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on April 3, 2014
 Feel Free to check out My unboxing and overview of the Fire TV!

**UPDATE 1: Quick update about surround sound**
The Fire Box Seems to default to Stereo, you need to go into settings and turn on "Dolby Digital Plus." This can be found under the settings heading, under the far right setting box, then under Audio, you have to choose whether it will be Optical or HDMI. This should solve the no surround sound issues...

**UPDATE 2: (5/21/14)**
Ok, I've been using the box for a while now, I really like it but I have to admit App development is a ton slower than I'd hoped, the library is growing but not by much yet. A few new games come over and a few streaming apps, but no DLNA apps to speak of yet. This is one of the things I consider to be the weakest point of the Fire TV so far almost 2 months in and no other local media options than plex yet......

I am not a vine member (Those folks do excellent reviews, I'm just not that lucky to be Vine yet), nor am I speaking to something I don't own, By that I mean that I paid for it myself and here is my Experience so Far:

Is it the best thing ever? No...

Is it the worst thing ever? Nope, Not by a long shot...

In fact, it's up with the top streaming boxes when you take into account future app development...

It's a very good device, comparable to a Roku in most ways, some better some worse (Once apps start getting ported we'll see what happens) but there is plenty of room to make a "FireTV 2" much better in the future...

So here's my review:

Overall the packaging came in perfect order, it was easy to open, and nothing was missing.
Setup was simple, It took a few minutes thanks to a large initial update to download, but otherwise just as easy as setting up a kindle fire.

Android Based (which means many apps coming and the potential to root and gain more features
Ability to use Apps (Not just having to rely on what's preloaded like to many older TV boxes and Bluray players)
Accurate voice search - This one surprised me, It actually worked, Way better than Xbox Voice Commands or Siri, and Better than S Voice...
Bluetooth remote (for some this is a con, but I don't want another Wifi device jamming my crowded signal Read on to see why I think this)
It's not flashy - Matte Colors and no crazy lights
Quick to load - Just 28 seconds from Plug in to ready to stream (My Roku 3 takes 78 Seconds to do the same)
Feels heavy - for the size it really has good heft (Doesn't feel cheap)
Only 1 white light on front, It is a bit bright but not a deal breaker
Does Dolby Digital sound Out (DTS, 5.1 Etc) Via Optical or HDMI
Netflix In HD (Some android based players couldn't do this)

Need to purchase separate gaming remote
No Headphone jack in remote
Low on apps to start with
No Native DLNA Support (Hopefully Apps will fix that soon)
No AC wireless band it has 5Ghz N but not AC
Case can pick up fingerprints, but they remove easily
Immediate update after first plug in is big, Almost 900MB so it may take a while
The power brick is bigger than I was hoping for, if you have a crowded power strip it might be an issue
Plex is the only local media app available so far.
Voice Search for media only works on Amazon Prime Videos, It will give you options to watch on netflix or Hulu if you go in, but if you want your personal network media you have to go into your app (Plex is the only one currently available) and search manually (Voice search kicks you back out to Amazon Video if you try it.

Full Disclosure here I run 2 full HTPC's and a Roku XD and Roku 3 in my house, so my expectations of how this will end up working are very high.
To beat out my other devices it has to Play local media (From my HTPC Server), have better functioning Apps than my Roku and be easier to navigate than my HTPC setups are. It also needs to stream flawlessly and with as little buffering as possible (Netflix, Amazon Video, hulu, Etc.)

So does it do this? So Close! But not quite...

It is faster to stream than my Roku and HTPC when coming from internet sources, and it's faster to play local media (Using the Plex App) But, right now Apps are not yet ported over, for me one of the most important ones is Mediabrowser 3, which powers my main HTPC setups and feeds local media to my Rokus, but Plex works fine, just without parental controls which I want...

As far as lack of apps I'm not concerned with this as being android based it is simple for a dev to port them over and given that this will sell excellent regardless of the reviews here there will be thousands of apps coming in the next few weeks/months...

My neighborhood is crowded with Wifi signals which makes interference a huge issue for me, the Roku 3 uses "Direct Wifi" to connect it's remote, which means that there is another device that puts out a signal to interfere with your other ones, plus it uses the same channel as your router so you can't even move channels to avoid the extra interference. It may not be much in most cases but in an uber crowded locale like mine it is a definite negative, the FireTV's Bluetooth doesn't seem to cause any wifi interference...

Voice Search, I was pleasantly surprised on this, it does in fact work, that being said in the middle of an action scene in 7.1 surround you will be hard pressed to make it hear you, but when navigating the main screens using voice search go me to every move or TV show I tried (Except, Ironically, since they use it as an example, Downton Abbey, It couldn't find "Downtown Alley" LOL!)

Roku VS FireTV:
Roku has the edge currently with more/better apps, but this may not be the case in the near future when newer/better apps come out, But for pure speed the FireTV blows the Roku away, I'm streaming a movie from Netflix or local media before the Roku (XD or 3) has finished booting... (When both are unplugged and plugged in at the same time)

HTPC has the Edge, but that's only because we are comparing a Core i7 PC with an Android based device, So honestly there is little competition, BUT The FireTV has Amazon instant Video as an App, On Windows 7 there is no Amazon "App" you can use plus a Hulu App which is no longer supported on PC, so the FireTV wins int hat aspect, but in overall functionality the FireTV isn't a PC and therefore could never really compete, but who wants to has a full PC hooked to every TV in the house?
Final thoughts:
If you have a Roku XD or 3, you will not get much immediate bump other than speed by upgrading to the FireTV. If you have an older Roku or a WDTV or similar box you will see a noticeable benefit in upgrading to this device.

APP Reviews:
Plex - The only option for local network content as of this review, Costs 99 Cents, But works well, assuming you can put it on your PC or NAS...

Youtube - Works well, easy to link to your personal account

Hulu - Easy, Simple, Just like the Kindle app

Netflix - Does HD and Surround sound also supports Profiles!

Pandora - Works as it should, Easy to navigate

Amazon Instant Video - Not exactly an app in the traditional sense, It provides content when you go under the various categories on the home screen...

All Apps load Audio and/or Video very quickly...

My Rating is 4 Stars:
5 Stars for build Quality and OS design overall
-.5 Stars for Lack of Apps at Launch
-.25 Stars for lack of headset jack in remote
-.25 stars for Lack of High Speed AC band Wireless

So 4 Stars Overall, Very good but room for improvement

*My star rating may change with Usage over time, it may go up or down depending on how well the device performs*

If you haven't yet Check out my Video unboxing and quick overview of the FireTV!

Just My Thoughts,
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5150+ comments| 2,161 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on April 3, 2014

I've made this to illustrate the current works of Fire TV's voice search feature. It appears to be limited to Amazon content, at least for videos. I believe that they do include a third party service if you search for music.

I am searching for House of Cards, Season 2, a Netflix original. I am a Netflix subscriber so I would expect the Netflix listing to be displayed but Fire TV only returns the show's Season 1 available for purchase at Amazon and does does not list Netflix at all. As a Netflix subscriber, I could watch both seasons 1 and 2 for free but, according to Fire TV's search, Season 2 doesn't exist and I'd have to pay $2.99 per episode if I wanted to watch Season 1.

See how Roku's search (second half of video) correctly shows that Season 1 is available from Netflix, Amazon, MGo and Vudu and that I can gety get Season 2 from Netflix. It's also telling me (checkmarks) that I subscribe to 3 of the 4 services listed.

