Amazon Fire TV Box - Is it any better than Roku, Apple TV, or Chromecast?

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#1
Amazon just released it's Fire TV streaming TV box today.

It has apps for Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, Pandora, and more.

Also comes with 8gb storage, GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), and Voice Search.

Question is, is it any better than a Roku, Apple TV, or Chromecast?

 
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#2
Also comes with 2gb storage, GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), and Voice Search.
Small correction. It comes with 2 GB of memory and 8 GB of "internal storage" (I wonder if that's a solid state drive). Also comes with a quad core processor. I think it's a loss leader. They hope to make it back on Amazon instant video sales. They almost need an OS for the voice search... Android?

R.
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#3
Small correction. It comes with 2 GB of memory and 8 GB of "internal storage" (I wonder if that's a solid state drive). Also comes with a quad core processor. I think it's a loss leader. They hope to make it back on Amazon instant video sales. They almost need an OS for the voice search... Android?

R.
Ah good catch, changed my original post.

Yeah I think they're a bit too late to market with the Fire TV.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#4
Not really too late, but they do have an uphill battle.
No matter what, it will push competitors to step it up!

Here's my first take:
If you already have a Roku or Apple TV and don't need another device, forget this.
If you don't have any device yet or are looking to add a second device - especially if that device is for the kids - I would try this one.
 

James

DTVUSA Member
#6
Here are some actual user impressions from Dieter Bohn.

"On the inside, it has a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and a dedicated GPU — specs that Amazon says should make the Fire TV three times more powerful than a Roku, Chromecast, or Apple TV. While that's going to be helpful for browsing and video playback, it'll be critical for gaming, which Amazon is positioning as a key part of this new platform, promising to have thousands of games by next month."

As I reported earlier...games are coming for this. It has a game controller. The games will be Android games which means something to gamers

"Probably the most impressive feature — at least compared to other products in this $99 category — is the voice search. The Fire TV was able to recognize a few of our voice searches pretty easily, even in a fairly loud and echo-filled demo area (though, later on as the room got noisier, saying "Ender's Game" didn't work so well). To use it, you speak directly into the Bluetooth remote."

Probably work great in the living room.

"Another feature that Amazon is touting is called "ASAP," it's basically a way for the Fire TV to pre-cache the video it thinks you're most likely to watch. Assuming that Amazon can guess right, it could be a big deal — video queued up starts immediately with no waiting."

There are also some videos and more in-depth info here.


As expected, the Apple fans..which have been genetically modified to hate anything without an Apple logo...are downplaying it without even trying it.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#7
As expected, the Apple fans..which have been genetically modified to hate anything without an Apple logo...are downplaying it without even trying it.
Man! I noticed the venom from the fanboys on every review I looked at. Not only is Apple a closed system, but it's a closed minded system. I'm a dedicated Roku user, but I can really appreciate this device.

One thing you didn't mention is the ability for parents to restrict content for kiddies by using "Free Time" - something no other STB has done. Netflix needs to step up on this front, by having a stand alone app for kids or requiring a password for the adult content. Their Roku app doesn't even allow different users- so all my recommendations are for what the kids watch!

I'm also wondering if I'll be able to use it with PlayOn...
 
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MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#9
Ooohhh...from what you've written about PlayOn, that would make the box pretty attractive to try out!
A little research has discovered that PlayOn will have a Fire TV to play with by tomorrow - and it should not be difficult to write an app for it. There is already an android app - I run it on my generic tablet and it works flawlessly. It is reported to work on Kindle Fire tablets.

How to use PlayOn with a Kindle Fire:

First, you have to disable web browser acceleration:
Tap the menu button within the Silk Browser.
Tap Settings
Toggle Accelerate Page Loading to off. You will need to scroll down a bit to find the option.
Then, just go to m.playon.tv in your Silk browser while you're on the same network as your PlayOn PC. You'll see the PlayOn menus on your Kindle Fire. Once you have a first play you should be able to play videos from your PlayOn install even when you're on a remote Wi-Fi network. Once you watch a video on your home Wi-Fi, if you have Mobile Access enabled in PlayOn Settings, you should be able to play videos from PlayOn even when your Fire's on a remote Wi-Fi network.
 

Funafuti

DTVUSA Member
#10
The price point is in line with Apple TV, but the google and roku boxes are cheaper, I think. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I'm not in the market for such a device, but I'm a firm believer in competition making everybody step up their game. I think what's out there now is awesome, but I'm REALLY looking forward to where the technology will be in a few years.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#11
The price point is in line with Apple TV, but the google and roku boxes are cheaper, I think. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I'm not in the market for such a device, but I'm a firm believer in competition making everybody step up their game. I think what's out there now is awesome, but I'm REALLY looking forward to where the technology will be in a few years.
Roku has price points from $49 to $99, and Google Chromecast is only $35 but really is not comparable to these other devices - by itself it does nothing, you need a tablet, phone or computer to use it.
 

bunny22

DTVUSA Member
#12
The gaming features make me think it may end up being more of a competitor to things like the OUYA and other Android game devices, rather than the Roku/Apple/Chromecast.

For me, the TV features that it adds (voice search, ASAP) aren't really that attractive, to make me spend $140 (because if I was going to get it at all, I'd end up buying the game controller). That is too expensive in my mind. The controller should really be included for $100, because it doesn't even look that great compared to other controllers, it only looks good compared to a remote.

Since I just bought a new Roku last year that's working fine, this doesn't entice me yet. If I didn't have the Roku, I would probably choose this over the other boxes.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#13
So far, reviews on Amazon are mixed:
Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
(583)

5 star
217

4 star
102

3 star
93

2 star
66

1 star
105




But a lot of the "bad" reviews are from true idiots:

"Chromecast does the same thing for $35!"
Um, no. Chromecast requires a tablet or pc to work.

"I give it one star because it doesn't have my special channel!"
It was just released this week. How about giving it some time? Roku didn't have over 1000 channels on the first day it was released. It had ONE, Netflix.

At this point, however, I will say I would let someone else be the early adopter, let the firmware mature and wait for features to be fully implemented before I buy one. But I already have 2 Roku players and other devices, so that's just me.
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#14
So far, reviews on Amazon are mixed:
Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
(583)

5 star
217

4 star
102

3 star
93

2 star
66

1 star
105




But a lot of the "bad" reviews are from true idiots:

"Chromecast does the same thing for $35!"
Um, no. Chromecast requires a tablet or pc to work.

"I give it one star because it doesn't have my special channel!"
It was just released this week. How about giving it some time? Roku didn't have over 1000 channels on the first day it was released. It had ONE, Netflix.

At this point, however, I will say I would let someone else be the early adopter, let the firmware mature and wait for features to be fully implemented before I buy one. But I already have 2 Roku players and other devices, so that's just me.
I do not trust reviews on Amazon one bit. Most are fan boys, or people who haven't actually used the product their reviewing.
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#15
I do not trust reviews on Amazon one bit. Most are fan boys, or people who haven't actually used the product their reviewing.
Unfortunately, one of the best places to get actual customer reviews for an Amazon product is - Amazon.

I really have to read between the lines and also pick and choose reviews. A lot of 1-star reviews are stupid complaints - people who couldn't figure out a product, thought it did something it doesn't, package arrived damaged (shippers fault, not the product) - or worst of all, people who never bought or used a product giving their opinion about something they know nothing about. A lot of the 5 - star reviews are from fanboys. I find the best reviews are somewhere in the 2-4 star range.
 

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