Amazon Debuts New Fire TV with 4K Video & Alexa Voice Assistant

Discussion in 'Mac Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 17, 2015.

  1. fieldsphotos macrumors 6502

    Aug 15, 2013

    Have you used a current FireTV? They have a very slick interface and the voice function already works extremely well. I found it to be an equal device to my Apple TV and use both regularly.
  2. Elbon macrumors 6502a


    Jan 9, 2008
    Boston, MA
    Yet, I'm still going to buy the new Apple TV, and not this.
  3. foobarbazqux macrumors regular

    Apr 17, 2014
    Looks like I'm getting a Fire TV over an AppleTV although I'll probably wait at least a couple months to see what Roku does and to see some reviews on all the options.

    Honestly though, with this new Fire TV I don't see any reason to get an AppleTV unless you're already locked into the iTunes ecosystem for movies/tv.

    I find it funny that people here actually think Apple is going to do a software update so the AppleTV 4 will support 4k. They'll simply force you to buy a new device like they always do (a device that probably won't be released for another 3 years).
  4. jettredmont macrumors 68030

    Jul 25, 2002
  5. jdillings macrumors 68000

    Jun 21, 2015
    Some are new to Apple and you are 100% correct. Apple is going to make you re-buy the Apple TV to get 4k.
  6. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    This is a common misunderstanding. Older movies that have been shot on film can absolutely benefit from 4K, provided early-generation source elements (perferably camera negatives) are available and modern film-scanning equipment is used to digitize them. Many recent restaurations of classic films were done at 4K resolution (e.g. Lawrence of Arabia, which is over 50 years old and looks absolutely stunning in the restored version).
  7. JCrz macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2014
    ...And when Apple TV outputs 4K then you guys will just sit around whining about how Apple is only innovating by upping specs.
  8. Crosscreek macrumors 68030


    Nov 19, 2013
    Yeah, really waiting on new Macs to see whats coming up. I not really in the market until next to replace my 2012 but will certainly be looking for a desktop Mac Mini or iMac to hook up to my TV for playback.

    I did stream Interstellar 4K and then watched the upscaled BlueRay and couldn't tell the difference. Both looked excellent.
    The bad thing about upscaling is it's only as good as the source so poor video looks really poor.
  9. Crosscreek macrumors 68030


    Nov 19, 2013
    Yeah no I don't and yeah your right.
  10. JCrz macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2014
    Your anger is obviously much greater than your reading skill. He even wrote: "...Not saying Apple TV will rule the pack..."
  11. cardfan macrumors 68000

    Mar 23, 2012
    Who cares? It's a 100 dollar device. Peanuts. It'll hopefully have other updates as well.
  12. jettredmont macrumors 68030

    Jul 25, 2002
    I'd also add that there are many areas where the comparison is important yet unknown as of yet, including:

    • Power consumption (at idle, while viewing HD, etc)
    • Quality of hardware (Amazon has had no problem putting out a device - the Fire TV Stick - with severe quality issues with regards to the WiFi hardware, to the point that many people including myself suffer network dropouts only resolvable by unplugging the device, waiting 15 seconds, and restarting it again ... after having that experience with Amazon I'm going to wait until there are a lot of reviews for any hardware they put out!)
    • Gaming ecosystem (the Amazon Fire TV has been out for a good long time, and games are hardly worth mentioning there; will Apple TV fail as miserably?)
    • App support (given that they both support all the same services minus iTunes for Amazon and minus Amazon for AppleTV, this comes down to quality of implementation, which will take some comparative and critical reviews to sort out)
    • Depth of universal search (Amazon says it searches Amazon, Hulu, HBO Go, Crackle, Showtime, and Starz; AppleTV says it searches iTunes, HBO [Now/Go], Hulu, Netflix, and Showtime). At launch, that's pretty much a draw. Significantly, Amazon long ago (April, 2014) promised Netflix search by the end of 2014, but it is still absent, so it doesn't appear that Amazon is setting the world on fire with universal search. We'll see if Apple does better. Of course, if you find more of your content comes from Netflix than from Crackle+Starz, or vice-versa, there is already a meaningful difference between the two.
    • How much of Alexa's Siri-clone functionality is available now and how much "next year" (see the Alexa blurb on Amazon's page if this doesn't make sense to you); if Siri is as capable on the AppleTV in October as it seems, Alexa will seem anemic until sometime "next year". If indeed they ever appear; remember the April 2014 promise that Netflix voice search would be available by end of year, and how Amazon doesn't list Netflix on their universal search capabilities even today?
    • HEVC (H.265) support - Amazon says it will start streaming its 1080p content in HEVC as well, which is very good; if Apple is not doing the same then this is a huge point in Amazon's favor as it allows same quality with about half the bandwidth (or superior quality in the same bandwidth) as H.264

