If you are thinking of buying a stick to watch the Smart TV, there are many different options in a single glance at any online store but some are more popular and highly recommended. Among them, the Google and Amazon models. We compare Chromecast with Google TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick if you don’t know which one to choose or what are the differences between Smart TV sticks.
Features and Models
We review the main details of one and the other before comparing or choosing.
Chromecast Google TV
We must bear in mind that in the next paragraphs we will not compare the classic Google Chromecast whose function is to send content from other devices to the TV. It would not make sense to compare this model with Amazon Fire TV because its function is totally different from what the classic Google device offers. Therefore, for the comparison we will use the model released at the end of 2020 that includes Google TV as an operating system and its own interface when plugged in.
This mentioned model plays content with resolution up to 4K with HDR as long as the content and hardware is compatible. Organize all the movies and series from the different streaming platforms on a single screen so you can continue watching your series from the main panel. In addition, it makes general recommendations using all your platforms and based on the content that you have seen in the different services when you do not know what to see. Another of its advantages and features is that you can use voice control to request a title, to request a song on Spotify or to search for movies by a specific actor.
It is an interface with the Google TV operating system that is very easy to manage and easy to use for any user without being an expert. In addition, the configuration is simple and it is enough to log in with our Google account and link the different profiles or download the applications that we find interesting.
Another of the main advantages of this device is that we can send content from Android and iOS to the phone, tablet or laptop by projecting the browser tab on the TV without having to connect anything.
Amazon Fire TV
Google has only one model with Chromecast but Amazon has several devices in its Fire TV family and all of them allow us “the same” although with differences that consist of the quality of the compatible image and the remote control that they include. For example, the “top” model is the Ultra HD compatible 4K Stick and its main advantage is the quality of the images.
There is also the classic model and the Lite model with the only difference between the two in that the former has a much more complete remote and with direct access to Alexa and some applications. Finally, Amazon has its Fire TV Cube that works as a hybrid between the Fire TV and the Amazon Echo since it is a speaker itself although it also works with integrated Alexa without the need to press a button on the remote. Also compatible with Ultra HD 4K when it comes to playing content of all kinds.
Although there are variations from one model to another, all of them (except the cube) are a small HDMI device that we connect to the television and that we control with a remote control. It allows us to install applications on our television and there are thousands of “skills” but it also has the advantage of having live channels with which we can watch conventional television without resorting to apps over the Internet.
We compare the different qualities and aspects of one and the other so that you know what each one contributes. The image quality, the control, the applications and games that we can install or the compatibility with speakers and other home automation devices.
In design, the Amazon and Google sticks are practically the same. The two accounts with an HDMI port that we must connect to the television and a cable to the current. The main difference in design between the two is that the Amazon model is rigid and the Chromecast is a cable that causes the device to “drop.” This can be an advantage when it comes to space since the first is a kind of large pendrive that will stay fixed in the HDMI port while Google’s simply forces us to have a cable but the device could be hanging.
As for colors, Google has options in three different colors: white, pink and light blue or sky blue. Amazon only offers its devices in black, without variation.
The Chromecast with Google TV allows you to watch 4K resolution videos up to 60 fps and is compatible with HDR and Dolby Vision content. As long as, of course, the television is compatible with this type of content and this quality.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is the only one of the brand’s stick models that supports this resolution. It supports 4K Ultra HD streaming as well as HDR, HDR 10, HDR10 +, HLG and Dolby Vision. As for audio, it is compatible with Dolby Atmos. The most basic (and cheap) models do not support up to 4K but allow image quality up to Full HD 180p and compatible with HDR, HDR10 + and HLG.
Command and voice control
Both one and the other have voice control with which we can manage all applications. The Amazon Fire TV Stick and the Google Chromecast incorporate a button on the remote that we automatically press to activate the assistant and ask for what we want without having to summon Alexa or Ok Google . We can ask both of them, with our voices, to turn up the volume or to go to the next chapter.
The remote control is also useful in both options. The one on Amazon Fire TV (not 4K) includes direct access to Disney +, Netflix, Prime Video, and Amazon Music. In the case of the Chromecast, it includes direct access to YouTube and Netflix. Both have volume buttons, mute button and button to activate the assistant. In addition to a wheel at the top that allows us to move through the different menus. After having tried both, we can assure that they are comfortable and much more useful than the usual television controllers although, in our opinion, Google offers us a much more comfortable experience to move through menus.
