Should I get Amazon Fire TV?

Ezra923

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 8, 2012
224
72
Dont know what to do. I have an ATV2 jailbroken (no idea how to work the JB part but whatever) I cancelled Netflix because my apple tv always gave me an error messege in the middle of a movie. The big reason why I havnt gotten rid of my ATV is because of airplay other than that its a dust collector. I do have Amazon Prime mainly because of the shipping but i would like to cut cable one day. I rather not have both boxes but airplay isnt on the Fire Tv right? Haha
 

aristobrat

macrumors G5
Oct 14, 2005
12,250
1,322
For me, the only thing I was missing on my Apple TV was Amazon Prime, which a $50 Roku 1 fixed for me.

If the Fire was available 6 months ago when I got the Roku 1, I still would chosen the Roku 1. I don't see anything extra I'd personally get out of the Fire, so why pay an extra $50 for it.
 

0000757

macrumors 68040
Dec 16, 2011
3,894
842
I'm waiting to see what the next Apple TV update brings personally, but the Fire TV is definitely a great device. The Apple TV will need to step it up to compete with it, but if you don't care about being involved in the iOS ecosystem as much (I do because of my iPad + Mac), then by all means go ahead.
 

LIVEFRMNYC

macrumors 604
Oct 27, 2009
7,443
8,631
Amazon fire TV is the best hardware vs other streaming boxes. Count on hacks to open this up very soon, making this device definitely worth it. If someone makes a pure Android ROM for this, that you can control with the remote, I'll be getting it.
 

tbayrgs

macrumors 604
Jul 5, 2009
6,548
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Dont know what to do. I have an ATV2 jailbroken (no idea how to work the JB part but whatever) I cancelled Netflix because my apple tv always gave me an error messege in the middle of a movie. The big reason why I havnt gotten rid of my ATV is because of airplay other than that its a dust collector. I do have Amazon Prime mainly because of the shipping but i would like to cut cable one day. I rather not have both boxes but airplay isnt on the Fire Tv right? Haha
Jailbroken :apple:TV 2s are going for $200-300 on eBay--sell yours and you can get both. ;)

In all seriousness, might want to take a look at this article to help you see what each of the most popular devices offer.
 

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bmt134

macrumors 6502
Dec 6, 2012
378
4
Jailbroken :apple:TV 2s are going for $200-300 on eBay--sell yours and you can get both. ;)

In all seriousness, might want to take a look at this article to help you see what each of the most popular devices offer.
Damn, didn't know they were going for that much. I havent touched my Apple TV in over year. Gonna sell this ASAP.
 

Lloydbm41

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Oct 17, 2013
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Jailbroken :apple:TV 2s are going for $200-300 on eBay--sell yours and you can get both. ;)

In all seriousness, might want to take a look at this article to help you see what each of the most popular devices offer.
Only problem with that article is that it is wrong regarding the Chromecast. It's almost as if the guy didn't even bother researching the device and just looked up data from 2013 when it was released.

This is more up to date, but even this still leaves details out. For example, Chromecast and Apple TV both actually have thousands of channels/apps, since both can cast content from a computer and channels like Plex and PlayOn add tons of additional content. But any way:
 

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shinji

macrumors 65816
Mar 18, 2007
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Can the Fire TV play back movies from a hard drive connected through USB, if encoded in a supported format? The website makes it sound like you can only play back movies uploaded to Amazon's cloud.

Not talking about Plex or playing off a NAS drive, using DLNA, etc. Just connecting an external drive.
 

tbayrgs

macrumors 604
Jul 5, 2009
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Only problem with that article is that it is wrong regarding the Chromecast. It's almost as if the guy didn't even bother researching the device and just looked up data from 2013 when it was released.

