Fire-TV-Competition

Set-Top Box Showdown – Amazon’s FireTV vs. Apple TV and Others

Earlier this week, Amazon launched its Set Top Box-cum-Media Player — the FireTV. Let’s take a look at how it stacks up against its pre-existing competition.

Here’s the breakdown.

Design

amazon-fire-tv-dimensions

All these players are  relatively small in size and exhibit colors that blend in with black televisions, with the exception of the purple Roku Streaming Stick.

Amazon Fire TV sits with a low-profile of .07 in and takes on a square shape of 4.5 in x 4.5 in. Roku 3 requires a little more headroom at 1 inch even, but takes up less space at 3.5 in x 3.5 in at its length and width.

Apple fits in between the two at .91 in high and 3.9 in x 3.9 in. At these sizes, it’s not hard to fit them in a media cabinet, or even stack them on top of a cable box.

Chromecast and the Roku Streaming Stick dongles are much smaller – almost the same as an oversized USB pen drive – and conveniently plug into HDMI ports. They’re also very simple to install.

The two downsides to this design are that they still require a power cable to function and there’s no Ethernet port. When it comes to streaming video, that can be a problem for a lot of households.

Remotes

remotes
Remotes

Amazon Fire TV introduces an innovative remote with a built-in microphone for voice search. On the Amazon Fire TV, finding a movie or show title, an actor you like or a genre you want to explore can all be done by talking to your remote control. Another gaming controller is also available, to purchase separately, which allows the users to play Android games, some of which are exclusive, on their TV set.

Roku has a similar 5-button directional pad, without the fancy voice search capabilities. On the plus side, the Roku 3 model’s remote does feature a headphone jack for personal listening.

Apple TV’s click-wheel remote is small and easy to lose. That would be a problem, except the iOS controller app is the iOS way to navigate, so it doesn’t matter.

Chromecast actually requires a smartphone or tablet to control. This means owning an Android or iOS device is a requirement to use the tiny streaming stick. It’s also not as out-of-the-box friendly in this way, especially if you’re a Windows Phone user, but it does mean a QWERTY keyboard is always at hand.

 

The Rest of It

So, here’s the rest of the comparison in a Tabular form so that you can easily decide which one is the best for you. As for us, we decided that the FireTV beats the rest of the lot hands down as it features everything the others do and more!

Parameters

OR

Features

Amazon Fire
Amazon Fire TV

Roku 3
Roku 3

Apple TV
Apple TV

Google Chromecast
Google Chromecast

Pricing

$99

$99

$99

$35

Form Factor

Box

Box

Box

HDMI DOngle

HDMI Compatibility

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Voice Commands

Yes

No

No

No

Processor

Quad-core

Dual-core

Single-core

Single-core

Memory

2 GB

512 MB

512 MB

512 MB

Video Apps

Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Crackle, Showtime Anywhere, Bloomberg TV, Vimeo

HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Crackle, Showtime Anywhere, Vimeo

iTunes, Disney Anywhere, HBO Go, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, YouTube, Bloomberg TV, WatchABC

Google Play, HBO Go, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, YouTube

Music Apps

Vevo, Pandora

Vevo, Pandora, Spotify

Vevo, Vimeo, iTunes

Google Play, Vevo, Pandora, Rdio, Songza

Sports Apps

Watch ESPN, NBA League Pass

Watch ESPN, NBA League Pass, MLB.TV, NHL Gamecenter, Major League Soccer

Watch ESPN, NBA League Pass, MLB.TV, NHL Gamecenter

None

Number of Games

100+; “thousands” more coming

Less than 100

Games via AirPlay

None

Remote

Voice search, physical remote (no line of sight needed)

Physical remote, iOS controller app available

Physical remote, iOS/Android controller app available (no line of sight needed)

App controlled

Gaming Controller

Yes; $39.99 (sold separately)

No

No

No

 

Advertisements

Published by

Shaminder Pal Singh

I am a student by day and tech blogger by night. I try to bring to the public the latest and greatest news from the tech world!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s