Streaming devices have grown in popularity in recent years.
The Apple TV was one of the first devices to come into the market, but there have been a number of launches in recent years. Amazon came out with its own streaming device, Fire TV, a few months ago. This device will be in direct competition with the Apple TV in every aspect.
In terms of design, both these products are extremely well-made and beautiful to look at. In many ways, they are similar in terms of philosophies. Apple TV is very simple with a boxy design that has been replicated on the Fire TV. Unlike streaming sticks like Chromecast, these devices offer full-fledged entertainment control through a physical remote. The remote on the Apple TV is based on the IR technology and it needs to be in direct line of sight to work, whereas the Fire TV remote need not be in the line of sight.
The Apple TV becomes an essential device for all those who have a number of Apple gadgets. The device synchronizes very well with Apple devices like the iPad and iPhone. It is easy to stream content using the Apple TV. The Fire TV, on the other hand, provides excellent support to Amazon devices like Kindle, but since Amazon does not have a large device ecosystem like that of Apple, it may not be particularly useful.
Amazon Fire TV is badly let down by the user interface that ties most of the popular content through the Amazon Prime Instant Video. Users who prefer the likes of Netflix may feel let down by the user interface of the Fire TV. The Prime Instant Video results are given more priority in search results and that may disappoint many. The Apple TV excels in this regard, but it may feel a little less equipped in terms of video content when compared with the industry leaders like Roku.
One of the advantages of the Fire TV is its ability to act as a gaming platform. One can turn this device into a perfect gaming companion by the addition of just a gaming controller, which costs $40. Even though it may not be a rival for the PS4, it certainly is an advantage to have rather than not have it. Apple TV does not offer this feature. The Fire TV also offers support to voice search, while it is absent on the Apple TV. In fact, the Fire TV is the only popular streaming device to support voice search.
Performance is more than adequate on the Fire TV due to its quad core processor. Even though the Apple TV employs only a single core processor, it is not a hindrance. Memory is also substantial on the Fire TV with 2 GB of compared to the 512 MB present in the Apple TV. The latter supports gaming only through AirPlay whereas the Fire TV comes with support for more than 100 games. Amazon also claims that there are more than 1000 games coming on the way. Both products cost $99.
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