This is more up to date, but even this still leaves details out. For example, Chromecast and Apple TV both actually have thousands of channels/apps, since both can cast content from a computer and channels like Plex and PlayOn add tons of additional content. But any way:
But you're doing the same thing, skewing it in favor of the Chromecast. The chart isn't incorrect regarding lack of a remote--if you consider the phone as the remote, then better add the cost of the phone into the cost of ownership of the Chromecast--and don't fall back on the 'everyone has a smartphone' because they don't, and a great deal that do don't use Android, further limiting it's functionality.

If Chromecast has 70+ supported apps, why does Google only list 16, same as those included in the actual Chromecast app. There may be more but people aren't going to go hunt them down on their own.

And no, there is no voice search for Chromecast--the voice search is being handled by the phone and will not be restricted to only that which will function on the Chromecast. If those are your parameters, then Apple TV has voice search as well.

If you consider this app as gaming for the Chromecast, you have very low gaming expectations, but technically, yes there is a gaming option. You also better put a checkmark under gaming on the Apple TV as I can AirPlay any game available on my TV and some offer additional control functionality (i.e. Real Racing).

Yes, you can cast using an extension in Chrome but performance is still inconsistent at best, there are minimum hardware requirements, and it requires you use your computer. Why not just go ahead and plug it in directly to your television. Oh, and add the cost of your computer into Chromecast ownership.

Another shortcoming--I don't believe you can cast simultaneiously to more than one Chromecast from the same phone--therefore you'll need a device for each one. Very often in our house the kids are watching something on one TV through the Apple TV while my wife and I watch something else on a different TV.

Take out all of the extraneous outside functionality and secondary devices and consider the capabilities of these devices on their own, because that's how a great many consumers use them. Do that and the Chromecast falls woefully short comparatively. It's a great little device if you have pretty narrow needs but stand alone, it doesn't match up (yet).

----------

Can the Fire TV play back movies from a hard drive connected through USB, if encoded in a supported format? The website makes it sound like you can only play back movies uploaded to Amazon's cloud.

Not talking about Plex or playing off a NAS drive, using DLNA, etc. Just connecting an external drive.
I'd love to know this as well--saw the USB 2.0 connectivity in the specs but no mention of it's capabilities. I was planning on picking up a Roku 3 for when we travel so I can bring a portable HDD full of media (no wifi at home vacation rental :() but if the Fire TV has this capability as well, I may lean towards it instead.
 
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RMXO

macrumors 6502a
Sep 1, 2009
875
41
Just checked the specs and two things really disappointed me: 10/100 ethernet and USB2. A gigabit and USB3 would of been nice but i guess they wanted to keep the pricing down. Not sure if I'm going to get this but its very tempting. Do love the fact that I can play android games on a big screen though and plus I have a Students Amazon Prime account. Movie streaming wise, I use a Samsung app on my PC that allows me to connect to my Samsung TV to stream my MKVs.
 

SlCKB0Y

macrumors 68040
Feb 25, 2012
3,139
197
Sydney, Australia
then better add the cost of the phone into the cost of ownership of the Chromecast--and don't fall back on the 'everyone has a smartphone' because they don't
Why would someone without a smartphone buy a Chromecast?

If Chromecast has 70+ supported apps, why does Google only list 16, same as those included in the actual Chromecast app. There may be more but people aren't going to go hunt them down on their own.
There's this: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=goko.gcs

If you consider this app as gaming for the Chromecast, you have very low gaming expectations, but technically, yes there is a gaming option. You also better put a checkmark under gaming on the Apple TV as I can AirPlay any game available on my TV and some offer additional control functionality (i.e. Real Racing).
Funny, I tried to play a game via airplay and it was pretty much unplayable due to the latency and lag. Amazing that it works for you.

Yes, you can cast using an extension in Chrome but performance is still inconsistent at best, there are minimum hardware requirements, and it requires you use your computer. Why not just go ahead and plug it in directly to your television. Oh, and add the cost of your computer into Chromecast ownership.
In the previous paragraph you minimise away a short-coming of Apple TV by saying you can use your computer to accomplish the task, then in the next paragraph complain that Chromecast requires a computer to use a feature and the cost of computer should be added on.

