Ever since Amazon got into streaming media services back in 2014, they have been regularly introducing new products that will enhance your TV experience. Their 3rd Generation Fire TV differs a lot from the older Amazon Fire TV stick. However, with a good Internet connection, both of these products will enable you to enjoy streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, HBO Now, and Hulu. Therefore, you should make your choice based on what you need and expect from your streaming services.
Whether you are looking to upgrade from the Fire TV stick or want to make your first Amazon TV purchase, this review will help you decide if Fire TV is the best option for you.
All You Need to Know About Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Fire TV combines several streaming services into one, superior platform. With Fire TV, you will have access to all your favorite services, which will definitely make your life easier.
Amazon is working hard toward creating the streaming service of your dreams, so Fire TV has many great characteristics. First of all, it uses 4K Ultra HD, so you can expect a clearer picture with much superior definition than with the older products.
Next, it needs Wi-Fi for all setups, so you can finally get rid of all those irritating cables. Finally, there is also the Alexa Voice Remote, which will make browsing movies, shows, and games easier and faster.
Fire TV Specifications
- Processor: Quad-core 1.5 GHz | ARM 4xCA53
- Storage: 8 GB internal
- Memory: 2 GB
- Audio quality: Dolby Atmos Audio, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby Digital
- Visual quality: HDR-10 support, 4K Ultra HD at 60 fps
- Voice control: voice control if you have an Echo device, Alexa Voice Remote
- Remote features: Navigation, microphone, home menu, voice button, select, back, play/pause, fast-forward, rewind
- Connection types: 802.11ac dual-band MIMO Wi-Fi, Micro USB port for the Ethernet adapter or power, HDMI
- Included in the box: Fire TV, USB cable and power adapter, Alexa Voice Remote (1st Gen), product and quick start guides, 2 AAA batteries
- Price: $69.99
How Is It Different from Other Amazon Streaming Products?
There are several Fire TV products on the market. They are:
- Fire TV Stick 1st Gen and Amazon Fire TV 1, which both came out in 2014
- Amazon Fire TV 2, which appeared in 2015
- Fire TV Stick from 2016
- 3rd Gen Fire TV, which came in 2017
They are similar in many aspects. However, while they all let you use Amazon Prime Video and offer streaming services, there are many distinctions. To make an informed decision about your purchase, you should be familiar with them. So, what is the difference?
Fire TV 1 and Fire TV Stick First Generation
These two products were the beginning of Amazon’s streaming career. They introduced many novelties into the industry. However, the streaming world has become more complex, and new options have become available since their release. Therefore, they are now quite outdated, so you shouldn’t waste your time or money on them.
Amazon Fire TV 2
The second generation of Fire TV is still known as a high-quality, reliable option. Just like Fire TV Stick, it uses 1080p resolution. However, it supports micro SD, so you can use it for all the content you download, including videos, pictures, games, and different apps. Moreover, it has a USB port, so you can watch the content from your USB drive, as well as connect an external hard drive or a keyboard and mouse for easier browsing.
Fire TV 2 is probably the greatest competitor of the new 3rd Gen Fire TV, even though the new version has better visual quality. Still, many agree that it won’t be replaced by the new, upgraded products in the near future.
Fire TV Stick
The greatest advantage of Fire TV Stick is that it is the most portable device in the Amazon collection. It looks like a regular USB drive that you connect to your TV’s HDMI port. It also contains a free HDMI extender, so you can be sure that it will reach the port.
Nevertheless, it is far from perfect, as its processor and resolution are by far inferior to other Fire TV products. Thus, this is a very simple option. At the moment, it costs only $39, and it is the cheapest of the Fire TV products.
Fire TV 3rd Gen
Compared to its predecessors, 3rd Gen has the best visual quality and the fastest processor. It is a perfect product for Wi-Fi users, as it uses 802.11ac Wi-Fi, which is the safest option.
Great Things About It
More Affordable than Regular Cable
Let’s face it — cable and satellite bills can be pretty high. Fire TV costs less than $70, which is more affordable than most monthly TV subscriptions. So, by switching to Amazon Fire, you will not just get a better experience but also save some money.
Moreover, while Amazon will certainly keep launching new upgrades, 3rd Gen will not become outdated any time soon, so it is a long-term solution. Admit it — you will be happy to say goodbye to your cable provider.
Superior Memory and Processor
Fire TV 3rd Gen has amazing processing power and more memory than the older versions. What does this mean for you? The loading time is much faster for all apps, and if you play multiplayer online games, you won’t have to fear that your processor will slow down the game for everyone.
Alexa Voice Remote
Fire TV 3rd Gen comes with Alexa Voice Remote, which will significantly improve the user experience. With voice control, all you need to do is tell your TV what you want. Remember those irritating remote controls with so many buttons that you don’t know how to use? Forget all about them. Alexa will make things much easier for you.
Moreover, Alexa is not designed only for the new Fire TV. You can use it with any device that supports voice control. Now, how great is that?