It's up to everyone to weigh Amazon's faster and more convenient voice search feature that returns Amazon-only content vs. Roku's ability to find content across the channels/services it carries.



As a current/former owner and user of streamers such as Roku 3, Roku Stick and Google's Chromecast and also streaming/gaming platforms such as PS3/PS4 and Xbox 360/One, I believe I can do a fair assessment on what Amazon's Fire streamer is about and how it compares with the alternatives. I rely on reviews to help me make informed and rational purchase decisions and, hopefully, my assessment of Amazon's Fire TV may help others decide whether this is what they need or want.


The Fire TV will have to find its place in a pretty crowded marketplace. From what I've experienced so far, due to its tight integration with the Fire HDX tablets and Amazon's own Instant Video service in search it should be a great pick for anyone who owns the Amazon tablet and already subscribes to Amazon's Prime. Its ability to play games and the ease of downloading them should also appeal to non-hard-core gamers. For everybody else, depending on one's specific needs and expectations, the Fire TV may or may not be the 'right' streamer to buy.

As one who purchased Amazon's original Kindle Fire on day one and went through several generations of Amazon's Kindle reader I expect that Amazon's streamer will also evolve or grow overtime. Amazon will listen to 'us' and the next generation streamer will be a much more interesting, 'new and improved', more capable and better tuned to our needs and wants. Until then, I would say that the current Fire TV is a competent, Amazon-content-biased (through search) streamer with gaming capabilities, lacking some in content and showing some innovation on search (offset by its currently favoring Amazon's service) and the user interface in general. Parental controls and the games could make it a favorite streamer if young children are also watching. If all you want is streaming and don't care about casual gaming you may feel that you are paying for capabilities that you don't need.


The Fire TV offers most but not all mainstream services and I suspect it covers what most of us will ever want to access and I am sure that more services will be added in time. However, at this time Amazon's selection pales when compared to Roku's 1000+ wildly diverse channels but the Rokus have been around for a while. All mainstream services now on Fire TV are also available on Roku, PS3/4, Xbox 360/One and many on Google's Chromecast.

Fire TV attempts to be a little different when it comes to accessing content, allowing for voice search but results are currently returned mostly from Amazon's Instant Video. By comparison, Rokus offer text based cross-service search with results returned from most 'big' providers. Amazon's attempt to predict and preload what we are most likely to watch will have to be assessed over a longer period of time so, time will tell.

The soon to be implemented parental controls should differentiate and distinguish Amazon's product from the competition once they are implemented.


Amazon's great innovative, revolutionary, disruptive device was the Kindle reader and the enhanced Kindle Paperwhite. I suspect that thousands of acres of trees are still known as 'forests' instead of 'recyclable material' these days because of the Kindle. Amazon's Fire tablets are nice but they are... tablets. The Fire TV streamer/gaming device falls probably under 'okay' or 'interesting' streamers and 'not too bad' gaming platforms.

The quad-core CPU is also nice but, whether I'm streaming on a significantly more powerful PS4 or a tiny one-core CPU Chromecast, the video/audio quality seems to be comparable and practically indistinguishable. I assume that the reason for a more powerful CPU is the game-playing part.

The lack of large permanent storage (HDD) implies that, as a gaming platform, the Fire TV will allow for mostly small to medium-size games with a lot of cloud interaction and storage. Again, a feature that may not be suitable for those whose ISPs charge by the Megabyte or impose a monthly download quota on their customers.

Game playing on the Fire TV works but those used with big console's lag-free controllers that 'rumble', talk back and sense motion may not view the Fire TV as a serious gaming platform.

I would say that Amazon's streamer is solidly in the mainstream as far as innovation. It's a quality product but not a revolutionary one and that's still Okay.


There's very little that Amazon's Fire TV does that other platforms don't do.

- The PS3/4 and the Xbox 360/One are vastly superior gaming platforms and equally good streamers and multimedia machines. Only they are much larger physically and cost significantly more.
- The Chromecast and the Rokus are a lot more innovative and allow for a lot more flexibility and integrate nicely with tablets and PCs and allow for streaming personal content without being limited to a specific brand or model of tablet. They are also somewhat more difficult to setup.
- Small streamers such as the Roku Stick and the Chromecast are very portable as they fit into one's shirt pocket. Amazon's Fire TV could be carried around at least in theory but it's not as easy to move around.
- Roku is still the leader of 'content' but Amazon's selection should cover what most of us want to watch most of the time.
- The Fire TV costs a lot more than a Roku or a Chromecast but, even if a gaming controller is added, is still less than a PS3 or an Xbox 360
- Voice search as implemented on Fire TV at the time I am writing this (restricted to Amazon and Vevo) is in effect hiding content from other services, potentially costing you money if one show is available to purchase or rent at Amazon but it may be also carried by another service you subscribe to as a 'free' stream.


Anyone who already has one or more Roku, Chromecast or Xbox, Playstation in their homes probably don't need one at this time. Unless they are tightly integrated into Amazon's ecosystem or are cable cutters who wish some tighter controls over what their kids are watching.

Those who are looking for their first streamer should consider

- Fire TV's ease of use (beats the Chromecast but it's probably on par with Roku and the Xbox/Playstations)
- Amazon's great user support
- Roku's enormous channels selection
- Playstation and Xbox being clearly superior gaming platforms (if you don't mind paying up to $60 for newly released games)
- Amazon's attempt to keep their users confined to Amazon's own hardware platforms and content streams vs. Roku's and Chromecast relative openness
- Fire TV's split gaming/streaming personality (Jack of 2 trades) vs. Roku's and Chromecast focus on streaming
- Price, of course

It's not an easy decision to make. I would be very happy with the Fire TV if it was the first streamer device in the house. With so many stream-capable and game-playing boxes/sticks already operating and doing well, I like Amazon's Fire TV for being a well designed, capable streamer with some nice extra capabilities but I also like and I've been using the Rokus for their huge number of channels and portability and great interface and the Chromecast for allowing me to easily send whatever is in my Chrome browser to the TV. I hope that Amazon's search will soon expand to cover non-Amazon services or it won't be a useful tool. I may not have the the Fire TV attached to the big TV in the living room but our daughter who happens to be a faithful Kindle and Amazon Prime user asked for it in her room.
5150+ comments| 3,904 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on June 24, 2014
I purchase almost everything with the exception of food from Amazon. I have been a prime member since the inception of the program. Without exception, I have always received EXCELLENT customer service. Until now. I'm having difficulty with my Fire TV connecting to my wifi. Last Saturday I spent approximately 1-½ hours (maybe 2) troubleshooting with two women techs on the phone. "Mary" (who I was passed to from the first tech because of her expertise) said she thought it wasn't just a problem unique to me and asked me if she could call me back on Sunday after researching the problem. I had no problem with that. No call on Sunday so I called on Monday. Much to my surprise, there was no record of my call attached to my file. The rep was confused as to whether I was talking about fire wire or Fire TV so I was first sent to a different department. Finally, I got through that fire wire was not the same as Fire TV and I was transferred back to digital. We went through the same troubleshooting taking up a lot of my time. I was willing to do it until we were going around in circles and my phone was running out of juice. The gentleman asked me if he could research and call me later in the day. NO CALL. It's Tuesday--still no call.

