10 Reasons to Pick Amazon Fire TV Over Apple TV

10 Reasons to Pick Amazon Fire TV Over Apple TV
It's Better-Looking
More of the Top Services Are There
The Voice Recognition Is Outstanding
Gaming
Performance Is Top-Notch
Parental Controls
That Game Controller Matters
Free Cloud Storage
It's Not About Turf Wars
The Promise of Much, Much More
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10 Reasons to Pick Amazon Fire TV Over Apple TV

By Don Reisinger

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It's Better-Looking

Apple TV is by no means an ugly device, but Fire TV has it beat in the looks department. The device is a small, thin, square box that can be placed just about anywhere in a home-entertainment setup and go practically unnoticed. While Apple TV has a smaller footprint, it's taller and chunky, and looks like a brick in a home-entertainment setup. There's something stylish in Fire TV's simplicity.

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More of the Top Services Are There

If one were to compare all set-top boxes purely based on their support for top services, Fire TV would win. The device comes with support for Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Crackle, YouTube and others. The only meaningful app it's missing is HBO Go, which hopefully will be addressed soon. Apple TV, meanwhile, offers Amazon's Instant Video, Showtime Anytime and Pandora, and does feature HBO. While there are some trade-offs in both respects, Amazon's offering is just a bit better.

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The Voice Recognition Is Outstanding

I was more than a little surprised by just how well Fire TV's voice recognition works. Even while the television is on and sound is up, the microphone built into the remote easily picks up requests. Every query I threw at the device was accurately picked up, delivering relevant results. That's a feature Apple TV is sorely missing.

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Gaming

Apple TV doesn't come with support for games, which makes it a non-starter for casual gamers. Fire TV, on the other hand, ships with well over 100 games available, and more will be added as time goes on. Amazon is now in the console business with Fire TV, and so far, given the breadth of games available, it looks like that move might be a lucrative one. All of the games work well and look great on the big screen.

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Performance Is Top-Notch

I was shocked at the quality of Fire TV's performance. The device's quad-core processor provided enough power to jump around from app to app without any delay, and its dual-band, dual-antenna WiFi provided enough bandwidth to limit buffering issues. There's a slight delay with everything when using Apple TV. Fire TV, meanwhile, feels snappier and delivers a much better experience because of it.

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Parental Controls

Amazon's FreeTime service will be making its way to Fire TV in a software update next month. The service allows parents to define how kids can use Fire TV, placing controls on app access, what movies and TV shows kids can view, and more. The feature is already on the Kindle Fire and is beloved among parents. That it's coming to Fire TV is a smart move on Amazon's part, and further separates the device from Apple TV.

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That Game Controller Matters

Although it's rather unfortunate that Fire TV's game controller is sold separately (for $40, no less), it's a necessity. Amazon has made clear that it wants to bring as many games to the set-top box as possible. Although titles can technically be played with the simple remote, the experience isn't exactly appealing. Despite its price, the Amazon Fire Game Controller is a must-have for gamers, as it will only enhance the gaming experience on Fire TV.

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Free Cloud Storage

Amazon slipped this feature in without too much fanfare, but it's important nonetheless. Fire TV supports free cloud storage on all Amazon content. So whether it's music, video content or apps, that data is stored in the cloud. Assuming one was to get another Fire TV, all of that content would be accessible on the new device out of the box. That's a great feature.

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It's Not About Turf Wars

It's nice to see Amazon not trying to fight turf wars with Fire TV. Amazon's Instant Video service is in direct competition with Netflix, and yet, the competitor's service is still running on Fire TV. The same can be said for Crackle and Hulu Plus. Apple has been notorious for its turf wars and desire to keep users locked into its services. Amazon hasn't. And it should be commended for that.

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The Promise of Much, Much More

One of the most important Fire TV features is that it's designed to be improved upon. Amazon says that the current slate of apps is just the beginning, and those developers who have already brought programs to its Amazon Appstore should have no trouble porting those apps to Fire TV. That means many, many more apps will be coming along in the upcoming weeks and months, and could quickly dwarf the number of available programs on Apple TV.

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