With TVs, the bigger the screen you have, the better the viewing experience will be. But when it comes to what to spend your hard earned money on, do you choose a dedicated smart TV, or purchase something else, like an Amazon Fire TV Stick?
With smart TVs, you get the added benefit of having a range of pre-downloaded applications ready. There’s no comparison to a giant flatscreen where you can watch your favourite TV shows and be immersed in the entertainment. And yes, hooking up your laptop or waiting for Miracast to transfer content to your TV is also not good. So, we have two solutions to this problem: an Amazon Fire Stick or upgrading your TV to a smart one (usually running Android).
How should you choose?
Amazon Fire Stick: the particulars
An Amazon Fire Stick is essentially a dongle or an attachment purchased separately from a TV (and it should work with any TV). This dongle enables Wi-Fi and other streaming applications like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu etc, to be operated on a TV, even if it is not a smart one and does not natively offer these applications and services.
Running Amazon’s operating system, FireOS, the Fire Stick is like a small PC or CPU for your entertainment needs. It plugs right into the TV and can then be used as a de-facto smart hub to run entertainment apps from a simple remote control that is provided with the dongle. Newer models are also voice-activated and controlled; if you have experience dealing with Amazon Alexa, a Fire Stick won’t be too difficult. So, it can be considered an addition or extension to the TV, making it “smart”.
Smart TVs are Android or other OS-running televisions with streaming services, app and Wi-Fi connectivity already pre-installed. You can also opt to download additional ones. Most smart TVs come with Android TV or Google TV (or even Roku TV) and already have apps like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prine Video and YouTube installed, so it’s essentially plug-and-play.
With technology geared for an Internet of Things (IoT) seamless connectivity, TVs are now becoming the central hub of a smart home. They can be controlled by voice and even your phone; brands like Samsung, LG, and Sony have applications that let you control your phone’s TV.
Fire Stick vs smart TVs: the comparison
Let’s examine some comparison points for these two and try to understand where one might beat the other.
Since we’re talking tech, let’s start with compatibility. Here, the Amazon Fire Stick is a clear winner.
Your smart TV has applications built-in. With a Fire Stick, you can always plug it into your computer or laptop and play your stuff from there. Because sometimes, you don’t want to get out of bed, and since a laptop is portable, you can use your Amazon dongle or continue watching the same show. With a smart TV, you have a big screen with limited sharing and screening options. And of course it’s not getting moved around the house.
This one is a no-brainer. The Amazon Fire Stick is much better in terms of convenience. A smart TV is installed on your wall or your table, and you won’t move it anywhere. You can’t take your shows with you on vacation, you can’t give it to a good friend for the weekend, you get the idea. Meanwhile, the Amazon Fire Stick offers exceptional compatibility and convenience. Since it is plug-and-play, you can easily take it on vacation and stream it on the hotel’s flatscreen. If you are a person who is usually on the go, an Amazon Fire Stick is your best option for seamless entertainment.
Smart TVs are usually expensive, but here’s the thing. Amazon Fire Sticks are the extensions or additions, not the display product itself. This means that if you have a regular flatscreen at home with an HDMI port, you can simply plug it in. However, if you don’t have one and are in the market for a new one, you’re better off buying a smart one. So, cost is going to be a factor in itself. Do you have a TV, or are you looking to buy one? If you have a TV already, go for the Fire Stick. If not, go for the smart TV.
Since everything is software-dependent nowadays, you have pesky updates that can quickly ruin a movie night. Regarding Amazon Fire Stick vs Smart TV, the smart TV is the obvious winner. While the Amazon Fire Stick receives regular updates, some viewers have described it as incredibly tardy and time-consuming. Smart TVs may not receive all that many updates often, but that also means you’re not stuck with an update at the most ungodly time possible. So, in this case, a smart TV is the better choice.
The great thing about IoT is that it connects your whole household to one singular device, which makes everything interconnected, and with new virtual assistants on board, they are also voice-activated. When it comes to control options, smart TVs are the obvious better choice. Whereas the Fire Stick has a remote control and optional voice control, newer smart TVs have many control options: remote, voice activation, gesture control, and motion detection. Some might think of it as a gimmick, but imagine it’s more convenient and intuitive.
Fire Stick vs smart TV: the better choice
With a comprehensive list of pros and cons, we can now decide the clear winner. Is it the dongle or the entire smart TV itself? The answer depends on what you need and what your lifestyle choices are. Many newer households are begetting TVs in favour of computer screens and 17-inch laptops. It’s just more convenient that way. However, if you already have a smart TV at home, getting a Fire Stick will be redundant since most applications will already be on the TV itself.
On the other hand, if you have a regular TV and want more use out of it for entertainment, nothing will beat a Fire Stick. However, if you are on a budget, do look out: Fire Sticks are very cheap compared to TVs: 40 to 50 bucks for the latest one, compared to $400 to $500 for a nominal smart TV. But with the TV, you also get a lot more usability, so, as stated beforehand, it’s all up to you: what you are looking to get out of it and your lifestyle.
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