July 22, 2015

Amazon Fire TV Stick

To celebrate Amazon Prime Day I decided to give myself the gift of a $24.99 Fire TV stick. I am already the owner of an Apple TV, a Google Chromecast, and a LG smart TV. The smart tv has served its purpose over the last couple of years, but the interface is pretty terrible. That tv is mounted over the fireplace in the living room. We use it quite a bit so it was time for an upgrade. I didn’t want to add a box to it because I like the clean look of no cables. The Fire TV stick was a good fit and I wanted to try out Amazon’s streaming offering.

As a Prime member I get a lot of benefits from the Amazon ecosystem in addition to the free 2 day shipping; namely streaming tv and music. Our smart tv had a Amazon Prime app, and we used it quite a bit. The Apple TV obviously doesn’t offer any Amazon integration or we would use the streaming services even more[1]. Depending on your expectations, their selection of television shows and movies to be quite good. I always find something to watch on there[2].

The Fire TV is a significant upgrade from the built in smart tv offerings. I’d even say it is as-good-as our 3 year old Apple TV. That may not seem like high praise, but considering the price difference (and the fact that Apple is still selling the same model for $70), it means the Fire TV stick is quite good. For $25 it was definitely worth it. I wish that I would have bought one last year when they came out[3].

I definitely like the Amazon TV better than the Chromecast. From day one I have not been a fan of the Chromecast’s lack of interface and dedicated remote. We still use ours in the bedroom, and it works fine. It is easy to pull something up on your phone then cast it, but forget about trying to pause or navigate. For a main tv that gets a lot of use I would never want to use the Chromecast exclusively. Depending on what you want to do, it has its advantages, but I will probably never buy one again.

I think the only streaming box/stick/thingy I haven’t tried is the Roku. I’ve heard it is really good, but I don’t think I need anything else right away.

  1. The tv with the Apple TV also has a rarely used Sony PS3 connected. When I really want to watch something on prime I can always fire up the PS3.  ↩

  2. Like Justified, Orphan Black, The Americans, a bunch of HBO series, and several slightly older movies that I wanted to see but never had the time/motivation to go out and rent.  ↩

  3. When the Fire TV stick first came out prime members had a chance to preorder for $25. I didn’t do it.  ↩

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