoide is right at the bottom of the list. But, you can move it up easily.  Scroll down and select Aptoide.

Now, press and hold the ‘Select’ button on your remote. Alternately, you can press the Menu button (three horizontal lines) on the remote and select ‘Move’ from the menu that appears on the bottom right as shown in the image below:

Keep pressing the ‘Up’ direction button on your remote until the Aptoide app is in the top row.

Now press the ‘Select’ button to drop Aptoide app icon in the top row. Return to the FireStick home screen and you will find the Aptoide icon right there!

Now, this is how the Aptoide Home Screen looks like. Everything else is pretty much straightforward. You can look up for any app using the ‘Search’ function on the top left. Go ahead and explore Aptoide and download all the apps you need.

Winding Up

So, here is how we download the alternative to Google Play on FireStick. Even though there is a workaround to download Play Store on your Fire devices, it is long-drawn and does not work for the most part. I have tried it myself plenty of times and have often been left frustrated. I see no point in trying this hard to get Google Play on FireStick when I can get all the best apps for FireStick I would ever need from Aptoide. Furthermore, Play Store isn’t designed and optimized to work on Fire Stick platform. Even, most of its apps will not work. Get Aptoide and sidestep all the hassles.

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Legal Disclaimer - does not verify the legality or security of any add-ons, apps or services mentioned on this site. Also, we do not promote, host or link to copyright-protected streams. We highly discourage piracy and strictly advise our readers to avoid it at all costs. Any mention of free streaming on our site is purely meant for copyright-free content that is available in the Public domain. Read our full disclaimer.

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Roku Streaming Stick vs. Amazon Fire TV Stick: Best Stick For 2019?

After months of testing, I found Roku Streaming Stick+ to be the best streaming stick overall because it has more content options, less advertisements, and its platform isn’t biased. Fire TV Stick 4K is a huge upgrade over the slow Fire TV Stick, but it’s still loaded with ads and missing key apps.

I’ll compare and contrast these two streaming sticks (Roku Streaming Stick+ vs. Fire TV Stick 4K) while evaluating four categories: interface, content, speed, and smarts.

  • Interface: It's old school and a little clunky, but ads are unobtrusive.
  • Content: It has every streaming service I can think of with no biases. There are many 4K content options.
  • Speed & Specs: It offers similar speeds as Fire TV Stick 4K.
  • Smarts: You can control the TV's volume and search for shows and movies with the remote. It works well, but there's isn't a personal assistant for advanced tasks.

You want an unbiased platform that gives you endless options and a voice remote that'll find what you're looking for. Roku has tons of options for HD and 4K HDR content. Roku's interface is dated and rough around the edges, but it does a better job of keeping the ads minimal, relevant, and off to the side.

Budget Option

Roku Stick (3800R) has the same features and speed without the 4K compatibility. Roku Stick+ will work with any TV type, but if you don't have a 4K TV, get 3800R for $49 instead.

  • Interface: Amazon ads take up half of the home screen, along with ads for cat litter.
  • Content: It has most of the basics, but it’s missing Vudu and YouTube TV. 4K content is lacking too.
  • Speed & Specs: It's finally useable. This generation got a huge upgrade in speed.
  • Smarts: You can control the volume with the remote and search via your voice. You can ask your Echo devices to play content, but it’s not fully baked yet.

You’re invested in Amazon’s ecosystem and are fine with being inundated with ads. Its biggest advantage over Roku is that you can go hands-free with Alexa (via Echo), but it's still a work in progress and not enough to overcome the advertisement heavy interface, weak 4K content, and missing apps.

Budget Option

Fire TV Stick (2nd Gen) is still sold by Amazon for $40, but it's unbearably slow and has a terrible remote. It was one of the worst devices I've ever tested.

I made a deals tracker that compares today's price to Amazon's 60-day average. It'll only show REAL deals on gadgets that I've reviewed. When you use any of my Amazon links, it supports my site and lets me provide free and unbiased content. Thank you to everyone who has helped!

Why listen to me?

  1. I’ve been obsessed with gadgets since I was eight years old.
  2. I bought each device with MY money.
  3. I’ll update this post frequently because my opinions change.
  4. I don’t have insider access. I’m just like you, the everyman.

