Today we’re looking at the Apple TV 4K and the Amazon Fire Stick 4K. While I love almost everything about the Apple TV, I also love feeding my kids….
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Let’s jump into the Apple TV 4K and the Amazon Fire Stick 4K!
How much does it cost?
– Apple TV 4K for $160-170 depending on retailer ($200 at Apple.com!) or about $130-140 for non 4K
– Amazon Fire Stick 4K is $50, or the cube for $120
So, which to compare? Intuitively, you might want to compare the most expensive options from each, since they’re naturally the best, right? So the Apple TV 4K versus the Amazon Fire Cube? Well… hold your horses.
The closest comparison is actually between the Apple TV 4K and the Fire Stick 4K. Which, as we just noted, isn’t a comparison at all, if you’re just talking about price: $50 for the Fire Stick 4K, $160 for the Apple TV 4K. All you math people already figured this out- but that’s more than THREE TIMES the cost for the Apple device. Unsurprising, given it’s an Apple device.
So if price is all you care about, problem solved! Go with the Amazon device. If not, keep watching.
The next thing to think about is which ecosystem you want to live in. Once you plug in one of these devices, some of your future decisions are made for you.
If I utilize the voice search feature on the Apple TV to rent a movie, it will send me to iTunes to make that purchase. Conversely, the Fire Stick will send me to Amazon Prime to make the same rental. Yes, there are workarounds to this, but these devices are designed to work most smoothly and easily within their own ecosystems. So if you want to get the most from your Apple TV? Then you better be an Apple fan or a new willing convert. And same goes for the Fire TV.
Next to consider is available apps. But these devices have a ton of different apps, right? So which one has the better apps? Well, I think we’re pretty even here. Most of us are using a streaming box to access the big stuff: Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, etc. And both players perform that function well. Scratching the surface a bit, both of the devices do a pretty good job at gaming as well, with remotes that let you play great looking games with simple controls. You can even install a game emulator/bluetooth controller to play classic NES or SNES games.
When it comes to apps and daily functionality, the Apple TV wins out, thanks to the TV app on the Apple TV. The TV app is the simplified, Apple-ified version of something I wanted for quite a while: it pulls together your content from various apps like Hulu, ESPN+, HBO, Starz, even Amazon Prime. It lets you see everything in one place. The Watch Now tab will pull all of the stuff you’re in the middle of watching and put it into one list that you can see across devices, including your phone, tablet, or pc.
While we’re on the subject of apps, the new Apple TV+ service that’s scheduled to come out later this year. We’ll have to see how that does when it comes out, but for now I think it’s safe to say that it will work best on an Apple TV.
The last thing I think Apple TV wins out is the remote. Both remotes are good, don’t get me wrong. I actually prefer the clickable circle of the Fire TV remote over the trackpad on the Apple TV remote.
The Apple TV remote has the little microphone button on it that not only lets you issue commands to Siri, it also lets you dictate email addresses and passwords. So you don’t have to hunt and peck every time you need to log into something.
This is especially helpful during the initial setup phase, but it comes in handy a lot even after that. Now, with either the Apple TV or the Fire TV, you can always connect your phone and just use it for its keyboard. But the convenience of pressing a single button on your remote to take care of that is one of my absolute favorite things about the Apple TV.
So, there are a couple areas where I think the Apple TV pulls ahead a bit. But for the most part, both are great devices. They’re easy to use, 4K HDR, etc. While I love the Apple TV, it’s hard for me to get past the price. For the majority of streamers out there, I would recommend the $50 Fire Stick 4K over the $160 Apple TV 4K. But if I’m talking to an Apple superuser, then I think the Apple TV has some cross functionality, like with the TV app, that makes it a no-brainer.
There are a hundred other areas I COULD address. If there are other things that you love or hate about these devices hit the comments and let me know.
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