Amazon just announced a new Fire TV to compete with the new 4K Apple TV – here’s how they compare
Amazon on Tuesday announced a new Fire TV set-top streaming device with support for the high-quality 4K and HDR formats.
It competes directly with the new Apple TV, also announced this month, which also supports 4K and HDR for the first time.
The key differentiator here is price: The new Amazon Fire TV with 4K costs $69, while the new Apple TV 4K costs $179 for 32GB of storage, and $199 for 64GB of storage.
That said, there are some notable technical differences between these streaming devices that will help you decide which one is best for you – we’ll even help you keep score. Take a look:
Free Cloud Storage
Even though the Fire TV only comes with a small amount of onboard storage, Amazon more than makes up for it by offering free cloud storage for any Amazon content. Apple doesn’t have a similar offering here.
SCORE: Apple 4, Amazon 4
The Apple TV 4K comes with more onboard storage (32GB or 64GB) compared to the new Fire TV with 4K, which only has 8GB of space.
That said, most people will find it pretty hard to actually use all of this space, since most services, including Netflix and movies from iTunes, require streaming. The only things you’d be downloading are apps, iTunes movie rentals, and podcasts — if you do a lot of those things, though, the Apple TV might be the way to go. Otherwise, 8GB on the Fire TV should be just fine.
SCORE: Apple 4, Amazon 2
Gigabit Ethernet support
If you’re lucky enough to have Gigabit Ethernet in your home, the Apple TV 4K supports those speeds right out of the box. The Amazon Fire TV with 4K, on the other hand, only supports Gigabit Ethernet with an Ethernet adapter; Amazon is selling a $15 adapter that comes out the same day as the new Fire TV with 4K.
SCORE: Apple 3, Amazon 2
This might be a deciding factor for many people, especially those who already own HDR-capable TVs. The Apple TV 4K supports both HDR 10 and Dolby Vision HDR standards, whereas the Amazon Fire TV with 4K only supports the HDR 10 standard.
Here’s the difference: Most current HDR-capable TVs support HDR 10, but on paper, Dolby Vision supports a brighter and more color-rich experience. LG and Vizio most notably support Dolby Vision, so if you have one of those TVs, the Apple TV 4K might be your only option to get the best experience possible.
SCORE: Apple 2, Amazon 2
The Apple TV supports sound systems up to Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 surround. The more affordable Amazon Fire TV with 4K actually goes a step further and supports Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 surround, as well as Dolby Atmos, which Dolby pushes as its most immersive audio system.
SCORE: Apple 1, Amazon 2
First, let’s talk about the similarities.
The Apple TV 4K and the new Amazon Fire TV with 4K share some similar features. Both devices support:
• Up to 2160p resolution
• Dual-band 802.11 WiFi
• The latest HDMI standard
• Hundreds of thousands of apps from services like Netflix, HBO, and others
• Their own remote controls, which let you navigate the on-screen experience using buttons or your voice — leveraging Siri on the Apple TV, and Alexa on the Fire TV
For the sake of argument, let’s just say both TV set-tops are equal in these respects.
SCORE: Apple 1, Amazon 1