Amazon FireTV quick thoughts

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by John Garcia, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Had it for almost a week now and so far I'm pretty pleased with it. My previous benchmark for a streamer were the PS3 and PS4. They both buffered better than any stand alone player I've tried including my Roku2XS as well. The PS3, being more mature, had more flexibility configuration wise, but the PS4 does fine also. Compared to all of those, the FireTV is noticably quicker to navigate, has a nicer interface than the Roku and also fires up apps and streams faster. The remote is similar to the Roku remote, though it doesn't feel as well built as their remote. The box itself feels much more sturdy and I like the back panel better than the 2XS plus the fact that they included an optical output even if I don't think it was totally necessary. I like the larger footprint and lower profle aspect ratio (~2 CDs thick as opposed to a hockey puck) of the FireTV as well, because a bluejeans HDMI cable was thick enough to lift the Roku off the shelf; I actually placed a hockey puck on the 2XS to hold it down :) The FireTV stays put on its own. Had my 2XS not developed an issue, I might not have tried the FireTV, but I'm glad I did.

    I've tried the voice search function a few times so far and find it to be quite good. It will locate apps as well as movie/show titles. What might be nice is if they would prioritize based on the apps you have installed, but I had no problems locating what I was looking for as well as a bunch of related items that I was actually interested in. The interface itself is much slicker than the Amazon Prime apps on various devices and is what I would like the app to be more like; as I'm sure it will. As I get some more use out of it, I will update. For now with my limited use so far though: thumbs up.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    What exactly does this box do and what apps does it have?
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    It is a media streamer not unlike a Roku, AppleTV, Chromecast, etc... running on an Android platform. More apps than you can shake a stick at for sure. The standard ones that I, and probably many others, use (Netflix, Prime, Hulu, Pandora, Crackle, etc...) are there at the forefront, but there are tons:

    http://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=7031433011

    It additionally has game play functions if you buy the additional controller, but I wasn't yet interested in that aspect.
     
  4. Jacksmyname

    Jacksmyname Second Unit

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    Thanks for the review, John. I've been thinking about getting a streamer for a while now, mostly for Amazon Prime movies. Have you tried Prime, and if so, how does it perform? I don't use Netflix. I'm also interested in if it can stream movies from my desktop PC. I can use either wifi or ethernet, as I ran a cable from my router to my system. My home network is hard wired except for our tablets of course (Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1). Wifi for the tablets is handled with an Apple Airport Express.
    I also have a Logitech Revue Google TV box which is what I use for Amazon Prime. It works fine, but it's a bit slow.
    So, Amazon Prime and movies on my PC are my main interests.
    Thanks again.
     
  5. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Prime is clearly the focus of this device since the very first line item is "What's new on Prime" as well as search material seems to display Prime listings first (though that may be because I only had Prime setup at the time too). It is thus far the fastest streamer I've tried and I'm using it Wifi only at this time, though it does support hard wired as well. I have decently fast WiFi so I haven't worried about running a wire over to it.

    I don't stream from PC, but another friend who said they do said Amazon offers the PLEX media server app ($1?) that can be used for this

    https://plex.tv/

    So maybe now I will :D

    Another thing I like about this one is it goes into standby, something the 2XS did not do and that bugged me (I unplugged it when not in use). The FireTV seems to go into standby not necessarily fully powered down because when you hit a button on the remote, it is immediately ready to go. Noticed last night that it goes into a screen saver mode displaying random HD scenery images until it goes to standby. Nice.
     
  6. Jacksmyname

    Jacksmyname Second Unit

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    Thanks for the reply, John. Looks like this may be the next addition to my system.
    As I posted earlier, my Revue works pretty well but it's slow. But I like it because of the keyboard. Using the keyboard and a mouse on a lap desk makes it very easy to use.
    BTW, the movies I have on my PC are public domain titles that I find on YouTube.
    Some are quite poor picture quality wise, but most are anywhere from quite watchable to surprisingly good. I watch them on my tablet with headphones late at night-early morning when I can't sleep. Lots of really fun titles from the 30's-40's.
    Thanks again.
     
