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Difference between Roku Stick and Amazon Fire Stick

Key Difference: Roku Stick and Amazon Fire Stick and two different video streaming devices. As the name suggest Amazon Fire Stick is designed and marketed by Amazon, whereas the Roku Stick is designed and marketed by Roku. Both are fairly similar, yet there are bound to be some differences between the two.
Roku Stick Roku Stick and Amazon Fire Stick and two different video streaming devices that are available on the market. As the name suggest Amazon Fire Stick is designed and marketed by Amazon, whereas the Roku Stick is designed and marketed by Roku. While Amazon is a brand name everyone has heard off, some people may have not heard of Roku. The video streaming services may currently be at the height right now, however, Roku is the company who just may have started the fad for video streaming devices.

The video streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, Google Play Music and Movies have been around for a number of years. However, it got to a point that it became very cumbersome to watch shows and movies on their phone, yet the only alternative was to get a smart TV, which would be able to play the videos on the big screen. All this changed, when the video streaming devices were launched. These devices allows one to stream content from those services directly onto a regular TV, as long as they have an HDMI port, which most TVs today do.

Roku launched one of the first video streaming devices in the market, and really made video streaming devices popular. Hence, it is generally well respected in the market, and is trusted to know what they are doing. Amazon, on the other hand, entered the market fairly recently. Still, among their many streaming products, two comparative products are the Roku Stick and Amazon Fire Stick.

Both are fairly similar, yet there are bound to be some differences between the two. One difference is that the Amazon Fire Stick comes with more memory and storage than the Roku Stick, that’s 1GB RAM and 8GB storage to be exact. The Roku Stick, on the other hand, has 512 MB RAM, and 256 MB of storage. Regardless of that, the Roku stick holds its own against the Fire Stick; in fact its interface has been touted as almost being as fast and instinctive as the Amazon Fire Stick. Still, the better processing power does mean that Amazon Fire Stick beats out the Roku stick in terms of raw power. Also, the more storage means that more apps can be downloaded and stored on the Fire Stick.

Amazon Fire Stick Roku also supports video, audio and image streaming apps with some simple games. The Fire TV Stick can run more than just media apps and it offers far better gaming thanks to the great Fire Game Controller. However, the Game Controller is available in all markets. Still both do some with a remote control that helps one search for and control content.

Both have similar selection of apps and services, with both supporting most if not all of the popular streaming services. Still, Roku also tends to support more of the smaller streaming services that Amazon might miss out on. However, this may differ from region to region, as there are places where Roku stick has not launched but Amazon Fire Stick has.

Another difference is that Roku Stick supports HBO Go as well as Google Play Movies, or Google Music, both of which are not supported by Amazon Fire Stick. This could be a downside for many users.

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The 11 Best Free Streaming Sites

Joe Supan Staff Writer February 07, 2019

Movie ScoreTV Score
Yahoo View★★★★★
Pluto TV★★★★★★★★
YouTube Movies★★
Roku Channel★★★★★★
Sony Crackle★★★★★★
IMDb Freedive★★★★★★
Tubi TV★★★★★★★★

The average cable bill in the U.S. costs $107 per month, so it’s not surprising that consumers are looking for ways to watch TV and movies online for free. We spent a month researching the best free (and legal) streaming sites out there, and ranked them from best to worst, with two picks specifically for free TV streaming at the very end. We’d recommend downloading as many of these as you can onto your streaming device or TV of choice. That way, when you search for a specific movie or show, you can see if it’s available anywhere for free before you pay to rent it.

We’ll be honest: A lot of the movies on these sites are duds that companies like Netflix and Hulu deemed unworthy of paying for. Be prepared to see plenty of names you recognize in titles you don’t. (Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman’s “Trespass,” for example, pops up on just about every one.) That said, we were shocked at how good some of these services are — particularly the ones at the top of the list. If you’re looking to cut out cable or paid streaming services, these are worthy replacements.

The best of the best

The best free streaming sites have libraries with thousands of shows and movies that rival paid services like Netflix and Hulu. These are our favorites.

1. Hoopla
Hoopla brings your library’s vast collection of movies and TV shows straight to your TV. It’s owned by Midwest Tape, a distributor of DVDs, CDs, and audiobooks that works exclusively with libraries in North America. Because libraries pay for the service, its catalogue is better than just about any other service out there — even rivalling paid services like Netflix and Hulu — and you can watch movies ad-free.