It really pains me to have to say anything negative about Amazon's Customer Service as it has NEVER BEEN LESS THAN EXCELLENT IN THE PAST. I've noticed I haven't gotten a survey as I usually do after a customer service call. Whoever Amazon has farmed out their digital customer service to will ruin their excellent customer service reputation and they will lose sales because of it. I'm going to wager a bet that there is no record of the 3-4 hours of my time on the phone trying to solve a problem and no record of two promises to call me back. I would have had more respect for these reps if I had received a call saying they were sorry, but they weren't able to come up with a solution for me.

I'm hoping Amazon has kept a record of my past reviews and will review my account and see just how much I've spent over the years as a loyal customer. I'm very disappointed that I had to write this review, and I'm hoping someone who can change things reads this and saves Amazon's reputation. I can't be the only one receiving this kind of treatment. It's obvious that the people who are "techs" for Fire TV are not the same techs that I've dealt with in the past. In fact, I don't think they are even in the same country. What a pity.
5150+ comments| 843 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on April 3, 2014
 Before I get into a detailed and technical review, I would like to review it for a non techie person. If you are looking for a device to replace your cable, this may be the one. Unless you enjoy live news and TV shows daily, there is no reason to keep paying for cable. There are some other devices that work very well but Amazon Fire TV is by far the simplest solution there is. You simply plug it in and in few minutes you are ready to speak to the remote to search or simply browse for content. No complicated setup required, you can use WiFi and that is easy as typing your wireless key in. There is no need to download anything, Amazon has thousands of movies and TV shows and it is constantly growing. You could use Netflix or Hulu but I ended up cancelling my subscriptions for those because Amazon's video library is continuously growing. I expect it to surpass all other streaming services very soon. The voice search is simply amazing, it is way too accurate. After it finds the result, it is a matter of seconds before the video starts playing. The device is very small and elegant and simply fast. Everything responds instantly and smoothly. This is by far the best device available for a non techie person and it maybe for most techie people.

After using the Fire TV for quite some time I have discovered a lot of positive aspects of it along with some negatives. There are endless possibilities for this device such as Sideloading Apps, Rooting, XBMC, PLEX, Keyboard & Mouse Support, External Hard Drive support and more, most of these features are obtainable at this moment for somewhat advanced users. But for the basic users who want those features might be out of luck. Google has announced Android TV and it most likely will address most of the Fire TV problems out of the box. So it may be worth waiting for. I am downgrading my rating to a 4 star because the device has a lot of potential but Amazon didn't include it all with the device.

Quick Summary: I have used the WD TV, Roku 3, Apple TV (for a short time) and now the Fire TV. Of course I have a Google Chromecast but to be fair, it should not be compared to these media devices because of the price difference. Amazon Fire TV is by far the best one yet. Roku 3 has some advantages such as the ability to plug in headphones in the remote and microSD memory card slot. But Fire TV's performance and features like ASAP and voice search easily burns them all. If you have an Apple TV and you have a lot of media on iTunes, then I don't think Fire TV is the right choice for you, unless you want are an advanced user who can use third party software to make your iTunes content work. There are alternatives like used PS3 and XBOX 360 (in the same price range) if you are more into gaming, I will discuss that at the end. Amazon must have been taking notes on all the problems with other devices and this Fire TV addressed most of the problems that I experienced with the other devices and added much more features. Some of the notable problems with the other devices are: poor sound quality, slow OS interface, steaming problems, limited content, lack of advanced features and few other issues. This device is a no brainer for a person who wants to enjoy thousands of TV shows, movies, games, music and more with ease and without any problems.

What is it and what is it used for?
It is an Android based media player/ entertainment system that supports a various media types including movies, TV shows, music, apps and games. Most of the media is free if you are an Amazon Prime member and others are fairly cheap. Here are some of the things you can do with it:
***Watch thousands of movies and TV shows in 1080P resolution using Amazon Instant video as well as Netflix, Hulu, etc.
***Listen to music using apps such as Pandora and iHeart Radio
***Play games such as Asphalt, Sev Zero and Minecraft, few choices now but more to come
***Use Apps such as PLEX or XBMC, few choices now but more to come
***You can play all your files that you have on external hard drive or computer. Movies, Music and Pictures using third party Apps like PLEX and XBMC. Almost all formats are supported.
***Other things will be possible with this device over time, it is an open platform OS (Android) and there are many possibilities (Currently many USB and Wireless Keyboards and mouse is supported along with Firefox browser)

Also to address those who must have the feature of playing your own video and music files, you can with the app called PLEX. You can also use XBMC if you are more of an advanced user. It is very easy to setup and you can watch MKV, MP4, WMV, AVI, FLAC, MP3 and other files from your computer or network drive. I have tried MKV, AVI, MP3 and FLAC files and they work perfectly. You don't have to leave your computer on to access these media if you have a NAS drive that is supported by the third party apps.

As for people who are not happy about the fact that Amazon does not have their App available for Fire TV, please give it a few weeks and they will have it. I have already noticed new apps showing up in the market daily. HBO GO is already available through ADB install. Also there will be a way to install apps from Google Play store soon. The low rating of the Fire TV is misleading; the rating is between 4 to 5 stars from people who actually used it.

Setup was very easy; I just plugged in the power cable, HDMI cable, Ethernet cable (you can use Wi-Fi too) and turned it on. A quick 3 minutes update was required, I am a Prime member and it came with my account already logged on, and that's it. There was a nice 3 minutes animation at the beginning after updating that shows you how to use the voice search feature along with other features of Fire TV. Please don't buy this for gaming alone, it is not intended to compete with gaming consoles such as PlayStation and Xbox, it allows you to play android based games and that is enough for light to moderate game lovers. It is very FAST; everything responds instantly, absolutely no lag. If you have bought any amazon products before, you know how excellent the quality is and you always get more for your money. Continue reading for more basic details and some advanced technical details.

By default the Dolby Digital Plus is disabled, so make sure to turn it on under settings when you first set it up.

One major flaw I realized recently is that the device has around 5GB of space to install games and apps. I only have 3GB remaining after installing Asphalt 8 and Sev Zero game. I am very disappointed at the fact that Amazon intended this device to play games but it has no space to store the games. I hope there will be an update to allow games to be installed on a separate hard drive plugged into the USB port. This alone can be a deal breaker for many. I will keep you guys up to date if anything changes.

