Who doesn’t live binge-watching during downtime? It usually involves us enjoying flicks, wearing sweats, and eating delicious takeout. Especially after a long day, it’s great to watch movies, TV episodes, or exclusive series without leaving the couch. 

Even though technology can be a blessing, it also brings minor inconveniences. For starters, your Wi-Fi connection can go out at anytime. Secondly, you might experience muffled sound and pixelated images when you’re viewing digital content. Thirdly, you might be dropping major bucks to watch your favorite stuff, whether it’s in the form of a cable bill or a streaming service payment. 

These pesky annoyances aren’t always an easy fix, but the show must go on. And by show, we mean upgrading your home entertainment system with a . 

These devices make streaming movies, TV episodes, and exclusive series a breeze, because they create a theater-like atmosphere. Some streaming media players have additional features, like voice-activated control and and easy-to-use remotes for an immersive viewing experience. 

SEE ALSO: What’s the difference between Fire TV and Fire TV Stick?

If you’re interested in buying a streaming media player, there are many models available on the market. Two leaders in the space are and . Both companies produce streaming media players, and each are recognizable for different reasons. 

Tech giant Google is making the smart living concept come to life with its Connected Home line. This lineup includes many popular Google devices, including the Google Home and the Google Home Mini. On Oct. 9, Google quietly rolled out its new . With the Chromecast, you can stream content at a faster speed, stream from your devices to your TV, and pair it with a Connected Home device for voice control features. 

Roku is also stepping up its home entertainment game. Two years ago, Roku introduced an line of affordable streaming media players, including the Roku Express and the Roku Premiere+. In September, Roku debuted a new version of the , which offers 4K HD (high definition) picture quality, access to free movies and TV episodes, and a remote with channel shortcut buttons for easy streaming. 

Even though Google and Roku are similar in their core mission — taking the hassle out of watching films, TV episodes, and digital series at home  — their streaming media players vary when it comes to entertainment benefits. 

If you’re ready to take the streaming media player plunge, we’re here to help you out. Here’s what you need to know if you’re deciding between the Chromecast and the Roku Premiere. 

The basics

Chromecast

For a seamless streaming experience, Google’s has all the fixings for your home entertainment setup. This is a streaming media player with major perks, including speedy streaming, easy access to digital content, to the option to stream from your smartphone, laptop, or tablet, and voice control features when connected with the Google Home.  

The Chromecast weighs 1.41 ounces and its dimensions are 2.04 x 0.54 x 2.04 inches. It comes with a HDMI plug that directly connects to your TV. Plus, its circular shape easily fits behind your TV, so there’s no need to worry about long cords or wires poking out. 

Setup for the Chromecast requires minimal effort. First, plug the Chromecast into your TV and go to chromecast.com/setup to download the Google Home app on your smartphone or tablet. Then, connect the Chromecast to your Wi-Fi network. Lastly, tap the Cast button in a Cast-enabled app to start streaming content. 

Another plus of the Chromecast is that it’s compatible with many TV models. All you need is a TV with an HDMI port and you’re good to go. Unlike other streaming media players, you don’t need to have a HD (high definition), HDR (high dynamic range), or 4K HD TV to stream with it. 

When you buy a Chromecast set, you’ll get the following: a Chromecast streaming media player, a power adapter, and a power cable. You can choose a black Chromecast or a white Chromecast for your living room. 

Roku Premiere

What if you could create a theater-like experience without going to your local IMAX? Well, Roku can elevate your binge-watching sessions with the . 

This compact streaming media player will take your home entertainment to the next level with high-quality picture and audio, access to free digital content, an app for easy control, and a remote with Hulu and Netflix channel shortcut buttons. Plus, at $40, the Roku Premiere provides similar features to other 4K HD streaming media players at a fraction of the price. 

The Roku Premiere weighs 1.28 ounces and its dimensions are 1.4 x 3.3 x 0.7 inches, so it’s smaller in size compared to the Chromecast. It has a shape that’s similar to a USB stick, and like the Chromecast, it will fit perfectly behind your TV. It works with most HDTVs and 4K HD TVs, so you can easily have advanced streaming at home. 