Hoopla Screenshot for Free Streaming

What it’s best for: Just about everything. Hoopla received top marks in our evaluation for documentaries, classics, drama, and horror, but its enormous collection means its solid across the board. And lest you forget this is a library service, it also has tons of great self-improvement videos for things like exercising, cooking, and learning to play instruments.
What it’s missing: There are no glaring weak spots in Hoopla’s library, but it didn’t have quite as many new releases as Kanopy. If you’re looking to catch up on Oscar contenders, we’d try that first.
Available on: Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast

2. Tubi TV
Tubi has an absolutely massive selection of movies, with more of an emphasis on blockbusters compared to Hoopla’s critically acclaimed titles. Despite its huge number of movies, it’s not overwhelming to search through, as you can sort by 54 categories like “Highly Rated on Rotten Tomatoes” and “Not on Netflix” to help cut down aimless browsing.

Tubi Screenshot for Free Streaming

What it’s best for: No matter what you’re in the mood for, you’ll probably be able to find it on Tubi. It especially stood out in the Family category, with popular titles like “Paddington,” “Hugo,” and “All Dogs Go to Heaven.” It also has an incredible number of 2000s reality TV shows if you’re in the mood for some nostalgia.
What it’s missing: Like Hoopla, we didn’t have many quibbles with Tubi’s selection, but we did score it behind Kanopy when it came to new releases.
Available on: Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, PlayStation 4

Still great

3. Kanopy

Like Hoopla, you’ll need a library card to access Kanopy. And like Hoopla, that gives it one of the most impressive collections of free movies you’ll find. But Kanopy skews more towards serious fare rather than blockbusters. It’s the college library to Hoopla’s local branch — more international, more arthouse, and more film history. It also has thousands of educational videos on topics like business, communications, and global studies.

Kanopy Screenshot for Free Streaming

What it’s best for: If the words “Criterion Collection” mean anything to you, we recommend Kanopy. It has a broad range of quality movies, but it specializes in arthouse, foreign, and classic films. It also received our top score for new releases, with recent Oscar nominees like “First Reformed,” “Moonlight,” and “Lady Bird.”
What it’s missing: Kanopy isn’t your best option if you’re looking for comedy or family movies, and it’s also pretty bare bones when it comes to TV shows.
Available on: Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast

4. Vudu
Vudu is mostly known as a video rental service, but it also has more than 3,000 movies and 250 TV shows available to stream for free with ads. Where most free streaming sites inflate their numbers with B-movie filler, Vudu’s free titles are surprisingly well-known.

Vudu Screenshot for Free Streaming

What it’s best for: Browsing through Vudu is like walking into the video store from your childhood. It seems to exist entirely in the 1985-2005 range, with all the action, horror, and comedies to tickle your nostalgia bone. And if you’re watching with the kids, Vudu also has one of the largest selections of family movies we came across.
What it’s missing: Don’t look to Vudu for new — or especially serious — movies.
Available on: Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, PlayStation 4

Hit or miss

5. IMDb Freedive
In early January 2019, Amazon launched IMDb Freedive, a free TV streaming service to supplement Prime Video. While it’s library is pretty small — a little over 200 movies by our count — it synchronizes nicely with IMDb’s platform. If you use IMDb to look up a movie, for example, there’s a distinct banner saying it’s available on Freedive.

IMDb Freedive Screenshot for Free Streaming.png

What it’s best for: Freedive has a great selection of dramas, comedies, and action movies. Even though it doesn’t have as many titles overall as some free streaming sites, it’s refreshingly free of fluff, so you won’t have to waste too much time searching.
What it’s missing: There are virtually no classics, foreign films, and indies on Freedive, and it’s also pretty light on documentaries and horror. You won’t find any movies released within the past few years, either.
Available on: Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Xbox One, PlayStation 4

6. Sony Crackle
The founding father of free TV streaming, Crackle was bought by Sony in 2007, and primarily streams Sony’s (and by extension Columbia’s) back catalog of movies. There’s generally a lot of overlap in free streaming libraries — most services have similar movies because they’re cheap or free to license — but because of its exclusive rights to Sony movies, Sony Crackle’s 200 movies usually aren’t on other free sites.

