A new entry into the crowded set-top box market has just been announced, and it’s from one of the biggest internet companies on the face of the Earth. Amazon has just shown off their new Fire TV box in an attempt to take over the living room. The Fire TV is based on Android and HTML, so it’s apparently pretty easy to get existing apps on the box. Of course, whenever a new device is announced we have to compare it to the competition.
The Fire TV matches up nicely with many of the top existing set-top boxes. At $99 it falls right in line with the Roku 3 and Apple TV, but of course it can’t compete with the $35 Chromecast. That’s because the Fire TV can do much more than Google’s affordable dongle, and you don’t need your phone to operate it. While the Fire TV may line up in price with the Roku and Apple TV, it has better specs than both.
The Fire TV is powered by a quad-core processor and 2GB of memory. The Roku 3 is slightly behind with a dual-core processor and 512MB of memory, while the Apple TV and Chromecast have single-sore processors with 512MB of memory. You should have no problem loading apps and navigating the UI smoothly and quickly on the Fire TV.
What about the apps?
The big determining feature for many people when deciding on a set-top box is apps. All four of the devices listed above have plenty of app support, but some have more than others. The Fire TV and Roku 3 both have 10 out of 11 popular streaming services. The Apple TV has 9, and the Chromecast has 7. Games is another area of apps. If you’re interested in those your only option is Fire TV or Roku 3. The Fire TV, however, has an optional dedicated gaming controller.
As of this moment it looks like the Fire TV and Roku 3 are the best options for streaming media set-top boxes. Amazon is a much larger company who will most likely make deals to get even more content on their device. When you combine the Fire TV with Amazon’s Fire tablets this is a very compelling device in a loaded ecosystem. For some the Chromecast will be all they need, but if you’re serious about cutting the cord the Fire TV is a great choice.