What are the advantages of Apple TV over Amazon Fire Stick

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by marc55, Jun 2, 2019.

  1. marc55, Jun 2, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019

    marc55 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2011
    Looking to cut the cord, and would like to know what are the advantages of Apple TV over Amazon Fire Stick?

    We have three TV's.

    Insight appreciated

    Thank you!

    **EDIT**, we plan to use it to watch Netflix, Hulu Plus Live, and PBS Passport
  2. techwarrior macrumors 65816


    Jul 30, 2009
    I have never used Fire products, but have seen a number of reports the Fire Stick is underpowered and there are lags.

    If you are into the Apple ecosystem, Macs and iOS devices interact seamlessly with ATV. The ATV4k is perhaps the most powerful streaming box out there. This presumably means it will serve you well into the future.

    One nice feature is, you can have all three ATVs sync their home screens so they look identical, even auto download apps installed on other ATV in your home.

    Is it perfect? No. But hopefully Apple continues to work on the imperfections. For instance, when you authenticate an app on one ATV, you have to repeat on the others, would be really nice if authentication were tied to iCloud account and auto-authenticate on other devices. Also, a fast user switcher capability would be nice. If you have multiple iCloud users in the home, it would be nice to be able to switch accounts so the favorite channels, photos, etc would appear.
  3. Mthrash macrumors newbie


    Jun 10, 2015

    I would echo everything that techwarrior said.

    I have a few AppleTV’s and two Fire Sticks. My FS’ are the originals so, yes, they are slow/laggy in the menu screen.

    The one thing that I wanted to put out there that I really like about them is that they have a browser so when I travel for work, I take the Fire Stick, and I just plug in to the hotel TV and connect to WiFi through the splash page and now I can watch streaming TV, etc.

    Wish the ATV could do that easily. As for home though, I never use the FS, only the ATV’s.
  4. nburwell macrumors 601


    May 6, 2008
    @techwarrior is spot on with his post. We have three ATV’s in the house and all play perfectly together with our Mac’s and iOS devices.

    I haven’t personally used Fire Stick, but I have heard good things about them. As @Mthrash mentioned, the FS is easier to use and connect if you’re traveling.

    But for me, I usually just use my iPad to stream when I travel.
  5. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

    Feb 9, 2009
    The difference is chalk and cheese. The Fire Stick is a product from a company that exists to 'buy them cheap and sell them cheap' and that's it. The Apple TV is basically designed by a company that produces the best hardware and software in the world used at a professional level.
    The Apple TV uses pro grade components and is a pleasure to use year after year. It's a long term product - you on't throw it away one or two years later. It gets top security updates frequently. Apple cares about its tvOS as much as they do with iOS and you get bet that it gets a software update every 4 to 6 weeks. It just works. It's auto frame rate feature is beautiful as is its UI. If you own an iPhone and buy / rent film from iTunes, the Apple TV is the boss!
    I enjoy life very much and I'm constantly on the go. I won't tolerate tech that doesn't work as it should or has buggy software or poor / cheap design or would cause stress - for me a product that I select has to perform 100% 24/7 365 and for that, the Apple TV does a highly polished job. It's one of Apple's finest designs along with iPhone & MacBook Pro. Simple as that.
  6. Abazigal macrumors G4


    Jul 18, 2011
    Integration with your other Apple products, I would imagine. For instance, it has Apple Music, iTunes, iCloud Photo Library, AirPlay, the WWDC app and upcoming support for Apple Arcade.
  7. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Where to start.

    My breakdown

    • Roku Ultra - packed with goodness and easy to use front end.
    • Nvidia Shield TV - kind of like the Android counterpart to ATV but far more powerful, flexible and think of it as a gamer console that doubles as a very high end 4k media streamer (as well as local files). It also handles Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime along with other sources for movies/tv shows. Drawback is a bit clunky front end menu system but somewhat customizable.
    • ATV - great item that was designed to be a front end to Apple's iTune offerings - rent/buy movies, tv shows, music etc. Being Apple, it handles other Apple relative connectivity (Airplay and more).
    • Amazon Fire top two products - powerful enough but the other offerings here are simply better performers.

