Chromecast w/ Google TV vs. Fire TV Stick 4K: Which is best?

chromecast vs firestick

I’ve determined that Chromecast with Google TV wins in a landslide because it has a cleaning interface and organizes content better. Fire TV Stick 4K is cluttered with ads and pushes Amazon’s content heavily, but if you’re a heavy Alexa user, it might be worth a look.

I’ll compare Chromecast with Google TV vs Fire TV Stick 4K based on content, interface, smarts, and remote.

Content

This is almost a tie, but Chromecast pulls ahead just slightly. Fire TV has a good amount of content, but it lacks a few important options. However, you can sideload whatever apps you want on either device, but I don’t recommend it.

Fire TV offers Hulu, Netflix, Showtime, HBO, Sling TV, AT&T TV, YouTube, Disney+, YouTube TV, and Apple TV for HD content. However, you can’t access Google Play, Peacock, or Vudu with Fire TV.

Chromecast with Google TV has all of the mainstream streaming apps. Including Netflix, Sling, HBO, AT&T TV, YouTube, YouTube TV, Peacock, Vudu, Hulu, Showtime, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Epix, Spotify, Apple TV, and others

You can also cast from apps on your phone, and most apps come with a cast button.

Having a hard time casting from your phone? There is a cast button in the Google Chrome browser on your laptop or desktop. You can use this to cast content that your phone can’t.

Fire TV and Chromecast both support Dolby Vision and HDR10.

Interface

For years, the previous generations of Chromecast were casting-only devices without a TV interface, but now the newest model runs the brilliant Google TV interface. While the Fire TV has a pretty bad interface. 

Fire TV has streaming apps that you can open with the remote. You can also view recent apps and five favorite apps. However, you need to sign in to each app with your credentials. The home screen interface is also an advertising nightmare. There’s a large ad that takes up half the screen, sponsored ads near the bottom, and ads interspersed throughout the content. Plus, you see content from apps that you aren’t subscribed to.

The Fire TV remote lets you search with your voice. You’ll see content that matches your search along with other relevant movies and shows. Fire TV is pretty good if you subscribe through Amazon Channels. This means you pay Amazon rather than your cable company or the subscription service. This allows you to view HBO, Showtime, Starz, or CBS with the Prime Video app.

The best part is that you won’t have to visit the ad-filled home screen when using these apps, but it doesn’t support Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, or live TV. Plus, the Prime Video app on your phone will house all the apps, which is convenient. Amazon even hosts the streaming on their servers, which means fast loading and great quality.

Playback features are amazing. For example, you can view the actor’s names and information whenever you pause the screen.

Chromecast with Google TV has a great interface for discovering new content and organizing the content among all your apps. The top row on the home screen shows “top picks for you,” which is a list of content that it thinks you’ll like based on your viewing habits. And all the content is from content apps that you pay for.

Next, is a row of apps. Then, below the apps, there’s a “watch now” section that takes all the shows and movies that you’re currently watching and puts them into one list. When you tap on content from this list, the content opens in the appropriate app.

You can easily search for content with Google Assistant. It’ll quickly bring up a list of all your services that you can watch it on.

You can cast content from your phone to the TV too, which means you don’t need to login into your apps again. Plus, it’s easy to go from looking at your phone to watching TV.

Casting is better than Apple AirPlay by a lot. With AirPlay, your iPhone is mirrored. This means you can’t use the phone and its battery dies quickly. Casting only casts the content, not your phone’s screen. You can turn off your phone and still watch the show. You won’t even notice a dent in your battery life.

Remote

Fire TV’s remote feels cheap. The buttons are flimsy and don’t have much feedback. There are also dedicated buttons for power and volume for the TV. If you’d rather have a digital remote, then you can use the Fire TV app as a backup.

Fire TV has an iOS and Android remote that gets the job done too.

The remote that comes with Chromecast with Google TV comes in three different colors. It molds to the hand much better than Fire TV’s remote. It has dedicated volume and power buttons and a TV input button not found on Fire TV.

You get a Netflix and YouTube button that brings you directly to those apps with one tap. Overall, I like the Chromecast remote better because it’s about twice the thickness and just feels better in the hand.

Final Thoughts

Chromecast with Google TV wins this comparison in a landslide. Why? The interface is clean. It organizes all your content into one unified list, which makes it easy to keep track of what you’re watching. When you’re ready, just tap on the episode and the show will open in the correct app. It’s also great for discovering new content. Google will continuously learn your tastes based on what you watch and you can help it out by rating the content after you watch it too.

Fire TV devices are just too busy for my tastes. Being inundated with ads ruins the experience for me. Fire TV is missing a couple of important apps too. Amazon Channels is a great service and if you subscribe to all of your streaming services via Amazon Channels, you’ll love Fire TV, but that’s probably not you because you wouldn’t be reading this post.

Fire TV will get the job done for most. What’s the problem? The competition. It’s the same price as Roku Stick Plus and Chromecast with Google TV, both of which offer a better overall experience.

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I’ve been obsessed with gadgets since I was eight years old. I buy each device reviewed with MY money and don’t have insider access. I’m just like you, the everyman.