Amazon has just announced its streaming TV media device: Fire TV is a yet another direct challenge by Amazon against other tech giants and incumbents.
So how does the Amazon TV compare to Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku’s lineup?
First-party content for a cheaper price
Amazon Instant Video library is huge and well-known, and offers a vast range of content from well-recognized sources. Amazon also features some exclusive streaming deals, and is also starting produce original content.
The price tag? $99 a year.
Apple TV is perhaps the biggest competitor with an equally vast amount of content, but to access all of it you are going to pay more than Amazon’s $99 a year.
Google Play does not feature nearly the same variety of content, while Roku relies on third-party content.
Third-party content in this context means being able to use a smartphone, combined with an app, to stream content to your television. Google’s Chromecast is designed specifically to do this, as are Roku, and Apple TV and Airplay.
However, third-party content provider Netflix competes directly with Amazon Instant, and for the moment Amazon Fire TV will have a lot of catching up to do… if Amazon is truly serious about facilitating third-party content.
Neither Chromecast nor Roku currently offer a compelling gaming experience, while Apple TV offers no games at all. On the other hand, Amazon Fire TV looks like it is committed to providing a quality gaming experience.
Size and ease of use
Chromecast is a simple (and cheap) HDMI dongle, and Roku offers a similar “stick” device. Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV are more traditional boxes with cables and power cords.
All have their advantages and disadvantages when setting up, with no clear winner.
Apple TV is $99; the Roku series ranges from $50 to $100. Google’s Chromecast is just $35. Amazon’s Fire TV is $99.