The most powerful, easy to use set-top box on the market for Home Theater or a Cable TV Alternative! This Amazon Fire TV hands on review and guide will give you what you need to know before buying. Just wait until you hear how well the voice-search function works!
“The Fire TV is a tiny box you connect to your TV. It’s the easiest way to enjoy Netflix, Prime Instant Video, HBO GO, YouTube.com, games, music, and more“. Amazon not only claims this but actually comes through in this reviewer’s opinion.
Features and Specs:
- Prime members enjoy unlimited, commercial-free streaming of tens of thousands of popular movies and TV shows. The Fire TV seamlessly connects with your Prime account.
- Voice Search! Simply push the button on the remote activating the feature, say the name of what you want to watch (TV, Movies, Apps, Games), confirm on screen if multiple options and start enjoying in seconds. In my tests the voice recognition feature has worked 100% of the time. An amazing feat!
- The box comes pre-registered to your Amazon account so you can enjoy favorite titles and personalized recommendations
- ASAP feature: Amazon notes that this predicts what movies and TV episodes you’ll want to watch and buffers them for playback before you hit play. In practice when watching an Amazon Prime show it began instantly. But with Netflix it took 5 seconds to buffer first. Not bad, but the instant watch beginning is pretty nice for their own content.
- Powerful! 3x the processing power of Roku and Apple TV. Fast quad-core processor, 2 GB of memory, and dedicated GPU, plus Dolby Digital Plus surround sound and optical audio out. The optical output will be helpful for those with a Home Theater system.
Compared to Roku – Apple TV – Chromecast:
OK, here is what many of you are looking for; How does this little box from Amazon compare to the competition. I have owned most recently a Roku, then a Chromecast and Apple TV in the past.
Upon first use I was impressed with the quickness of the Fire TV. The remote is small and uses RF frequencies meaning you do not need to aim it at the box. You can even hide the box behind your equipment or TV is you want to. Roku also has this feature. The other boxes/dongles (Chromecast) feel sluggish now that I’ve hooked up the Fire TV. Voice Search is the feature I use the most. It’s so quick to just say the name of what I want to watch, like “Star Trek”, and there it is!
The menus are easy to use, and everyone in my family was used to it within a bout 5 minutes.
Watching Prime Videos is a snap, and if you want to purchase content not on Prime it’s easy to see what they cost quickly and to purchase. Just look for the “watch now with Prime” text under the show/movie.
Netflix and HBO Go are two hugely popular apps also available.
When it comes to quick menus, almost instant streaming, loads of TV shows, movies and even games, the Fire TV beats the competition in my personal experience with the box.
Voice search is my favorite and most used feature of any set-top box. Push the top button on the remote, say what you are looking for, within a second or so the results of your search will pop up. What I like best about this feature, is how quickly I can go back to watching my favorite show without the need to go through the various menus to find it. Interestingly also is that the search will sometimes bring up additional shows that may have starred someone from your search like William Shatner for example. I had a lot of fun with this, and so far it has been 100% accurate. To me, this means it must check with the cloud for the voice recognition feature to be so accurate. Try this once and you will never go back to scrolling through various menus ever again!
Fire TV as Alternative to Cable TV:
This Amazon Fire TV really does make cutting the cord simple and is pretty much the closest you can get as an alternative to cable TV without the need to build an expensive Home Theater PC. You can stream live news from CBSN (CBS’s newest 24 hour streaming news, Sky News, BBC News, all live as well. Netflix is available, as well as HBO Go. Soon the new online streaming TV service from DISH will be available on this box making cutting the cord easier than ever. With the Fire TV’s fast processor, along with my personal use of the box, I can recommend this to family and friends as the box to get.
The powerful Fire TV also plays games. Minecraft-Pocket Edition, Asphalt 8, The Game of Life, or even Sev Zero—an exclusive from Amazon Studios. Amazon Fire TV is the easiest way to play best-selling titles from Mojang, EA, Disney, Ubisoft, and others. Many are free, and paid games start from just 99 cents
Amazon Free Time:
Amazon FreeTime helps parents when it comes to safe viewing. You make custom profiles for up to four kids, choose movies, TV shows, apps, and games they can access. Create daily screen limits and restrict content.
When using FreeTime, the background color and fonts change to a kid-friendly design, displaying only titles they have permission to see.
You can buy the Fire TV at Amazon which includes Free Shipping.