Every living room is equipped with a TV and every home owner would want a set-top box to receive and decode digital television broadcasts. But with so many products on the market it’s hard to choose the right one and 2014 seems to be a good year for Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Roku and Amazon Fire TV, but we’re focusing our attention on Apple and Amazon, listing their specs and features in order to pick a winner.
Let’s start by saying that the Amazon Fire TV runs better with the Qualcomm Krait 300 quad core 1.7GHz processor and 2GB of RAM, while the Apple TV features a single core Apple 5 (ARM Cortex-A9) processor and has 512MB of RAM. As for the internal storage, both support 8GB. The Fire TV runs on Mojito 3.0, a customized version based on 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, while Apple TV operates on iOS 7.1.2. Both of the set top boxes have a built-in 6 W battery.
Sizes and connectivity
The Fite TV measures 115x115x17.5mm and weights 281grams, while the Apple TV is smaller, measuring 99x99x23mm, and it weights 270grams. Both of the devices support 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Ethernet and Bluetooth 4.0, (Amazon Fire TV supports USB as well. Also, both of the players offer HDMI, but only Fire TV is CEC compatible, and the output video resolution is 1080p.
Content and Channels
While the Apple TV offers tons of movies and TV shows on iTunes, the Fire TV is backed by Amazon Instant Video. The difference is that on Apple TV you’ll have to buy/rent shows individually, while the Fire TV offers an Amazon Prime subscription worth 99 dollars per year and you’ll get every show for free.
The most important channels streamed by Apple TV are Netflix, YouTube and Hulu, but it lacks BBC iPlayer and obviously, Amazon Instant Video. Fire TV, on the other hand, has, besides the given names, Crackle, Vevo, WatchESPN, Pandora and lacks HBO GO. What we noticed is that both players don’t stream some specific UK channels.
With Fire TV, you can play Minecraft-Pocket Edition, The Game of Life, Asphalt 8 and Sev Zero, which was developed by the company itself. But there are other games under development as well, and Amazon is collaborating with Disney, Mojang, Ubisoft and other game developers. Amazon created a Game Controller which is sold separately and it’s similar to an Xbox controller.
What games does Apple TV bring? The ones that can be played via AirPlay and to be honest, we’re not recommending you to try playing on a non tactile touchscreen. Plus, you’ll experience playback lag.
Apple TV has a good-looking aluminum remote, while Fire TV has a bulkier remote with voice search, featuring a built-in microphone. To search something, press the voice button and say the name of the movie.
Apple TV costs 99 dollars or 99 British pounds in the UK. The same pricing goes for the Fire TV, as well. Actually, in the UK is not available yet, but we’re hoping that it will happen next year.
And the winner is….
… the Amazon Fire TV! And let us remind you why it’s a better deal: the voice control, the many games you’re able to play using Amazon’s Game Controller, plus the quad core processor along with the bigger RAM capacity that embarrass the Apple TV.
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