Common Misconceptions

  • Each Roku generation gets faster and an improved interface. I’ve tested Roku devices from the last five years. The older Roku devices are too slow and clunky to compete with new streaming devices and sticks on the market today. The current generation of Roku devices are the ONLY ones that I recommend:
    • Roku Ultra (4661R)
    • Roku Streaming Stick+ (3810R)
    • Roku Streaming Stick (3800R)
  • Any streaming stick will work with any TV brand or style. The only requirement of the TV is that it has an HDMI port.
  • Smart TVs typically have clunky interfaces and are an add-on feature. That’s why I recommend a dedicated device. Some Smart TVs are better than others though. For instance, most TCL Roku TVs run a full version of Roku OS and are comparable to Roku Stick.
  • You’ll need a streaming stick for each TV that you want to stream on.
  • These device have minimal free content.
  • You can’t “cut the cord” by just buying a streaming stick. A $50 device won’t magically have free content worth watching. Streaming sticks are your platform for the streaming services that you’ll need to buy. Your streaming stick is your new cable box. Services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, and Showtime provide great content and cost around $15/month.
  • You’ll need fast internet and a strong connection. The more devices that are streaming simultaneously, the better your connection speed needs to be. I recommend at least 20/mbps for one flawless stream.
  • “Cutting the cord” isn’t always more affordable than paying for cable. It sounds good in theory, but it gets expensive when you factor in an internet speed upgrade and being picky about the channels you want. To save money, you’ll need to make sacrifices with your channel requirements.
  • If technology is intimidating to you, don’t cut the cord because it’s going to be a difficult transition.
  • If you’re looking to stream live TV, that’s at least $30/month from services like Sling, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue. (If you need help finding one, I reviewed them).
  • Once you’re a member of a streaming service, you’ll be able to watch the service on as many devices as you want without paying more.
  • Apple TV is my favorite streaming device and by far the best streaming device on the market (my review here), but it’s geared more toward Apple nerds (like me) and people who don’t have money constraints. Fire TV Stick and Roku Stick are the best streaming devices for most and will provide more value for your money.

Roku Stick+


  • While Roku 8.0 software was a substantial upgrade because were low-quality apps that apps didn’t match the experience of the other streaming devices, Roku software still has work to do. The apps are more consistent, but I still don’t like how the menus are set up, the interface looks dated, and there are design inconsistencies throughout.
  • Unlike Apple TV, Roku and Amazon devices have advertisements and there’s no getting around it because they make money by collecting your data to better target you with services. It’s part of their business models. The difference between Roku and Fire TV is that the Roku ads stay out of the way, and you can easily distinguish ads from the content.
  • You can follow movies and get updates when they become available.
  • You can get your music, videos, and photos on your TV with Roku Play-On. This is similar to Apple’s AirPlay but is located inside the Roku app.
  • The Roku phone app is excellent. You can pick the streaming service you want to use, and it’ll pop up on your TV screen.
  • “What’s On?” feature inside the Roku app tries to curate movies and shows with algorithms. It’s a great idea, and it’s executed decently.
  • There are no biases with Roku’s search for movies and shows. Roku doesn’t create or sell content, so they can be completely objective. When doing a search for content, it’ll show you your free options first (from the services you subscribe to), rather than make you pay.
  • Amazon Video, Google Play Video, Vudu, Hulu, Netflix, Showtime, HBO, Sling TV, DirecTV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, Spotify, and Pandora are available. Roku claims to have 500,000 movies and shows. No streaming device comes close to that number.
  • Roku has more 4K content than Fire TV Stick 4K. For 4K content, you get Netflix, Amazon Video, YouTube, Vudu, and others. Roku has a special section to see all available 4K content.
  • Roku Streaming Stick+ (3810R) and Roku Streaming Stick (3800R) came out in 2017. They are 50% more powerful and use a cleaner and faster version of Roku’s software (Roku OS 9.0) compared to previous generations.
  • You won’t notice a speed difference compared to Fire TV Stick 4K. The apps take about the same about of time to fully load.
  • You can play 4K HDR content, but Roku only supports HDR10.
  • The setup is clunky. The first time I connected to the internet, it failed, and then worked the second time. Also, you need to register for a Roku account and can’t get set up without one. You only setup once, so I wouldn’t worry about this, just keep it in mind.
  • There are four preset app buttons (Netflix, DirecTV Now, Sling and Hulu) on the remote, so you’re stuck with useless buttons if you’re not using all four services.
  • You can ask the remote to search for shows or movies, but there is no smart assistant to do advanced tasks or ask it questions. Roku’s voice search works perfectly by holding the button and saying a movie title. Then, it brings up the movie and shows you which app you can watch it with.
  • You have to hold the remote close to your mouth while pressing the button for it to hear you properly.
  • You can control the volume and turn the TV on and off with the remote.
  • With Private Listening mode, you can play your show’s sound through the Roku phone app, then listen using headphones. It can be useful if you have roommates and you’re trying to keep the noise down. This feature is technically available with Fire TV Stick, but you have to jump through hoops to connect Bluetooth headphones through the settings menu. It’s seamless on Roku.