Sony Crackle Screenshot for Free Streaming

What it’s best for: While its library is modest, Sony Crackle has a surprising amount of classic comedies. Both Ace Ventura movies, “Superbad,” and “Sleepless in Seattle” are all available.
What it’s missing: Skip Sony Crackle if you’re looking for serious movies — you won’t find many Oscar winners or documentaries here.
Available on: Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, PlayStation 4

7. Roku Channel
The Roku Channel is a free add-on to all Roku devices, and has a smattering of TV shows and movies if you’re in a pinch. It’s unique in that it also has 19 live TV channels. You probably haven’t heard of them, but they show up a lot in live streaming services you have to pay for, so it’s nice that Roku includes them for free.

Roku Channel Screenshot for Free Streaming

What it’s best for: The Roku Channel has a decent number of dramas, particularly when it comes to past Oscar winners: “Capote,” “Monster,” and “Gahndi” are all up as of this writing. You can also find some solid horror movies, although they get pretty low-budget after the top 10 or so (withholding judgment on “Shark Attack 3” while we catch up on the first two).
What it’s missing: Family movies and new releases are non-existent on the Roku Channel, and the comedy section is pretty bleak, too.
Available on: Roku

Last resorts

8. Popcornflix
Popcornflix the place to go if you’re looking for your favorite star’s most obscure movies (Channing Tatum in “Battle in Seattle,” anyone?). It’s a pretty weird service to navigate, with categories like “bro movies” and “old school cool.” We were also a little dubious of the “Popcornflix Originals” stamp — the streaming service somehow claims the 2003 Oscar winner Monster as its own.

Popcornflix Screenshot for Free Streaming

What it’s best for: Popcornflix has a deep roster of horror movies, including parts three through eight of the Friday the 13th series, a handful from icons like Hitchcock and John Carpenter, and newer horror classics like “Zodiac.” It also has a ton of family movies, but a lot of them seem to be knockoffs of beloved Disney movies.
What it’s missing: Popcornflix has almost nothing released this decade, and most of its movies never saw a theater to begin with.
Available on: Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Xbox One

9.YouTube Movies
They’re a little difficult to find, but YouTube does have a little over 100 movies to stream legally and for free.

YouTube Screenshot for Free Streaming

What it’s best for: YouTube has a decent amount of documentaries streaming for free, with an emphasis on bios of celebrities like Taylor Swift, Beyonce, and Kanye West.
What it’s missing: Pretty much everything else. You might be able to find a random title that piques your interest, but most of those are also available on the free streaming sites listed above.
Available on: Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, PlayStation 4

The best sites for free TV shows

10. Pluto TV

Pluto TV is unique among free streaming sites in that it offers live TV channels. Granted, they’re not what you’d find in most cable subscriptions, but they could provide a reasonable stand-in if you want the experience of channel surfing.

Pluto Screenshot for Free Streaming

What it’s best for: Most people want live TV for two things: news and sports. On that front, Pluto succeeds pretty well. It has 15 sports channels, including ones like Fox Sports and Stadium that are staples of many live streaming services. We were also impressed by the quality of its 13 news channels, with well-known networks like CBS News, CNBC, and NBC News. It’s also the only free service we saw with on-demand shows from popular channels like Discovery, TLC, and Animal Planet.
What it’s missing: While Pluto has a small-but-mighty movie collection, it’s pretty bare when it comes to action, comedy, and drama.
Available on: Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast

11. Yahoo! View
Yahoo! View is the only streaming service we found that lets you watch new TV series online for free. The five most recent episodes from shows on ABC, NBC, and Fox go up eight days after they originally air on TV and stay up until they’re replaced by newer episodes. Unfortunately, if you want to watch through a streaming device, Yahoo! View is only currently available on Roku.

Yahoo View Screenshot for Free Streaming

What it’s best for: Yahoo! View is by far the best way to keep up with network shows without paying for cable or Hulu. Some of the most popular shows on TV — including “This is Us,” “The Good Doctor,” and “Blue Bloods” — are all available on the free streaming service.
What it’s missing: Yahoo! View has a little more than 50 movies, and most of them are pretty obscure. It’s clear that the service prioritizes television over film.
Available on: Roku

The Bottom Line

You might not find everything you’re looking for on these free streaming sites, but they can still be a great way to supplement (or replace) paid options like Netflix and Hulu. We recommend downloading all of them to your streaming device or TV if you can. That way, their libraries will be included every time you search for a movie, so you won’t pay for anything that’s out there for free.