Does that mean the TCO of my AppleTV is $99 + $1500 for my Macbook Pro, or does that rule only apply to Google products?
 

tbayrgs

macrumors 604
Jul 5, 2009
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Why would someone without a smartphone buy a Chromecast?
Well, point is it's a prerequisite. If a consumer is contemplating getting any of these devices, it's a condition that must be met only for the Chromecast, so it must be considered.

And what if i'm not using an Android device?

Funny, I tried to play a game via airplay and it was pretty much unplayable due to the latency and lag. Amazing that it works for you.
Never actually said how it worked for me, just that's it's an option. I'm not the one touting a device as a gaming solution, just evening the playing field. The Apple TV is as much of a gaming device as the Chromecast is--and when compared to what the Fire TV is offering, both are poor substitutes.

In the previous paragraph you minimise away a short-coming of Apple TV by saying you can use your computer to accomplish the task, then in the next paragraph complain that Chromecast requires a computer to use a feature and the cost of computer should be added on.

Does that mean the TCO of my AppleTV is $99 + $1500 for my Macbook Pro, or does that rule only apply to Google products?
Really, you think I said that? Let's take a look at all of those previous paragraphs--you go ahead an point out to me where I said such a thing:

But you're doing the same thing, skewing it in favor of the Chromecast. The chart isn't incorrect regarding lack of a remote--if you consider the phone as the remote, then better add the cost of the phone into the cost of ownership of the Chromecast--and don't fall back on the 'everyone has a smartphone' because they don't, and a great deal that do don't use Android, further limiting it's functionality.
Nope, not there.

If Chromecast has 70+ supported apps, why does Google only list 16, same as those included in the actual Chromecast app. There may be more but people aren't going to go hunt them down on their own.
Can't seem to find it there either

And no, there is no voice search for Chromecast--the voice search is being handled by the phone and will not be restricted to only that which will function on the Chromecast. If those are your parameters, then Apple TV has voice search as well.
Still don't see it.

If you consider this app as gaming for the Chromecast, you have very low gaming expectations, but technically, yes there is a gaming option. You also better put a checkmark under gaming on the Apple TV as I can AirPlay any game available on my TV and some offer additional control functionality (i.e. Real Racing).
Looking, looking...

Must be a reading comprehension problem because here's the second incident of you misquoting something I'd said. I said no such thing, never mentioned using my computer to AirPlay to an Apple TV (Lloydbm41 did, I didn't), only mentioned I can use an external device as a gaming controller with the Apple TV if I choose to.

My point was that Lloydbm41's chart what incorrect in places or not taking into account the extra requirements needed for certain functionality. My post wasn't a pitch for the Apple TV--heck, I've acknowledged in numerous places the Roku (and now likely the Fire TV) are more versatile, full functional devices. I was only clarifying the Chromecast (which I own and use as well) isn't all he was making it out to be either.
 
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Lloydbm41

Suspended
Oct 17, 2013
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Central California
But you're doing the same thing, skewing it in favor of the Chromecast. The chart isn't incorrect regarding lack of a remote--if you consider the phone as the remote, then better add the cost of the phone into the cost of ownership of the Chromecast--and don't fall back on the 'everyone has a smartphone' because they don't, and a great deal that do don't use Android, further limiting it's functionality.

If Chromecast has 70+ supported apps, why does Google only list 16, same as those included in the actual Chromecast app. There may be more but people aren't going to go hunt them down on their own.
I'll leave you with these:
AllCast https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.koushikdutta.cast

And this announcement alone added over 60 channels to Chromecast: http://www.tomsguide.com/us/chromecast-vudu-crackle-rdio-playon,news-18538.html

JW PLayer just added to Chromecast: http://www.androidpolice.com/2014/04/03/embedded-web-video-provider-jw-player-adds-chromecast-support-to-its-platform/

If you consider this app as gaming for the Chromecast, you have very low gaming expectations, but technically, yes there is a gaming option. You also better put a checkmark under gaming on the Apple TV as I can AirPlay any game available on my TV and some offer additional control functionality (i.e. Real Racing).
Right now there are 20 games for Chromecast. If you would like to see them and what they entail, you are more than welcome to download the app 'Cast Store'. There is a dedicated games section to show all the Chromecast Games. I like QCast personally. Are they awesome games comparable to Angry Birds? I guess if Flappy Bird is considered a game, you are all set.