You can setup and use the Roku Premiere in a few minutes. Connect it into your HDTV’s HDMI port, plug it into the a wall outlet, and place it near your HDTV for optimal Wi-Fi connection. With your TV remote, turn on the HDTV, select the input, and insert batteries inside the Roku remote. After this part of the setup process, you can create a Roku account to start watching films, TV episodes, programs, and more. 

The Roku set comes with a Roku Premiere streaming media player, a premium high-speed HDMI cable, a USB power cable, a power adapter, a remote with pre-set channel shortcut buttons, a removable adhesive strip to place on your HDTV, two AAA batteries, and an owner’s manual. 

Streaming benefits

Chromecast

When it comes to streaming content, the  is fast, easy-to-use, and goes beyond the typical streaming media player. When you buy the Chromecast, you’ll have access to your preferred films, TV episodes, and programs in one convenient place without a slow streaming speed or weak Wi-Fi connection. Plus, there’s the option to sync it with a Google Home for additional smart home features. 

Fast streaming: It’s really annoying when you’re watching a series and there are buffering issues. The Chromecast helps prevent this scenario, because it can stream 1080p at up to 60 fps (frames per second). No more muffled audio, pixelated images, or a frozen screen. 

Digital content access: Whether it’s Hulu, Netflix, or HBO Now, we like to catch up on new documentaries, movies, or series. Chromecast allows you to stream from many apps, even if you would like to listen to music on Pandora or watch videos on YouTube. 

Device-friendly operation:  Unlike other streaming media players, the Chromecast doesn’t come with a remote. However, you can stream from your other devices at home, including a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. All you have to do is hit the Cast button in any Cast-enabled app to pause or play content on your TV. 

Smart home integration: Chromecast doesn’t only help you with streaming. This small device can be paired with the Google Home for easy voice control. Once connected, you can ask your Google Assistant (via Google Home), to search for movies, mute the volume, or rewind a scene. Plus, you can also pair Chromecast with the Google Home Mini and Google Nest Cam to see security video footage on your TV. 

Roku Premiere

If you’re looking for a streaming media player that’s affordable and provides an immersive entertainment experience, the is here for your binge-watching needs. It’s a device with bonafide benefits, like 4K HD audio and picture quality, access to more than 500,000 types of digital content, an app for seamless control, and a simple remote with pre-set channel shortcut buttons. 

Engaging entertainment: Love feeling like you’re right in your favorite scenes? The Roku Premiere is designed to heighten your senses. 4K HD streaming will give you vibrant images on your screen, while audio support for DTS Digital Surround pass-through over HDMI provides clear sound. 

Streaming variety: Sometimes, it can be hard to find a film, TV episode, or program to watch. If you’re bored with your current streaming inventory, the Roku Premiere offers more than 500,000 types of digital content from CBS News, Hulu, Netflix, Sling TV, and more. And, that’s not all. You can find free films, documentaries, and sitcoms on The Roku Channel. 

App-friendly control: Like the Chromecast, you can control the Roku Premiere with an app. Use your Android or iOS smartphone to pause, play, or rewind whatever you’re watching on TV. The Roku mobile app enables you to cast to your TV, search titles on your keyboard, activate voice search, and set to private listening mode if you have headphones.

Easy-to-use remote: A major plus of the Roku Premiere is its simple remote. It has pause, play, and rewind buttons for seamless binge-watching. The Roku Premiere remote also has channel shortcut buttons to Hulu and Netflix. With a few clicks, you’ll have your favorite flicks on the screen in no time. 

Price

Chromecast

At $35, the is slightly cheaper than most streaming media devices and still packs in multiple features for high-tech entertainment. 

When you plug in this device, you can stream at a quick pace, watch content from your favorite streaming sites, use your devices to pause, play, and rewind content, and connect with a Google Home, Google Home Mini, or Google Nest Cam for additional smart home perks. The Chromecast does not come with a remote or 4K HD features, but it’s compatible with most TVs that have an HDMI port. 

