On-demand streaming services have become more and more popular. With a small device like Amazon Fire Stick or Apple TV, you can get the access to various entertainment programs, movies, and radio channels. So, between Amazon Fire Stick vs Apple TV, which one is better? Find out below!
Continue reading if you want to learn more about:
- Which streaming device that is easier to set up and to use
- The hardware and connectivity features
- The available channels and apps on each streaming device
- Which platform that is better for gaming
- Which one that has better integration with other devices
- The video quality of Amazon Fire Stick vs Apple TV
- Which streaming device that is better for the money
Even though some people still prefer collecting DVDs due to some reasons, we can’t ignore the fact that the digital tides are turning. Physical media is no longer as popular as before. A lot of people have opted to switch from DVD players to mini streaming devices that can unlock various on-demand streaming services to their televisions.
One advantage that these mini streaming devices offer is the utterly compact size. While a DVD player can easily eat up a whole rack, a streaming device like Amazon Fire Stick only needs to be attached to the HDMI port of the TV. It has a size roughly similar to a typical flash drive. According to TechRadar, the dimensions are 85.9mm x 30.0mm x 12.6mm. This is very convenient, especially if you have a limited space in your room.
In order to control the streaming device, Amazon Fire Stick comes with a handy remote control. The design is very nice, simple, and intuitive. There aren’t many buttons on it, and you can hold it comfortably with just a single hand. On the top, there is the voice command button. Under the circular pad, there are buttons for the menu, home, back, play/pause, forward, and backward.
On the other hand, Apple TV is bigger. Well, it is still much smaller than a DVD player, but the thick rectangular shape does not really allow you to just hang the unit on the HDMI port of the TV. You want to place it on a flat surface, such as a table, or mount it on the wall. As you can see, Apple TV is not as compact and portable as Amazon Fire Stick, so the placement is a little bit tricky.
The streaming device doesn’t have on-board controls, which is fine. But it has several connection ports, which we will discuss further later. You also get a nice remote control with Apple TV. The remote control is thicker, but still easy to hold. There are buttons for the menu, home, voice command, play/pause, and volume increase and decrease.
The design is also minimalistic, but Apple TV’s remote doesn’t feel as intuitive as Amazon Fire Stick’s. This is probably because of the button layout. Nevertheless, after some time, you can get used to it without any further problem. (Read also : Google Chromecast vs Apple TV)
Now, we are going to compare the hardware features of Amazon Fire Stick vs Apple TV. What we should not forget is that Amazon Fire Stick is available at a much lower price point than Apple TV. So, we can’t really expect them to come with hardware features of equivalent levels.
Amazon Fire Stick is very interesting because it is already armed with a dual-core processor and 8 GB memory. They are pretty good. The unit can operate quite smoothly and quickly.
Note that after connecting the dongle to the HDMI port and also setting up the USB connection, the remote control will automatically pairs with streaming device. However, there is another option. You can just download the Amazon Fire TV app to your Android, iOS, or Amazon mobile device so that you can control the unit by using the said device.
On the other hand, Apple TV comes with a single-core processor and 32 GB memory. The single-core processor can benefit a lot from an upgrade. Well, it doesn’t show any problem when just showing a channel. However, the processing speed is rather slow. You may notice this when opening dual-screen apps and games.
Nevertheless, the installation process of Apple TV is also straightforward. You just need to connect the streamer to the HDMI port of your TV. Afterwards, select the appropriate language, and connect it to your home’s Wi-Fi network.
Things are even easier if you have an iPhone or iPad. Simply touching your iOS device to the streamer will transfer the Wi-Fi settings by using the NFC technology. No fumbling with a keyboard or remote required. This is certainly a very nice feature that can save you a lot of time.
Amazon Fire Stick vs Apple TV come with very different connectivity features. Before making a decision, make sure that the product that you want to buy actually has the connection ports that you need.
Amazon Fire Stick is a very simple device. It is designed like a typical flash drive, and is meant to be attached directly to your TV’s HDMI port. In addition, it also has a USB port, but this is only for power. You have to connect it to a power source in order to use it, and there isn’t any other connection port.
For connectivity to other devices, Amazon Fire Stick relies on the built-in dual-band dual-antenna 802.11n Wi-Fi. Although it doesn’t support the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology, the wireless connectivity is already fast enough for completely smooth performance. In real world, you won’t really notice the difference between 802.11n and 802.11ac. So, as long as the connection is good, you should be able to stream multimedia content at 1080p without any issue.
If you have specific connectivity requirements that involve an Ethernet port, Apple TV may be a better choice. As mentioned above, this product offers some on-board connection ports. It has one 10/100 Mbps Ethernet port, which is handy if you need to stream the content using a cable connection. In addition, Apple TV supports Bluetooth 4.0 for the included remote. It also comes with an infrared (IR) receiver.