Yes, you can cast using an extension in Chrome but performance is still inconsistent at best, there are minimum hardware requirements, and it requires you use your computer. Why not just go ahead and plug it in directly to your television. Oh, and add the cost of your computer into Chromecast ownership.
Wrong. There are no minimum hardware requirements, nor the need for a PC. Nor is it a crappy experience. Hell, my lowly Chromebook can do this easily and the specs on it are less than many phones.

A shortcoming both you and the article fail to mention is the Chromecast doesn't offer dual band wifi. If I want to use the Chromecast, I have to move my device from my 5.0 GHz network to my 2.4 GHz wifi signal, else my phone/tablet/computer can't see the Chromecast. Another shortcoming--I don't believe you can cast simultaneiously to more than one Chromecast from the same phone--therefore you'll need a device for each one. Very often in our house the kids are watching something on one TV through the Apple TV while my wife and I watch something else on a different TV.
Not seeing your point here? You have 2 TV's, in different rooms watching different things? You need an Apple TV hooked up to each TV to see content. If I have 2 Chromecasts or 2 Roku's hooked up it's the same thing. Maybe I'm not understanding what you are trying to get at?

Take out all of the extraneous outside functionality and secondary devices and consider the capabilities of these devices on their own, because that's how a great many consumers use them. Do that and the Chromecast falls woefully short comparatively. It's a great little device if you have pretty narrow needs but stand alone, it doesn't match up (yet).
Okay, let's look at how much it would cost me to use an Apple TV. I need a PC or Mac with iTunes content. However, if I want Airplay, I NEED to have a 2012 or newer MacBook Pro or iMac. I then have to buy the Apple TV and a TV to play it on. What cost am I looking at here? A couple thousand dollars, just to ensure I have Airplay (and that assumes you buy a cheaper TV)?

Chromecast needs a TV and a phone. Total cost can be had for under $500 (buying the same cheap TV).

Additionally, the Chromecast SDK is open. Every single day the amount of apps and channels available expands. Given the choice between an ATV and a Chromecast, one is cheaper and allows for unlimited expansion and can be used on both Android and iOS. The other... well, it has an Apple logo.
 
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mattopotamus

macrumors G5
Jun 12, 2012
13,271
3,412
Did anyone get one of these yet? I know they would have shipped out yesterday for Prime users.
 

SolarShane

macrumors 6502
Mar 7, 2014
302
0
Well, planning on getting one for what Apple TV doesn't have, like The Next Generation. Not to mention access to thousands of movies and TV shows for $99 a year.

Together, ATV and AFTV complete the "Life after TV" entertainment experience.
 

tbayrgs

macrumors 604
Jul 5, 2009
6,548
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Wrong. There are no minimum hardware requirements, nor the need for a PC. Nor is it a crappy experience. Hell, my lowly Chromebook can do this easily and the specs on it are less than many phones.
Per Google:

The Google Cast extension is available on all platforms, including Chrome OS, Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. There are no specific hardware requirements in order to install or use the Google Cast extension.

However, casting video from a tab of your Chrome Browser has specific requirements depending on your chosen quality settings. Systems that do not meet these minimum requirements will be limited to projecting web pages, images and slideshows, and will not work well for video content. A strong Wi-Fi connection both on Chromecast and your computer is also required for good performance.
Not sure how they can say there are no hardware requirements in one sentence, and then follow it up with the second paragraph stating you're limited to minimal functionality unless you meet certain hardware requirements, followed by a table showing minimum hardware required.

