The Best Media/TV Box

A question I’m often asked is “what’s the best tv box?” This is always a difficult question to answer because people often use their media/tv/streaming devices for different things. Some people will have a TV subscription to Sky/Virgin/DirecTV/Dish Network etc, and will use a streaming device purely for Kodi to watch some Movies and TV shows. Others, “cord cutters” like me, use their device to do everything; in my lounge I have my TV, sound bar and my streaming device. For those like me, our device is used for catch up TV services, radio, movies, live TV, Kodi and even games.

If you’re like person number 1 and just want a device to supplement your current TV service with just Kodi and maybe a TV catch up service or two, then I can safely say the Leelbox Q1 Android TV Box or Amazon Fire Stick would be more than sufficient for your needs. I’m basing this on what you’d need in terms of performance and storage, and I have a Leelbox Q1 Android TV Box in my bedroom which is where I only use it for Kodi.

In my lounge though, I have Amazon Fire TV. It’s super quick, has expandable storage and can handle everything I have thrown at it (in terms of media, not literally) 😉 It’s also very reasonably priced at around £65/$85.

In this article I’m going to break down why I recommend Amazon Fire TV. Yes my links to Amazon are affiliate links so I get a few percent in commission, but I also get the same commission for all the boxes I recommend, so I have no ulterior motive for my recommendations, and as someone who’s run tech and TV sites online since 1999, I also have my reputation.

So, why Amazon Fire TV? There are many reasons, but before I go into the technical reasons, I’ll break down the other reasons which may not be important to some, but are to me.

  1. The Remote – The remote is simple, ergonomically it feels nice in your hand. The buttons are quiet, which may sound off, but I’ve had seven Android TV boxes and all apart from the Fire TV Remote have quick loud clicks; I only noticed this when watching TV in bed and noticed the “click click click” slowly driving my other half crazy 🙂
  2. The OS (operating system) – Yes Amazon have a lot of their branding on the Fire devices, but for me as a prime customer, this isn’t a problem and actually very handy (click here for a Prime trial and to see the benefits) I also love the OS because it’s speedy, smooth and looks very nice. Again, I’ve tried many android TV boxes, from standard android interfaces to modified ones and none come close to what Amazon offer. Yes there are restrictions in terms of what apps you can add and the added job of sideloading apps due to a lack of a play store, but to me it’s more than worth it. Also the system’s very intuitive, easily picked up and all easily navigable with the remote (I’ve yet to find a non-Amazon Fire TV Device where I didn’t need to plug my mouse in at some point)
  3. Apps – One thing missing from Android TV is the lack of entertainment apps, something promised early on but which never came to fruition. So if you use catch up apps like the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, Hulu, HBO Go etc, you’ll find these next to impossible to use on an Android TV device without using a mouse. Amazon however have had apps for most TV/Movie/Music services (live and on demand) created specifically for their Fire TV devices, and 99% of them work wonderfully. And this excludes the 1000s of apps you can sideload onto your device.
    1. In the UK you’ll find Fire Apps for BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, Demand 5, Netflix, Spotify, Sky News, Youtube, Plex, Tune In, Amazon Video, TV Player, Hayu, Curzon
    2. In the US you’ll find NBC, A&E, HBO, Showtime, Hulu, CBS All Access, Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Video, Youtube, Plex, Tune In, Hayu, Curzon
  1. The Technical Stuff.
    1. I won’t waffle on about technical specs, instead I’ll explain the tech how it benefits me. Firstly is 4D support, now other boxes claim to have this, but to me none of them seem to have pictures as crisp as the Fire TV. If you don’t have a 4D TV, the Fire TV still has great picture quality from it’s internal video services (most TV and movies from Amazon now stream in 1080) and additional apps.  In terms of sound, it supports up to Dolby 7.1.
    2. It has a quad core processor, put simply, it’s fast as hell! It’s 75% quicker than the previous Fire TV and opening apps, closing apps, changing config, using apps etc is all satisfyingly quick.
    3. It has a USB port which can be used to excess storage, or in my case to plug in my wireless mouse (which I mainly use for Kodi), expandable storage with microSD card slot (up to 200gb)
    4. Fire TV has bluetooth support which is great for bluetooth mice, headphones, keyboards, the Amazon Fire Game Controller etc.
    5. If you get the Amazon Fire Game Controller, you’ll love some of the games available. You won’t be playing the high spec Call of Duty on your Fire TV, but there are still hundreds of games available, all crisp looking and brilliantly performing.
    6. It supports dual-band 802.11ac wi-fi, so if you have 5g speedy wi-fi, you can get even quicker streaming response times with the fire tv. The wifi also supports public wifi which require web authentication so you can take your Fire TV with you to hotels, on holiday etc.
    7. If you have a Fire Tablet and you’re watching something on it, you can click the fling icon and send it to your Fire TV to watch on the big screen.