Fire TV Stick 4K


  • Half of Fire TV’s home screen is advertising Amazon’s content whether you want to see it or not.
  • Amazon Channels integrates Amazon Video, HBO, Showtime and Starz into one platform, similar to Apple’s TV app. To use Amazon Channels, you pay for HBO, Showtime, and Starz through Amazon on a monthly basis rather than your cable provider.
  • Amazon Channels is a good idea, but it’s a useless distraction to most because you’re likely paying for HBO and Showtime through other means. There’s no way to get rid of it from the interface.
  • At the bottom of the screen is a “sponsored” section that’s static. You’ll see car, razor, travel, computer, and cat food advertisements. Why are you cluttering up my home screen with this garbage?
  • Under your row of hand-picked apps, there are your “most used” apps. In most cases, this results in duplicate apps from the first row and it looks bad. The “most used” is not editable or removable.
  • Amazon’s trying to pull out individual content from other apps and curate it, but it turns into a mess.
  • This device favors Amazon’s content in a big way. There are advertisements for it everywhere. It feels like you’re being sold something every time you turn on the TV. I paid money for this device; I just want to relax!
  • Fire TV Stick 4K is the best way to watch all of Amazon Prime’s content. It’s perfectly optimized and there are cool exclusive features while watching. For instance, you can see all the actors when pausing a show.
  • For HD content, there’s Hulu, Netflix, Showtime, HBO, Sling TV, DirecTV, PlayStation Vue, and others available.
  • YouTube TV is the best live TV streaming service, but there isn’t an app and won’t be.
  • There’s no YouTube app either, but you can go to the built-in internet browser as a workaround.
  • There’s a lack of 4K HDR content. There’s no iTunes, Google Play Video or Vudu. You’re stuck with just Amazon (which lacks HDR content relative to iTunes and Vudu) and Netflix.
  • Fire TV Stick 4K is Amazon’s third generation stick. It has 1.5 GB of RAM with a quad-core 1.7 GHz processor and runs Fire OS 6.
    • The second generation Fire TV Stick has 1GB of RAM with a 1.3GHz processor and Fire OS 5 is still being sold for $40. Every action on the second generation felt like it was in slow motion relative to Roku or Apple TV.
    • Fire TV Stick 4K apps open two times faster than the second generation Fire TV Stick. It’s astronomically snappier with everything that you do.
    • Fire TV Stick 4K apps open as fast as it does on Roku.
  • There’s Dolby Atmos support, although there isn’t content that takes advantage of this yet.
  • Amazon supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision. I can’t tell the difference between the two standards, but people smarter than I say Dolby Vision is better.
  • Fire TV Stick 4K knows who you are if you buy it with YOUR Amazon account, which makes installation easier. Also, if it’s your second Amazon device and your WiFi settings stay saved, you don’t have to worry about WiFi setup.
  • You can hold down a button on the remote to ask Alexa a question. It performs any question or smart home task (i.e. turning off the lights, etc.), just like a typical Echo device.
  • With the previous version of Fire TV Stick, you couldn’t control the volume or turn off the TV with the remote. Now, an Alexa Voice Remote is included with a dedicated volume and power button. This remote is a huge upgrade from the previous generation, but it’s still made with cheap materials.
  • If you want to go hands-free, you can set up Fire TV Stick 4K to work with an Echo device. You can ask your Echo to play, pause, or open an app, without touching the remote. For certain apps, you can ask it to play a show directly and it’ll open it in the correct app. For instance, “Alexa, play Bosch on my Fire TV” and Bosch automatically plays in the Amazon Prime Video app, but there are issues:
    • It doesn’t work consistently because the requests get wordy. Alexa doesn’t always understand which service you want to use and doesn’t know non-mainstream shows well.
    • In the future, I want Amazon’s AI to predict which service I want to use, based on my previous usage, without specifying.
    • Alexa works better with Amazon’s own content. You can say “Alexa, play Transparent.” and the content starts without pressing any buttons. The shows open 95% of the time, but it doesn’t always play the 4K version. Why are there two versions of the same movie? It should be one movie and the definition should auto adjust depending on the type of TV display you have.
  • There’s no way to mirror your iOS devices natively. There are a couple of ways to do it with 3rd party apps, but I wasn’t pleased with the performance. Android users won’t have an issue, however.

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