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Roku Express 4K+ vs. Chromecast with Google TV: Which Streaming Option is Your Best Bet?

Roku on tv streaming with remote

Roku Express 4K+ vs. Chromecast with Google TV: Which Streaming Option is Your Best Bet?

Every time we turn around these days, a new streaming war appears to be happening. Whether it’s HBO Max combining with Discovery or Paramount Plus combining with Showtime, this is an ever-changing environment.

What’s a little more stable is that the Roku Express 4K+ and Chromecast with Google TV both continue to be two of the most prominent methods to deliver streaming service access to any compatible television. As two of the more affordable options on the market, they are here to provide access to thousands of streaming favorites. 

Let’s take a look at the Roku 4K Express+ versus the Chromecast with Google TV and see which streaming service is right for you. 

Roku Express 4K+ vs. Chromecast with Google TV: Side-by-Side Comparison

Roku Express 4K+Chromecast with Google TV
Cost$39$49
Video QualityUp to 4KUp to 4K 
Video FormatsHDR10Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, HLG 
Connectivity802.11ac Wi-Fi 802.11ac Wi-Fi 
PortsHDMI for TV, microUSB for powerHDMI for TV, USB-C for power
Voice ControlVoice remote with TV controlsGoogle Assistant
Dimensions3.4 x 1.5 x 0.8-inches6.4 x 2.4 x 0.5-inches
Weight1.6 ounces1.9 ounces
Color SelectionBlack Sky, Sunrise, Snow
CompatibilityApple AirPlay, HomeKit, Google Assistant, Amazon AlexaGoogle Home
Excellent Value
Roku Express 4K+
$39.99
  • Stream content in 4K with HDR to any TV in your home
  • Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi ensures a steady connection
  • Access to more than 20,000 downloadable apps
  • Voice Remote control
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09/28/2023 09:17 am GMT
Best for Google TV
Chromecast with Google TV
$49.98
  • Streaming in up to 4K HDR quality
  • Dedicated Google Assistant button on the included remote
  • Stream over 700,000 TV shows and films
  • Compatible with most TVs with an HDMI port
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/27/2023 10:51 pm GMT

Roku Express 4K+ vs. Chromecast with Google TV: What’s the Difference? 

Infographic Roku Express 4K+ vs Chromecast with Google TV

Pricing

Looking at the Roku Express 4K+, you can find it for $39 MSRP available through the Roku website as well as through Amazon. During one of Amazon’s many sales on Roku devices over the course of a year, the Roku Express 4K+ can drop as low as $29. This price easily takes the Roku Express 4K+ into impulse purchase territory. Regardless of what you pay, you get both the Roku Express+ streaming play, plus the upgraded Roku voice remote and a premium HDMI cable. 

When you look at the Chromecast with Google TV, you have two options available based on your streaming quality preference. The lower priced of the two models is available with only up to 1080p streaming quality and retails for $29 while the 4K model retails for $49, which is $10 more than the Roku Express 4K+. 

Unlike the Roku, which has frequent sales online at Amazon, over the last 12 months (from May 2023), the Chromecast with Google TV 4K variant has only gone on sale once. During this sale, the Chromecast with Google TV only saw a $10 price drop. Ultimately, the frequent discounts make the Roku Express 4K+ the better option but both should be considered inexpensive. 

Picture Quality

Overall picture quality for both the Roku and Chromecast is going to rise up to 4K and, in that sense, they are both equal. However, the Roku Express 4K+ does offer slightly fewer features as far as picture quality with only HD, 4K, and HDR features. You’ll still receive excellent 4K resolution with vivid colors and great contrast from the Roku player itself. 

Picture quality also holds very steady thanks to the inclusion of 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi. With the built-in Wi-Fi, as long as you have a relatively speedy internet connection, there shouldn’t be any issue delivering the very best picture quality the Roku Express 4K+ can offer. 

Anyone looking at Google with Chromecast TV will undoubtedly find slightly better picture quality, at least on paper. With the 1080p variant, you get HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG while the 4K variant adds all of this plus support for Dolby Vision

The inclusion of all of these video formats helps boost overall picture quality and deliver a slightly stronger overall picture than the Roku Express 4K+, again, on paper. Like the Roku, the Chromecast with Google TV is also outfitted with dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi for a strong wireless connection. 

Design

On the design side of things, Roku has always been somewhat utilitarian with its design focus and the Roku Express 4K+ is no different. The all-black streaming player measures 3.4 x 1.5 x 0.8 inches in size and weighs in at a small 1.6 ounces in weight. It’s small enough to fit just about anywhere on, below, or next to a television without becoming an eyesore, so that’s the good news. 

Likewise, the remote control is also familiar to anyone who has owned, currently owns, or has looked at a Roku product before. It’s functional, available in black, and offers all of the basics like volume control and playback functionality. 

For anyone looking at the Chromecast with Google TV, regardless of whether it’s the 1080p or 4K variant, it feels slightly more modern in design. While it connects through HDMI and then hangs slightly from any HDMI input, it’s small enough at 6.4 x 2.4 x 0.5 inches in size (1.9 ounces in weight) that it will never hang low enough to be seen by anyone. The good news is that you can choose from three colors with the 4K option in the form of Sky, Sunrise, and Snow.  

Similar to the Roku Express 4K+, the Chromecast with Google TV remote is just the basics. Instead of buttons for controlling playback, you get a spin wheel at the top of the remote where you can press in to fast forward, go backward, etc. 

