Amazon Discounts, Deals and Coupon Codes

Sizing Up Amazon Fire TV: Is It Worth the Buy?

When it comes to streaming TV, is Amazon your best bet?
Slickdeals content may contain references to products from one or more of our affiliate partners. If you make a purchase on their site through a link on Slickdeals, we receive a small commission. This in no way affects our opinions on products or services mentioned in our content.

Is the Fire TV Worth the Money?

Whether you're an Amazon junkie or just someone looking to cut the cable cord, chances are you've heard of Fire TV — Amazon's streaming video gadget. But the latest version, which supports 4k Ultra HD, is up against some stiff competition from the other streaming giants.

How does Amazon fare? Read on to see if Fire TV is right for you.

Fire TV: The Need-to-Know Details

Amazon recently made some major tweaks to Fire TV, dialing up its capabilities and optimizing the overall user experience in the process. The most notable change is that it's now an official 4K streamer, which means you'll be Fire TV getting some of the best picture quality out there when it comes to set-top boxes.

It also boasts the voice of Alexa, Amazon's voice-activated virtual helper, competing with Apple TV's Siri remote. With the press of a button on the voice remote, viewers can ask Alexa for assistance with everything  from music to news to weather and more. It should be noted, however, that Alexa is only available on devices running Fire OS software version 5 or higher.

One big draw of Fire TV is its $100 price tag. The costs is comparable to the Roku 3, but significantly less than what Apple TV is selling for these days.

Amazon is known for pushing exclusivity, and Fire TV does just that. If you're heavily invested in Amazon's various offerings and you're already a Prime member, or plan on becoming one soon, this device is a solid choice. Prime members have access to Prime Video and Prime Music, (plus the opportunity for some great subscription add-ons like Showtime and Starz), and Fire TV will make accessing those features extremely easy.

The new Fire TV also has increased processing power, memory and storage, including a new quad core processor that Amazon claims increases speed by 75 percent over the previous version. This translates to speedier functioning and more space for games and apps; but as PCMag mentions, it does sporadically struggle to transition smoothly from one app to another despite the upgrades.

If you're happy enough with your current streaming device, investing in Fire TV may not be for you. But if you're looking to get into the streaming television game (with or without a Prime membership), Fire TV is definitely worth exploring, especially if you find a great deal. Back in November, Staples was offering Fire TV at 25 percent off and we've seen a few retailers listing it for around $85 recently. Be sure to check out our Amazon page for the latest deals as well.

How Does the Competition Compare?

Apple TV

Considering the fact that Amazon no longer sells Apple TV or Chromecast hardware, it's safe to assume that both pose a legitimate threat to Fire TV — and, depending on what your viewing needs are, it makes sense.

Apple TV If you're a loyal Apple-for-lifer, investing in Fire TV may not be for you. Over the years, I've put a lot into my iTunes and iPhoto libraries, amassing thousands of songs and images in the process. This is exactly why Apple TV works so well for me. I can instantly access my music on my television, explore iTunes Radio for something new, or sling movies from my desktop right to my TV without a second thought.

I'm also a Prime member though, and guess what? I easily toggle between both, lighting up the Amazon app whenever I need to. Of course, this requires fiddling with an extra remote and changing up the HDMI input, but I don't mind.

However, with a price that ranges from $149 for 32GB to $199 for 64GB, Apple TV is a bit pricey for what it is. In fact, it's the most expensive streaming device of the whole bunch. But that doesn't mean you still can't find a great deal. Last month, RadioShack had the 32GB (4th generation) Apple TV marked down to $100.

In addition to the high price, a recent CNET review notes that Apple TV's non-entertainment apps are also nothing to write home about. In a nutshell, if you're not already an Apple person, you might be better off with another device.

Roku

The Roku 3 is a solid streaming device at a great price point. Coming in at just under $100 and featuring voice search, Roku makes a compelling argument against Fire TV with this spec-by-spec comparison. Most notably, the Roku 3 allows you to stream more than 2,500 entertainment channels (compared to 1,600 with Amazon), including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video and more.

