Amazon Fire TV
|Amazon.com Price||:||$99.99 (17/11/2017 13:08 PST - Detail)|
|Availability||:||Temporarily out of stock.|
- Access to over 200,000 TV episodes and movies, millions of songs, and over a hundred games
- With voice search, simply say the name of what you want to watch and start enjoying in seconds
- Fast quad-core processor, 2 GB of memory, dedicated GPU, plus 1080p HD video and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound
- Play best-selling games including Minecraft, The Walking Dead, Monsters University and more, plus Amazon exclusives
Amazon Fire TV is a tiny box that connects your HDTV to a world of online entertainment. With a huge selection of TV episodes and movies, voice search that really works, plus exclusive features like Amazon FreeTime, it's the easiest way to enjoy Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, low-cost movie rentals, music, photos, games, and more. What's on Amazon Fire TV? Amazon Fire TV combines all your favorite subscriptions and streaming services with Amazon's massive selection of digital content. Watch over 200,000 TV episodes and movies, rent videos from just 99 cents, or kick back with your favorite sports, news, music, and games. Perfect with Prime Prime members enjoy unlimited, commercial-free streaming of tens of thousands of popular movies and TV shows including The Hunger Games, Marvel's The Avengers, Downton Abbey, Justified, Dora the Explorer, and Amazon exclusives like Alpha House at no additional cost. Eligible customers can try Amazon Prime for 30 days for free. Voice sear
First is Apple TV which is easy to use (interface) but Apple limits the content you can get greatly (including no Prime Streaming built in) and it lacks a lot in features as well and is slow. The reason for selecting Apple TV is if you have other apple products that unlock features (like Amazon's content).
The second option you could consider was Roku--which really means a Roku 3 box since it is heads and tails better than past Roku boxes in terms of remote and speed. Now Roku stands out with the most content and the most features of any box with the Roku 3. It is for that reason you will see me address the Roku 3 so often in this review.
I have added quick summaries of other options to make sure everyone knows about the other options out there.
WDTV: Are great for streaming your own content but not very user friendly.
Chromecast: Is very cheap at $35 but requires other items to use (no remote included!), is limited to 16 channels according to their own site with other content broadcast via Chrome's browser not at the same quality level. This does allow you to browse the internet on your tv and is amazing for the cost but is more of a niche market than FireTV/Roku/Apple TV. But if you can live with the short comings, it is worth a look at 1/3 the price of these devices.
Smart TVs: Most of these are FINE for occasional use but not nearly as pleasant to use daily like separate boxes. Normally you pay $150-$400+ extra for features that are found in these $100 boxes. I have not found a smart tv that is decent and is also a good value for what you are getting. The advantage is that you can use your TV remote to access the content. (and that is about it!)
HTPC: These are desktop computers or Mac Minis or Android Sticks that you load software on to stream video to your TV. These can add content that no normal streaming box can access, without giving up quality but they are only recommended for something comfortable with technology that doesn't mind fixing the issues that come up from time to time.
Video Game Consoles: Xbox/Playstations can access some of the content that streaming boxes do and have plenty of power to deliver the streams. The downside is the cost (unless you already have one) and the interfaces. These consoles are not designed to stream video exclusively so the interfaces are decent but can be clunky.
(You can use other options but frankly they aren't worth the hassle for the amount of hair pulling you would do.)
Now this Amazon product has changed everything. It might not be the box for you...but honestly there is a good chance that it SHOULD BE. This is a brand new category for Amazon and they got a lot right, but there are a few shortcomings (at least at launch) as well so read all of this to see what those are.
Amazon's Fire TV box
+ Nothing else is this fast. While Roku 3 impressed the world, this raises the bar dramatically. With a quad core processor and 4 times the memory of any other streaming product, it speeds through menus, boots quicker, starts videos quicker and honestly has the muscle to not struggle with higher end resolutions and surround sound like other boxes can do at times. The best way I can explain it, you will have extra hours at the end of the year because this box is THAT much faster.
+ Voice search is amazing. It really works. Less using a four directional keypad to enter in titles is a real time saver and makes you wonder why this wasn't done before but it is only for Amazon content and VEVO (music videos) (at least for now). You can not use the voice search with Netflix for example.
+ Ready for gaming, well at least once you spend another $40. The $40 gaming controller feels a bit pricy for this type of gaming and really should be $25 or less in my opinion. That being said, this box has real games you would actually want to play instead of a VERY limited selection on Roku 3 but it is not a "REAL" console at $100 and honestly shouldn't be compared to them.
+ Better image quality? I know you are thinking I am imagining things or have changed my setup but both myself and my wife have noticed that generally (in different apps) the video is slightly sharper and clearer. We are using the exact same tv, settings, even the same HDMI cable that we used with the Roku 3 until we switched it for the Fire TV box. We have noticed that especially on poor quality feeds that the image quality is noticeably better than under the same feeds with Roku 3. Now I don't...Read more
Setup was a no brainer. It required an update immediately so it did take about 15 minutes to have it in action but the process was very simple.
The image quality (movies and games) is excellent. I've tried several movies from Amazon Prime and they look and sound nearly Blu Ray quality as far as I can tell.
Navigation is very straightforward and it's generally easy to find anything you're looking for. Installation of games and apps goes very smoothly and generally pretty quickly.
The remote works very well. I haven't played with the voice search feature much yet, but when I have tried it, it worked well. The buttons on the remote are well thought out and I prefer it to the Apple TV remote.
I only have one gripe. As far as I can tell, there's no way to limit the list of movies and tv shows to what is available for Amazon Prime members. This makes it very inconvenient to find things that are free to watch. There are some categories that are limited to Prime (Most Popular on Prime, For Kids on Prime) I want to be able to just see what's available for Prime or at least be able to see by category what's available for Prime. I'm sure this isn't an oversight. I suspect Amazon wants to force us to look at everything and be tempted to buy/rent things but if they really want to compete with Netflix, they'll understand that we pay for our Prime membership to be able to watch free movies conveniently. A workaround is to do your searching on the web and then search specifically on the device.
Perhaps I just haven't found the way to search for Prime available content. I hope that's the case or I will really be disappointed.
The latest software upgrade as significantly improved the device for Amazon Prime members - addressing most of my original complaints.
Now that there is an entire section dedicated to Prime content, it is much easier to find things without having to wade through pay to view content. I wouldn't mind seeing more 'categories' to search through, but don't want to diminish the improvement.
It's still not possible to search and return only Prime content. I think it should be possible to tell the device (when you search) that you only want returns from what is available for free to Prime members.
The new 'Music' option looks intriguing but seems to have no purpose at this point. Not sure why it was added, but I hope it grows into a useful feature given the new Prime Music package.
I would also like to see some sort of DLNA feature added. As one who rips all content that I buy (blu rays, dvds, cds) to a computer on my Network, I would very much like to be able to stream this material to the FireTV. Adding support for a connected USB device is not a solution for me. I have no intention of keeping two copies of all this material.