Roku Device Features, Settings & Updates

Help configuring Roku device settings, using Roku OS features such as screen mirroring, adjusting display type and audio settings, using Guest Mode, and assistance with software updates.
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i_am_jim
Level 7

Roku vs Chromecast

Web ratings compare Roku and Chromecast as if they can do the same thing and the choice is based on convenience.  I am under the impression Chromecast allows you to watch anything you can watch on your desktop computer.  I have used a Roku for years and as far as I know it can't do that.  Am I wrong?
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22 Replies
speechles
Level 9

Re: Roku vs Chromecast

Roku can do everything the Chromecast can do. Roku also has an OS with a UI. Chromecast does NOT. Chromecast requires a second screen device to cast to the Chromecast. The Roku does not. The Roku has screen mirroring which is identical to the Chromecast casting. There is nothing the Chromecast can do that the Roku cannot do better.
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twiceover
Level 11

Re: Roku vs Chromecast

My biggest complaint about the ChromeCast is that it doesn't have a remote.
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bozzy
Level 9

Re: Roku vs Chromecast

"i_am_jim" wrote:
 I am under the impression Chromecast allows you to watch anything you can watch on your desktop computer. 

That is really not the main purpose of a Chromecast. Most use a Chromecast to "cast" video from specific apps on a mobile device or computer to the Chromecast. But in this case, it isn't mirroring. It is actually remotely loading the video. What you are describing is basic screen mirroring. That is possible on a Chromecast but the quality is terrible as your PC has to do the encoding.
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i_am_jim
Level 7

Re: Roku vs Chromecast

"bozzy" wrote:
[Casting] it isn't mirroring. It is actually remotely loading the video. What you are describing is basic screen mirroring. That is possible on a Chromecast but the quality is terrible as your PC has to do the encoding.

I'll take your word for it since I only heard of this phenomenon 4 days ago.  But, from my googling I've seen it stated several times that mirroring, casting and media streaming are basically different names for the same thing.

So, how does mirroring work on the ROKU?  I primarily want it to watch youtube videos.  I'm unwilling to pay for HBO because I'm only interested in 3 of their shows.  So, I watch slightly older episodes on youtube.  Using the mirroring feature how to you change videos and speed through the parts you aren't interested in?
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twiceover
Level 11

Re: Roku vs Chromecast

"i_am_jim" wrote:
"bozzy" wrote:
[Casting] it isn't mirroring. It is actually remotely loading the video. What you are describing is basic screen mirroring. That is possible on a Chromecast but the quality is terrible as your PC has to do the encoding.

I'll take your word for it since I only heard of this phenomenon 4 days ago.  But, from my googling I've seen it stated several times that mirroring, casting and media streaming are basically different names for the same thing.

So, how does mirroring work on the ROKU?  I primarily want it to watch youtube videos.  I'm unwilling to pay for HBO because I'm only interested in 3 of their shows.  So, I watch slightly older episodes on youtube.  Using the mirroring feature how to you change videos and speed through the parts you aren't interested in?

They are not 3 names for the same thing.
Streaming is basically the act of playing something from a source usually outside your network such as Netflix, Hulu, Etc.  Streaming is a general purpose name for "playing something that isn't actually on the device that is playing the content".  So technically you could "stream" a video off of a server inside your house if you want to.

Casting: A device tells another device where to get the stream from and to play it.  On your phone you "cast" netflix to the Chromecast, the chromecast loads its own netflix interface and plays the video requested by the phone.  You could turn the phone off and the device will continue to play the stream because it is accessing the stream directly from Netflix in this case.

Mirroring: The receiving device is showing exactly what is on the sending device's screen.  So you can see whatever is on your phone screen.  Usually not great quality.  If you turn the phone off, the mirroring stops.
Mirroring works poorly on the Roku if at all.  Casting works if Roku has the app you are trying to cast to and the app developer has enabled the feature.  YouTube is available on Roku and casting to it works great.  It's actually the preferred way to watch YouTube on Roku.
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atc98092
Level 16

Re: Roku vs Chromecast

"i_am_jim" wrote:
"bozzy" wrote:
[Casting] it isn't mirroring. It is actually remotely loading the video. What you are describing is basic screen mirroring. That is possible on a Chromecast but the quality is terrible as your PC has to do the encoding.

