Amazon Fire TV's DVR system allows you to record up to 75 hours of programming. Can stream live local channels using an HD antenna. Compatible with Alexa devices for easy voice control. Easy to set up following the step-by-step instructions.
Requires purchase of additional devices, including an HD antenna and Fire TV streaming device, to make the most of its capabilities. Some technology bugs noted.
Capable of streaming content in 4K Ultra HD resolution with HDR, HDR10, and Dolby Vision support for bright, vivid images. Comes with 3rd-generation Alexa Voice Remote with power and volume controls plus voice search. Supports Dolby Atmos for home theater audio.
Interface has lots of ads. Some difficulties with non-Amazon streaming channels.
Enables you to stream without lifting a finger thanks to the hands-free voice control that works with Alexa and can be controlled from across a room. Comes with an Alexa Smart Remote. Can control other smart devices in your home. Offers 4K resolution for vivid colors and bold images.
Apps occasionally crash for unknown reasons. Sometimes misunderstands voice commands. Alexa can awaken when watching and pause content.
Simple setup. Good picture quality despite only a 720p HD screen. Includes Alexa Voice Remote for voice search and control. Offers dual-band WiFi, 3 HDMI ports, and stereo speakers. Preinstalled with popular streaming apps.
Not Full HD. Speakers lacked presence in our user testing.
Simple and intuitive setup for those with Amazon accounts. Solid 4K resolution with HDR and a 60Hz refresh rate that can handle casual gaming as well as shows. Integrated Alexa controls allow for easy voice navigation as well as assistant skills. Streamlined remote.
The speakers were not very impressive to our testers.
After going through an intensive research process to narrow down our short list of top products in this space, we tested most of our top five—including Amazon's Fire TV 50" Omni Series 4K UHD Smart TV and the Insignia Class F20 Series Smart HD 720p Fire TV—to be sure that these products are worth your time. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter and test to verify manufacturer claims.
We live in an age where binge-watching shows on Netflix or Amazon Prime is standard, and waiting a week to watch the next episode of your favorite show is becoming a relic from the past. Amazon Fire TV devices are designed to reflect these new trends. They allow you to watch shows from all the top streaming services on your TV using WiFi, so there's no need for cable or satellite TV subscriptions.
When picking out the best Amazon Fire TV device for you, there's plenty to consider. First of all, you need to learn more about the different types of devices on offer and which suits your needs. You should also consider its compatibility with Alexa, ease of use, and what apps it supports.
This guide gives you all the information you need to make an informed purchase. When you are ready, take a look at our top five recommendations.
This is a small dongle-like device that allows you to watch Amazon Prime shows and movies (assuming you have a Prime subscription), plus content from any other streaming service that has an app you can download onto it, including Netflix and Hulu. This is the cheapest option out there and also the most basic.
The Fire TV Cube is like a combination of an Amazon Echo and a Fire Stick. It has all the same streaming functions as the Fire TV Stick, but you can control it using voice commands completely hands-free.
Some television manufacturers make Fire TV editions of their televisions. These come with Alexa remotes so you can easily use Amazon’s virtual assistant. They also allow you to use all the great features of Fire TV without needing a separate device, such as a Fire TV Stick or Cube. This is a decent choice if you need a new TV anyway, but if you're happy with your set, you're better off sticking with an external Fire TV device.
All Fire TV devices include a special controller with Alexa compatibility. At the press of a button on the remote, it turns your TV into an Alexa device. You can search for shows and movies, play and pause content, find and play music, ask questions, and much more — all using your voice. Of course, this controller has standard buttons should you prefer not to use the voice controls.
We've already mentioned the Alexa functions on the controller, but your Amazon Fire TV device should be compatible with any other Alexa devices in your home, such as the Amazon Echo Dot or Amazon Echo. This means you perform actions such as searching, playing shows, and opening menus completely hands-free. Of course, it doesn't take much effort to hold down the Alexa button on your remote control, but if you already have an Echo or Echo Dot in the same room as your Fire TV device, you might as well make the most of it.
Wifi: All Fire TV devices are WiFi compatible. In fact, they need WiFi to run properly, so it's important that you have a decent connection at home.
Apps: You can download a huge range of apps onto your Fire TV device, but compatibility can vary from one model to the next. If there are particular apps you hope to use, you should check the compatibility of the Amazon Fire TV device you are considering. The most popular apps are those for other streaming services, such as Netflix, but you can also find a few games to enjoy.
Amazon Fire TV devices range in price from around $35 to over $250, depending on their features, storge, and other features.
Inexpensive: Budget options like the Fire TV Stick cost around $35 and are typically easy to set up or take from place to place.
Midrange: For a midrange model with additional features like voice commands, you can expect to pay up to $150.
Expensive: Amazon’s most capable Fire TV devices, like the Recast, cost $250 and above. These models include additional features like the ability to easily record and replay shows.
Think about what shows you'd like to watch on your Amazon Fire TV device. Most TV shows are only available on one streaming service, so it's possible that you'll need multiple subscriptions to watch everything you want — though it will still likely cost less than cable.
Decide what resolution you want to watch shows and movies in. Is 1080 HD okay for you, or will nothing less than 4K do? There are plenty of 4K options, but don't assume your chosen device will definitely be 4K compatible.
Consider what Fire TV device functions you'll make use of. High-end models have more functions, such as hands-free operation or the ability to record live TV, but there's no point spending an extra $100 to $200 if you'll never use these features.
Since there aren't a huge number of different Amazon Fire TV devices available, the main options are listed in our top five. However, you can find a couple of other choices on the market.
The Amazon Echo Show is an Echo device and Fire TV player all in one. Like other Amazon Echos, you can use it to control other smart home devices, but it also has a 10.1-inch screen on which you can watch Prime Video content and more — it might not be great as a main Fire TV device due to the small screen, but it's great for watching shows while you cook or do dishes, or while tucked up in bed.
There's also the Fire TV Cube Bundle with Cloud Cam. This combines all the excellent features of the Fire Cube with a Cloud Cam. The Cloud Cam can be used for home safety, as a high-tech baby monitor, or anything else you can think of. You can access it remotely on your phone or tablet from anywhere, or you can ask your Fire TV Cube to cast it onto your TV screen.
Q. Can I watch live TV using my Amazon Fire TV device?
A. For the most part, Amazon Fire TV devices are designed for watching streaming shows but don't give you the option to watch TV live. However, some options, such as the Recast, will let you watch live TV if you have an HD antenna. On Fire TV televisions, you can also watch live TV if hooked up to satellite or cable.
Q. Are there any monthly fees for using an Amazon Fire TV device?
A. Fire TV devices don't have a monthly fee, but you'll have limited access to movies and TV shows without a subscription to streaming services like Prime Video. While there are some apps out there with a small amount of free content, you'll be able to watch many more movies and shows with a subscription to Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, or similar streaming services.
Q. Can I watch YouTube videos on my Amazon Fire device?
A. Depending on which country you're watching from, the YouTube app may or may not be available for your Fire TV device. If you can access the YouTube app, this is the simplest way of watching YouTube videos on your device. If not, there are ways around this problem. You can use a browser app on your Fire TV device to navigate to YouTube and watch videos that way. Plus, some Amazon Fire devices allow you to cast media to your TV, so you can open a YouTube video on your phone or tablet and cast it to the big screen.