Guide to Free Streaming

Good forNot forLibrary card required?AdsFire TVRokuApple TVChromecastXbox OnePlayStation 4
Yahoo ViewShows from ABC, NBC, and FoxMovies
Pluto TVLive TV channels, Horror, DocumentariesComedy, Drama, Action
YouTube MoviesDocumentariesEverything else
PopcornflixHorror, FamilyClassics, Drama, Comedy
Roku ChannelHorror, DramaClassics, Comedy, Family
Sony CrackleComedy, TV ShowsClassics, Documentaries, Family
IMDb FreediveDrama, Comedy, ActionClassics, Documentaries, Horror
VuduFamily, Horror, ActionClassics, TV Shows
KanopyClassics, Documentaries, Drama, New ReleasesComedy, Family, TV Shows
Tubi TVDocumentaries, Classics, Drama, Family
HooplaDocumentaries, Classics, Drama, Horror

What’s Next

  • Free streaming services are just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to see what else is available, you can check out our review of on-demand streaming services — these services offer you access to a mix of new shows, older shows, and movies, and most cost less than $10 per month for a basic subscription.
  • If you’re looking for a little more access, there are also live streaming services, which allow you to watch and record live TV through your internet connection. Most live streaming services are in the $45-$50 range, although there are cheaper options if you’re willing to sacrifice DVR service and simultaneous streams.
  • And for the sports fans out there, we’ve looked at how the major streaming services stack up when it comes to streaming sports. Our favorites are also in the $50 range.
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More Streaming Sites


Source: Crackle

Source: Crackle

You probably mainly know this network as the home to Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, butCrackle is actually a great source for film and TV beyond that. As with Hulu, you’ll run into some ads, but the upside is that the service has a big catalogue of wide-ranging, free movies to choose from. Its TV options are more limited (although Seinfeld fans have their fair share to pick from), but Crackle does offer its rapidly growing original content — like the Dennis Quaid series, Art of More — for free.


Source: Popcornflix

Source: Popcornflix

This free ad-supported service offers legal streaming of feature-length movies. Most of the movie options fall into either the indie fare or cult entertainment category, but there are some pretty solid guilty pleasures to choose from if you dig around a little. There’s also a limited catalog TV episodes to stream, but don’t expect to find any prestige dramas or critically acclaimed comedies. Most of Popcornflix’s small screen options consist of National Geographic, bad reality TV, and kid-friend animation. In any case, it’s worth checking out if you want to watch a movie for free. You can access Popcornflix on a computer or the app is also available on Roku, Xbox360, Samsung, Google Play, Amazon, and Apple.

Tubi TV

Source: Tubi TV

Source: Tubi TV

Partially funded by Lionsgate, MGM, and Paramount Pictures, this ad-supported streaming service offers around 40,000 free TV shows and movies options to watch. The majority of the option are at least a couple years, but there’s a wide variety, from Oscar-nominated flicks to action thrillers to film festivals. The site, which can be accessed either online or on streaming media players like Amazon Fire TV, Roku, an Xbox, etc., also offers a wide range of TV series from cult favorites (Freaks and Geeks!) to early seasons of current acclaimed series, like Showtime’s Shameless. The site even has a “Not on Netflix” category to explore. Bonus: If you don’t want to register, you can just sign in with your Facebook account.


Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

The good news is that YouTube has a surprisingly sizable list of movies that you can legally stream for free. The bad news? Most of them are B-movies that you probably have never heard of and pretty much all are several years old. Still if you take the time to browse, chances are you’ll find something that’ll keep you entertained, even if for a little while. There are also plenty of illegally uploaded movies that you can stream (that is, if YouTube hasn’t blocked them yet), but those tend to be of pretty iffy viewing quality. Still, YouTube is easy to access, so this is a good source if you’re in a pinch and need something to watch. Also worth noting: YouTube recently launched another paid Netflix alternative called YouTube Red on February 10. It offers ad-free music and video streaming and its own original programming. It costs $9.99 a month, but is currently offering a month-long free trial.