Positives/Notable Specs:
***Quad Core Processor - The device is incredibly fast, everything responds instantly. NO LAG. I was able to navigate through the menu very quickly and apps work seamlessly.
***HDMI 1080P - Crystal clear display, some might wish it was 4K capable but I think it's a good move not to have it. Having 4K would increase the price of the device and most people won't have a 4K TV for at least 1 more years. Then there probably will be a newer version of Fire TV with 4K support.
***Optical Audio port - This is a huge plus for many people that care about sound, including me. This allows you to enjoy surround sound without worrying about your TV limiting you, simply plug it in to your home theater system using the optical port and get the full surround sound. No more worrying about HDMI not outputting the full 5.1 or 7.1 sound. The sound quality is amazing, it is much better than any other devices that I used before; my 5.1 system really comes alive.
***Certified Dolby Digital Plus Sound - This is a bonus and it does make a difference if you have a 5.1 or 7.1 surround systems. I have the Fire TV plugged in directly into my 5.1 Bose system and it sounds amazing for HD movies and music
***2GB Memory - It is more than triple the amount of RAM compared to other media players and it increases the speed a lot, this helps the gaming performance
***ASAP (Advance Streaming and Prediction - Although I had a short time to use this feature but I am already in love with it. ASAP allows videos to start playing within a second of clicking play. It learns what shows you like and pre buffers the shows and movies. It gets better the more you use the Fire TV.
***Surprisingly great gaming graphics and performance - I did not expect great gaming performance, but I was wrong. This plays many basic games such as Asphalt and Minecraft flawlessly. It will probably support many advanced games but not as advanced as PS4 or Xbox one would. You can't expect that from a device that costs $100. There are several hundred games available now but thousands more are coming. This is Android based open platform, so there are many possibilities and many more things to come. You will need to buy the $40 controller if you intend to play games on it. I will have to wait until April 8th to try the controller.
***Mimo Wi-Fi and Ethernet - This is one of the faster Wi-Fi cards and I no longer have to rely on Ethernet. It also has Ethernet if you desire to use it.
***Voice Search - I have used this feature for a short period of time and it is fairly accurate and returns very results quickly. You can search all Amazon movies and TV shows and Apps that are on your device or in the Amazon Market. I searched for "Person of Interest" and "The Big Bang Theory" and it returned the results instantly. It's as accurate as my HTC One M8 Android phone. You simply say what you want to watch and it will bring it up.
***Bluetooth remote - This is a very convenient feature. You don't have to worry about pointing the remote at the device; you can have your Fire TV hidden and still control it. Since it has Bluetooth, it is possible that there might be a keyboard available to use with it soon. A Wi-Fi remote would have been better but this is almost as good.
***Optional Controller - The optional controller is a must have if you want to play games on it but it does cost $40. It works flawlessly with all the games
***Android Based OS - This is a huge plus because there will be a huge amount of apps coming soon. Android is an open platform and one of the hottest platform right now.
***Tons of Apps for multimedia - Many apps such as Netflix and Hulu
***Hundred and thousands (coming soon) games - If you are not a gamer but you still like to play some games then this is the perfect solution. If you are like me, you don't want to spend $500+ dollars on a gaming system and hundreds more on the games themselves to enjoy some games. The Fire TV is the perfect fit for me because it satisfies my needs and much more. It also provides a real controller similar to Xbox controller. On another note, Amazon has hired some well-known game developers to develope games for them. So stay tuned.

***Price - I honestly don't think the price is too high but most people will complain because the gaming controller is separate and costs $40. I think the price is fair based on the amazing hardware that it contains.
***No HDMI or Optical Cable included - Many people will complain about the absence of HDMI cable, which I think should have been included. The HDMI cable is a very cheap cable and I think it should be included because you can't use the device without it. Since you will need an HDMI cable to get started, please remember to order one with the device. The optical cable is not a big deal because most people don't use one.
***No Infrared(IR) sensor - I can't use my Harmony remote, this might be a big deal for some because Harmony remotes are awesome and now I have to use two remotes.
***Limited HD Space/ NO SD Card - After using it for more than a day, I ended up downloading many apps and two games and I only have 3GB left. I hope some kind of update is provided soon to fix the problem and allow external drives.
***Headphone jack for the remote should have been added, similar to the Roku 3
***Not all functionality is available when launched and will not be- The controller is not available until a week later, the parental control app is coming later, more games are coming later. Also many features such as playing your own media content are not supported natively. I kind of wished they had waited until more of these ready at launch. But it's not a big deal because it already has a ton to offer.
***Wish it came out sooner - I spent too much money on other devices.

The device itself is very slick and light. It is similar to an external DVD player for laptops, a little smaller. It does not feel cheap, very good quality materials and seems durable. The menu bar is on the left hand side which includes: Search, Home, Movies, TV, Watch List, Video Library, Games, Apps, Photos, and Settings. It is very fast and easy to navigate through. The picture quality is very clear. I use Ethernet cable to connect but I have used the built in Wi-Fi to connect too and the video had absolutely 0 lag. It was very clear and it did not freeze once. There are around 200 apps and games available but Amazon promises to bring thousands more soon and I am sure they will keep their promise. I didn't know how to turn off the device and I contacted Amazon and they told me the device never needs to be turned off. When not in use, it goes to screensaver and after about 30 minutes the led light turns off.

Searching for content was very fast and everything showed up instantly. The voice search made it so easy to find what I wanted. I could search for apps and movies in the Amazon Market and it brings it up almost instantly. Netflix and Hulu apps were somewhat slower than the Amazon Instant video. It wasn't a lot slower, just slightly slow enough to make you notice the difference. But I still consider it to be fast compared to anything else that's there. Amazon has little control over performance of third party apps; a lot of it is up to the developer. Very often the apps are updated to fix lagging issues. As I mentioned before I love the ASAP feature. Videos that I searched for played instantly, it predicted what I wanted to watch and very accurately. So I tried to trick it by selecting something at the end of the search results and it wasn't as fast to play but it did play faster than my other devices. It took about 4 seconds compared to the 1 second, but that will depend on your internet speed and connection strength if using Wi-Fi.

Overall, there are some downfalls but the other positive aspects of the Fire TV makes up for some of it. I think version 2 should be in the works to address the negatives and to compete with Android TV which should outperform this device. Even with some of the annoyance, it is still the best media player available right now.

So what other alternatives do you have?
To get all the benefits there isn't any alternatives, especially if you like the complete multimedia experience. If you lean towards gaming more then there are two routes that you can go and spend around the same amount as you would with Fire TV. You can either get a used PS3 or Xbox 360. They are similar in many ways and choosing one would depend on your preference of Microsoft or Sony system. They both provide a good amount of multimedia such as Movies, TV shows and music but they do not present it in a great simple way as the Fire TV does. I will explain the PS3, but Xbox 360 would work similar way. A good condition used PS3 slim costs around $140 on eBay, which is the same price as Fire TV with the controller. PS3 has many of the apps such as Netflix, Hulu, Pandora and other streaming apps. One advantage that PS3 and Xbox have over Fire TV right now (Fire TV may support this soon) is that, you can play your own music and movies that are stored in the hard drive. You can get a subscription for PlayStation Plus for around $5-$6 a month to get access to a good number of free advanced and basic games, Amazon doesn't have a monthly fee. Xbox also has monthly fee for their LIVE subscription. After you get a subscription you can purchase hard core games such as BioShock but they can cost a lot more than Android games. Fire TV has games for average of $1.50 vs. average of $20 for PS3 or XBOX games. But as a result you get a much (a lot) better game from PS3 or Xbox. Remember this solution is only beneficial for moderate to serious gamers who does not have money for PS4 or Xbox One. Over a year you end up spending a lot more than you would for Fire TV and its gaming experience. The monthly subscription and the purchase of game can add up quickly. So as you can see these are very good alternatives, it all depends on if you want a gaming system with multimedia or a multimedia system with games.

I do not own a Kindle Fire tablet, so I can't comment on the ability to pause a movie on the tablet and just flick it to the Fire TV. It supports it and it should work easily.

I downloaded Asphalt and played it for about 30 minutes using the remote and it played flawlessly. I didn't notice any lag and graphics was good.
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on April 3, 2014
Ok, I was really stoked for this box, I'm not a hater who doesn't want to give this a chance like some of the posters here, but I've had a less than stellar experience.

