My household is a ‘streaming TV’ household. We don’t have cable or satellite. We have a raggedy pair of digitally-capable rabbit ears that we use to occasionally watch network television while it is being originally aired. To be honest, that is mostly during football season. The rest of the year we watch TV and movies on Amazon, Amazon Prime, and Netflix. For many years we have used our Playstation 3 for our streaming entertainment, but that requires clutter: a console, cables to the TV, a TV stand to put the console in… Clutter! So when smart TVs started to come out, I was thrilled at the concept.
Many moons after the first smart TV was released we finally decided to buy one. We found a great deal on a 55” LED Smart TV and just snatched it up. We took it home, mounted it on the wall … and discovered that the Amazon app was not yet released for the 2014 models. Disappointment. Rage. Distress.
Amazon is currently working furiously to get the app released for all the 2014 TVs, but unfortunately they could not give us an estimated time for completion. We toyed with the idea of getting another Roku, a tiny little box that we’d barely used a couple years prior before giving it away. I didn’t want that Playstation still sitting out in the open (clutter!), so using a TV cabinet was out of the question, especially as we spent a pretty penny on a good wall mount.
We are an Amazon family. I have had Prime membership as long as I can remember. We watch the bulk of our TV on Amazon Instant Video. We own a standard Kindle and a Kindle Paperwhite, as well as a Kindle Fire HDX. I buy 75% of gifts and household goods on Amazon.com. So when this problem came up, I immediately thought of the Amazon Fire TV.
The immediate plusses of Amazon Fire:
- Price: Only $99. Granted, it’s a tad more than those tiny Roku and Chromecast sticks, but it has so much more functionality.
- Brand: Does Google, Apple, and Roku have fancier versions of their product that are comparable? Yes, of course, but as I said before, I am a major Amazon fan.
- Included apps: The fact that it comes with Netflix, Amazon, and Pandora were all at the top of the “Pros” column. I also liked the fact that it will integrate with Freetime, giving us the ability to have some level of parental control over what is watched and when.
Immediate minuses? None
I ordered the Amazon Fire TV on a Sunday night and it was delivered to our house on Monday evening. We opened the box and were positively gleeful at how tiny and light it was. We plugged it into the HDMI port on the TV and then taped the little Fire box to the back of the TV. So our TV is mounted on the wall with the wee Fire console taped to the back and there is no clutter!
The Fire came preregistered to my Amazon account. Plus! It was literally almost as quick as plug & play. The only step that you have to do is just connect it to your home internet/wireless. That was it. No further setup required. And, the actual usage of the Fire? The voice search is really fantastic. It even understands my husband’s non-American accent with no problem at all. Despite the tiny hardware, performance does not suffer. The response time from remote to screen is almost instantaneous. Movies start up immediately instead of long buffer times. I haven’t had a chance to play any of the hundreds of available games, nor to test out the mirroring and second-screen functionality, but if they work at the same level as all the other features, I have no doubt that I will not be disappointed.
I highly recommend the Amazon Fire if you’re in the market for a device to stream TV and movies. Click on the image below to read more reviews and details of this product and buy one of your own!