There are still an awful lot of computers out there that fall below the minimum specs included in that table. And maybe specs changed as the last time I tried to install the Chrome extension in my Samsung Chromebook, I was advised it didn't meet minimum hardware required. I'll have to check again later.

EDIT: I retract my previous criticism here. Tried to use the cast extension in Chrome on my Samsung Chromebook and had no problem casting a couple of videos on YouTube. I believe it tops out at 720p but still had no stuttering or hiccups.

Not seeing your point here? You have 2 TV's, in different rooms watching different things? You need an Apple TV hooked up to each TV to see content. If I have 2 Chromecasts or 2 Roku's hooked up it's the same thing. Maybe I'm not understanding what you are trying to get at?
My point was if I'm using two Chromecasts at the same time, I need to have two separate devices (phone/tablet) to be able to do so, considering the Chromecast cannot play content on its own.

Okay, let's look at how much it would cost me to use an Apple TV. I need a PC or Mac with iTunes content. However, if I want Airplay, I NEED to have a 2012 or newer MacBook Pro or iMac. I then have to buy the Apple TV and a TV to play it on. What cost am I looking at here? A couple thousand dollars, just to ensure I have Airplay (and that assumes you buy a cheaper TV)?

Chromecast needs a TV and a phone. Total cost can be had for under $500 (buying the same cheap TV).
Why do I need a PC or Mac? You only need that if you wish to stream your own content locally. You don't need anything but an Apple ID, cost--$0. If you do want to use AirPlay, only need an iDevice, but again, don't need it to use the Apple TV . And buying a TV--come on, you're smarter than that. Every single one of these devices requires a TV to be played on so that cost is universal to every device discussed here.

Additionally, the Chromecast SDK is open. Every single day the amount of apps and channels available expands. Given the choice between an ATV and a Chromecast, one is cheaper and allows for unlimited expansion and can be used on both Android and iOS. The other... well, it has an Apple logo, and can be used without either an Android device or iOS.
Fixed that last line for you. ;)

Listen, I like the Chromecast, have one myself and comes in handy when I travel, far more portable device. And you're absolutely correct, it has tons of potential. It does however have some limitations that could exclude some consumers. It wouldn't work on its own for my family as none of my 3 kids or wife have an Android device. In fact, if I was starting fresh right now, I'd take a long hard look at the Fire TV as it already has support from the most popular apps (a bit surprised they allowed Netflix on the box), would allow us access to our media library via PLEX and mean I wouldn't have to use AirPlay to have access to Amazon Prime Instant Video. If I can play local content through a HDD connected to the USB port, will almost certainly pick one up.
 
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shinji

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Mar 18, 2007
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I'd love to know this as well--saw the USB 2.0 connectivity in the specs but no mention of it's capabilities. I was planning on picking up a Roku 3 for when we travel so I can bring a portable HDD full of media (no wifi at home vacation rental :() but if the Fire TV has this capability as well, I may lean towards it instead.
Looks like it does not play content off USB storage: http://www.amazon.com/review/R2K7TEJ80BC3YL/ref=cm_srch_res_rtr_alt_4

Not really sure what the point of the USB port is then. Maybe down the road.
 

tbayrgs

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Jul 5, 2009
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Frankied22

macrumors 68000
Nov 24, 2010
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Just a fyi, you don't need an Android device to use a Chromecast. You can use it with an iOS device as well. It all just works through whatever app you are casting. I use a 5S and I use it with my Chromecast daily.
 

cynics

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Jan 8, 2012
11,369
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Funny, I tried to play a game via airplay and it was pretty much unplayable due to the latency and lag. Amazing that it works for you.

With a good network set up you can achieve a lower latency via Airplay then you can with an iPhone 5+ lightning hdmi adapter. Not as low as the 30 pin connector on legacy devices though.

I don't do any serious gaming but use it a lot to extend my iMac display and it's perfectly acceptable.

Albeit it requires a good network. Before I got my AirPort Extreme it was pretty crummy.