The Fire TV is decent as far as streaming devices go, though it doesn’t seem as sturdy as the Roku not as consistent as the Apple TV. It is better than the Fire TV Stick, and I personally prefer it over the Google Chromecast, though I tend to have bad luck with anything Android.

Now just to be clear – as I get this question a lot – this is not a cable box. There is no monthly fee, just the one time purchase fee. It does not have channels, it has applications. All of the apps that are compatible with this device come preinstalled onto it – as new apps are developed, they are rolled out in updates.

Updates should come through automatically but if it’s doing anything funky, and when you first set it up, it’s always a good idea to manually check for software updates. (Settings> System > Check for updates, if it finds any it’ll automatically download and install them).

By using the Fire TV, you can utilize the appropriate apps to stream music or video to your television. The beauty of the amazon devices is that you can also view your photos that are stored in your Amazon Cloud right on the TV. (Just as you can access your iCloud on the Apple TV).

What’s the difference between the Fire TV and the Fire TV Stick you ask?
-The Fire TV can work with either Wifi or Ethernet, where the Fire Stick is Wifi only.
-The stick has a very poor antenna, ideally needs to be within 10 feet of your modem or router and things like microwaves can still interfere with the signal.
-Fire TV has more internal memory and storage, therefore tends to run more smoothly.

In order to use the Fire TV or Fire TV Stick, you do need to register it to an Amazon account. You will not be able to access Amazon Music or Amazon Instant Video unless you have a Prime membership ($99 annually) and even then, you only have access to the PRIME videos for free – the Amazon Instant Videos do cost. This seems to be a common topic of confusion.

Apps compatible with the Fire TV:
Amazon Instant Video
Hulu Plus
Amazon Music
I Heart Radio
Qello Concerts
You Tube
PBS Kids
Bloomberg TV
Sling TV
Showtime Anytime
Yup TV
It also includes games and you can purchase a game controller **OR** pair an XBox controller with it.
Dont forget you can download the Fire TV Remote App onto iPhone, Android or Compatible Kindle devices as well.

Games included are all listed above on the product page. Remote included with the Fire TV has the voice control option as well. Be sure to use a High Speed HDMI cable to connect your Fire TV to your HDMI/ HDCP compatible television for maximum performance. You can buy an Amazon Basics one on here for about $5-$6.

As for which streaming device to purchase, I’d say go by the one that has the most apps that are relevant to you. Personally, my Apple TV is my favorite streaming device.

Also check the other devices in your home – these days many Smart TV’s and Smart BluRay players come internet ready and equipped with many of the apps I’ve listed above, eliminating the need for a streaming device.