Apr 4, 2014 — by: Mark Reschke
Categories: Apple TV, Competition, Review

Earlier this week Amazon stepped into the set top box market with Amazon fireTV. This is a direct competitor to Apple TV, with a few extra features such as a gaming option and a voice control remote. 

Digging into fireTV’s specifications became a difficult task, and it reminded me of a similar problem when Amazon launched their Kindle Fire HD against Apple’s iPad mini. Amazon cherry picked the Kindle Fire HD specifications in a big way, so as to present their tablet as being superior, and cheaper — to the iPad mini. Amazon, receiving negative press, soon capitulated 

Amazon is up to their old games once more, as it is virtually impossible via their website to determine what is an app versus what is a natively shipping app, what resolutions will be available for gaming, and a host of other problematic specifications that seem unobtainable and/or blurred as to what are – or are not. Below is Amazon's comparison chart against the Roku, AppleTV and Google's Chromecast offerings:

firetv vs appletv chart comparrison specifications


On the surface the comparisons seemed fair, but then when one stops to ask, “What is ‘Popular’ and who determines that?” the marketing tricks are quickly revealed.

What if Apple were to play the same games Amazon seems determined to use in snowing potential customers into buying their products?


Evidently Amazon does not consider the NBA, WatchABC, iTunes Radio, iTunes Movies and TV shows along with many other channels "popular services." Amazon also cherry picks their specifications, by listing their own Amazon instant video service, but excludes the myriad of Apple services, and never mentions Airplay, by far one of the most alluring of all Apple TV features. The only faint specification topic on an airplay-like solution on the fireTV site was for a Kindle FireHDX, evidently the only tablet that can wirelessly share its audio and video with fireTV? Who knows, Amazon isn’t clear about that, as they aren’t clear in a number of areas.

In the end, the Amazon fireTV is another “me too” product trying to compete with Apple. fireTV really misses the boat with a lack of content. It only has only a few faint random Android games and voice control to boast about. Smoke and mirrors marketing specifications with little to show for it. That’s the real Amazon fireTV.

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  1. Jeff ~ Apr. 6, 2014 @ 4:18 pm

    "Remote with no line of sight required." - garbage. My AppleTV is coiled up behind my flat panel tv, so, I don't know how Apple fails here, because my remote certainly operates fine while the device is entirely hidden. #
  2. Phil K ~ Apr. 7, 2014 @ 4:54 am

    I don't even use the remote that came with my AppleTV, instead I use the Remote app on my iPad, which works great. I have no idea if it's limited to line-of-sight or not, but it makes little difference to me since it works wherever I choose to use it, which is generally somewhere in view of my tv. #
  3. Marvin N ~ Apr. 7, 2014 @ 8:28 pm

    Looking at the list of "popular services" listed it seems like a list of the icons you see outside say an internet enabled TV or DVD/Blu-ray device box. So I would most likely assume they are 'popular' services that are also available as Apps on your smartphone/tablet. A large portion of your example lists 'channels' which may or may not have any specific apps. At least compare like to like and make your argument that way.. seems weak otherwise. #

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