Got the Fire TV this afternoon, sweet, unpackaged, ready to go. Plug it in and told it needs an update, fair enough as an Xbox 1 owner, I know the drill. Sometime later, I eventually get a lovely screen proclaiming "Unable to update your Amazon Fire TV" "blah blah blah contact support".

I'm no Ron Swanson, but I am a man, so of course I spend the next 4 hours trying everything I know to see if the issue is on my end rather than contact tech support. Heck, I'm the guy all my friends and family call when they need tech support, I got this right?

Wrong. I tried everything, wired, wireless, DHCP, static, DMZ, check firewall ports, even taking the router out of the equation, keep getting a message that it can't connect to get the update. Tried over a period of 7 hours in case it was just busy network, product launch and all. Still no dice, it won't let me do anything as it needs to update, so it's talking to the Amazon servers, but refuses to get the update, which could still be a server issue and nothing wrong with the box, fair enough.

BUT.. The great thing about the horrible design is that I'm essentially left with a brick, as I cannot do anything with the stupid box without doing the update. I can't go to the home screen, can't check out the UI, can't do anything but be openly mocked by it. Really Amazon? What muppet allowed that through? It won't even go to a menu so I can at least mess around with it, just an instruction screen telling me to contact support.

Beaten and emasculated, I finally contact tech support, only to be told to try everything on the support page (I already pointed out I'd been there and done that, but no t-shirt), which I did once more and still nothing. Support then told me that as the product is new, they're not trained on it so they'll have to get me a specialist. Okey dokey, I'm ok with that, I understand that, as well as the fact I'm probably paying to be a Beta Tester but whatever, I just want it to work.

Well after getting bounced around and put on hold for 15 minutes, support hung up on me. I never even got a chance to raise my voice dammit. I think I'm gonna use it to hurl at the overabundance of hipsters we have here in the Bay Area, as that's all the Fire TV is any good for now.

And yeah, I'm a moron, paid for 1 day shipping for this and a controller, first world problems huh?


Finally spoke to a guy in support, as soon as I told him that I was stuck in an update loop he asked if I wanted a return or a new one, so went for the return. I'm guessing my issue is now a known issue. The soonest they could have got me a new one was Monday, and considering I'd paid one day shipping, and then wasted almost a day trying to get it to work, I'm over it. I'm definitely a little sad, as I was really looking forward to seeing what this box could do. I'm jealous of those of you that are having a good experience, maybe I'll try again in the future once they've figured it out, or wait to see if Apple or Roku come out with something better.
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on April 5, 2014
I was really looking forward to using what was hyped as an amazing piece of entertainment equipment, but the actual experience falls short.

+ User interface and underlying hardware is fast
+ Form factor of the device and remote control is very sleek
+ Plays games fairly well, especially for such a small box
+ Quality of Amazon videos is very good
+ Voice search works quite well
+ The device came pre-configured for my Amazon account. I just plugged it in, updated the software, and away I went

- First and foremost, there is STILL no way to search for only free movies on Prime.
- Amazon touts it's 40,000 Prime movies available, but good luck finding them. There is no categorization by genre. You are stuck surfing through dumb lists of movies, or using the search function, which almost never returns any Prime movies
- Voice search works only on Amazon content. You cannot use this to search within Netflix, for example
- The Amazon FireTV box only comes with 8GB of memory for game and app storage, which is completely inadequate. There are games available for download that consume almost 2GB for ONE GAME. Good luck downloading a 1.76GB game, like the racing game featured in the list of top games.

Clearly, Amazon is marketing this device as a way to push its video content. In the help video that automatically plays the first time you use the device, it even offers you a 30 day Prime membership for free to try it out. However, Amazon has no incentive to help you actually search for and find this free content. It's clearly evident in the lack of ability to filter search results on free Prime content only. This is my biggest beef with Amazon, by far. I want a Netflix-like experience, where my Prime content is sorted by genre, and I can search for free movies only. Now, if you want to pay for video rentals, by all means buy this device, because it works really well. If you want it to access your Prime content only, stick to the Roku box you probably already have, because it works just as good.

I called customer service, and talked to a guy about how I can search for and access my 40,000 Prime movies. Well....YOU CAN'T!!!! According to him, I can only find the Prime movies on the two lists on FireTV that say "Recently added to Prime" and "Top Prime Movies". Those lists are 73 items, and 150 items, respectively. THERE IS NO WAY TO SEARCH OR BROWSE FREE PRIME CONTENT ONLY. The guy I talked to said this was a very common request for people. OF COURSE IT IS. I don't want to pay for video rentals if I just paid for a Prime membership to access free content. AMAZON COMPLETELY FAILED. I AM RETURNING THE FIRE TV.
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on April 3, 2014
I am a real owner of the Fire TV, and also the Roku 3, Apple TV and G-Box MX2 by Matricom. I've been anticipating the fire tv since I first heard about it and really wanted to love this box. Unfortunately it just misses the mark on every ground that I expected it would excel. First of all, it took about an hour to get the device to boot all the way in. It had to download a few updates then forces you to watch a long video. If you try to bypass the video it just restarts. Finally after waiting for the video to finish I got in. The user interface is ugly, but clean. Surprisiginly being so simple the interface still gets laggy when moving quickly through the menus.

First thing I noticed is the wifi is weaker than my other streaming boxes (Roku/ATV/MX2). I couldnt even use it in the bedroom I wanted to replace my Roku 3 in because it wouldnt stream from that far. The Roku of course streams fine from this room. I had to move it to the living room instead.

This thing is just plain exasperating to use. If you want to watch a Prime movie or video, no problem - pretty much everything else is just too much for the box's processing power. Playing games on this thing will make you pull your hair out from all the jittery laggy moments when everything just freezes for a split second. For games like Minecraft, this box is fine but for action games like Asphalt 8 and Sev Zero - the lack of power this box has really shows. Furthermore this is the 600 series Snapdragon processor. It's rather a joke by today's standards. It will NEVER do 2K or 4K video decoding. Something "this revolutionary" should at LEAST have hardware capable of TVs being sold on the market today.

The voice recognition is the worst I have ever experienced. Not only does it take approximately 10 seconds for the box to "think" about what you said, half of the time it doesn't come close to getting it right. This feature is more annoying than it is useful.

I installed the latest XBMC Gotham using ADB. The video playback is choppy and erratic for any HD content. Although it plays standard definition content without a problem this player can't be taken seriously for XBMC with choppy / erratic HD playback. Since I didn't expect XBMC to work properly anyways I didn't judge my review based on this point.

Like many complained already, there's no HBOGo. For me it's not a deal breaker, however the lack of support for local media playback, no 4K video decoding, DLNA issues, VERY limited media file format compatibility, VERY laggy/stuttering game playback is just a few of the reasons I'm going to return this thing. Maybe it will get better in the future, but after my day's run with this thing it feels like it was rushed to market and still needs some refining.

The best thing I see useful with this box is Amazon Prime, but overall I feel like this box is just another way for Amazon to get more subscribers to Prime. Without Prime this box wouldn't be nearly as useful.

Overall I am not impressed at all. I prefer my G-Box over all of my streaming devices, but the Fire TV is going back home to Amazon.
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on April 3, 2014
Having received my Fire TV today, I've been trying it out for the past couple of hours.

Setup was a no brainer. It required an update immediately so it did take about 15 minutes to have it in action but the process was very simple.

The image quality (movies and games) is excellent. I've tried several movies from Amazon Prime and they look and sound nearly Blu Ray quality as far as I can tell.

