The reasons to buy an Apple TV are diminishing, especially when you can get all your iTunes content on a Fire TV Stick 4K and for only $25. It’s a no-brainer.
If you’re buying an Apple TV at this point it’s almost guaranteed you’re part of the Apple ecosystem with at least one other device, be that iPhone, iPad or Mac. But, while Apple isn’t doing Cyber Monday nearly as well as pretty much everyone else, I’m here to suggest you shouldn’t be thinking about an Apple TV at all.
The $25 Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is one of the biggest bargains of the season and it now provides access to all of your Apple-owned TV and movie content, Apple TV+ and can even listen to Apple Music. For most people, the Fire TV Stick 4K will be all you need, and thanks to Cyber Monday, you can save over $150 compared to an Apple TV 4K.
To be clear, this isn’t me swooping in to rip on the Apple TV. I’ve been using Apple TV over the course of the last five or six years, but it’s no longer as easy to recommend, especially in the face of absurd deals like this one. I just bought two to take the place of our Apple TVs at home, and I’m very happy.
The best of Amazon and Apple
What you get in the latest Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is the best of Amazon’s content ecosystem and access to the best of Apple’s. That’s all thanks to the latest incarnation of the Apple TV app being made available on Amazon’s streaming stick. Not only can you watch the new Apple TV+ subscription service on the Fire TV, but you also have access to your entire content library bought over the years from iTunes.
Even Apple fans can’t deny how good the Fire TV Stick 4K is now with the Apple TV app.
Like the Apple TV 4K, Amazon’s latest Fire TV Stick 4K supports UHD video and HDR, as well as the major content providers such as Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. When it comes to getting at your favorite content, which should be the center of any of these set-top boxes or streaming sticks, both Amazon and Apple are on a pretty level playing field.
What’s also nice about the Fire TV Stick 4K is the form factor. It’s capable of delivering 4K HDR content and it’s not much bigger than a pack of gum. By contrast, the Apple TV has put on weight since the second and third generation boxes, and while not massive, they’re definitely less convenient than a tiny stick that attaches directly to an HDMI input.
You also get Amazon’s Alexa platform built into the Fire TV Stick 4K, which can not only do most of the things an Amazon Echo can do, it can show you your Ring Doorbell camera, search for content across the Fire TV and as an added bonus, play Apple Music on your Television. Apple Music is an app on the Apple TV and not available on the Fire TV, but thanks to the Alexa Skill, you can still make the magic happen.
Amazon’s remote is also less annoying to use than the Siri Remote that comes with the Apple TV, and much cheaper to replace when you inevitably lose it. Or one of your children smashes it.
Savings to be made, not a lot to lose
The two devices aren’t identical, and for some people, the very best way to enjoy their content will still be through the Apple TV. For example, the Fire TV Stick 4K doesn’t currently support Dolby Atmos, though hopefully, Amazon will work out a fix for that down the line. It’s also more awkward to hook up a Fire TV Stick 4K over Ethernet than it is an Apple TV and you can’t (officially) use AirPlay.
It’s also unfortunate you can’t buy content through the Apple TV app on Amazon’s platform, but, who really thought that would be a thing anyway? There’s virtually no chance you’d be buying from Apple without already owning another Apple device anyway, and buying from your iPhone or iPad is much less frustrating than using a TV interface anyway. And of course, if you want to play from Apple Arcade on your TV, you can’t do that with Amazon, either, though as it’s based on Android there are still a number of games you can enjoy.
But let’s be real. Unless you fit into the very specific features that you can only get on the Apple TV right now, the Fire TV Stick 4K is a more compelling choice. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy keeping money in my pocket! And thanks to the current Cyber Monday prices, I can afford to have my Apple video content on every TV in the house now. So I call that a win.