Amazon Takes on Google with Fire TV Stick

October 28, 2014

Blog | Technology | Amazon Takes on Google with Fire TV Stick
Amazon Takes on Google with Fire TV Stick

Amazon is fired up and trying to get a slice of the home entertainment pie with its recently announced Fire TV Stick, an HDMI dongle dedicated to combust your TV viewing experience with its built-in apps for streaming Netflix, Hulu, and a myriad of other services. In many techie homes, however, Google’s Chromecast reigns supreme. So… how does the new kid on the block compare? Let’s look…

While Fire TV has been out for some time now, with its $100 price tag, it’s more in league with Roku set-top devices. With Fire TV Stick, Amazon might just be leveling the playing field.  Currently being offered for pre-order for $40, Prime members can pre-order Fire TV Stick until tomorrow morning for only $20. Chromecast sells for $35, so Fire TV Stick’s promo price may spur a lot of early adopters to jump ship.

Aside from a nice price, the Fire TV Stick packs a promising list of features. For starters, it comes with a dedicated remote. You can use your device to control it, but this option means that you don’t have to use your device. It also has voice search capabilities, ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction), and a bundle of Netflix and Amazon Prime just for picking it up.

ASAP, btw, is Amazon’s “Big Brother” service which monitors your viewing habits to download shows to the device in anticipation of you tuning in, possibly saving you time & frustration waiting for a stream to buffer.

Gizmodo wrote a great piece comparing the different “stick” devices. Rather than focusing on buzzwords, processor speeds, and memory capabilities, but it focuses on what the device can do for the average consumer.

Chromecast Fire TV Stick Comments
Coin $35 $40 ($20 promotional) Sweet baby boy, they’re both beyond affordable! Ditch the Pumpkin Spice Latte this season and grab one of these instead.
Interwebs Connectivity Single-band Dual-Band Surfs the wireless waves more reliably, but not likely noticed by the average consumer.
RC Nation Smart device or computer. Your device interacts with the TV Smart device, computer, or dedicated remote control using on-screen navigation A dedicated remote is a double edged sword. It offers a more dedicated experience, but it means yet another “object” in your living room.
Beam Me Up Beams natively supported apps, or any Chrome tab Beams natively supported apps Scotty would be proud.
Game On Nothing to write home about At the forefront of the feature list, made better by means of the dedicated remote control Fire TV wins this one, hands down. Get your Flappy Bird on!
Youtube? Yep Yep Very good
Hulu Plus? Yep Yep Muy Bueno
Pandora? Yep Yep Très Bon
Crackle? Yep Yep Molto Buona
HBO Go? Yep Nope No Game of Thrones? Uh oh.

Will the Fire TV Stick kick Chromecast from its pedestal?

Google is stellar at both innovation and follow-through, but being the only big kid in the pool means you’re the only one making waves. With TV/Internet blended devices still in the early stages of infancy, competition is crucial for giving consumers options and for growing the list of features & capabilities. As the each of them continues to one-up each other, you can sit back and watch in glee.

Are you a (happy) Chromecast owner, or planning to be a Fire TV Stick adopter? Let us know your experiences @GeekHive!

Phil Azzi, Developer, GeekHive

Phil Azzi

Technical Lead
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