    Here are typical comparisons (not technical) -



    I am one of those folks that ends up putting these into friend's homes. I admit to putting in ATV often enough for those who find it meets their needs as related to their investment into movies, tv shows and such from Apple. For those more open to other services, Roku is by far preferred and for those who get their geek on such as kids who do gaming and parents who want to watch movies and more - the Nvidia is the way to go as it is the most powerful of the bunch. I don't think one could go wrong with any of these three but best to figure out what you are trying to accomplish. I find for myself that the Nvidia is to my liking because its playback of 1080p and Ultra HD is better than the other two for local files which I have a fairly large library.
  8. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    The ATV4K is the best streaming box imo. I own a few different one, but I have been a long time ATV fan.

    ATV4K Advantages:

    1. Apple ecosystem
    - If you are already in, this just makes things easier and better when compared to a Firestick.

    2. Power
    - The ATV4K is very powerful, way more than it needs to be for just streaming. The Firestick's UI is slow, and laggy, but is perfectly fine once you select the content you want to watch.

    - I would get the ATV4K over the slightly cheaper ATVHD (ATV4), with the A8 chip, the ATVHD was underpowered at launch imo, and is overpriced for what you are getting when the ATV4K is just slightly more expensive.

    3. IR
    - All Apple TVs have built-in IR, which is nice if you want to use a different remote than the one it comes with. Many people prefer one remote for all, and having IR can help you get there. The Firestick does not have IR.

    4. Apps
    - There are a crap load of apps for the tvOS, and not just streaming apps, but games, entertainment, education, shopping, and others. I wish there was better quality games, and the ATV4K is capable of having them, but that haste really taken off yet.

    5. AirPlay
    - Airplay works great on the ATV, and while it is nice to have native apps rather than AirPlaying it, it is nice that it is an option if you need it.

    ATV4K Disadvantages:

    1. Price
    - Probably the biggest disadvantage, for many people that own an ATV4K, it ends up being an overpowered and overpriced Netflix and HBO streaming box. There are many other devices that can streaming Netflix almost as well for a lot less money.

    - That fact is that you can buy many Firesticks for the price of one ATV4K. If you just plan on doing basic streaming, there are other devices that are much cheaper.

    2. Siri Remote
    - Love it or hate it, there is a slight learning curve. It is missing a D-Pad, and in place is a touchpad that can make things difficult. I have been using it since the launch of the ATV4 in 2015, but it still annoys me sometimes.

    - The design of it is a little strange. Even with the changes on the ATV4K, I still pick it up the wrong way. It is easy to lose, and is partially made of glass, so be careful not to drop it.

    - If you plan on doing gaming, just get a capable controller, because unless it is a one click game, using the Siri Remote sucks.

    - The Firestick has a more traditional style, other than not being capable of IR, and is much more natural to use.

    3. Missing features
    - Browser for one, but some other things that are missing features like unable to Airplay a FaceTime call in widescreen, find my remote, unable to store media locally, no offlline viewing, no access to iTunes content offline even home movies or stuff you encoded yourself.... Just to name a few.

    - The missing features from above, the Firestick is unable to do some of those things too, but when the ATV4K is priced where it is, I expect simple features like the ones I mentioned.

    4. Bugs
    - The bugs have gotten a lot better since the launch of the tvOS, but there are still some annoying ones. It seems like to me, they are worse on the ATV4 than the ATV4K, maybe this is due to the underpowered A8 on the ATV4.

    I am sure I am missing some things, if I think of something I will mention it.

    You are talking about a lot of money if you get 3 ATVs, maybe consider getting an ATV4K for your main used TV, and Firesticks for the rest. You can always buy more ATVs later if you end up preferring them.
  9. jetjaguar macrumors 68030


    Apr 6, 2009
    The shield is a great device. Super powerful and you can pretty much anything on it. Downfalls are no dolby vision support. Also the apps like Hulu and everything dont get updated often and often lag behind.
    I mainly use the apple tv now because of dolby vision support .. atmos .. etc. Also always has the updated versions of all the apps unlike the shield.

    I also have a firestick that I mainly use for kodi. I wish there was a easy way to install kodi on the apple tv .. then it would be all I use.
  10. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    I use Kodi with an old Mac Mini (Linux Mint distro) and on an NVidia Shield TV. Always a pleasure to use and especially with guests who are impressed.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 2, 2019 ---
    A fast look up provides the following (and recall that N Shield does support HDR10)

    The difference is that HDR10 is an open-standard and non-proprietary while Dolby Vision requires license and fee from Dolby. While Dolby Vision is currently capable of producing a better image quality, there are no TVs that could take full advantage of what it provides as opposed to HDR10.
  11. marc55 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2011
    Thanks for the responses guys.

