Gaming shootout: Apple TV vs. Amazon Fire TV

“When it comes to gadgets, Apple and Amazon tend to have very different audiences,” Andrew Hayward writes for Macworld. “Consider tablets, for example: Amazon’s entry-level Fire tablet is priced at a stunning $50, while Apple’s cheapest active iPad (2013’s iPad Mini 2) sells for $269. There’s a noticeable gap in quality between the two in many regards, but Amazon’s focus on cheap, usable tech contrasts sharply against Apple’s higher-end polish and performance.”

“The difference is less obvious when it comes to set-top boxes, however,” Hayward writes. “Last fall’s overhauled Apple TV was a big leap for the device, adding apps and games along with the touchpad remote, but Amazon had already mined that territory with the first Fire TV. Right after the Apple TV was released, Amazon refreshed the Fire TV with added processing power, 4K resolution support, and other enhancements. And the price difference isn’t quite so dramatic.”

“Apple doesn’t make its own official Apple TV gamepad, but there are several licensed MFi (Made for iOS) controllers that work well with it—and the recent SteelSeries Nimbus and Hori Horipad Ultimate also have the Apple TV Home button clearly marked. My pick is the Nimbus ($50), which feels great in the hand, is nicely sturdy and responsive, and has a battery pack that you charge with a Lightning cable. It’s a near-console quality device.”

“After spending the last couple weeks with the latest Fire TV, we think there’s healthy competition here,” Hayward writes. “If you’re an Apple fan, should you really grab an Amazon box?”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple TV needs a little but more time – it’s only been on the market fro a few months – to get some of the more sought-after games. Beyond gaming, the only reason we’d consider an Amazon Fire TV box ($99) is to feed our Sony 4K TVs.

Hello, Apple? One-third of US households will have 4K TVs by 2019 – December 11, 2015
Jeremy Clarkson confirms new post-Top Gear Amazon Prime show will be in 4K – November 20, 2015
Why Apple TV doesn’t need 4K Ultra HD video – November 12, 2015
Apple TV and the 4K Ultra HD conundrum – October 8, 2015
Amazon embarrasses Apple with new 4K Fire TV box or something – September 17, 2015
Amazon unveils $100 Fire TV box 4K video support, Alexa voice control – September 17, 2015
With the all-new Apple TV, Apple changes the game, yet again – September 14, 2015
Analyst: Apple TV streaming service on the way, could cost at least $40 a month – September 14, 2015
Local media streaming app Plex coming to Apple TV – September 14, 2015
What Apple got right in Apple TV’s user interface – and what needs work – September 11, 2015
New Apple TV has the potential to do for television what iPhone did for mobile phones – September 11, 2015
Apple preps to conquer living room with all-new Apple TV – September 11, 2015
Hands-on with the all-new Apple TV – September 10, 2015
Gruber: Apple TV will define how all TVs will work in a few years – September 10, 2015
Here’s how much RAM is inside Apple’s iPhone 6s/Plus, iPad Pro and new Apple TV – September 10, 2015
New Apple TV sounds great, but where’s the 4K? – September 10, 2015


  1. Wanted to purchase Apple TV for Xmas. Reasonably priced but purchased a 70″ 4K last summer. Very disappointing no 4K support. Reluctantly holding for this Xmas. I’m sure many with 4K TVs are also Apple product users. Seems like Apple TV was obsolete (compared to the competition) in this respect. In many cases, Apple product feature a geared to where the puck is going; but not in this case.

      1. David Pogue to the rescue:

        * sources of UHD content you can enjoy today:

        1) Comcast Xfinity UDH app
        2) DirecTV Genie 4K (Dish network working on an equivalent service)
        3) NetFlix
        4) Amazon Prime
        5) Sony FMP-X10
        6) MoGo streaming service
        7) YouTube
        8) UHD BluRay discs (early releases have been circulating in the industry, but obviously the mega public rollout has been delayed until later in 2016)

        and one more that Pogue didn’t mention: YOUR OWN CAMERAS AND IPHONES.

        1. It is all fine and good to say you are broadcasting in 4K but it all depends on the source. I bet half or more of the content on these services are no higher than HD and up sampled which means they are just wasting bandwidth.

        2. Sure, the average consumer, which it seems is what Apple is increasingly aiming for, doesn’t have the time of day to verify whether the signal from the wall is perfect or whether his local equipment is upconverting compressed files in some way.

          And it goes without saying that any media can be no better than the source material, so there will always be oodles of content that will never be remastered in UHD.

          Nevertheless, all new major productions from Hollywooed are mastered at 4K or greater resolution. They want to upwell the customer to the greater quality file to recoup that investment. And It is worth it for many people.

          The distribution companies know there is liability in selling a product that does not meet its advertised attributes. Remember, these media distribution companies aren’t banks, they actually have to be responsive to the consumer. It would take no time at all for a company to implode if it is found defrauding its customers.

          The biggest issue with streaming is that few people’s internet pipes are big enough to push the data. That’s why Apple thinks that it’s okay to not have the hardware to even do it. But faster internet is around the corner in major metro areas and in the rest of the world videophiles with 4K UHD televisions will happily rent UHD BluRay discs for a considerable time to come.

          That’s okay by me. It’s just sad that Apple chose to take itself out of the premium market altogether. It’s not even a contender in any way with the ATV.

    1. Resolution is only one factor in play. Screen refresh rate is also extremely important in advanced gaming and of course watching fast action & sports. This is really where Apple has been falling down across the board these last few years. Apple seems to think they need to optimize their devices to work at the speed of your finger, when the industry and media continues to accelerate video to improve realism. Apple locking down its GPU in desktop Macs is unforgivable; selling an out-of-date Apple TV is just ludicrous. It’ll never be a desirable gaming platform to compete with Playstation with the hobbled hardware Apple put into the ATV.

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