Navigation is very straightforward and it's generally easy to find anything you're looking for. Installation of games and apps goes very smoothly and generally pretty quickly.

The remote works very well. I haven't played with the voice search feature much yet, but when I have tried it, it worked well. The buttons on the remote are well thought out and I prefer it to the Apple TV remote.

I only have one gripe. As far as I can tell, there's no way to limit the list of movies and tv shows to what is available for Amazon Prime members. This makes it very inconvenient to find things that are free to watch. There are some categories that are limited to Prime (Most Popular on Prime, For Kids on Prime) I want to be able to just see what's available for Prime or at least be able to see by category what's available for Prime. I'm sure this isn't an oversight. I suspect Amazon wants to force us to look at everything and be tempted to buy/rent things but if they really want to compete with Netflix, they'll understand that we pay for our Prime membership to be able to watch free movies conveniently. A workaround is to do your searching on the web and then search specifically on the device.

Perhaps I just haven't found the way to search for Prime available content. I hope that's the case or I will really be disappointed.

Update 7/21/2014:

The latest software upgrade as significantly improved the device for Amazon Prime members - addressing most of my original complaints.

Now that there is an entire section dedicated to Prime content, it is much easier to find things without having to wade through pay to view content. I wouldn't mind seeing more 'categories' to search through, but don't want to diminish the improvement.

It's still not possible to search and return only Prime content. I think it should be possible to tell the device (when you search) that you only want returns from what is available for free to Prime members.

The new 'Music' option looks intriguing but seems to have no purpose at this point. Not sure why it was added, but I hope it grows into a useful feature given the new Prime Music package.

I would also like to see some sort of DLNA feature added. As one who rips all content that I buy (blu rays, dvds, cds) to a computer on my Network, I would very much like to be able to stream this material to the FireTV. Adding support for a connected USB device is not a solution for me. I have no intention of keeping two copies of all this material.
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on April 4, 2014
The Fire TV came well packaged with extremely simple instructions. Plug in the power cable and HDMI cable (not included), put batteries in the remote and that's it. After initial start up there is an update that must be run, but after a few minutes the unit was up and running. Interface is nice looking and easy to use. Voice search worked perfectly...it understood this Kentucky accent instantly. Flipping through the movie choices is super fast (almost too fast since it has skipped a movie a time or two). Netflix is on the home page, but you have to install the app before using it the first time. As I'm typing this review the unit is displaying some beautiful screensaver pictures while I have a movie paused. If you store your photos on Amazon's Cloud you can use your own pictures instead. Picture quality is fantastic and movies start up lightning fast. The only thing I see as a con would be how the Prime movies are marked. The placement of the Prime marker in the upper left of the movie icon is very small and isn't as prominent as it should be making it rather difficult to tell whether it's Prime or a movie you would rent/purchase. I figure in the days and weeks ahead Amazon will be listening to customer suggestions (as they usually do) and more and more updates will be forthcoming making this device even better. For me the Amazon Fire TV is a winner. It will definitely be replacing a Directv receiver I was using.

Update: After one full day of using Amazon's Fire TV I am more than satisfied with my purchase.If you read reviews like I do make sure to skip over the ones that don't have the Amazon Verified Purchase listed under their name or click that their post is unhelpful. These are people who are trying to review a product without even having it in their possession. If you discount those reviews (which make the overall rating less than it should be) you will discover that the majority of people who actually purchased this product are very satisfied.

4-6-14 Update: Added the AmazonBasics Digital Optical Audio Toslink Cable and this has added a whole new dimension to the sound quality of my tv. The sounds are more richer and louder than ever before. I am continually amazed at what this little device is capable of. I really suggest getting the cable I mentioned above to make your Fire TV experience even better!!

4-8-14 Update: Turned on the device today and went to start up Netflix...all I got was a white screen. Turned the unit off and on, but still a white screen. I uninstalled the Netflix app and reinstalled and it worked again. I don't believe it was a problem on the device itself, but rather the app since all of the other apps worked fine.

4-15-14 Update: Had the same white screen issue with Netflix some more. Contacted customer service and reported the issue. He stepped me through the process of going into the settings then the apps. When you come to Netflix instead of uninstalling click on force stop. This fixed the issue. If I have the problem again he asked that I contact them back immediately so that they can contact the developers with the issue. I continue to enjoy this device and have since gotten rid of the Directv receiver I had connected. I can't recommend the Fire TV enough!!

6-25-14 Update: My Fire TV is still going strong and I am completely happy with it. I have found that I watch TV more so on The Fire than my DirecTV. The one thing I haven't checked (but will sometime) is the USB port. I've got to save some movies to my flash drive and see if I can play a saved movie from the drive using the USB port on The Fire. Finding Amazon content is a breeze using the Voice Search and searching through movies or videos using Netflix and others is fine. Yes, it would be great to be able to use the Voice Search with everything else, but it's not a deal breaker for me nor an inconvenience. I would imagine Amazon will eventually include their Voice Search on any third party application as time allows. Even after using it all this time I'm still amazed at the sound and picture quality of such a tiny device. For me Amazon just gets better and better.

8-4-14 Update: I had movies saved to an external hard drive and I plugged it into the USB port on the Amazon Fire, unfortunately, it doesn't work. It basically did nothing. It made no noise like it was trying to access my hard drive nor did it recognize any USB plugged in. Hopefully Amazon will push out an update to fix this at some point and time. It would be a wonderful feature to have. (Hint, Hint...Amazon).
5150+ comments| 615 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
I am not a casual user of on-demand content and devices. Having tried smart tv's from 3 brands, smart dvd/bluray players, Apple TV, WDTV, HTPC, Chromecast and too many other competing products to mention--for streaming content, before this box you really had two options (for a simple to use box that doesn't require additional items or tweaking):

First is Apple TV which is easy to use (interface) but Apple limits the content you can get greatly (including no Prime Streaming built in) and it lacks a lot in features as well and is slow. The reason for selecting Apple TV is if you have other apple products that unlock features (like Amazon's content).

The second option you could consider was Roku--which really means a Roku 3 box since it is heads and tails better than past Roku boxes in terms of remote and speed. Now Roku stands out with the most content and the most features of any box with the Roku 3. It is for that reason you will see me address the Roku 3 so often in this review.

I have added quick summaries of other options to make sure everyone knows about the other options out there.

WDTV: Are great for streaming your own content but not very user friendly.

Chromecast: Is very cheap at $35 but requires other items to use (no remote included!), is limited to 16 channels according to their own site with other content broadcast via Chrome's browser not at the same quality level. This does allow you to browse the internet on your tv and is amazing for the cost but is more of a niche market than FireTV/Roku/Apple TV. But if you can live with the short comings, it is worth a look at 1/3 the price of these devices.

Smart TVs: Most of these are FINE for occasional use but not nearly as pleasant to use daily like separate boxes. Normally you pay $150-$400+ extra for features that are found in these $100 boxes. I have not found a smart tv that is decent and is also a good value for what you are getting. The advantage is that you can use your TV remote to access the content. (and that is about it!)

HTPC: These are desktop computers or Mac Minis or Android Sticks that you load software on to stream video to your TV. These can add content that no normal streaming box can access, without giving up quality but they are only recommended for something comfortable with technology that doesn't mind fixing the issues that come up from time to time.

