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Opinions Needed: Roku Ultra 4K vs. Fire TV with 4K
Old 12-17-2017, 01:07 PM   #1
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Opinions Needed: Roku Ultra 4K vs. Fire TV with 4K

As part of our preparation for cord cutting, trying to decide between Roku Ultra 4K and the Fire TV with 4K. The Fire TV is ~$34 cheaper. Thoughts, opinions, experiences? Thanks!
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Old 12-17-2017, 01:16 PM   #2
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It may depend partly on what you intend to stream. Some streaming services perform better on one platform vs another, and vice versa. E.g. I prefer Rokus, but the PS Vue interface is better on Fire TV than Roku. The app/provider interfaces aren’t always the same across Amazon Fire, Roku, Apple, Chromecast, etc.

Otherwise, get the unit with the best/fastest processor, Amazon Fire TV was notoriously slow, but I’m told they’ve fixed that issue with newer offerings.

I am wondering if the recent net neutrality rumblings may change streaming quality and/or costs.
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Old 12-17-2017, 02:09 PM   #3
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After recent events I became convinced that it is better to get your hardware from other than a content provider. Apple, Google and Amazon all sell content - Roku is, for now, neutral and unlikely to get caught up in spats about who can carry what.

For example Amazon & Google Are in Talks to Keep YouTube on The Fire TV - Cord Cutters News
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Old 12-17-2017, 02:45 PM   #4
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I recently bought 2 Fire Sticks. I get around pretty fast with those. The only Roku's I have are older and much slower. New units to new I would imagine Fire and Roku are close. I like Fire because I have PS Vue and subscribe to Amazon Prime. Those 2 are very friendly with Fire sticks/box.

Somewhat unrelated but I just tried Hulu's live tv channels(trial). I really like the tv channels and having their movie library as part of the $40 package. But the live channels buffered a lot and app would completely lock up sometimes. Really wanted to like it but can't get around the problems. Maybe in time they will get it corrected. With Vue, I hardly ever have a problem.
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Old 12-17-2017, 02:56 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dawg52 View Post
I like Fire because I have PS Vue and subscribe to Amazon Prime. Those 2 are very friendly with Fire sticks/box.
Dawg52, Can you provide a bit more info on the "very friendly" comment above? In what way are they friendly with Fire devices? I am strongly considering PS Vue and we subscribe to Amazon Prime so our setup would be same as yours if we went with Fire devices. Thanks.

[Note: We also have an Alexa and an Echo, if it makes any difference.]
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Old 12-17-2017, 03:50 PM   #6
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I have a great router (Netgear Nighthawk X4S R7800) that is almost in the center of the house. Before Friday, I had the lowest package Charter sells and 1 cable box. I do mostly over the air stuff with a Tablo DVR. I can use the "Spectrum" app to watch TV on the rest of my tv's. On these other tv's, I had two Roku 2's, an old Roku stick and an ancient Roku HD. One of the Roku 2's was 50 feet from my router and sometimes had issues connecting.

About a month ago, I purchased an Amazon Fire TV stick ($39) to replace my most ancient Roku. It was fast and picture was great. Connection was easy. Problem was that the Spectrum app does not work on the Amazon Fire TV stick. Neither does logging in to channel apps using my Charter credential. So NO WATCH ESPN! I returned it. I guess Charter is to blame. If I didn't NEED Spectrum app, I would recommend the $54 "All-New Fire TV with 4k...".

Two days ago my Roku Ultra ($89) arrived. I put it in the 50 foot away from router location. Works great. Remote also powers the tv so it gets the happy DW check mark as she does not like using more than one remote. It can even change volume on the TV.
Note that it will not control the volume if you pump it through a receiver. You can use voice commands with this remote. I have not tested this much, but it does open Netflix when asked. In other words, I would highly recommend it.

The Roku Ultra and Fire TV has similar wifi capability and processors.

Yesterday, my new Roku Express ($29) arrived. It was purchased to replace an old Roku stick. The Express responds instantaneously to remote signals. Picture is pretty good. I would recommend the Express knowing that it is not as good as the Ultra or the Fire TV. Good for a guest room, work room, etc.
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Old 12-17-2017, 03:53 PM   #7
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So the questions are:
  • Does it have a quad core processor?
  • Does it have MIMO wifi?
  • Is 4k important to you?
  • Will it run the apps that are important to you?
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Old 12-17-2017, 04:01 PM   #8
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Excellent info, Z3Dreamer! Thank you.