But, as Alphr calls out, the Roku 3 struggles to compete with Fire TV's memory capacity. Roku is lagging in this department, but you can expand storage memory via a microSD card slot, which is said to be fussy. Even so, the fact that Roku has a wide array of content and isn't "tied down to any one platform," as Alphr puts it, gives the device a big leg up.

If you keep your eyes peeled, you also just might find a good deal. Last spring, Target had the Roku 3 marked down 50 percent to just $50. Jet.com also discounted them to $65 back in November, though only for new members.

Chromecast

Coming in at just $35, Google's Chromecast gives Fire TV a run for its money in some respects. With your smartphone doubling as a remote, Chromecast uses an updated app to serve up tailored entertainment. It's also compatible with Spotify, Showtime, Sling TV and more (including sports and gaming).

While having to use your phone or tablet to command your TV may be annoying for some, Chromecast is a simple, no-frills option without all the bells and whistles of some of the other streamers out there. Depending on your viewing habits, this may be all you need. If you're able to see it on your tablet or phone, then you'll have no trouble transferring it to your TV with Chromecast. For Amazon lovers, this would translate to opening up the app on your phone, tablet or computer before slinging it over.

Chromecast's super-low price point is tough to beat, but even here there are deal to be had. Staples has run sales in the past for just $25, and Costco has been rumored to sell two-packs with a $12 Google Play credit for $68.99.

Which streaming device do you think reigns supreme? Keep the conversation going below.

Images courtesy of Amazon, Apple.com.



Add a Comment
About the Author
Marianne Hayes Contributor

Marianne Hayes is a freelance writer, wife and mother in Tampa Bay. After earning a degree in journalism and creative writing from the University of Central Florida, she spent nearly a decade getting lost in New York City and Los Angeles before making her way back home again in 2014. Marianne's writing has appeared in a variety of publications including The Huffington Post, Forbes.com, LearnVest, The Daily Beast and more. When she's not writing, Marianne is usually cruising her local bookstore with her two daughters.

Don't have Amazon Prime? Students can get a free 6-Month Amazon Prime trial with free 2-day shipping, unlimited video streaming & more. If you're not a student, there's also a free 1-Month Amazon Prime trial available.

8 Comments

1
This comment has been rated as unhelpful by Slickdeals users
Joined Apr 2013
New User
1 Posts
10 Reputation
Our community has rated this post as helpful. If you agree, why not rep liftalot247?
#2
Out of all the choices. I would pick Amazon Fire TV (AFTV). If you already a prime member it is the way to go. Plus you can side load apps, such as Kodi. Great device for streaming on a budget.
Reply Helpful Comment? 3 0
This comment has been rated as unhelpful by Slickdeals users
Joined Jun 2008
There is no spoon
822 Posts
166 Reputation
#3
Amazon Fire TV Stick is the best bang for your buck. However the Roku 3 will give you much more living room enjoyment because it supports everything, HBO, Google, Amazon, Showtime, Netflix, Hulu, Epix, Crackle, ESPN, etc. It is also very easy to use.

The Roku 4 supports 4K and kinda not worth the extra money. Roku 3 can be bought for cheap and has a bizillion free channels use.

I take the Amazon Stick when I travel because it supports what I use more (Netflix/Hulu) and has a remote. But I have tried them all and the Roku just plain rocks for just using it normally and being family friendly (no wierd issues, dealing with awkward 3rd party apps, or bad controls). Forget about the stupid gimmicks like games and apps. For content purposes for a TV, Roku wins hands down without question. We have tablets for games and apps.

The best thing about Roku is you can use AllCast from a cheap Android Tab and stream content (similar to a chromecast) to your TV. I use this in conjunction with Showbox and never run out of content.

I have a Google TV, Roku 1, 2 & 3, Amazon Fire TV Stick, several other chinese streamers, PS4, PS TV, Ouya, HDMI streamers, multiple tablets.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Last edited by player911 January 19, 2016 at 04:58 PM.
This comment has been rated as unhelpful by Slickdeals users
Joined Jun 2010
L2: Beginner
58 Posts
13 Reputation
#4
AFTV supports sideloading [androidcentral.com] FireStarter [github.com] and Kodi [kodi.tv] with the amazing Genesis [tvaddons.ag] add-on.