At this price, you’ll get a Chromecast streaming media player, a power adapter, and a power cable. If you would like to pair the Chromecast with another Connected Home device, Google is offering a promotion where you can get the Chromecast and Google Home Mini for $74. You’ll save $10 with the deal, plus have the option to integrate voice control when you’re streaming on your TV. You can buy the Chromecast and Google’s other Connected Home models at the Google Store. Plus, other retailers, including Best Buy and Walmart, also sell the Chromecast. 

Google offers a one-year limited warranty for the Chromecast. It covers defects in materials and workmanship for up to 12 months after the purchasing date. You can contact Google’s Device Support if you need to file a warranty claim. 

Roku Premiere

Most 4K HD streaming media players don’t come cheap, but the is a more affordable pick. For $40, you get high-quality pictures, superb audio, the option to control the Roku Premiere with an app, and a remote with channel shortcut buttons. It doesn’t have smart home integration features, but you’ll get access to more than 500,000 films, TV episodes, and other digital content at an affordable price. 

When you buy the Roku Premiere, you’ll get a streaming media player, a premium high-speed HDMI cable, a USB power cable, a power adapter, a remote with pre-set channel shortcut buttons, a removable adhesive strip to place on your HDTV, two AAA batteries, and an owner’s manual. You can purchase the Roku Premiere at Amazon or Best Buy.

The Roku Premiere is covered under a one-year limited warranty thats applicable for defects in materials and workmanship. If you’re not satisfied with the Roku Premiere, you can return it within 30 days for a refund.

Things to consider

Chromecast

The is affordable and doesn’t require the latest HDTV models to operate. Even though there are many perks with the Chromecast, including high-speed streaming, immediate access to streaming service apps, the option to use your other devices to control content, and added smart home features with the Google Home, there are some things to consider. 

The Chromecast doesn’t come with a remote. Many streaming media players do come with a remote, but this isn’t always a deal breaker for high-quality streaming. With Chromecast, you’ll have similar streaming perks and can still control content with your laptop, smartphone, or tablet. But, if you would like a remote option, you’ll want to opt for another streaming media player model. 

Roku Premiere

The can help transform your living room into a theater-like environment and it doesn’t come with a hefty price tag. With many streaming perks, including access to free movies, TV episodes, and programs, the Roku mobile app for easy control, and a simple remote with pre-set shortcut buttons, the Roku Premiere is a step up from conventional streaming.

While the Roku Premiere can upgrade your entertainment game, it doesn’t come with smart home features. Unlike other models, including the Chromecast, the Roku Premiere can’t be connected with virtual voice assistants. If you have a voice recognition device at home, including the Google Home or one of Amazon’s Fire TV devices, the Roku Premiere might not be the streaming media player for you. 

You’ll want to choose a streaming media player that can sync with these devices to accomplish tasks beyond streaming. For example, when you pair a Chromecast with a Google Home device, you can use speaking commands to find, launch, and monitor content when you’re using the Chromecast. 

However, if you’re not concerned about smart home features, the Roku Premiere can be a good choice if you would like 4K HD streaming benefits, the option to choose from over 500,000 types of digital content to watch, and an affordable price compared to other models on the market. 

So which one should you choose? 

Upgrade your entertainment setup and smart home living with Google’s . This sleek media player works with almost all TVs with HDMI ports, lets you watch the latest from your favorite streaming apps, control streamable content with a smartphone, and responds to voice commands when paired with a Google Home or Google Home Mini. It doesn’t come with a remote or additional 4K HD perks, but at $35, the Chromecast makes advanced streaming accessible and affordable. 

Skip the theater and see flicks at home with the . This streaming media player, which is less pricey compared to similar 4K HD devices, raises the bar for binge-watching sessions. You’ll feel like you’re right in your favorite scenes with vibrant images and unmuffled sound. Control your digital content with the Roku mobile app, or use the simple remote if you want to launch movies, TV episodes, and more from streaming services. The Roku Premiere doesn’t connect with other smart home devices, but you’ll still get the same 4K HD experience as other models. At $40, the Roku Premiere gives you a theater-like atmosphere without requiring you to fork over a lot of cash. 

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