Roku VS Chromecast

Why The Chromecast Is Not A Roku Killer

This week, Google released the Chromecast which is a “dongle” that plugs into your TV’s HDMI port and lets you stream media over the internet.

The day of the release, people were tweeting and saying how this is going to be the product that kills the Roku. Fat chance! The only area that Chromecast has Roku beat in is the price but as soon as you look at what you are getting for the price you will see there is not much value to be had.

Below are a couple of reasons why the Chromecast is not quite as amazing as all of the attention that it is receiving. It isn’t that it is a bad device but it is definitely not going to be putting Roku out of business any time soon.

Read on to get the results in the battle of Roku vs Chromecast.

Limited Content

If all you want is Netflix, then Chromecast is ideal. It comes with Netflix access and even gives you three months free access. Aside from Netflix, the other channels are YouTube, Google Play, and Chrome. The Chrome channel is a little misleading because it doesn’t seem to be a full web browser. Instead, it is used to open images and music. This number might grow in the future but for now, four channels is pretty slim. Roku has over 750 channels and each week they add more new channels to the Roku channel store than what Chromecast has in total.

Ongoing Costs

With the Chromecast, you pay a small price up front but after that there will be many additional fees. Netflix is a great service, but if you cannot justify spending the $8 per month on it; that will bring you down to three channels available.

The Google Play channel on the Chromecast is used to make movie, tv, and music purchases so if you are trying to limit your spending, you will have one less channel to use.

That leaves you with YouTube and Chrome. Basically, you are left with a device that gives you two channels.

No Smartphone – No Remote

One of the biggest issues that everyone is overlooking is that the Chromecast doesn’t come with a remote. To control the Chromecast, you will need a smartphone, tablet, or a computer with the Chrome web browser installed. Most people will have at least one of those in their home but if not, you won’t be able to use the Chromecast at all. On one hand, it is nice to not have another remote to manage but if people want to use a smartphone as a remote, they can already do that on their Roku device using the Roku smartphone app for Android, Apple IOS, or even Windows Mobile phone.

The Future Of Chromecast

For now, Chromecast is pretty limited and definitely is not going to be any threat to Roku whatsoever. That doesn’t mean to say that it will not be improved. If Google continues down the path of creating consumer products, they could very easily start adding more channels and additional features.

If Google ever decides to add more functionality from Android to the Chromecast, it could really impact Roku. There are so many apps available for Android that it would immediately give Chromecast an edge. The games on Android are pretty good and would easily dominate the Roku’s games if Google ever goes that route. This is definitely something Roku needs to be aware of.

YouTube Channel on Roku

One thing that Roku really needs to work on is getting an official YouTube channel. Currently, YouTube can be access on the Roku by using PLEX but not everyone is comfortable with that method. It is a little strange that Roku doesn’t have a YouTube channel, some think that Google doesn’t want to allow it because Roku is a competitor. That can’t be the case though since Apple TV has a YouTube channel.

The Future Of Roku

Roku is doing pretty well but they need to maintain a steady momentum. There is lots of interest in the streaming media market and if they slow down at all they risk losing market share.

Unlike Google, and Apple; Roku does not have any their own store for movies, tv, and music. On one hand, this is good because companies see a way to work with Roku. On the other hand, they are missing out on a lot of revenue which could help the company.

As mentioned above, a device running a full version of Android would bring a lot of apps and content to any device. Roku should look at creating a device running Android or a hybrid that runs the Roku interface but can also run android apps.

Roku should also invest more efforts into developer resources and encourage people to create apps for the Roku.


In summary, the Google Chromecast is an alright device that serves the needs of some people and is a pretty low cost. That being said, it is definitely not a Roku killer that everyone has been claiming it to be. Roku should not assume anything though and should really work on getting additional content for the Roku. If Roku is smart, they will release the Roku 3 in Canada and the United Kingdom in the next couple of weeks in order to get the media and people on twitter to shift their attention back to the Roku. Another good move would be for Roku to immediately offer a “sale” on their low end model the Roku LT. It currently retails for $50 so by taking a possible loss and offering it for $15 less they could diffuse all of the hype over the low price of the Chromecast and possibly prevent people from purchasing a competitors product. The sale could then expire in a couple of weeks which by then the hype will have died down enough for things to go back to normal.

Share Your Thoughts

Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on either the Roku or Google Chromecast. The more opinions the better.


  • Gerry

    I have youtube on my roku through videobuzz. Videobuzz is a third party app. Just go to their site and follow the instructions. It’s free unless you want to make a donation.

    I like it better than my youtube app on my Vizio HDTV. Why? The Vizo tv only gives you about 30 results when you search for vides. The videobuzz youtube app gives thousands.

  • rob

    i don’t get the argument about the netflix investment. If you own a Roku you also have to plunk down $8.00+tax to have netflix streamed to your roku box. The way you expressed it seems like the opposite is true

    “With the Chromecast, you pay a small price up front but after that there will be many additional fees. Netflix is a great service, but if you cannot justify spending the $8 per month on it; that will bring you down to three channels available.”

    On the roku you have a higher upfront cost and you also have to spend $8 per month in order to keep watching NF, so in effect then Roku only would have 749 channels, which of about 700 are pure dreck and/or you have to pay a monthly fee to use (i.e. exercise channels)

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