  7. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    Is Amazon streaming available in 1080p yet? When I did a free trial a while back, it wasn't. Netflix had a noticeably better image quality due to that.
     
  8. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Yes, Amazon streams in 1080p, but I think Neflix still has an edge on them, and I agree that gap was much larger before. Netflix is near BD quality with "Super HD" but I don't have complaints about the quality of Prime currently, and some of that will depend on the quality of the film itself - newer and remastered films tend to look better. If I am not misaken, many of the streams Prime uses are from Netflix in exhcange for Neflix using some of Amazon's infrastructure.
     
  9. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I encountered my first minor issue with this box. Sort of a Netflix App issue as opposed to the hardware itself. If you don't actually get to the "quit" menu for Netflix and just go home or back to the main menu on the box, the app continues to run (not unlike a cell phone) and will eventually hang, presumably after the unit goes into stand by. The next time I launch it, it won't run and I get a blank screen. I had this happen 3 times before I figured out that it was because the app was still open. The only way to correct it is to unplug the FireTV, which fortunately starts back up extremly quickly.
     
  10. Jacksmyname

    Jacksmyname Second Unit

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    Hi John. I run into this issue with some apps on my tablet. Generally, double tapping the back button closes down most apps. Some apps have an exit button. Some just don't close even with the double tap. For those, I use the task manager to close down the app.
    One example is Photoshop Touch. Nice app, but no way to close it down. No exit button, and double tapping the home button just brings me back to the desktop while PS continues to run in the background. I posted on their user forum suggestions section several times about it months ago. I've gotten into the habit of checking evey new (to me) app that I install on my tablet to see if they close with the double tap.
     
  11. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    For the netflix app, you just keep hitting "back" until you get the quit menu on this box, then the issue does not occur.

    I have a similar issue with the Amazon MP3 app on Android - there is actually no way to quit it either as far as I can tell so I have to go to the task manager and force close it on my phone.
     
  12. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    I've been comparing Fire TV to the Roku 3 or about a week. The Fire TV produces noticeably better image quality across the board - better resolution and less smearing than the Roku 3. Unfortunately its Voice Search function only works with Prime content - can't use it with Netfilx or any other app, although I understand that it works in a limited way with Hulu Plus. The Neflix app on the Roku is lightyears better than the Netflix app on the Fire, and the Roku beats the Amazon box hands-down for the sheer number of channels available. The Fire TV UI is plenty responsive, but so is the Roku.

    I'm conflicted. Video quality is paramount to me so I want to keep the Fire TV and sell the Roku 3, but the limitations of the Amazon device make the decision not so slam-dunk.
     
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  13. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Roku has been around a lot longer and collected that content. The Fire is brand new and will no dobut continue to add content as well. While there are TONS of channels on the Roku, I have little to no interest in about 80% of them so I don't really see that as a "benefit" unless there is a specific channel one desires that is on there. I think a high percentage of people will fall into that category as well as the chances of someone using even half of the available channels seems highly unlikely.
     
  14. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    I'm trying to figure out when, if...( :huh:), the same content available on a computer...will exist on phones/tablets/streamers.

    Can't stand to pay for HuluPlus, when Hulu already has all the content I care for. Crackle the same way. I do pay for Netflix and Spotify.

    I draw the line there. If Roku/AF/ATV want my money for their device...

    Make the same content I carry around a laptop for...free on your device.

    I almost bought a ChromeBook. As I seriously do not need a laptop when I travel to clients. But...gee...Hulu is only Plus...

    Went to watch ABC on my GalaxyTab(via a PTV to a TV at a hotel)...Have to sign in through DirecTV...why?
     
  15. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I tried Hulu Plus too and ended up cancelling it because most of what I wanted to watch from them was already on the free version.
     
  16. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Vocie search will work with Netflix later this year
    http://gizmodo.com/amazon-fire-tvs-voice-search-is-one-of-its-best-feature-156574894
     

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