Streaming is the way to watch your favorite programs these days. It used to be that streaming was something you did on your PC or laptop, but with the high quality shows that are currently offered everyone want to sit back in comfort and stream on the big screen.
As consumption of high quality streaming has increased, so has the demand for streaming equipment. Two such devices are the Apple TV and the Amazon Fire Stick.
Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Fire is the streaming service offered by Amazon; you can access Fire through either the Amazon Fire Stick or the Amazon Fire Box. One obvious difference is their size, one is a set-top box and the other is a dongle. Both units have very similar features, a few of the differences are;
- Fire TV Box has 5.1 surround sound
- Fire TV Box has access to all of the Fire TV compatible games, Fire Stick has limited compatibility
- Fire TV Box has access to all of the Fire TV apps, Fire Stick has limited compatibility
- Fire TV Box has some voice control capabilities
- Fire TV Box has 8GB storage with 2GB memory while the Fire stick has 8GB storage and only 1GB memory
- Fire TV Box is compatible with most USB devices including Xbox 360 controllers
- Fire TV Box is compatible with most Bluetooth enabled devices, while the Fire Stick is only compatible with Bluetooth game controllers.
So unless you really want the gaming, apps or Bluetooth features, the $30 price difference between them isn’t really worth it.
Apple only has one option which is a set-top box.
The Apple TV set-top box costs you about $69 dollars, while the Amazon Fire TV box will run you $99. However, the Amazon Fire TV Stick will only cost you $40.
As earlier stated you don’t have much reason to look at the Amazon Fire Box, so from here out we will just be comparing the Apple TV features against the Amazon Fire Stick features.
Both companies package a remote with their units. Both remotes are relatively simple, however Amazons has more buttons while Apple relies more on their multi-purpose wheel. It’s more of a personal preference when it comes to which remote is better.
Both offer very similar applications including the popular Netflix and Hulu. Amazon however offers Prime Instant Video to their Prime members. Both offer HBO GO, however only Apple currently has HBO Now which lets you watch HBO without a cable subscription. Fire TV currently has a deal with Dish Network Sling TV which will let it integrate their Live TV content into your Amazon Fire content.
When it comes to apps Apple has Airplay which allows you to stream applications from an iPhone or iPad to your Apple TV. Fire TV lets you download from a selection of games and use a bluetooth enabled controller to play them with.
Amazon has a wide variety of apps that you can search and add to your system as you want, Apple is a closed system that only adds new apps when they do a system upgrade.
In my opinion the Fire TV stick is the way to go. You have more apps, more room for expansion and it is cheaper. The only thing I see that might flip the tables in Apple TV’s favor is HBO Now, but I have a feeling it won’t be long before we see it offered on others services too.