Video Game Consoles: Xbox/Playstations can access some of the content that streaming boxes do and have plenty of power to deliver the streams. The downside is the cost (unless you already have one) and the interfaces. These consoles are not designed to stream video exclusively so the interfaces are decent but can be clunky.

(You can use other options but frankly they aren't worth the hassle for the amount of hair pulling you would do.)

Now this Amazon product has changed everything. It might not be the box for you...but honestly there is a good chance that it SHOULD BE. This is a brand new category for Amazon and they got a lot right, but there are a few shortcomings (at least at launch) as well so read all of this to see what those are.

Amazon's Fire TV box


+ Nothing else is this fast. While Roku 3 impressed the world, this raises the bar dramatically. With a quad core processor and 4 times the memory of any other streaming product, it speeds through menus, boots quicker, starts videos quicker and honestly has the muscle to not struggle with higher end resolutions and surround sound like other boxes can do at times. The best way I can explain it, you will have extra hours at the end of the year because this box is THAT much faster.

+ Voice search is amazing. It really works. Less using a four directional keypad to enter in titles is a real time saver and makes you wonder why this wasn't done before but it is only for Amazon content and VEVO (music videos) (at least for now). You can not use the voice search with Netflix for example.

+ Ready for gaming, well at least once you spend another $40. The $40 gaming controller feels a bit pricy for this type of gaming and really should be $25 or less in my opinion. That being said, this box has real games you would actually want to play instead of a VERY limited selection on Roku 3 but it is not a "REAL" console at $100 and honestly shouldn't be compared to them.

+ Better image quality? I know you are thinking I am imagining things or have changed my setup but both myself and my wife have noticed that generally (in different apps) the video is slightly sharper and clearer. We are using the exact same tv, settings, even the same HDMI cable that we used with the Roku 3 until we switched it for the Fire TV box. We have noticed that especially on poor quality feeds that the image quality is noticeably better than under the same feeds with Roku 3. Now I don't know if there is better graphic chips or if the bigger processor can do more tweaking while streaming but it seems to be something. As image quality is a huge deal for most folks (and normally us streamers have to suffer with "decent" quality) this is certainly worth noting. So far we have noticed this under Netflix, VEVO and Plex.


- It lacks soul. Yes, soul. The Fire TV box and remote are built like a dvd player or appliance--cold, fast, efficient. Unlike Roku 3 where the box seems to have a bit of the personally of TiVo--it feels warmer, more inviting. Everything about this box is business like, including the interface and the lack of options to change it.

- The interface is more than merely "cold". It is simply less flashy/pretty than the Roku 3 interface. While fast, I am less tempted to wander around like I do on Roku 3. It seems like they are being pretty dependent on the voice search function which is great but it leaves you missing out on the random items you find along the way with the Roku 3 interface. I will update this more upon extended use.

- The voice search only works for Amazon's own content (and VEVO) and not most 3rd party channels like Netflix.

- The remote is not ready for gaming use, compared to the Roku 3 remote with gaming buttons when you turn the remote sideways and more sensors for detecting movements/motion.

- Another feature about the remote I don't care for is the use of Bluetooth instead of WIFI. Roku used to use Bluetooth on their former high end box but instead replaced it with wifi to increase battery life and to add the headphone jack in the remote. It will likely take a few weeks of use to report battery life but this has me concerned.

- No headphone jack function like Roku 3. Now to be honest, if you use that on the Roku 3 it can be a battery drain but it is a cool feature.

- Missing some popular channels at launch. There is no M-Go and no Vudu. In addition, the channel count is much less than Roku's at launch. (UPDATE: They now have HBO GO!)

- Channels operate differently on FireTV than the do on Roku 3. See my notes below for more information.


This Fire TV box took so much from other company's products with only a few missing items. They focused on delivering smooth, fast performance with less frills than Roku 3 for the same price. While there are missing channels and features, the biggest failure for me PERSONALLY is the cost of the gaming controller. Without it, this box isn't ready for gaming but adding 40% more for the ability to try out the functionality seems pretty steep. Had Amazon included it with every Fire TV box, they would have sold a lot more games and had everyone calling the Roku 3 a poor value.

If you do not have any streaming box yet, I would HIGHLY recommend this box over every other product on the market right now. I don't make this endorsement lightly. I currently own 3 Roku 3 boxes because I liked them so much, until I used this Fire TV box. This box means Roku will have to really work on improving their product for Roku 4 or they will lose the high end market. (An update, my wife officially asked to replace the Roku 3 boxes with more Fire TV boxes tonight. Yes, these things are that good folks!)

If you have a Roku 3 box, really look at the missing channels and features--are they something you could give up for faster performance? (Also look at my notes on the features of the various common apps.) If the answer is yes, then grab one of these and try it. If no, wait to see if Amazon adds features/channels. At the very least, consider an Fire TV box for your next box.

I do not personally recommend Apple TV as they are still too slow and lack too many features and functions. Apple keeps promising something amazing but delivering minor improvements.

If you are on a budget and have an Android based tablet, consider Chromecast. It is a good value for the price but you do give up features and content to save on the cost compared to Roku 3 & Fire TV.

I am giving this box a 4.8 rating, compared to a 4.2 for Roku 3.

I will update this review regularly for a while, so check back for more information! Also if you have questions or comments, please feel free to ask them in the comments section. Either myself or other helpful people will do our best to respond to them.


Based on comments, I wanted to add a few points.

Regarding comments that I received the item free or are paid by Amazon to write this review, etc.

I paid the full list price and local sales tax for this box (grrr). Nothing was provided to me nor was I paid anything to write about this device. I do not work for Amazon, I own my own company. For this item, I am just a customer. In fact, I didn't expect to even purchase a Fire TV prior to it being announced because I figured it would only deal with Amazon's own content which I feel is much weaker than Netflix. In fact, I have talked two different family members into getting Netflix over Amazon's Prime Streaming service in the past month alone.

See below, but it is now supported!!!


It needs to be said that some channels require cable/satellite subscriptions (to those channels) like HBO Go, Showtime, ESPN, etc. Even if you have HBO, it does not mean that your provider allows the HBO Go, so look into that before purchasing any box with that in mind. I do like the Bloomberg TV (not available on Roku 3) App which actually features a LIVE TV feature.

NETFLIX APP: Is the "older" style with the tall covers (like VHS boxes) instead of the "new" Netflix interface that uses short wide covers (like on Roku 3). Netflix has said they are moving everything to the new software but the Fire TV box doesn't have it yet. That makes comparing performance harder from Roku 3 to Fire TV. On my ISP provider Comcast (Netflix recently agreed to pay Comcast so they have faster streams to customers) I do not see a HUGE improvement in performance in buffing like you see on other channels. What it does seem to do is start in better quality and/or speed the improvement in quality. My guess is that the Netflix app needs to be tweaked to maximize the performance of this hardware. One positive with the FireTV app is that it plays the entire TV episode BEFORE switching to a small window with the countdown starting for the next episode. I can't tell you how many times I had to click, click, click and click just to see the end of an episode under Roku 3.

Also, the FireTV Netflix app has two features that were removed from the updated Roku app. Before going into a TV show, FireTV tells you how many total episodes that Netflix has. On the Roku it shows you the number of seasons instead. I personally prefer the number of episodes but clearly that is a personal preference. Another point worth mentioning is that the FireTV Netflix App shows you how many items you have in your list and what item number you are on. That information is missing from the Roku 3 Netflix app.