Content and interface
Both options allow us to install practically all the applications that come to mind. All streaming apps are compatible with Google TV and Amazon Fire TV. You will not miss any of them in either of the two … From Netflix to Flixolé or Filmin and other platforms but also streaming music apps like Spotify and the rest of the services that allow us to listen to music. Amazon offers more different skills, of all kinds. Not only are there applications such as games (Google wins in this section) or streaming services or social networks, but you will also find cooking applications or very specific skills to explore.
The interface is very similar in both, with a top menu from which we can go to Start or go to Series or Apps. The Amazon Fire TV screen may be somewhat more chaotic or messy in terms of menus since Google sorts all applications by type or allows us to organize everything in a cleaner way. But both Amazon and Google have a very simple interface with all the apps at hand that we can navigate from the main screen.
The main difference in content is found in the “channels”. Amazon offers channels for watching live TV. It is a section available since the end of 2020 that allows us to watch DTT television channels without leaving the platform and without installing the corresponding applications. We can see some like La 1, La 2, 24 hours, Teledeporte, Antena 3, La Sexta … You just have to go to the “Live” section and choose the one that interests you.
Speaker and home automation compatibility
One of the things when choosing is if we have other speakers at home or if we have devices that are compatible with one operating system or another. Generally all home automation devices are compatible with Google Assistant or mostly nowadays. Many also with Amazon but you should look one by one at the ones you already have or are planning to buy since this would make it easier for us to create an ecosystem at home.
If you have an Amazon Echo you can tell it to turn on the Amazon Fire TV with your voice without even being in that room as long as you have it paired. The same happens with Google to which you can tell, in Google Home, to turn on the Chromecast and put Spotify in the living room even if you are not there.
When choosing one or the other in this section there is no “winner” but it will depend on each user or the gadgets they have at home.
One of the advantages of Google over Amazon is the option to send content from your mobile phone, computer, tablet. All the apps compatible with Cast allow us to send the screen to the TV with just one button and without cables and this is very useful in many cases. A function that Amazon does not allow us. An advantage of Amazon is that it is compatible with services such as Amazon Photos with which we can see all our image albums on TV without the need for a mobile phone thanks to the skills that exist for Fire TV . But we cannot send the content natively as it happens on the Chromecast. Can we send something to the Fire TV from the phone? Yes through specific applications for it.
Google allows us to send practically everything to TV, from the full screen of the phone to specific applications that have the Cast icon.
Google Chromecast with Google TV there is only one model available, in several different colors (white, light blue and pink), and it is priced at 69.99 euros . It is, for now, the only Google device that allows us to have Google TV and all the advantages.
Amazon has several different models and the price varies depending on which one we choose. The Lite model is priced at 29.99 euros. The classic model with Alexa and direct access buttons on the remote is priced at 39.99 euros. And the Fire TV Stick Ultra HD model with Alexa voice control (the one that would most resemble Google’s) has a price of 59.99 euros although we can find some temporary promotions. In addition, the Fire TV Cube model with a price of up to 119 euros but
Is it worth it even if you have a Smart TV? Yes. Both Amazon and Google are excellent options even if your TV is smart. We tend to think that they are sticks or devices that are only worthwhile when our TV is old but nothing is further from the truth. What do you want it for if you already have a Smart TV? As we have seen in the previous paragraphs, both the Amazon Fire TV and the Google Chromecast allow us to improve compatibility with applications … There are many current televisions with good quality and good features that do not allow us to install apps such as Atresplayer Premium, such as Disney Plus. Even if your television is obsolete in the operating system you will have this alternative without having to change the television.
Global compatibility with all applications is one of the advantages even if you have a Smart TV but there are also others … For example, it allows us to control the content by voice without using the remote. Just say “Alexa” or say “Ok Google” and ask for a Netflix series to automatically play.
Another advantage is that it unifies all the content and we can see global recommendations based on what we have seen or give “continue watching” directly from the main screen without having to go one by one by opening each application.
What is the conclusion? Both options are recommended although it will depend on whether you choose one or the other depending on whether you have other devices of each of them. For example, if you have more home automation devices that are compatible with Amazon than with Google. Or vice versa. We can also take into account whether or not we usually send content to the TV from the mobile phone or from the computer.