2015 Apple TV 4 VS Fire TV 4K

2015 Apple TV 4 VS Fire TV 4K

The battle-lines have been drawn. Apple and Amazon both just released new streamers with some great new features.

It's been a long while now since we've seen a new Apple TV from Apple, the wait is finally over and the new Apple TV 4 has been officially announced. Amazon a week later announced their new 2nd generation a 4K Amazon Fire TV is also on the way. Let's compare these new popular media streamers head to head and see which model offers the best features and overall value for cord cutters.

Since neither streamer is available in stores yet, we were only able to compare manufacturers specs and features for each streamer.

New Apple TV 3 next to an Apple TV 4
Apple 3 compared to the new Apple TV 4 which is a 1/2" higher

2015 Apple TV 4 Kudos

The new Apple TV (4th generation) model is finally open to developers and includes a much wished for app store. We should see many new apps and games available soon. Plex and VLC are two apps that have already been announced for the new Apple TV 4. They will give streamers many more options to watch video content on the Apple TV.

An app store will greatly help increase the Apple TV's popularity once a long list of apps are released. The new Apple TV 4 will contain a new hybrid iOS 9. It will require an entirely new development platform. This means many of the existing iOS apps and games will need to be rebuilt using a new framework and can not simply be converted over. Until this happens, the app store may be kind of bare. Hopefully it won't take too long. Three new games for the Apple TV 4 have already been announced.

An enhanced version of system wide Siri voice control is also new and will include numerous voice commands for finding content across many different services and channels.

Along with new more powerful hardware for playing games, Apple also redesigned the remote so it incorporates a microphone and also performs gaming duties. The remote is made of high quality metal and has a glass touch sensor. It also includes a motion controller. The new Apple TV 4 supports up to 4 controllers. It will also support 3rd-party game controllers, only if they are first approved by Apple.

2015 Apple TV 4 Clunkers

As nice as the new Apple TV features are, you still have to wonder "what were they thinking". It's almost as if the entire Apple design team was missing in action. The case is almost identical to their last model only thicker. The price is now considerably more expensive than the Fire TV and top of the line Roku 3.

The new Apple TV is actually priced closer to the high performing Android based NVIDIA Shield. At least the Shield comes with a case that looks like a space ship. Apple's case looks like it spent a little too much time at the Cupertino Latte and Pastry Bar.

NVIDIA Shield Android TV Streamer

Even worse is their newly redesigned remote. If you were expecting a sleek beautiful remote like prior models, you may be disappointed. While the remote build quality is excellent, the new Apple TV 4 remote is kind of clunky looking.

Finally, after making us wait for so many years, why did Apple not give us an Apple TV that can stream 4K content? Maybe they plan on releasing an even better follow up model once they get their content providers lined up and launch their new streaming Apple TV service. The current Apple TV 4 may be just a pacifier. Something to hold diehard Apple fans over since it's been quite a while now for any new updates to the Apple TV.

Other than a few short comings, the new Apple TV 4 is still a nice step forward. Hopefully we just won't need to wait quite as long for their next step.

NEW 2015  APPLE TV 4

2015 Apple TV 4 Specs:

  • There are two Apple TV 4 models with the only difference being the amount of onboard memory. The 32GB model is - $149  The 64GB Model is - $199 
  • It comes with an A8 CPU which is not as fast  as current iPad tablets,  although it's still much faster than the last generation Apple TV 3.
  • Height: 1.4 inches (35 mm) Width: 3.9 inches (98 mm) Depth: 3.9 inches (98 mm) Weight: 15 ounces (425 g).
  • 802.11AC WiFi and Supports 10/100 Ethernet.
  • Power supply is internal which is nicer than a separate external brick.
  • HDMI is the only way to hook it to your TV so if you have an older TV you will be out of luck unless you get a HDMI to RGA or RCA adapter.

All in all, the new Apple TV 4 brings us some nice new features. Voice search and the App Store are the two notible improvements. If lack of 4K support is a deal breaker, then check out the Fire TV 4K below.

The 2015 Apple TV is not yet available for sale until October. When it begins shipping, we will post a link here.

Amazon's New 4K Fire TV With Alexa Voice Search

A week after the news of an eminent Apple TV release, we also now have an all new 4K Fire TV from Amazon on the way.  The Fire TV has been a great seller and for the same $99 price we expect this newer model to sell equally as well. 

2015 4K Fire TV
2015 Fire TV Powerful 4K Streamer in a Small Package

What made the previous Fire TV so popular is it's ability to side load Kodi media center software and other TV apks. It's amazing performance at a price under $100 dollars made it a better value than many more expensive Android TV clones.

It certainly did not hurt to have the name recognition of a giant online retailer behind it. This gave buyers a certain level of comfort. Something you won't get when buying an Android TV box that needs to be sent back to Hong Kong or China should it ever need repair.

2015 Fire TV 4K Kudos

Amazon Fire TV 4K with Alexa  Voice Search
4K is the big news for the Amazon Fire TV,  this put's it out in front of the new Apple TV, and also Roku which still does not yet have a 4K streamer.

The new 2.0Ghz CPU is 75% faster than the previous model and a new GPU is 2X as fast.

Sexy Alexa onboard. The new Amazon Fire TV 4K model greatly improved their voice search capability. Alexa is the voice behind their awesome Echo digital Assistant. You will now be able to ask your Fire TV all kinds of questions and get answers right on your TV screen. You can ask about the weather, latest sports scores or even have it play a song from your Prime or Amazon Playlists.

Good news for current Fire TV and Fire Stick Owners, Amazon is also releasing an OS 5 software update that will give your media streamers the same Alexa voice control.

The new model also includes an improved game controller which includes a headphone jack. This will make the rest of the family happy when playing your favorite FPS games.

Gamers can also get a Fire TV Gaming Edition bundle which gives you an Amazon Fire TV, Game Controller, two downloadable games, and a 32 GB microSD card for expanded storage.

Finally, kudos to Amazon for giving us all these new features and keeping the price of the new Fire TV at $99.99

2015 Amazon Fire TV 4K Clunkers

As nice as Alexa voice search is on the new 4K Fire TV, it is still not as fully functional as their stand-alone Echo. It would have been nice to have the same exact features and capabilities which would eliminate the need for another power, network resource sucking device.

While currently apks outside the Google play store and Amazon Store can be side loaded, we don't know if this will be something that will last forever. It's very possible in a future software update, Amazon could easily kill this ability.

If you are buying this strictly as a low cost KODI box, you may be better off choosing an Android TV like the Minix X8H+, or one from another vendor. Take a look at our top 10 Android TV Boxes for 2015 to see some additional highly rated models.

2015 Amazon Fire TV 4K Specs:

Price still $99.99
Memory: 2GB RAM and 8GB Internal Storage
CPU: Mediatek Quad Core 2Ghz
802.11AC WiFi and Supports 10/100 Ethernet.
microSD slot supports up to 128 GB
USB 2.0
Case Size: 5" x 4.5" x 0.7" (115 mm x 115 mm x 17.8 mm)
Output: 2160p up to 30fps; 720p and 1080p up to 60fps

The Fire TV 4K Edition brings us some very nice improvements to an already great streamer. This makes the new 4K Fire TV this years big winner.

New 2015 Fire TV is now available here »

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