The newly-announced Amazon Fire TV wants to take over your living room with its tiny, flat media box, but with lots of other existing devices on the market, you’ll want to consider all streaming options first before making a purchase.
Fire TV — a set-top box, gaming console hybrid — will directly compete against streaming devices like Apple TV, Roku and Google Chromecast, but it will also take on gaming consoles such as Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and even the Android-powered Ouya.
See also: Why Amazon Is Releasing a Set-Top Box
For the sake of comparing Fire TV to existing set-top boxes — and leaving the gaming consoles out for now — there’s a lot to be said about its bells and whistles. First, it uses voice search when you speak into the remote and boasts a stronger quad-core processor than the Roku 3 (double core), Apple TV (single core) and Chromecast (single core).
Fire TV also wins in terms of memory (2GB), compared to 512 MB included in the other three devices. Price is virtually the same across the board ($99), with the exception of the Google Chromecast at $35.
But you’ll also want to factor in content compatibility into your purchase decision. Although Fire TV supports Hulu Plus, Netflix, Pandora and YouTube, users will not be able to access HBO Go, which is available for streaming on all three other devices. On the plus side, you can — unsurprisingly — access Amazon Instant Video via Fire TV (as well as the Roku 3), but users of Chromecast and Apple TV are out of luck.
And for those with their eyes on gaming, Fire TV and Roku 3 offer games, whereas Chromecast and Apple TV do not.
For a full look at how the Fire TV stacks up against its three main competitors, check out the chart below.
Amazon Fire TV
|Form Factor||Box||Box||Box||Dongle that sticks into TV|
|Memory||2 GB||512 MB||512 MB||512 MB|
|Video Apps||Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Crackle, Showtime Anywhere, Bloomberg TV, Vimeo||HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Crackle, Showtime Anywhere, Vimeo||iTunes, Disney Anywhere, HBO Go, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, YouTube, Bloomberg TV, WatchABC||Google Play, HBO Go, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, YouTube|
|Music Apps||Vevo, Pandora||Vevo, Pandora, Spotify||Vevo, Vimeo, iTunes||Google Play, Vevo, Pandora, Rdio, Songza|
|Sports Apps||Watch ESPN, NBA League Pass||Watch ESPN, NBA League Pass, MLB.TV, NHL Gamecenter, Major League Soccer||Watch ESPN, NBA League Pass, MLB.TV, NHL Gamecenter||None|
|Number of Games||100+; “thousands” more coming||Less than 100||Games via AirPlay||None|
|Remote||Voice search, physical remote (no line of sight needed)||Physical remote, iOS app available||Physical remote, iOS/Android app available (no line of sight needed)||App controlled|
|Gaming Controller||Yes; $39.99 (sold separately)||No||No||No|