    I should have noted that we only plan to use it to watch Netflix, Hulu Plus Live, and PBS Passport

  12. winstars macrumors regular

    Dec 10, 2015
    With the ATV 4k, the....
    Oh, never mind then...

  13. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    If this is all the apps that you would use, and you are pretty sure that you will never get into other apps or games, I would just go with the Fire Stick.

    Of course the ATV4K would be better, but if you are needing 3 devices, one per TV, then I would just go with the much cheaper Fire Stick.

    Look at it this way, a brand new 32GB ATV4K is $180, a brand new Fire Stick 4K is $50. You can get 3 Fire Sticks for the price of one ATV4K, and still have $30 left over. Amazon Prime day will be coming up soon, last year they were half off, so you might be able to get all three for $75 if you wait.

    If you wanted to give the ATv a try, you could go with one ATV4K for your main used TV, and the much cheaper Fire Stick for the other two.

    Another option is getting a brand new TV for some of your rooms. For the price of an ATV4K, you can get a smaller sized new Smart TV.

    If you end up getting one or more ATV4K, they sometimes are on Apple's Refurbished page, but only about $30 off. They currently only have the ATV HD, but I would not recommend the ATV HD over the ATV4K, it is way over priced for what you get and for its potential.
  14. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

    Feb 9, 2009
    After seeing the incredible WWDC today, the Apple Tv is gaining multiple users switching. Now, if you have three of these in your house, this feature may prove wonderful over time. You may in time find that you'd love to rent or buy the latest film from iTunes that's in 4K Dolby Vision with Atmos surround sound.

    View the Apple TV 4K as a long term investment that will allow upgrades as your viewing habits change over time. You may find that you enjoy watching family videos or photos from your iPhone to the big screen or playing your phones content wirelessly on the big screen etc.

    Whatever you decide on, I hope that it gives you joy and inspiration every time that you use it.
  15. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    Multiple user support is huge for me, and has been on my tvOS wishlist for a long time now.

    But, considering the OP just uses 3 apps, and Netflix isn't even support by the TV app, I don't think that having multiple user support would have that much of an impact.

    I agree that the ATV4K would be an investment, and the OP would probably be happy with it. I just question the ROI of having an ATV4K on all three TVs when the OP only uses 3 apps.

    The ATV4K rocks when compared to the Fire Stick, but it would be like getting an expensive luxury performance car just to make a grocery run every two weeks when a Jetta would be almost as good for the task.
  16. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

    Feb 9, 2009
    Great points buddy but don't forget, Netflix costs the same each month whether you watch it on a crapy low performing device or a top quality one :)

    I'm super excited by the Multiple user support as my flatmates are all Mac/iPhone/iTunes/Apple Music users PLUS we all stay in a different city at weekends and sign into our pals Apple TV 4K there too. Truly awesome.
  17. mig0 macrumors member

    Nov 24, 2012
    Personally I find that the apple tv remote (was it changed for the 4k model) is awful. I tried it with directv now last year and struggled with precise control over channel changing and couldn't imagine trying to convince my extremely tech adverse father to use this (he struggles with "tiny buttons" as it is).
  18. archer75 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2005
    The ATV4k gives you atmos in netflix if that matters to you.

    I have owned or still own just about every streaming device out there and have built several HTPC's over the years. The device I use the most is easily, hands down, the ATV4k. And I don't buy any content from apple and don't use itunes and I still think it's the best for most people.

    I also own a Nvidia shield but I ONLY use that for 4k where I want Atmos/DTS:X which is pretty rare because I also use my oppo 203 for that which has better image quality.
  19. 2010mini macrumors 601

    Jun 19, 2013
    If you are just using it for the aforementioned apps, consider just using the native apps on your tv if available.
  20. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    I agree.

    I assumed that the OP's TVs were not Smart TVs, or that they didn't have the apps required. That is why I suggested maybe looking for a new Smart TV, as some are priced around the same as an ATV4K.

