With the Fire TV, Amazon has finally entered the battle for living room dominance.
However, the field is crowded with Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku 3. The first two are in a league of their own, and it seems that Amazon’s prime competitor is Roku 3. With several media services, Amazon is well equipped to present a worthy opponent in the field.
Design of the Devices
Amazon’s Fire TV is a tad larger than Roku 3 (dimensions 4.5 x 4.5 x 0.7 vs 3.5 x 3.5 x 1). Both devices come with a remote control, and the one for Fire TV can be controlled by voice, while users can control Roku using motion. Amazon has more powerful processor (quad-core vs dual core), which translates in better power and performances. Both devices can screen 1080p video resolution. One advantage of Fire TV is the opportunity to add game controller.
Available content is the most important factor when choosing a streaming media box. Fire TV comes equipped with streaming options like Netflix, Hulu and Instant Video and applications like Youtube, Crackle, WatchESPN, Pandora and more. At the moment, Amazon’s box has 165 available programs and applications. Compared to 1000+ on Roku 3, that is way too low. Roku has around 100 games, and combined with the motion remote control, it offers an experience like no other. Roku also offers a wide range of channels, with more than 150 movies and TV channels, 100 music, 66 sports and lots of other channels. With Roku 3, users can search all channels for content, no matter if the channel is with subscription or free. It is extremely easy to use and quick. While Roku 3 offers more content, Amazon’s selection of games focuses more on quality (more than 100 Android games). Another downside is Roku’s games are not fully featured. Equipped with its quad-core processor, there is no lag or whatsoever on Amazon Fire TV.
Roku 3 and Fire TV can connect via Ethernet or dual-band Wi-Fi connections. The speed they offer for streaming content is excellent. With Roku 3, you can stream photos, videos and music from any mobile device you have. Fire TV, can connect with your Kindle Fire and mirror the content. Additionally, you can combine Kindle Fire and Fire TV for a second screen experience.
Both devices come at $99. However, you can get many features on Roku 3 for just $50 using the streaming stick. With Fire TV, you can add game controller for additional $39.
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