AFTV + Kodi + Genesis is absolutely the way to go, in my opinion. Furthermore, you can try installing Kodi and Genesis on your PC so that you can preview the experience on the AFTV.
Reply Helpful Comment? 2 0
This comment has been rated as unhelpful by Slickdeals users
Joined Oct 2006
L2: Beginner
80 Posts
14 Reputation
#5
I have 2 Rokus, Chromecast, and AFTV. AFTV wins easily IMO if you already have prime. Also, having the ability to sideload Kodi puts it way ahead. I got mine on a Jet using AMEX deal for $47...Slick!
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
This comment has been rated as unhelpful by Slickdeals users
Joined May 2013
L3: Novice
159 Posts
30 Reputation
#6
Hard to determine...I have smart tvs but purchased the Chromecast (original aka 1) a couple of years ago. I later purchased the Apple TV stick b/c of the Sling TV deal they offered and I was curious. I would have to say I regret buying a smart tv and if I had it to do all over again, I'd purchase them both however, the Apple Tv wins me over. It wins me over the Chromecast b/c it was easier to use at the time and there were no buffering concerns with Apple Tv. In fairness, I should say I gave the Chromecast away to a friend a month after using it so I never really had a long term use with it. I bought a new Chromecast (original version) and intend for it to be my travel device. I wanna also note that this Apple Tv stick is my first Apple product purchase. Not a fan of the company but pleased with the product and would purchase again.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
This comment has been rated as unhelpful by Slickdeals users
Joined Nov 2010
L2: Beginner
62 Posts
10 Reputation
#7
I have a Chromecast and an Amazon Fire TV Stick and I absolutely love the Fire TV. Having an actual remote is so much better than depending on your phone having a charge and not being in use. Regardless you can also use the Fire TV app to control the Fire TV.

It is so much easier to teach parents how to use the Fire TV than the Chromecast and has some apps which Chromecast simply doesnt support (WWE Network for example).

It is an actual device while I consider the Chromecast a good addon for the most part. Also the ability to get Kodi and Plex in there is terrific.

If you're deep in the Amazon environment (Prime and such) it's just a no brainer, but even without Prime it's excellent.
Reply Helpful Comment? 1 0
This comment has been rated as unhelpful by Slickdeals users
Joined May 2007
Donka Dooball
288 Posts
95 Reputation
#8
I have four 2nd-gen Amazon FireTVs throughout the house. Not only do they work flawlessly for Netflix and Amazon Prime content, I also have Kodi + Firestarter installed and pointed to the shared folders on my Synology NAS. With NBC News and PlutoTV apps, plus the Genesis and Phoenix add-ons, there's more than plenty to watch. We finally (and happily) cancelled DirecTV after 15 years which saves us over $1,200 annually!
Reply Helpful Comment? 1 0
This comment has been rated as unhelpful by Slickdeals users
Joined Mar 2015
L5: Wizard
291 Posts
346 Reputation
Pro Staff
#9
Quote from MrMcGibblets
:
I have four 2nd-gen Amazon FireTVs throughout the house. Not only do they work flawlessly for Netflix and Amazon Prime content, I also have Kodi + Firestarter installed and pointed to the shared folders on my Synology NAS. With NBC News and PlutoTV apps, plus the Genesis and Phoenix add-ons, there's more than plenty to watch. We finally (and happily) cancelled DirecTV after 15 years which saves us over $1,200 annually!
​Nice! I canceled Time Warner almost a year ago and don't miss it at all.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Page 1 of 1
1
Join the Conversation
Add a Comment
 
Copyright 1999 - 2018. Slickdeals, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Copyright / Infringement Policy  •  Privacy Policy  •  Terms of Service  •  Acceptable Use Policy (Rules)  •  Interest-Based Ads
Link Copied to Clipboard