AMAZON PRIME CONTENT: Does not loop--a "feature" they should add (and likely will). This means once you get to the end, it just stops instead of keeping going.

Voice search DOES cover some 3rd party content, despite everyone reporting it works on Amazon's content only. I have repeated confirmed it supports the VEVO app and will find music videos in that app. That may mean that other 3rd party apps are covered as well, or certainly might be able to be in the future. If you search for something that has PRIME content and VEVO content, it will default to the option with the most options. To switch to the other, simply arrow up and either left or right to see the music videos or PRIME search results.

I noticed this box featured an optical out port but normally run everything through my LG TV (via HDMI) and then use an optical out to my receiver (so I never have to change the receiver's settings) so I wasn't excited about this addition to the Fire TV box over my Roku 3 boxes. I stand corrected. I decided to run my audio via the optical cable into the receiver directly from this Fire TV box (something that I can not do with Roku 3) and it fixed all random lip-sync issues I have from time to time on the Roku 3 box (and the same with the HDMI output on this box).

Now I know this is not a typical setup for many people but I do know that tons of people have lip-sync issues with HDMI connections so being able to bypass the HDMI minefield is much more important than I expected.

This app works better than the Roku 3 app performance wise...one quick example is that some content simply fails on the Roku 3 app--try watching Britney Spears's Work B**CH (don't make fun of me!). Vevo can play this video fine on YouTube and on the Fire TV app but struggles on Roku 3's app. SOME of VEVO's content is also available via VOICE SEARCH too.

I do miss the jump back button on the remote that Roku 3 features. It is a tiny thing but it once you are used to jumping back to see that painting in the background or catch that line that you didn't hear because the phone rang, or someone was talking, you feel lost without it. UPDATE! They did include this feature but hid it abit. You simply double click the reward button to skip back. I haven't seen anyone else mention this tip so you saw it here first people!

I do like that the "enter" button is back in the center of the directional keys. This is the way it used to be on Roku boxes before someone at Roku decided to move it below the directional keys, so you have to move your thumb oddly to press it.

What multitasking you ask? Since you haven't seen this advertised or mentioned elsewhere, I can understand your confusion but try this: Load a Pandora stream...then click on the HOME button and browse for movies/tv you want to watch. As long as you are in the Home/Amazon Prime content, you can browse WHILE Pandora continues playing. Now Pandora dies when you enter another APP like Netflix but it shows you that Multitasking is built into the operating system and may be utilized in future features. (Again, this TIP is only found here!)

Another update: This tip also works when browsing PLEX content before you play something. So even when utilizing a 3rd party app, it can keep going. When it changes to a new song, a small window pops up on the lower right hand side of the screen to tell you know the new song title and artist.

Compared to the Roku app, PLEX for FireTV is totally different. There are some cool features, like the backgrounds, the screensaver using your photos and the MUCH faster menuing (night and day from Roku 3) but I do miss the channels not requiring a couple clicks to switch to ONLINE to see. I do miss that clicking the play button doesn't play a clip, instead you select it (click) and then play it (second click).

FireTV has a screensaver that is honestly pretty cool in my opinion. I am not saying you can't do this with other boxes but no other box comes set up to display random photos (and includes a decent amount of beautiful photos as well.) This functionality covers 3rd party apps like Netflix and Plex too so you have a seamless slideshow no matter what you are using when it starts. This is the sort of thing you see on PCs not streaming boxes and it is a nice touch.

Many commenters have argued that this device is not gaming changing and many have rating my review not helpful because of that title.

I said "Nothing else is this fast" to which one commenter said, "Nobody cares how fast an streaming box is. That's not a game changer"

Actually using it you will see what I mean. This is the first time a company has put so much $$ into creating a very solidly made hardware device. Like a fast computer (which this basically is), it will depend on software that is written for it to fully show off its abilities.

When AMD created their first processor that competed directly with Intel's higher end processors, it was a game changer, correct?, because it changed the landscape of personal computers forever, lowered pricing, etc.

People will look back in 5 years at this moment and say Amazon's FireTV changed how consumer streaming video boxes were made (instead of barely enough processing power to stream, they became able to compete with HTPCs and Mac Minis). This is the beginning of a new generation of streaming boxes.

I said "Voice search is amazing." and they said "Not unique, by any means. My xbox, ps3, tablets, all have this, and all work amazingly."

Find one person who owns this that doesn't say this voice search works better than anything from Google, Apple or Microsoft. The fact that little old Amazon could out deliver those tech giants is SHOCKING. The fact this works via a tiny remote makes it very easy to get use to. There is no other product in this price range that does this and no other streaming box even offers it at any cost.

I said "Ready for gaming, well at least once you spend another $40" to which they said: "And stick to basic android games. No thanks. I have a REAL console (or a couple of them) that can play REAL games..."

This isn't meant to compete with more expensive game consoles. It is meant to bring gaming to streaming boxes, just like tablets/cellphones have brought gaming to millions. They have not replaced gaming consoles (and likely never will) just like this box will not have you ditch your gaming console either but instead it opens you up to tons of games you CAN'T play on that same console. Just imagine all the cheap under $5/free games you can enjoy on your FireTV box. As I said above in my main review, I think Amazon really should have thrown in the controller to really get peopling playing the games but I can understand why they needed to limit their losses.

Again, this is a best in class hardware device with real gaming and the best voice search on any tech device (and the only one for a streaming video box). Every future streaming box will be measured against this one. Tell me how that isn't game changing?

Please understand that everyone has different priorities and requirements so no one box is going to be perfect for everyone. I am attempting to do my best to address most of the many options and provide a decently balanced opinion of them.


While I don't have time to read and answer every question these days, many helpful people are helping and I wanted to thank them.

Here are a few big recent changes:

There is now an Fire TV app for this very desired service. I don't subsribe to HBO so I can't test the app yet but coming in April of 2015 you should be able to get HBO GO access without having the cable channel--a huge bonus to those cord cutters like me. Depending on cost, I might subscribe but I am not sure that it will be worth $10 or more to our household so we will have to wait on that one.

Amazon Music:
This launched after I wrote my first review. It currently allows you to play any songs you have digitally purchased from Amazon and most of them have lyrics that help create a near karaoke experience.
When that launched they still didn't have support for Amazon Prime free music but that has been added as well so now you can listen to commercial free, unedited music as part of your Prime service. You can select the actual songs unlike most free streaming services and you can skip or go back to any song you want--as much as you want.

This app has been updated to match the Roku 3 app. That is both good and bad. (I actually liked the "older" app style better but it is a personal opinion)
With the change of app, you now can listen to Pandora or other music like Prime while browsing netflix. (Can't do that on any other box).

Overall software:
They keep pushing minor updates regularly.


Fire TV Stick:
See my review below. And if it is helpful, please click on that button as it is getting buried right now so no one sees it. (Sad face)
Basically it is the best value around if you are on a budget unless you need the ability to surf the web on your TV like a Chromecast stick.

Everyone else has been sitting on their hands. There has been no substantial response to the Fire TV box or Fire TV stick that I know of. I have seen lots of discounts on Roku 3 like I predicted and some discounts on Fire TV box as well.

I expect we will start seeing some new products soon but I am a bit surprised that no one released a real challenger for the holiday season.

Hopefully this review has been helpful to you. If so, please let me know by clicking the button below. Remember you don't have to agree with everything I said to think it was helpful! ;)
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