Below is the Amazon Fire TV Technical Specs from Amazon

 

Size 115 mm x 115 mm x 17.8 mm
Actual size and weight may vary by configuration and manufacturing process.
Weight 270 grams
Actual size and weight may vary by configuration and manufacturing process.
Processor MediaTek Quad-Core up to 2 GHz. Dual-Core @ 2.0 GHz + Dual-Core @ 1.6 GHz.
GPU Power VR GX6250 600MHz (Max)
Storage 8 GB (actual formatted capacity will be less) available for apps and games
Memory 2 GB
Wi-Fi Connectivity Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO) for faster streaming and fewer dropped connections than standard Wi-Fi. Supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi networks.
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.1 with support for the following profiles: HID, HFP, SPP
Voice Search Support Yes, with Fire TV Voice Remote (included) or free Fire TV Remote App (available for download on Fire, Android and iOS)
Game Controller Support Yes, optimised for Amazon Fire TV Game Controller and most games are compatible with other Bluetooth controllers
Cloud Storage Free cloud storage for all Amazon content
Ports DC Jack, HDMI output, 10/100 Ethernet, microSD slot, USB 2.0
Dolby Audio Support for Dolby Audio, 5.1 surround sound, 2-channel stereo and HDMI audio pass-through up to 7.1 (Dolby Audio coming soon to Netflix)
Content Formats Supported Video: H.265, H.264, Audio: AAC-LC, AC3, eAC3 (Dolby Digital Plus), FLAC, MP3, PCM/Wave, Vorbis, Dolby Atmos (EC3_JOC), Photo: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP
Output Resolution Supported 2160p up to 30fps; 720p and 1080p up to 60fps
System Requirements Compatible high-definition or ultra-high-definition television with available HDMI input, Internet connection, an electrical socket
TV Compatibility TV must support minimum HDCP requirements for protected content playback. Learn more. Compatible with (1) 4K ultra high-definition TVs with HDMI capable of 2160p at 24/25/30/50/60Hz and HDCP 2.2, including popular models from LG, Samsung, Sony, Sharp, Toshiba, Vizio, and others or (2) high-definition TVs with HDMI capable of 1080p or 720p at 50/60Hz, including popular HDCP-compatible models from Hitachi, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, NEC, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, Vizio, Westinghouse and others.
Warranty and Service Fire TV is sold with a worldwide limited warranty of one year provided by the manufacturer. If you are a consumer, the limited warranty is in addition to your consumer rights, and does not jeopardise these rights in any way. This means you may still have additional rights at law even after the limited warranty has expired (for further information on your consumer rights, click here). Use of Fire TV is subject to the terms found here.
Regional Support Certain services may not be available outside the UK
Included in the Box Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Fire TV Voice Remote
Power adaptor
2 AAA batteries

So, if I’ve convinced you, then head on over to Amazon and order your Amazon Fire TV today, I promise you won’t regret it.

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