Question somewhat off topic - You mention the Roku remote can control the TV volume. Do you not use a soundbar with your TV? We have to because the TV speakers are located in the back and the sound sux.
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Old 12-17-2017, 04:07 PM   #9
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The Ultra room has choices. For DW's needs, she uses the TV speakers. I turn off the TV speakers and crank up my receiver using a separate remote.

It is an exercise room and I need my ear shattering 70's rock and roll.
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Old 12-17-2017, 05:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpediem View Post
Dawg52, Can you provide a bit more info on the "very friendly" comment above? In what way are they friendly with Fire devices? I am strongly considering PS Vue and we subscribe to Amazon Prime so our setup would be same as yours if we went with Fire devices. Thanks.

[Note: We also have an Alexa and an Echo, if it makes any difference.]
Amazon Prime videos just seems to be easy to navigate and are featured better with the Amazon Fire box/stick. Plus Vue is easy to navigate with the Fire Stick. Wasn't laid out as well with Roku, but I do not have the latest and greatest Roku device so not comparing apples to apples. Btw, if you're into gaming I have read you need the Fire box over a stick. I'm not so that is why I went with Fire sticks.

You can certainly use Prime and Vue with Roku and other devices for that matter. It basically come down to personal preference. Here as article that compares the big boys.

https://www.geek.com/tech/roku-stick...itans-1586865/
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Old 12-17-2017, 05:40 PM   #11
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Plus Vue is easy to navigate with the Fire Stick. Wasn't laid out as well with Roku, but I do not have the latest and greatest Roku device so not comparing apples to apples.
Unfortunately (and inexplicably?) they still haven’t addressed the lack of a traditional matrix guide for PS Vue on Roku, that’s a big issue for many users. Fire, Apple, Chromecast and of course PS4 all have the guide. Otherwise Vue works fine on Roku.
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Old 12-19-2017, 09:40 AM   #12
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I am 100% sold on Roku, but don’t have the 4k devices. We have three (3) Roku model 3’s in the house, and they all do exactly what we want. I will say that the one attached to the kitchen TV froze and had to be rebooted a couple of months ago. But aside from that, smooth sailing. My wish list would be for Roku to allow us to reprogram the four pre-select buttons at the bottom of the remote as we want (i.e. Button 1 = Netflix, Button 2 = Amazon, Button 3 = YouTube, Button 4 = Weather) - maybe along with a keycap puller and customized keys.
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Old 12-19-2017, 02:35 PM   #13
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I would go with the $59.99 new Amazon Fire TV (combo unit of box and stick) unless you have a specific requirement/app to go with something else.

Especially if you have Amazon Prime. It just a fast unit with a great UI and performance.
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Old 12-19-2017, 02:37 PM   #14
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bloom2708, This one?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N32NCPM...XA3YY3FR0CXJKB
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Old 12-19-2017, 02:55 PM   #15
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Yep. That is the latest/greatest. They combined the Stick and Box into a stixox. Or something.

The price fluctuates. Looks like it is $5 cheaper today. One free movie!

Note, that it does not have Ethernet and there are some drawbacks, but if you use wi-fi, I would get it over the Stick that they still sell. I'm sure you can find a Gen1 or Gen2 Fire TV Box for sale with Ethernet out there.
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Old 12-19-2017, 03:15 PM   #16
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You can always try a Kodi box too.
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Old 12-19-2017, 05:23 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by T-Minus View Post
I am 100% sold on Roku, but don’t have the 4k devices.

My wish list would be for Roku to allow us to reprogram the four pre-select buttons at the bottom of the remote as we want (i.e. Button 1 = Netflix, Button 2 = Amazon, Button 3 = YouTube, Button 4 = Weather) - maybe along with a keycap puller and customized keys.
You may know already. I’ve looked into this, and they’re only changeable if you’re able to modify the firmware yourself (there are threads with codes to do it) - beyond the ability of most people, me included.

But Amazon, Netflix, etc. pay handsomely for the shortcut buttons - so Roku has to make it difficult to reprogram the shortcut keys or they’ll lose that revenue. OTOH those payments subsidize/lower the price of Roku units to consumers, so consumers benefit even if they don’t use some/all the shortcut keys.
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Old 12-19-2017, 07:50 PM   #18
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We have a Roku Ultra 4K and a Roku Streaming Stick that we have bought within the last 6 months. We use with PlayStation Vue, Amazon Prime and Netflix without any problems. We do have a TV guide on ours. It works fine for us.
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