Apple TV comes with the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard with MIMO support, which enables the unit to transfer multiple data streams. We certainly think that this technology allows Apple TV to stream content at a higher speed – which is certainly true. However, the difference from Amazon Fire Stick is not a very dramatic one.
Mobile Streaming and Gaming
Nowadays, it is important for a TV streamer to also be able to take stuff from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop to be displayed on the big screen. This is an innovative feature that will allow you to accomplish various activities by taking advantage of your TV’s large screen. And, of course, this is also beneficial for gaming.
Amazon Fire Stick is very nice in this aspect because it does not force you to stick with a particular ecosystem. Even though you are using a TV streamer from Amazon, you don’t have to use a Fire smartphone or Fire HDX tablet in order to benefit from the mobile streaming and gaming capabilities (but they are obviously very much supported). Most devices that are running Android 4.2 or higher are also compatible.
So, Amazon Fire Stick is very flexible and versatile. With this device, you can mirror the screen of your Android smartphone or tablet on the TV. Unfortunately, the native gaming offerings of Amazon Fire Stick are limited. It only gives you a number of basic Android games, the likes of Crossy Road and Minecraft: Pocket Edition.
How about Apple TV? Well, being a product of the Apple company, it is certainly compatible with iPad, iPhone, and iTouch. So, if you have been working with several Apple devices, choosing Apple TV for your streaming device can complement your environment very nicely. Mirroring your iOS or Mac devices on your TV will be very easy and seamless.
AirPlay will turn your Apple TV into a gateway of all your music, videos, and photos stored in your iOS and Mac devices. Furthermore, by taking advantage of the home sharing feature, users can rent or buy content from the iTunes store and stream them across the network.
Even though Apple TV is still far from being powerful enough to disturb PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in the gaming market, you should note that this streaming device is armed with the impressive A8 chip. It can give you access to a big library of games which have been specially designed for the television screen.
You can download any game title just like you don on iPhone and iPad. Afterwards, you can play them using the Apple TV remote control, which is equipped with a touchpad, accelerometer, and gyrometer to give you an immersive and captivating gaming experience.
Channels and Apps
If we compare the available channels and apps, we can see that Amazon Fire Stick vs Apple TV come with slightly different approaches. It goes without saying that Amazon Fire Stick is focused towards Amazon Prime. On the other hand, Apple TV includes great apps for movies and music.
Amazon Fire Stick has put a heavy emphasis on its own services. In order to benefit the most from this TV streamer, you have to be an Amazon Prime subscriber. If you are already one, you will be able to enjoy unlimited streaming from the Prime library. There are many, many movies and TV programs available. Furthermore, Amazon Fire Stick also supports voice commands through Alexa.
Still, don’t forget that Amazon Fire Stick does allow you to install some third-party apps, such as Netflix, Demand 5, and BBC iPlayer. So, you can still access popular third-party content regardless of whether you are a Prime subscriber or not.
There is also Kodi, which is an open-source software application that allows its users to stream from the Internet, watch from local media, and play games. You can install Kodi on Amazon Fire Stick. One big advantage that Kodi offers is that it isn’t restrained back by a curated app store or licensing, so you can literally watch anything you want and download whatever you like from the community-made apps.
Apple TV, on the other hand, is not just an extension of your smartphone. It functions as a separate unit, so it does not rely on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. It has a variety of apps, and the number is great. You can certainly enjoy a wide range of content.
Notable examples include Netflix, Red Bull TV, and Sky’s Now TV. Furthermore, this streaming device is also tied to the vast iTunes service, which has many offers for quick rentals and purchasable content.
Apple TV also comes with Siri integration, which is very nice. It will allow you to command the unit by your voice. Controlling the unit with voice commands feels very intuitive and convenient. It will add up to your smart home experience, as your TV suddenly appears to be more intelligent.
Between Amazon Fire Stick vs Apple TV, which one does have better video quality? Well, the difference, if any, is not noticeable. Both Amazon Fire Stick and Apple TV support a maximum resolution of 1080p Full HD. With this resolution, you can already enjoy detailed images with good, accurate colors.
If you want to enjoy 4K content, you have to upgrade to Amazon Fire TV or the new Apple TV 4K. However, these models are more expensive.
The sound quality is also similar, as both Amazon Fire Stick and Apple TV support Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 Surround Sound. So, you can already enjoy amazing surround performance from your home theater system with either streaming device.
Fire Stick vs Apple TV
If you want to get the most value from your money, Amazon Fire Stick is more recommended. It is available at a much lower price point, and it can give you access to the huge Prime library as well as various third-party apps. It is also easier to set-up. However, if you already use other Apple devices, Apple TV can fit into your environment nicely, and you can benefit from the seamless integration of the services.