    IDK, Netflix does have tiers according to streaming quality and number of simulations streams.

    If an user is looking for better value over quality, they could save a lot getting a HD Netflix subscription with an Amazon Fire Stick over getting an ATV4K with a 4K Netflix sub.

    Even with quality taken in account, I think the Netflix streams on the built-in Roku on my TCL 6 series is better than the Netflix app on the ATV.

    Outside of the Netflix app, the UI is horrible on the Roku, but once in the app, it is as good or better than the ATV4K version.

    Yea, this is one of the most disappointing things about the ATV to me (HW wise). There are things I like about it, like scrubbing and Siri, but overall, a disappointment.

    Not really, other than adding a white circle around the menu button. It still sucks.
  21. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    I recall reading of recent that Netflix is going to be charging more for "multi use" which I gather means playing on different devices at once. You may want to investigate.
  22. Beelzbub macrumors 6502

    Feb 6, 2012
    Having a FireTV (same OS as a Fire Stick), a Roku and an Apple TV, I would either go with an Apple TV or a Roku for cord cutting. The Fire OS lacks in apps, for example, YouTube TV. I know you mentioned Hulu, but lets say you want to try YouTube TV later on, that won't run on a Fire Stick.

    I cut the cord last year, I use an Apple TV 4K in my family room, an Apple TV 4 in my bedroom, a Roku in the guest bedroom and another spare bedroom for YouTube TV and I also use an Apple TV 2 & 3 in the guest bedroom and spare bedroom because Netflix still works perfectly on them and you can still play all the movies in our iTunes collection as well as rent movies.

    Good luck, hope you enjoy cord cutting, I know I do.
  23. macbookpro13 macrumors member

    Feb 6, 2010
    Apple TV is more polished. The FTV 4K stick actually runs really fast, just as smooth as my ATV 4K, and I haven't noticed any difference in picture quality. UI on the FTV also looks nice but it is also basically a giant billboard for Amazon stuff. I don't subscribe to Prime and I really don't won't my entire home page to be a splash screen for Amazon's latest trashy TV series.

    Right now ATV has iTunes movies but that will obviously change soon. Youtube apps are also coming to the FTV soon, which is the biggest deficiency right now. I prefer the FTV remote as well (no power button on ATV). Otherwise there really isn't much that separates the two and both are easily the best streaming devices on the market. The Roku is garbage IMO. Even the latest one is sluggish and the entire device, from hardware to UI, looks like something from 1999. I returned it immediately.

    I have the ATV 4K for my main display (Sony A9F OLED) but bought the FTV 4K stick for my bedroom LG B6 OLED. The ATV is just too expensive to buy a second one. I was able to get the FTV for $35, it was a no brainer really.
  24. Jwpyle3 macrumors newbie


    Jan 7, 2019
    Lutz, FL USA

    I like the Fire TV pretty much. I have 3 Fire Sticks and a Toshiba 50" 4K Fire TV, an Apple TV and Apple TV 4K. I really love the Toshiba Fire TV and it was $300 on Amazon. The Apple TV 4K 32GB is $179.

    Fire TV has ads for shows and Amazon products. I can even use the Fire TV remote to control the devices hooked to the TV, not with voice just the buttons on it. It is pretty much the same voice remote that Amazon sells with the stand alone Fire TV and Fire Sticks. The Apple touch remote sucks so bad, in my opinion.

    As for being able to access your Apple media, Apple has announced that there is an Apple TV app coming for Fire TV soon, but I think you will only be able to watched your purchased movies and tv shows. I've never used the photos app on the Apple TV and there is not a very large selection of Apps to purchase.

    Also if you setup the Movies Anyware (its a web site and app) you can watch most movies you purchase on Apple or Fire TV on the other one. Not all studios are on there and it doesn't work with TV shows.

    Over all I like my Fire TV better and when the Apple TV app is available I don't see a need for my Apple TV anymore.

  25. Beelzbub macrumors 6502

    Feb 6, 2012
    I have the same TV and use the remote to control my Apple TV 4K hooked up to it. This will sound strange, but back when I had DirecTV Now, even though the Amazon Fire TV had the app for it, the picture quality looked better when accessing DTVN through the Apple TV. I no longer use DTVN and now use YouTube TV, and just use the Apple TV for everything.

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