Amazon last week officially announced the new Fire TV, which has long been expected since the Fire TV went out of stock almost everywhere a few weeks ago.
With a new Apple TV on the way and now a new Fire TV, the question becomes what is the best device to buy right now?
First we should start by looking at what the new Fire TV has.
What’s new in the Amazon Fire TV?
As expected the Fire TV is the first of the big five streaming devices to offer a standalone 4K streaming box. The addition of 4K is a huge plus for the Fire TV and will help it stand out from other standalone streaming boxes like the Roku, Apple TV, and Chromecast.
With Amazon releasing 4K original content on Amazon Instant it was only a matter of time before Amazon released a 4K-capable Fire TV. Purely speculating here, but with Roku televisions in the market and with Amazon’s continued foray into the TV and streaming market, will we see an Amazon TV in the future?
New Remote and Game Controller
The new Fire TV will have a new remote and a new game controller that is also backward compatible with the Fire TV Stick. These run off Wi-Fi, a move Amazon believes will provide better performance compared to Bluetooth devices.
The addition of a dedicated gaming controller gives the Fire TV a leg up on the Apple TV in gaming. The Apple TV forces all game developers to run their games off the Apple TV remote. The Fire TV allows them to create a game that will run only with the Fire TV gaming controller, allowing developers more options in how to create games and offering easier porting of PS4 and Xbox One games. The one catch is that the Fire TV Gaming Edition costs $40 more than the base Fire TV, but it’s still less than the new Apple TV.
All Fire TVs will soon have Alexa support, allowing the Fire TV to stand out from anything currently on the market. Apple TV will be adding Siri when the new Apple TV comes out at the end of October, and it should be a great battle to see which voice search is more powerful because on paper they look similar.
After we get our hands on both we will do a detailed side-by-side testing of each device’s voice search.
The new Fire TV now has a microSD slot to expand your available storage.
Which device should you buy? Apple TV vs. Amazon Fire TV
Solely looking at cost of each of these new streaming boxes, Amazon has the advantage.
The new Fire TV comes in at $99 for the standard streaming box edition. If you’re a gamer, the Fire TV Gaming Edition will set you back $139.
The new Apple TV is listed as starting at $149. If cost is of concern, the standard Fire TV may be your best buy.
Before we get into the details of each box there is a simple question that may answer this for you. Do you own content on iTunes or Amazon?
If you own most of your content on iTunes get an Apple TV because they are the only official set-top box that will play content from iTunes. If you buy more of your content from Amazon get a Fire TV if the options are Apple TV or Fire TV.
If you own nothing on Amazon or iTunes and want to know what is the best device to buy consider your 4K and storage needs.
While 4K is having a slow rollout, the price of 4K TVs is falling and both Amazon and Netflix have 4K content available. If you own a 4K TV or think someday you will, a Fire TV is the device for you.
If you want to attach an external hard drive or think you want more storage for media files we recommend a Fire TV. The USB port allows you to add an external hard drive and the microSD slot allows up to 128GB of additional storage giving the Fire TV an edge when it comes to local play content.
We hope this helps you make an informed decision about which device is best for you. Both of these devices have advantages and disadvantages, so make sure to do your research before you buy.