I'll take your word for it since I only heard of this phenomenon 4 days ago.  But, from my googling I've seen it stated several times that mirroring, casting and media streaming are basically different names for the same thing.

So, how does mirroring work on the ROKU?  I primarily want it to watch youtube videos.  I'm unwilling to pay for HBO because I'm only interested in 3 of their shows.  So, I watch slightly older episodes on youtube.  Using the mirroring feature how to you change videos and speed through the parts you aren't interested in?

Mirroring usually doesn't work well on a Roku. However, there is a YouTube channel for Roku that works quite well. I use it almost daily without issue. With a Roku you don't need to use anything else (computer, smartphone, tablet) to do anything with it. 
.
And that's why mirroring, casting and streaming are three completely different things, although you end up with mostly the same end result. Mirroring requires the use of something else to do all the work, and you are basically just remoting the image onto a display via another device. Casting also requires the use of a different device to select what you want to view, but but the device that is receiving the cast (i.e. Chromecast) actually does the hard work of the streaming and displaying. Streaming is completely controlled via a stand-alone device, and requires no separate device in any way. All you need is a network connection, of course with Internet access if that's where you want to get your media from. My personal opinion is that a stand-alone streaming device (i.e. Roku) is vastly superior to casting or mirroring. 
Dan
Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Nvidia Shield, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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MWDXER
Level 11

Re: Roku vs Chromecast

I have several Roku's, a couple Fire TV's, and a Chromecast. All three have their advantages. My favorite is Roku as there are so many services. The Fire TV units have browsers, so if a channel app is not available you can view it from a browser. There are a lot of stuff that streams on the internet that there is no software written to view it on streaming devices. Then there is the Chromecast. Often I will find something on the Laptop that the just doesn't work all that well using a browser on the Fire TV, where casting it to the TV works better. I have both an old Chromebook that has the app built in and it is also on my Laptop.  So there are advantages to all  of them. At least in my case. You will find channel apps on the Roku you will not find on the Fire TV and vise versa.
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Iona-D
Level 10

Re: Roku vs Chromecast

"MWDXER" wrote:
I have several Roku's, a couple Fire TV's, and a Chromecast. All three have their advantages. My favorite is Roku as there are so many services. The Fire TV units have browsers, so if a channel app is not available you can view it from a browser. There are a lot of stuff that streams on the internet that there is no software written to view it on streaming devices. Then there is the Chromecast. Often I will find something on the Laptop that the just doesn't work all that well using a browser on the Fire TV, where casting it to the TV works better. I have both an old Chromebook that has the app built in and it is also on my Laptop.  So there are advantages to all  of them. At least in my case. You will find channel apps on the Roku you will not find on the Fire TV and vise versa.

I own a couple of Rokus and a Chromecast.  I wish I could add Fire Sticks to the line up for possible more choices that the other 2 don't offer, but my DSL connection is just too slow for it to either download & stream.  I had to take it back to the retailer.  
With the 2 streaming device types remaining, I mostly use the Roku.   It's agnostic approach to platform choices in it's channel apps selections make it the best choice for me.  No one app is favored over another.  No hissy fighting between 2 corporations to exclude some app or another and the consumer is left without the option.  Even if the app in question is restored, there is no guarantee that it will remain in the lineup tiles. 
If Roku does not have the app/channel/webpage available on it, I use the Chromecast to deliver the goods.  There are still many things available directly on websites that Roku does not offer now and perhaps in the future.  Casting it does not drain my phone or laptop and most other content I choose to watch is cast-able.  Rokus cast only in a limited way.  Mirroring is too hard on my device's battery life. 
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MWDXER
Level 11

Re: Roku vs Chromecast

I am fortunate to have cable internet here (100 down). No DSL here. Anyway way too slow and not that much less. I pay $65 a month for Spectrum, but DSL is about $45 for 20 down, if the person is lucky. in the areas where available some people complain about when there are too many using DSL getting only 4(!) down.
  But I do like casting as it is a wide world via the internet. The Roku only offers what they put on their unit. The options are a bit better on the Fire TV, but still the casting it still my favorite over the Fire Stick.
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