Ultimately, the Chromecast with Google TV feels like it adds a cleaner and more modern design but both pieces of hardware are equally functional on the design side. 

Chromecast with Google TV
The simplified remote for Chromecast with Google TV includes a dedicated Google Assistant button for voice commands.

©agencies/Shutterstock.com

Performance

As is the case with all Roku products, the Roku Express 4K+ can breeze through its app selection within seconds. You are hard-pressed to find any hardware slowdowns though the app-centric interface does feel like it’s getting a little long in the tooth. Part of the solid performance comes from the dual-band Wi-Fi, which not only helps apps like Netflix, Disney+, and Apple TV+ instantly, but you can quickly begin navigating their respective menus to find something new to watch. 

While there is no question that some of the performance of both the Roku and Chromecast is dictated by television quality, there is little that should stand in your way from quickly jumping into programming. 

When you load up the Chromecast with Google TV, you will quickly discover the differences between it and Roku. Whereas Roku leans heavily into its icon-based app interface for navigating through your installed streaming programs, Google TV is not only more attractive but features pictures of various programs that make it more visually appealing. Like Roku, the inclusion of 802.11ac Wi-Fi makes everything appear on-screen quickly, and navigating through the menus feels very smooth. 

Operating System

Roku

The Roku operating system hasn’t changed much over the last few years, and that’s okay, for the most part. The system still shows off your menu structure on the left-hand side where you can choose from things like the TV or Movie Store, My Feed, Settings, Home, and Featured Free. It’s a very basic system that has all of your installed apps or connected devices taking up the remaining two-thirds of the screen. Even if the Roku OS can use something of a facelift to feel more modern, there is no question it’s about as easy as it gets to navigate. 

Installing apps is as easy as locating them through the search tool and clicking on the Install button where new apps then appear at the bottom of the list of your installed apps. Having your connected devices like a cable box or video game console stuck to the top of the list makes it easy to quickly navigate back to when you leave a streaming app and return to the main Roku OS menu. Outside of looks, if there is one area Roku can hope to improve in the future, it’s search, as it can do better finding the results of specific programming queries and not just general streaming apps. 

Google TV

There is no question that smart interfaces are subjective in how people view their ease of use and overall attractiveness. Whereas the Roku Express 4K+ relies heavily on Roku’s simplified menu system, Chromecast with Google TV has gone the other direction and really revamped itself over the past couple of years.

Today, you find a cleaner interface that has tabs up top for Search, For You, Movies, Shows, Apps, and your Library. Of all of the features, the personalized suggestions based on your watch history are a wonderful addition to Google TV and something Roku desperately needs to begin including. 

Unlike the Roku operating system, which just shows apps, you can find curated recommendations with Google TV as well as a watch list of upcoming shows you have watched previously. There are more than 10,000 apps available for the Google TV interface, which go beyond movies and TV shows extending to fitness, music, live TV, and sports. Roku has similar features with available apps for brands like Peloton, Beach Body, etc. but Google TV just looks better. 

On top of the interface itself, the Chromecast with Google Tv remote control with its Google Assistant button built-in makes it incredibly easy to search via your voice. 

Roku Express 4K+ vs. Chromecast with Google TV: 5 Must-Know Facts

  • The Roku Express 4K+ has a retail price of $39 but can often be found on sale for less. 
  • When you look at Chromecast with Google TV, you can choose between a 1080p or 4K variant costing $29 or $49 dollars, respectively. 
  • Both the Roku Express 4k+ and Chromecast with Google TV include simplified remotes with voice commands but Google Assistant is best-in-class. 
  • The Google TV operating system is full of available apps beyond your favorite streaming services and includes personalized recommendations. 
  • The 4K variant of the Chromecast with Google TV includes not just HDR and HDR10+ but also support for Dolby Vision, giving it subjectively better picture quality. 

Roku Express 4K+ vs. Chromecast with Google TV: Which One Should You Use? 

At the end of the day, both the Roku Express 4K+ and Chromecast with Google TV are two great options for anyone looking to add streaming functionality to their existing television. When looking at the Roku, you get Roku’s simplified menu interface, it’s rock-solid functionality when streaming, and the knowledge there should always be an app for that. 

For the Chromecast with Google TV, you add an extra $10 to the price tag but for the price, you get a streamlined remote, personalized recommendations, over 10,000 apps, and better overall picture quality. Given the small price difference, the winner goes to the Chromecast with Google TV, which has come a long way over the last few years and is now pushing Roku off its streaming player throne.

Roku Express 4K+ vs. Chromecast with Google TV: Which Streaming Option is Your Best Bet? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the price difference between the Roku Express 4K+ and the Chromecast with Google TV?

The Roku is around $39 retail while the Chromecast with Google TV is available for $29 for up to 1080p or $49 for up to 4K streaming quality. 

Which system has more available apps, Roku or Google TV?

According to recent reports, Roku has more than 20,000 available apps ready on its platform while Google TV has only 10,000. 

Are there free services with Roku and Google TV?

Yes, both services offer free programming with some live television for basic cable or local news as well as channels for older movies and TV shows. 

Do either the Roku Express 4K+ or Chromecast with Google TV ever go on sale?

Yes, the Roku Express 4K+ goes on sale frequently through Amazon while the Chromecast with Google TV is on sale maybe once or twice a year. 

Which of the two options between the Roku Express 4K+ and Chromecast with Google TV has the better remote?

Remotes are always subjective, but the Chromecast with Google TV feels more modern with its navigation wheel. 

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