    Personally, I have a lot more invested in iTunes than in Amazon content, and so will gladly pay the premium for the Apple product just based on that. For others not so entrenched in either ecosystem, though, I think it is a hard decision that I'd advise they wait on until at least the most preliminary reviews are in (reviews critical of Amazon's Fire Stick network capability were fairly easy to find about a month after release, but could have been found with a bit of digging even a week after the first units shipped).
  13. Aluminum213 macrumors 68040


    Mar 16, 2012
    Why would anyone jump on this before seeing if the Amazon and Vudu apps are approved, in regards to Apple TV 4
  14. nutmac macrumors 601

    Mar 30, 2004
    4K is overrated for video unless you sit close enough and/or has very large set, but it is bringing few valuable enhancements: (1) H.265 or HEVC compression that is about twice as efficient as H.264, (2) increased color space and HDR, (3) frame rates up to 120.

    Furthermore, 4K brings very noticeable improvements when viewing text and images. And as a side benefit, it will probably put nail into 3D's coffin.
  15. jettredmont macrumors 68030

    Jul 25, 2002
    There is nothing in the AppleTV hardware keeping the to-be-released AppleTV from supporting "4k low-framerate" just like the Amazon Fire TV will in the same timeframe. They both appear to be using HDMI 1.4 hardware; Apple is explicit about it but Amazon is simply saying that they only support resolution+framerates compatible with HDMI 1.4.

    That said, I suspect Apple will put out a new rev of the AppleTV when they come out with 4k support, and will support 4k@60-120fps, with HDR. But, if they were only not releasing 4k support because the iTunes infrastructure wasn't ready for it, then switching that on just as much as Amazon has would be a software update, not a hardware refresh.
  16. jettredmont macrumors 68030

    Jul 25, 2002
    Well, HEVC/H.265 compression is not dependent on 4k resolution. It can (and at least Amazon has stated it will) be used for more efficient 1080p streaming (and below) as well. I'm hoping Apple will switch iTunes to have an H.265 stream for its contents alongside the existing H.264 streams, but they haven't said as much. Half point there to Amazon for at least promising they will do that at some point in the future (only a half point though because they have a history of breaking such promises).

    Increased color space and higher frame rates are benefits of the bundle of tech known as "4k", and while there is nothing tying them to 4k itself you probably won't see them on lower-res content. The problem with these is that they require HDMI 2.0a connectors, and Amazon appears (by the fact that they only support 30fps 4k video output) to only be shipping HDMI 1.4 connectors. So, yes, that is a nice benefit for 4k, and what will probably drive more people to 4k than pixel-peeping resolution you have to press your nose to the screen to really appreciate (okay I exaggerate ...), but Amazon's "4k" has neither of these.
  17. HarryWarden macrumors 6502a

    Oct 27, 2012
    I'll be waiting for whatever Roku does. I have a Roku 3 and I hope the Roku 4 keeps the USB drive. I don't know why Amazon went with microSD over USB since USB transfer speeds are far faster and it's easier to remove USB, add files like movies, and put back in.
  18. jettredmont macrumors 68030

    Jul 25, 2002
    Exactly. Making Amazon Instant Video a compelling service is far more important to Amazon than artificially pumping up their (traditionally sold at near-loss prices) Fire TV business. Prime is a huge cash cow, which also ties customers into Amazon's ecosystem. Amazon Instant Video is likewise a "sticky" business. Set top boxes are not sticky at all.

