Apple TV vs. Amazon Fire TV – Amazon’s warped idea of ‘specifications’

“Earlier this week Amazon stepped into the set top box market with Amazon Fire TV. This is a direct competitor to Apple TV, with a few extra features such as a gaming option and a voice control remote,” Mark Reschke writes for T-GAAP.

“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,” Reschke writes. “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 ”

Reschke writes, “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”

Read more, and se Amazon’s attempt to deceive, in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple will continue to dominate set-top boxes – April 4, 2014
Apple’s vision shreds Amazon’s Fire TV, other set top box also-rans – April 4, 2014
Amazon’s disappointing ‘Fire TV’ a complete waste of time – April 3, 2014
Analyst: Amazon Fire TV might wow Gary Busey, but Apple needn’t worry – April 3, 2014
Amazon Fire TV vs. Apple TV vs. Roku vs. Chromecast – April 2, 2014
Amazon launches $99 ‘Fire TV’ hoping to rival market-leading Apple TV – April 2, 2014
Apple TV sales topped $1 bilion in 2013, becoming Apple’s fastest growing hardware – February 28, 2014
Tim Cook and Apple TV: A ‘hobby’ no longer – October 7, 2013
Apple TV dominates digital media receiver market with 71% share – May 29, 2013


  1. Something tells me, that Amazon will soon regret posting ANY specifications. I’ve got a feeling that Apple is about to introduce us to AppleTV3 that will make any specs Amazon does post look ridiculous!

    1. I love the part of the Amazon specs that says AppleTV does not play Amazon Prime Video … I would think Apple would gladly include Amazon Prime on AppleTV is AMAZON would allow it!

      I also noticed that Amazon didn’t mention that FireTV will NOT play directly from your iTunes library, or access the iTunes Store … hmmm … I wonder why?

      1. Why? Because iTunes sucks. Also, they would have to deal with iTunes’ unique DRM. That would be like Apple dealing with Blu-ray. Oh, yeah. They don’t.

        On Amazon, your music comes in MP3 format which can be played ANYWHERE.

        1. iTunes doesn’t use DRM, and hasn’t since 2009 (and Apple was instrumental in pushing for DRM-free music, most notably via Steve Jobs’ “Thoughts on Music” post in 2007). On iTunes, your music comes in M4A format, the successor to MP3 which provides better sound quality at the same file size (or the same sound quality at a smaller file size), which can be played almost anywhere that MP3 files can. But nice try with the FUD. (read more about M4A here – )

        2. and that matters…why? I watch video on all my Apple devices, and can stream them directly to my Apple tv. Any DRM which might be employed just doesn’t interfere. Which, incidently, makes the AppleTV a much better compliment to all my other Apple stuff. Sorry, Amazon… No Sale.

        3. my c­­­­o-­­­­wor­­­­ker’s ha­­­­lf-si­­­­ster ma­­­­kes $8­­­­9 /hou­­­­r o­­­­n t­­­­he l­­­­aptop . Sh­­­­e ha­­­­s be­­­­en fire­­­­d fro­­­­m w­­­­ork f­­­­or five mo­­­­nths ­­­­b­­­­­­­­ut las­­­­t m­­­­onth h­­­­er c­­­­heck wa­­­­s $21­­­­382 ju­­­­st ­­­­wor­­­­ki­­­­ng o­­­­n th­­­­e la­­­­ptop fo­­­­r a f­­­­ew h­­­­ours.
          l­­­­ook a­­­­t th­­­­is s­­­­ite……..

        4. BFD! Her sister has found a way to monetize her pee pee?

          You took out a membership at MDN just so you could pimp your co-worker’s half sister? Which half are we talking about, anyway? Top or bottom?

  2. If this new set top box can’t put out 1080p on all levels, be it gaming, apps, and video…then thats sad as there is hardware that can easily accommodate all that criteria with cheap setup. Plus, its the same price as the ATV, not any cheaper.

    1. It puts out 1080p on video, as far as gaming and apps, it beats the current Apple TV.

      Where Amazon cheated was in the content list where they clearly omitted much of the content available on the Apple TV to make it look like Amazon had more content.

      1. Just because the output is 1080p doesn’t mean that is the resolution video games will play at. Just like a DVD can be scaled up to play on a 1080p screen, a video game at 640×480 can be scaled up too, but there is no actual increase in resolution. It just makes the pixels bigger. So what is Amazon saying? I think that if their games were at full 1080p resolution (1920×1080) they would brag about it. The fact they are not is a clue that the Fire TV does not play games at full resolution of 1080p, obviously.

        1. Your missing the point. The resolution of every single game on the Amazon Fire TV is greater than any current game on the Apple TV… every single none of them.

