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Why I Skipped the Fire TV and Bought an Apple TV



Soon after Amazon announced the Fire TV yesterday, I did something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while; I bought an Apple TV.

I read over Amazon’s news and skimmed through the features and details of the Fire TV, and ultimately decided that there just wasn’t enough there to justify buying it over the Apple TV. Sure, the gaming support looks pretty cool, but I don’t really play games all that much. The voice search is the one feature that stood out for me, but that still wasn’t enough to change my mind.

So, I went onto Apple’s online refurbished store and bought a 3rd-generation Apple TV for $80 and some change, after sales tax. Essentially, I saved $20 by not opting for the voice search feature (the stand-out Fire TV feature for me), as well as saving $60 overall if I had gotten the Fire TV gaming controller as well, which is priced at $39.99.

Apple TV

Fellow Gotta Be Mobile writer Warner Crocker detailed the reasons that he immediately bought the Fire TV soon after it was announced, and all of them are very valid, including the voice search feature. However, there’s just not enough there to get me to buy it.

I’ve wanted a simple streaming box for awhile. However, rumors of an Amazon set-top box have been floating around for months, so I wanted to wait and see if Amazon’s TV box would bring anything revolutionary to the table. Long story short, it really doesn’t, which is why I went ahead and bought an Apple TV. Here are some more reasons.


One of the biggest reasons I wanted an Apple TV was because of AirPlay. This allows me to beam content that I play on my iPhone or iPad to my living room television. However, this only works on the Apple TV. If the Fire TV supported AirPlay, I might have thought a bit differently about my purchase. The Fire TV does support a similar feature for Kindle Fire tablets, but sadly, I don’t have a Kindle Fire tablet.

Apple TV and AirPlay for iPhone 4S and iOS 5

And since I only have iOS devices in my repertoire, it makes sense that I chose the Apple TV over the Fire TV for this reason. Granted, I don’t really plan on beaming a lot of content to my TV using AirPlay, but I’d rather have the option to use than not have it at all.

iOS Interface

I like consistency in my life, and that goes double for my consumer electronics. I need to have everything on the same platform so that I can easily switch between them without having to adjust what I’m used to. In the past, I rocked a MacBook with an Android device, and then I got an iPhone. But eventually I started using an Android tablet alongside my iPhone and it just wasn’t working out.

Apple TV Rumors 2014 -  1

By getting an Apple TV, I’ll be familiar with the iOS interface from day one, and using it shouldn’t be all that different than what I’m already used to with my iPhone and iPad. Granted, there are some differences of course, but I feel that the Fire TV would be out of place in my iOS-driven household.

Where It Falls Shorts

The Apple TV doesn’t support Amazon’s Instant Video streaming service, which isn’t a huge deal for me, since I don’t use it often, but if I really wanted to, I could just open up the Instant Video iPad app and beam it to my Apple TV using AirPlay.

apple tv

The Apple TV also doesn’t support gaming like the Fire TV does. Like I said, I’m not a big gamer, but if I was, rumors point to the next Apple TV coming with game support at some point this year, so I wouldn’t mind waiting a bit in order to get some classic iOS gaming on my TV, and I believe that iOS has some of the best mobile games of any platform.



  1. Turkey

    04/03/2014 at 10:37 am

    All the reasons you listed are reasons why I won’t touch an Apple product. Closed ecosystems need to die.

    • Craig Lloyd

      04/03/2014 at 3:33 pm

      Ok, so what about Amazon’s ecosystem? Kindle hardware is heavily locked down as well.

    • Brian M

      04/03/2014 at 4:12 pm

      While you can view Amazon video content on more devices, it is still DRM protected like iTunes video is. (And as I mention in another comment below, is why I still buy physical media)

      AppleTV is essentially Apple’s most locked down ecosystem, all of the others aren’t entirely locked down to iTunes content. They can load various streaming services, handle multiple formats of files (music, video, books) just the Apps have to be “purchased” through iTunes (most media related apps are free, the various companies are trying to get purchases or subscriptions)

  2. JScottK

    04/03/2014 at 12:49 pm

    This might be of interest to you, as you can do some voice searching using the Remote app on your iPhone or iPad:

    • Craig Lloyd

      04/03/2014 at 3:33 pm

      Oh that’s neat! Didn’t know you could do that. Only downside is that using your smartphone as a remote is an awful experience.

      • Brian M

        04/03/2014 at 4:15 pm

        I use iPhone or iPad as both Harmony Remote (Smart Hub) and Plex remote pretty frequently, although I do have the Harmony Smart Hub physical remote as well. There are advantages to both.

  3. Brian M

    04/03/2014 at 3:46 pm

    I spent 3x as much and bought a used Mac mini which can do about 10x as much.
    It mostly runs Plex, but can stream from any website, and run pretty much any other software it may need to for a particular function.
    Unlike Music that has no DRM, so far all of the online video services use DRM, so I’m still buying disks for movies and TV shows (which fortunately in Canada, I can still convert into a digital format)

  4. Mary Lee M

    04/04/2014 at 6:54 am

    You are a tech writer who doesn’t like change? “… without having to adjust to what I’m used to.” Eesh. Why do you upgrade on anything then?
    Maybe you need a bigger disclaimer on that you just write about Apple products.

  5. Sonny Nguyen

    05/22/2014 at 8:17 am

    I have played with a lot of media streamers, set-top boxes and so far I am super excited about my Fire TV. With plentiful apps and the ability to install development applications. I am a big fan of XBMC for my media collection and it runs it really well. Not to mention the hardware specifications on the Fire TV is superior to the Apple TV. Like mentioned above, I will miss AirPlay but with the YouTube play on TV feature, I can live with that since I mostly AirPlay YouTube content. I hope my opinion helps…

  6. Jason Stucky

    03/09/2015 at 9:25 am

    I am a huge apple fan all our devices are Apple. Expect the fire tv. The Apple tv is old and much slower then the fire tv. That and i can’t add KODI/XBMC to it. Granted i can the apple tv 2 but still thats even older and even slower.

    You can air play with the fire tv now sure why people think you can’t. It has actually a number of airplay apps some free a few are $3 or $4. But if you air play allot that 3 or 4 might be worth it.
    But i have just a free one that works for the most part just fine. Couple of times i had to turn the airplay back on in the app but i do know one of the air play apps they have thats $4 i have used the free version on the minix players and it works without fail just as though i was on my apple tv.

    I was hesitant to get an android device but i saw all the great reviews so i got it and i love it. It offers so much more content then the Apple tv. I can get games, apps without updating the OS. I have app from the smithsonian channel, history, lifetime, and many more. But i use it most for amazon video which plays in full 1080P and DD5.1. Netflix does the same and then for XBMC.

    I have no cable or satellite and won’t go back to it. I love the fire tv. I love my apple products but when apple chooses not to update a box forever I’m sorry technology is outpacing them and i want something fast.

    Oh and by the way The apple tv interface is nothing like iOS interface at all. I don’t get that.

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