Roku 4 vs New Amazon Fire TV

Hi Folks,

I was planning on buying the new Amazon Fire TV (as I have Amazon Prime) but it seems to have gotten poor reviews so far (esp. when compared with the older model). So now I’m considering the Roku 4 (but concerned about issues folks have had with Roku). I haven’t set up Tablo yet as I’m still under contract with DISH. But as that runs out I’m getting ready for the move to poss. Tablo (however I am really intrigued by the new TIVO Bolt but not a fan of the cost). I will need to update 2 out of my 3 TVs since I was gifted 1) old Apple TV which will only work with Air Play. I don’t have any apple products except what’s on iTunes via my PC. 2) a Roku 3 (which seems it may work OK w/out the current Tablo/Roku issues folks are having) so this one I’ll keep. and 3) a Roku 2, which I will have to replace or watch in 720 (yuck) due to what I am reading about the Roku/Tablo issues.

So far I’ve only heard folks have issues with the (older?) Roku’s. I couldn’t find comments about folks using the older Fire TV (i.e. if they have the same issues as Roku). I haven’t seen any comments about the new Fire TV experiences with Tablo.

Q: So if I you were to get a new set box, which would you buy? The new Amazon Fire TV or the new Roku?
Q: What’s the Fire TV app like compared to the new BETA Roku app?
Q: Anyone use the new Roku or Fire TV yet? If so, what are your thoughts?

The Roku 4 will be released October 21, 2015.
I’ll receive mine October 23, and will report back on performance.

New Roku is not out yet. Roku 3 will be getting the OS upgraded to 7 soon ( most likely when Roku 4 is available ). I have the old Firetv stick I got when it was deal of the day at Best Buy. It CAN be used at remote locations such as a friend’s house or hotel with the Tablo app, while the Roku can not. Roku has a lot of extra channels and includes Amazon videos (I have Prime now too). I find it easier upgrading and adding channels on Roku. The Roku 4 will support wireless AC and 4k content from Netflix and others. Keep in mind streaming HD or ultra HD WILL use more bandwidth from your isp.

I like the Roku devices, and have experienced little to no issues with them since moving my Tablo from wi-fi to a hard wired Ethernet connection. Mine are all streaming sticks, 3 of them are the same vintage and one is different and fully compatible with and integrated into the MHL port on a relatively new JVC television set. The TV remote also serves as the Roku remote, and I’ve supplemented that with a Logitech Harmony remote.

Occasionally I’ve had the Roku spontaneously exit the application, but not often and I’ve noticed uncommanded reboots on Netflix as well. Advantage of the Roku is the enormous amount of content they offer, something for everyone. If I were in the market for a new streaming device, I’d definitely consider the new Roku 4.

As far as the Tablo interface goes, I would say they are both going to have Pros and Cons based on feedback from the previous versions. Roku interfaces are almost always going to be a step behind the others in features as its a native to Roku only programming language. That also means that when issues come up with the app (channel) itself, they are likely to take longer to resolve…

As the Fire TV is based on Android, The app is going to be easier to update and more feature rich out of the box, but some have reported the interface as “clunky” and not as smooth.

Either box should be able to handle the highest streaming output capability of the Tablo (assuming no local network connection bottle necks).

In comparing the boxes in general, it depends on what your priority is.

If its gaming or a more robust / interactive search (assistant), the Fire TV is going to win here no doubt. (Actually the Apple TV will likely be the winner on both eventually, though I dont feel its worth the extra price tag).

I have also heard that connecting bluetooth headphones to the Fire TV for private listening provides better sound quality and a more stable audio stream than the wired connection to the WiFi remote for the Roku, though we use the headphone to remote feature a LOT on the latest Roku 3 and have never had issue.

If the priority is picture quality / 4K capability, the Roku wins as it is HDCP 2.2 (HDMI 2,0) compliant where the Fire TV is not.

The Fire TV maxes out at 4k 30fps where the Roku can do 4K 60fps. Neither box currently supports HDR but in theory, the Roku box COULD with just a software update (depending on the FINAL HDR standard) but the Fire TV box, simply can not as its not supported with the older HDMI 1.4 Amazon chose to use to keep the cost under $100.

The argument could be made that 4K is overkill and not needed today, that is true, and its probably not worth the money to run out and upgrade a perfectly working Roku 3, but if you are in the market for a new addition or need to replace an early gen model, this does offer a bit of future proofing.

Also, many have said 4K isnt a big deal as most 4K TVs come with built in apps for the 4K streams BUT, there is an advantage to having access to all of your apps / channels in one spot… Not just for ease of navigation, but the robust Roku SEARCH is arguably one of its best features and would not be possible if you had to go to 2 or 3 different places for different app / channel access…

Back to comparing Roku to Fire TV, this multi stream provider search provided by Roku is worth pointing out here too, The Fire TV is of course going to lean toward more use of Amazons app. Can’t blame them for doing that, but Roku being agnostic toward a specific streaming service is MUCH more appealing and useful to ensure I am not paying for something to “rent” or buy through Amazon, that another service may have for free or as part of my existing subscriptions.

The new updated Roku Feed is supposed to help even more here, alerting you when a specific movie / TV Show (or a movie with a specific Actor or Director) is available without you having to go searching for it. Again, providing an unbiased alert when it hits ANY of the major streaming providers (20+ currently), not just when its available on Amazon.

Finally, the fact that Roku also brought back the SPDIF optical out was a plus for me.

And yes, as you might have guessed, I am biased and I do have a couple Roku 4s already on order…

Roku has upgraded the Android app and it includes voice search and Myfeed.

I have a LT 2700x that will get replaced with the Roku 3, and the Roku 4 goes where the Roku 3 is currently