The Aesthetics Are Important
Surely, you agree that all those Ethernet cables that lie around the floor are quite unsightly. Luckily, Fire TV 3rd Gen relies only on Wi-Fi, so those ugly cables are now a thing of the past. Furthermore, the device is rather small, and you can put it behind your TV, so no one will even notice it is there.
Not-So-Great Things About It
You Might Need an Ethernet Adapter
While the 3rd Fire TV is a dream come true for those who use Wi-Fi only, it does not support Ethernet connection. Therefore, if you are an Ethernet user, it will be a bit more complicated for you, as you will need to buy the Amazon Ethernet Adapter.
While most would recommend getting an adapter, you might also want to consider switching completely to Wi-Fi. It has many advantages, such as the reliability and the fact that it is portable. On the other hand, Ethernet may offer better speed.
Lack of Micro USB Storage
This is probably the greatest limitation of the new Fire TV. While on the previous versions, such as Amazon Fire TV 2, you can transfer files from your computer and enjoy downloaded content on your TV, this is not an option anymore. There isn’t even an adapter available.
If you are happy with watching streamed content only, this won’t bother you. Still, if you like to mix things up with some additional content, it is certainly a problem.
It is crucial that every product that you purchase satisfies your needs. You certainly want your product to be effective and easy to use. This is why Amazon did their best to improve the user experience for their latest Fire TV.
Hands-Free Voice Control
When lying comfortably on your couch and watching TV, having to use a keyboard or a mouse to find your favorite show can be so irritating. And why would you bother with that? Alexa voice control remote will make watching TV so easy.
Moreover, while Alexa is currently a fan favorite and one of the most effective voice control options, Amazon has added various improvements over the last couple of years, and it will definitely continue doing so in the future.
Using hands-free voice control will also give you more options when it comes to controlling your TV, which is great news. Alexa will make sure your lazy afternoon in front of the TV is just that — lazy.
With 4K Ultra HD and HDR-10 support, Amazon Fire TV 3rd Gen has an incredibly high resolution. However, even if your TV can’t support a resolution that high, that won’t be a problem.
If you want to have the best visual experience possible, though, consider pairing your Fire TV with a brand new 4K TV.
It Can Remain Hidden
As previously mentioned, Amazon Fire TV will not make your TV shelf look ugly. It connects to the HDMI port and will be safely hidden behind your TV. Still, if you do want to keep it in sight, don’t worry — its diamond-shaped design makes it visually appealing.
Fire TV 3rd Gen Apps
The 3rd Fire TV supports not only Amazon Prime Videos but also numerous apps and streaming services. With it, you can watch the latest movies and TV shows, listen to music, and enjoy your favorite games.
Here is the list of the most popular streaming services that are supported by Fire TV:
- DIRECTV NOW
- PlayStation Vue
- Amazon Prime Video
- HBO Now
A Great Option for Gamers
Since Fire TV 3 is primarily a streaming service, it will not provide the gaming experience XBOX or PlayStation could. Still, it works quite well for most of the popular games. If gaming is just a hobby, and not a great passion of yours, or if you want your TV to provide your kids with some entertainment, Amazon Fire TV is a good option.
What Is the Price of Amazon Fire TV 3rd Gen?
One of the great things about Fire TV 3rd Gen is that it is so reasonably priced. It costs close to $70, which is a lot less than what cable and satellite providers charge. Also, it is an improvement from Amazon TV, which cost $100. Basically, you get a great value for your money. However, if you’re looking for an even cheaper option, Fire Stick TV costs only $39.
Another thing you should think about when assessing the cost of this product is that you might need to purchase some add-ons. For example, if you are an Ethernet user, you will need a cable (from $5 to $30) and an Ethernet adapter ($25). Other things you might have to buy to get the best experience possible are a game controller (e.g., Amazon Fire TV Game Controller – $50), a Wi-Fi extender ($40–$100), or a new Smart TV that supports the Fire TV’s high resolution.
If you are still not sure you want the Fire TV, here are some other streaming services you might like.
Fire Stick TV
This is another Amazon product that can satisfy your needs. Also, it is a much cheaper option. Its processing power is quite decent and won’t cause you any problems. However, bear in mind that it is a much simpler option that doesn’t offer the same quality as Fire TV 3.
If you are an Apple fan and like to keep all your devices connected via iOS, then this is the best option for you. Still, as with other Apple products, the price is pretty high, so getting a Fire TV will be more economical.
As one of the original streaming services, Roku is still loved by many. It also offers great quality and costs around $90. Nevertheless, Amazon Fire offers a better interface and hardware, which improves the user experience.
Amazon Fire TV 3rd Gen can provide you with great quality for a reasonable price. It combines plenty of streaming platforms, supports various apps, and offers great user experience. What’s more, with a simple adapter, it will work for you even if you are an Ethernet user.
It is also a big step forward from the previous models, as it offers a better price, as well as better processing power and resolution. All in all, if you opt for this product, you definitely won’t regret it.