    This is of course why Amazon has had a pretty nice IOS app for years, which has supported AirPlay fully, etc.

    Why didn't they have an Apple TV app? Because for that they needed to work directly with Apple. Now they do not, and can release the same thing they had for their IOS app (unless it relies heavily on web views). The only thing they need to work directly with Apple on (and so the only thing I see as unlikely to happen) would be universal search support.
  19. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    Apple needs to have a keynote to talk about the 4K Myth. Why would you need anything beyond 1080p? Then in 2 years, come out with a Apple TV 4K. They did this with CPUs, Phone sizes, Megapixels, and they will do it again for video output.
  20. jettredmont macrumors 68030

    Jul 25, 2002
    The Amazon FireTV with 40GB of storage ("Gaming Edition" which includes the built-in 8GB and a MicroSD for another 32GB) is $139.99. Which is $10 less than the 32GB Apple TV. I assumed that was what he was comparing.

    That said, there is no Amazon Fire TV with 32GB of built in storage, or 64GB of built-in storage, at any price (just like there isn't an Apple TV with 128MB of removable storage at any price). Given Android's history with supporting removable memory sticks, this may be a significant difference between the products.
  21. jettredmont macrumors 68030

    Jul 25, 2002
    But the Fire TV supports UHD resolution at "up to" 30fps. Presumably they can manage, as everyone else can, a 24fps refresh cycle natively.
  22. HenryDJP macrumors 603

    Nov 25, 2012
    United States
    Nope, haven't tried out the Fire as of yet. So why do you have both?
  23. WWPD macrumors regular


    Aug 21, 2015
    Ten Forward
  24. jettredmont macrumors 68030

    Jul 25, 2002
    So true. And I don't have an electric vehicle right now, but if my car gets stolen, I'm going to get one anyway, so right there that tankful of gas is outdated.

    If you are going to be buying a new TV in the very near future, then, yes, worry about getting a set top box that will work on it. But it is foolish to worry about what your "next" TV might support if you don't have rather concrete plans to replace it. If history is a guide, if you buy a 4k TV in January and can't live with plugging a non-4k device into it, you can sell your AppleTV 4 for a net loss of about $15-20 (the difference between new sale price and eBay price on AppleTVs, which has been pretty consistent aside from ATV2 since the very first edition) and buy an Amazon Fire TV at that point instead.

    How is this so hard for people? I mean, are you paralyzed with fear about all your decisions each day, needing to "future proof" everything you buy? Or is this something specific to your set top box?

    Pretty serious allegations against the usability of the remote. I'm so glad you got your hands on an early release unit to give it that thorough try-out!

    Oh. I guess you are just assuming things about an unreleased product. For buttons vs swipes, if the demos of the remote are consistent with the real remotes when they come out, I have a very hard time seeing how anyone would have a harder time dragging a finger left and right across a pane rather than locating and clicking a particular button half a dozen times to do the same. Maybe withhold judgement until you've actually used it.
  25. Jimmy James macrumors 601

    Jimmy James

    Oct 26, 2008
    I'm not looking at these primarily for their streaming functionality. In the same way that I don't compare smartphones for their phone calling features. The original function may no longer be the dominant function.

    I'm probably going base my purchase on the app stores. I think this is a new convergence device that will be a hub of family entertainment, and more, and not strictly limited to TV or movies. I see Apple winning this race but I'm going to sit back for a while to see how they mature in the coming months.

Share This Page