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Roku/Fire Stick Question

abasketabasket Registered User Posts: 19,548 Senior Member
I know people have discussed this before but a search is yielding just spotty info.....

I recently got Amazon Prime and would like to use the video and music benefits. We have wireless, I have an MacBook Air laptop and the tv I would use a Roku or whatever on is an HDTV but not a Smart TV - it's probably at least 5 years old. It does have an HDMI outlet.

Does it matter what I use? I'll want to watch Amazon videos, maybe Netflix and stream Spotify.
Roku stick
Roku box (or whatever set up they sell at Costco - I feel like it's a box I saw)
Fire Stick

I'll be honest and say I want as close to a "1,2,3" set -up - nothing too difficult.

And final dumb question...if I have a box/stick - will it stream directly through our wireless or will it pick up a signal from my laptop and stream from there (sorry if that is a totally lame question.....)

Thanks In Advance!

Replies to: Roku/Fire Stick Question

  • bgbg4usbgbg4us Registered User Posts: 1,203 Senior Member
    edited December 2015
    we have 2 rokus - not sticks. love them. have amazon & netflix that we stream. Many other options and channels are available on roku as well. Our rokus stream through our wireless wifi. Roku is seamless and easy to set up.
  • musicamusicamusicamusica Registered User Posts: 6,468 Senior Member
    edited December 2015
    I have both. And I also have the Google Chrome cast. Different parts of the house and all are relatively easy. I tend to stream using my Samsung galaxy smart phone. You might want to make sure that you have a really good wireless router. Other than that they are all easy peasy.
  • alooknacalooknac Registered User Posts: 1,296 Senior Member
    I have the Roku stick and love it. Very low profile, not much bigger than a flash drive. No separate electricity needed, at least not on my "roku-ready" TV. Nice android app available to use as remote (I also have a dedicated combo tv/roku remote).

    I often stream amazon movies through the roku, no problem. It takes a few minutes to connect the roku-tv-app to your amazon account but once it's done it's seamless after that. I can access netflix just fine too. I don't use spotify but I do stream radio on my roku/tv through TuneIn.

    The roku works on your wireless directly. You don't have to have any computer on. I believe it would work just fine even if you didn't have any computers, just a wireless router.

    My only thought would be since you have a mac, maybe apple tv would be a better choice. Occasionally I can't accomplish something I'd like to because my different systems (Windows pc, Samsung android tablet, roku) don't always play well together. In fact I just ordered a Chromecast (very cheap, on special) so I'll be able to cast from my tablet to tv, theoretically possible now but I haven't been able to get it to work right. (Don't know if the special is still on but it included free shipping, five dollars off, and a generous credit in the Google Play Store, directly from Google Play.)
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 10,195 Senior Member
    edited December 2015
    Have a roku 2 and have had one for 5+ years now. Love it. Once you've set up your account online at roku.com, you can manage everything from the roku interface on the TV itself. The actual physical set up is basically plug-n-play.

    Roku ( and Fire and Chromecast and AppleTV) all run off the wireless network in your house.

    I think the biggest difference between all the sticks and boxes are the apps and channels available on each. Chromecast/Google has one set; Roku a slightly different set; Fire and AppleTV have still a different set. You might want look over the channels offered by each device to see which has the best mix for what you want.

    All will stream AmazonPrime, Netflix and Hulu easily.

    The new Roku 4 will stream UHD 4K. All the other devices stream either 720p or 1080p.
  • abasketabasket Registered User Posts: 19,548 Senior Member
    Thanks for the comments - will try and take a look at the store and make a decision.

    My biggest concern is that my tv is not a smart tv and is probably 5+ years old. It does have the "computer" option on inputs so hoping it's "new" enough to work.
  • JustaMom5465JustaMom5465 Registered User Posts: 1,654 Senior Member
    edited December 2015
    We got my mom a roku stick for Christmas... She is confused by the concept (although she is quite tech-savvy), I spent a half hour touting how easy it is to use and set up...to prove it I went to hook up her bedroom TV. "Watch this!".... Only to discover that the placement of the HDMI ports on her TV didn't leave room to fit the stick! So be sure check that. Most newer tvs have the ports on the side. This one had them near the bottom of the back, and the stand was what was in the way of the roku stick.

    Eta:re your last post about inputs, you just need the HDMI input, although there is such a thing as a converter that will allow you to pliug into a non- HDMI input (we had one) on an older TV.
  • fendergirlfendergirl Registered User Posts: 4,757 Senior Member
    i have 3 roku boxes in my house - love them! I bought my mom an amazon fire stick for christmas and it seems pretty nice as well. Very easy to set up. They all run off your wireless.
  • abasketabasket Registered User Posts: 19,548 Senior Member
    So why get a box over a stick???
  • fendergirlfendergirl Registered User Posts: 4,757 Senior Member
    i think the roku boxes have faster hardware than the roku stick, so it might be quicker to browse or something like that.
  • musicprntmusicprnt Registered User Posts: 6,253 Senior Member
    The roku non stick units are pretty fast,I have one in my bedroom and it works great, plus the stick can be a problem if the HDMI port is, for example, pointing down (the box has an HDMI cable that plugs into the tv). The Chrome stick allows 'casting' from your laptop or table to the tv via the Chromecast stick.

    They all use the wireless router and yes, it is totally independent of the computer, the router establishes the network (some setups use the home pc as the router, but few people do that). As long as the router is connected to a cable modem or a router on a fiber connection (a cable modem is not really a modem, it is a router that sits on the cable companies network), you will be fine. I recommend having a router that supports the N class wifi protocol, and I also recommend trying to get a higher powered router (one with a strong signal strength), hopefully dual band. I have an apple airport extreme, that is expensive, but can handle anything I throw at it.
  • whitespacewhitespace Registered User Posts: 1,029 Senior Member
    I have nothing productive to add here, but I just have to add that when I read the title of this thread my first thought was that it was some sort of obscure avatar the airbender reference or similar. Made me laugh when the page finally loaded.
  • abasketabasket Registered User Posts: 19,548 Senior Member
    Thanks all - now the proud owner of an operating ROKU stick! PIcked up at Target for $39.99 and D2 set it up. We are already enjoying the first season of VEEP (always wanted to watch) and the first season of Survivor! (fun - we only recently became Survivor fans). Happy to see that Amazon Prime has a variety of exercise videos as well - will be much better on the tv and not on my laptop screen!

    Highly recommend one to any one considering!
This discussion has been closed.