Electric Shadow

Fire Stick

Amazon got something right with their Fire TV streaming box, and I did not expect to say that when it was announced nearly seven months ago on 2 April. I was just pissed at my laggy Roku 2*.

It has completely replaced my Roku 2, and with the exception of AirPlay-ing apps (like Warner Archive Instant) from iPhones and iPad, it's also replaced my AppleTV**.

Amazon Fire TV has the baseline triumvirate needed for one of these boxes to work for me:

  1. responsive, fast internals (loads high-bitrate 1080p content in a snap)
  2. an RF remote
  3. an actually-growing, competitive "app channel" marketplace (still missing favorites like Acorn TV and Warner Archive Instant, but they'll arrive)

Most importantly, it doesn't stop working after an update (Apple), or suddenly decide it hates Hulu (Apple and Roku), or block content marketplaces that compete with them (like Apple does through "curation").

Plex, my media-serving behemoth of choice, works like a champ with no workarounds. The remote wakes my TV so that all I have to turn on with another remote is the surround system.

The announcement of and two days of $19-for-Prime members pricing of the Amazon Fire TV Stick is a big deal. I ordered one the moment I saw the news.

The regular price of $39 is only $4 that of Google's no-remote-included ChromeCast. The Amazon stick does the useful things a ChromeCast can do plus what a Roku Stick can do, but radically faster due to much better internals.

This is Amazon's comparison chart, showing Fire TV Stick doubling (or more) Roku Stick in:

  1. processor cores (very important for HD video decoding)
  2. memory/RAM
  3. flash storage (at 8GB, 32x as much as Roku's shockingly small/cheap 256MB)

Missing from the chart is that...if we're all honest with ourselves...ChromeCast is Only For Us Nerds.

*which Roku refused to swap for a 3, which came out a month after I got mine

**affectionately known as "AppleTV could not connect" in my house