Roku and Google have both slashed the prices of their streaming TV sticks for the holidays, placing a little more heat on the Fire TV Stick after Amazon's dongle returned back to $40 from a half-off promotion for Prime users.
The Roku Streaming Stick has fallen from $50 to $40 and Google's Chromecast has enjoyed an even deeper discount, moving from $35 to $23. While Amazon is selling Google's streaming TV stick at a price lower than its own device, BestBuy is selling the Fire TV Stick for $25.
After offering the Fire TV Stick for $20 to prime members, the back-ordered streaming TV stick is back to $40. The low price proved to be irresistible to a large number of consumers, as Amazon sold out of Fire TV Sticks and doesn't expect to be able to fulfill new orders until Jan. 15, 2015.
"Fire TV Stick has been our most successful device launch ever. We built a ton of these, but customer demand still outpaced our supply," said Dave Limp, senior VP, Amazon Devices.
The Fire TV Stick's $20 promotional price helped the device gain ground on the Chromecast and the Roku Streaming Stick, which comes from a storied line of streaming set-top boxes. Roku launchecd its first streaming "Netflix box," the Roku DVP, back in may of 2008.
While Roku has been in the streaming hardware business longer than Google and Amazon, the Roku Streaming Stick faces its toughest competition in the form of true peers that are aggressively priced.
Like other Roku products, the Roku Streaming Stick boasts over 1,800 channels -- most of the channels are collections of on-demand videos from websites, however. The Roku has a larger selection of games than the Chromecast and it offers HBO Go, an app that's missing on the Fire TV Stick.
The Chromecast stands out from the others with its ability to "cast" content from a computer to a TV. Google's streaming TV stick also enables users to interact with its user interface via smartphones and tablets, making it easier to search through large pools of content like the ones Hulu and Netflix maintains.
The power and storage space of the Fire TV Stick helps it stand out among its rivals. Amazon's streaming TV stick's 1 GB of RAM is double what Roku and Google offer, its 8 GB of storage space is four times what the Chromecast offers and its dual-core processor positions it better for tackling multiple processes than the others.