          Of the games I’ve played on the Amazon Fire TV, they don’t look like they’re 1080p, but rather 720p. Then again, the Apple TV games are 0.

          Seriously though, there’s more to gaming quality than resolution, you’ve got issues like polygon counts, frame rates, and other details that matter. In the end, it’s not a spec thing, it’s an overall quality. Games for these devices are inherently casual. So far, we’ve found a few games that are very much worth playing, and this is less than a week after release.

          BTW: this is nothing new. Look at the Playstation and Xbox for a listing of games that aren’t 1080p but are extremely well reviewed in terms of quality.

        2. Also I should add that the Amazon Fire TV doesn’t set the game resolution or the app resolution. The device allows any app (game or otherwise) to be 1080p. Just like the Xbox or Playstation, for a variety of reasons, not all games/apps will be able to go to 1080p.

      1. Yea but it’s limited. For the Apple TV to play movies it has to be in a certain format. I have to jailbreak it to play other formats and add in Xbmc. The fire TV is open so I can sideload lots of stuff. Xbmc Is already being loaded and soon it will play anything.

        I love apple but I have said for years the atv needs to do more apple locks it down and you can’t do anything with it. No games no nothing. Apple could blow amazon out of the water.

        Specs you can’t compare. My Apple TV 2 runs Xbmc better then most android boxes and it does it with 256mb ram and a single core processor. A single core android box is like watching paint dry almost.
        Apple could use the millions and millions of iPhones and iPads out there to act as game controllers for a Apple TV/game box. No need for a $40 controller just use what you already have your iPad, iPad mini, iPod touch or iphone. But apple doesn’t listen to me they could have done something like the fire TV long ago

  3. The money quote in the article — “fireTV really misses the boat with a lack of content.” That’s where all of these tech writers and “analysts” completely get it wrong. They’re so distracted by the checkboxes and supposed specs, that they forget what these set top boxes are supposed to do — DELIVER CONTENT. There’s a reason why 90+% of U.S. households stick with the substandard set top boxes provided by a pay TV provider — because they deliver the content that viewers want to see.

    A gaudy spec sheet, mile long feature list, and fancy UI won’t not amount to anything if they don’t play what viewers want to watch. I suspect that the killer app with the next Apple TV won’t have anything to do with the hardware, it will be all about the content and connecting all of the dots between services, and live, on demand, PPV, and purchased content.

    1. I don’t have Fire TV yet but I do have a Roku and I love it.
      I suspect that Fire TV has all the content that Roku has. So, this “no content” meme has no basis in reality.

        1. I don’t know nothin’ about nothin’, but “Channels” are not a useful enumerator of content quantity or quality.

          E.g., one channel of Cartoon Network has a larger quantity of content than three Nickelodeons (if we’re talking about program titles). And one SHO has significantly more “after dark” content than the 7 HBOs my cable company offers. And one CBS offers much higher “quality” content than most of the Youtube content in the world.

          What I’m saying is your numbers are meaningless without units. 12 > 1, but 12 in = 1 ft and 12 cm < 1 cubit.

  4. What pains me is that again Apple have left the door open to allow Amazon and e analysts to step in on features that that everyone knows are in the future of Apple TV but that Apple are really dragging their feat in introducing in particular gaining and apps. So as before we have the perception that Apple is slow and laughing the competition and is becoming reactive rather than proactive thus seeming to lack innovation. I know it’s always been Apple policy to introduce large moves to make an impact but the opposition have really sussed them on this predictable track. They really do need to change tack a bit and stop creating big ideas that seem to stagnate for a while as they milk them but in reality are becoming far too easy for the likes of Amazon and Samsung to out spec and seemingly out perform to the less sophisticated buyer. Perception is everything and this is the area where Apple is really lagging due to inept marketing, presentation and delaying potential and achievable improvements and opportunities to existing products.

    1. My suspicion is, that suppliers Apple is using for AppleTV are probably leaking details of what’s coming for ATV3. So people like Amazon and Google are rushing similar features to market, so they don’t completely lose this market segment to Apple when they release a polished, refined ATV3.

      Let the naysayers say their nays … I’ll wait for a complete “ready for primetime” option from Apple.

  5. No doubt it’ll be at the top of amazons website for the next few weeks accompanied by some tagline declaring #1 selling TV box on amazon.

    Not that we’ll ever know how many they’ve ever sold…

  6. Clever article!

    I want to know exactly how good the fireTV ‘voice control’ really is. If it really works, then great! That’s a good kick up Apple’s arse. But I suspect it’s POOR, indicating why Apple hasn’t integrated Siri into Apple TV. The verdict?

    1. The verdict leans towards negativity, since customers on Amazon’s website are complaining that the voice control only works with the Amazon Prime services. Amazon’s voice control neglects the other services such as Netflix, etc.

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