Even Apple has jumped into the season with both feet. New iPhones and iPads, new watchOS, and coming soon, the long-awaited Apple TV which sports a higher price tag, a slick Wii-like remote, Siri, and a game platform. You can also get the same thing from Amazon in October, but at half the price.
Killing Me Softly
Amazon has announced the latest version of the Fire TV box, priced at half Apple TV, but with more storage options, more games (initially; Apple is building in game support for the new TV box), and more ways to watch movies and TV shows.
Where Amazon’s new Fire TV shines is in the feature comparison department. For half the price of Apple TV you’ll get 8GB of storage (vs. 64GB on Apple TV), but with expansion to 128GB.
Wait. There’s more.
4K Ultra HD TV is built in. Not only can you watch high definition 1080p streams from Amazon Video, Netflix, Hulu, and other channels, but the Fire works with a 4K Ultra HD TV. Of course, 4K Ultra HD television programs are not plentiful now, and neither are 4K televisions, but you get the idea that Amazon is ready for the future before it gets here.
Wait. There’s more.
Apple TV comes with Siri controls, but Amazon Fire TV comes with their version of Siri. It’s called Alexa and works with the Fire TV Voice Remote. Alexa works much like Siri. Ask questions, get answers.
The Fire TV Gaming Edition comes with a game controller and costs $40 more. The Fire TV box itself has 2GB of RAM, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and both unites have an extra storage slot for a microSD card (up to 128GB of additional storage).
Apple TV has a few tricks of its own. It feature Bluetooh wireless in the remote, along with an infra-red transmitter, and the built-in accelerometer and gyroscope will make games on the big screen a special treat. The remote can be charged with a lightning connector, but the battery should last for months.
The box itself has connectors for HDMI, USB-C, and 100/100 ethernet, but also does 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Apple says Apple TV handles H.264 video at 1080 and up to 60 frames per second, and Dolby Digital 5.1 an 7.1 sound. Apple also stuffed TV with a few iOS features, including VoiceOver, Zoom, bold text, increased contrast, and closed caption support.
Unlike Amazon Fire TV, Apple has developed a complete platform for games and apps for Apple TV (Fire OS is merely a forked version of Google’s Android). Plus, you can run your Apple Music account on Apple TV, and pretty much anything that plays on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac can be sent to a widescreen TV through AirPlay.
Amazon may have more streaming content thanks to the extra cost Amazon Prime privileges, but Apple is expected to have a cable TV-like streaming TV service available for Apple TV.
When does all this digital fist fighting begin? October.