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Amazon Fire TV vs. Apple TV 2014: How Does Amazon's TV Compare to Apple TV?

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First Posted: Apr 06, 2014 04:54 PM EDT
Amazon Announces Set Top Video Device
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 02: The Amazon Fire TV - a new device that allows users to stream video, music, photos, games and more through a television - is displayed at a media event on April 2, 2014 in New York City. The unit goes on sale today and costs $99. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images) (Photo : Getty)

Jeff Bezos, the mad genius CEO behind behemoth Amazon, is up to his old tricks again. With the release of the Amazon Fire TV set-top box and *accompanying gamepad peripheral Bezos is clearly targeting similar products from Apple, Roku and Google. But in terms of looks and content aggregation, the Fire TV most resembles and aims to challenge the Apple TV.

Both the third generation Apple TV and the new Fire TV feature stunning black finishes. The Apple TV differentiates itself a bit with a glossy edge, whereas the Fire TV is 100 percent matte black. Furthermore, the Apple TV is a tinier, albeit chunkier device. However, without getting too nitpicky, both of these set-top boxes will virtually disappear once placed next to your (relatively speaking) gargantuan television.

Where the Fire TV really burns the Apple TV is in its voice control functionality. In fact, Yahoo! Tech's Alyssa Bereznak noted the simplicity and accuracy of the voice control feature. Bereznak said the voice control functionality was "surprisingly responsive." She tested out the feature by speaking into the remote control (where the mics are housed) and said the Fire TV quickly brought up the hit Netflix show House of Cards .

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Oddly enough, one would think that the Apple TV would include voice control. After all, Siri is one of the most well-known pieces of technology that Apple Inc. touts in its smartphones and tablet computer products. Instead Apple TV users are relegated to having manually sort through thousands upon thousands of shows, movies, music and photos with the included remote control.

Fire TV even goes a step further in an attempt to woo consumers tired of the simple, yet uninspiring updates that the Apple TV and other set-top boxes have seen over the years. Amazon does so by including the gamepad or controller. So if you get tired of watching your favorite Amazon Video on Demand content just drop the remote and pick up the gamepad. Then literally "fire" up your favorite Android game (the Fire runs on a modified version of Google's ubiquitous OS) and get ready to button-mash all night long.

Performance wise how do the two boxes stack up? Well, if one were to analyze specs then the Amazon Fire is clearly the beefier of the two. The Fire TV has 2GB of Ram compared with the Apple TV's 1GB. The Fire TV also includes a cutting edge quad-core processor that absolutely trounces the paltry iPad 2 A5 processor found in the Apple TV. That tablet chip for good measure is single-core. However, in real-world usage all these dramatic specs provide a decent, if not earth-shattering speed increase.

You can purchase the Amazon Fire TV with 8GB of media storage for $99.99. The Apple TV has no-onboard storage and can be had for $92.95

So which set-top box are you more likely to buy? Let us know in the comments section below.

*It's important to note that the gamepad is available for an additional charge.

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