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4.3 out of 5 stars

Top positive review
1 people found this helpful
Detroit Comcast Ex-User
By M1K3 FR0M D3TR01T on 6/21/2017 12:09:33 AM
Update: still love it. All this week my neighbors Comcast kept going out, but my fire TV with DirecTV now works great on my measly 0-3mbps internet. I had some stuttering and thought I might have to upgrade my internet, but I just deleted the DirecTV now app and reloaded it (you'll need your password!) And it's been fantastic ever since! Very few glitches on live TV-way less than the Comcast set top box! My parents' Comcast tv is screwed up right now, channel not authorized every few minutes. Comcast tv is like landline phones: ditch it and save money and hassles. Comcast internet is great-if your neighborhood network of ok.

I canceled my Comcast TV subscription but kept my measly "up to 3Mbps" internet. I ordered this device and plugged it in. Clicked to confirm my Amazon account (came right up on screen) and selected "English". Then I navigated to the Direct TV Now app and selected it. It told me to sign up at note that there is only 1 "T" in the address.

I signed up for the free 7 day trail and swiped LEFT to go to the cheaper plan of $35/month. BAM: I'm channel surfing just like I had with Comcast...only now I have MORE channels!!!!

Why did I choose Direct TV Now over PlayStation Vue? Well, the $25/month PS Vue had ALL the channels I watched on Comcast EXCEPT for AMC (Better Call Saul, Walking Dead) and History Channel (Forged in Fire, Ancient Aliens). The $35/month PS Vue deal added AMC and some other sports stuff I don't care about.

The $35/month Direct TV Now added AMC AND History Channel...AND it includes Spike TV (Ink Masters, Bar Rescue) which Comcast took away from us way back in like 2015! Plus Direct TV also adds Comedy Central (South Park) and Velocity TV (car fixing and racing shows) and TV Land (1950s TV shows, etc.) plus a few others.

I kept a notebook log of what channels I watched on Comcast...out of 727 channels PS Vue 11/12 and Direct Tv Now had all 13 channels I watched. Ditching the other 700+ channels has lowered my monthly living costs by $84/month.

With this Fire TV Box and a $84/month subscription to Direct TV Now I can now watch my favorite channels: A&E, AMC, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Comedy Central, Discovery, E!, Fox, Fox News, FX, FXX, HGTV, History, ID, Nat Geo, SPIKE, ScyFY, TBS, Turner Classic Movies (TCM), TBS (they still have NEW episodes of American Dad), TNT (Animal Kingdom), TV Land, Velocity, Viceland plus some other stuff.

With my crappy "up to 3Mbps" Comcast internet (so low they don't offer it to new customers) I am watching TV and CHANNEL SURFING just like when I had Comcast. I canceled Comcast TV last week. I'm typing this as I'm watching Deadliest Catch.

I have no idea what resolution this is playing in, but it's definitely better than the lame-ass 430p resolution Comcast was putting out of their set-top box for $90/month! In the 3 days I didn't have Comcast or Fire TV I hooked up a free over the air digital TV antenna (so I could watch Colombo reruns and Svengoolie on local TV) and that was WAY better resolution than Comcast! The screen looks like I'm watch a DVD of live TV (not a BluRay, but better than Comcast live TV). I'm so HAPPY I found this and so ANGRY Comcast has been screwing me/us all these years...although their internet is great.

Fire TV and Direct TV Now together give you a channel surfing experience just like with Comcast. I've been watching for almost an hour now and I haven't had any glitches. With my Comcast TV the setup box from Comcast would have reset it self TWICE by now and maybe even asked me to "unplug for a minute and replug if the problem continues". My comcast TV was glitchy, but Fire TV somehow works great with way higher resolution! Unbelievable. I can't believe how beautiful my TV looks now with high resolution!

What would I miss? Well, I'm not sure how to watch old episodes "On-Demand", but I still have to play around and possibly download individual "apps" and then tell them my TV Provider is Direct TV Now. Or it's just somewhere on the menu I haven't played with. There are a few free movies I already found.
Update: it automatically loaded apps for all the Direct Tv Now channels: there are on demond episodes for almost evetything! So happy!
Oh, apparently if you have Amazon Prime you get Prime TV which is like literally millions of movies and TV shows and stuff. I have a freebie "limited" Prime account through a family member so I just get the free shipping. I guess I can pay the $85 per YEAR (not month) and get a "Full" Prime membership and get all those movies and TV. I'll probably do that since there is an old AMC show called "Rubicon" that isn't available on DVD or online anywhere...the rest would just be gravy.

Also, for like $7/$8 dollars you can add HBO or Showtime or Cinemax to your Direct TV Now account per month. I think PS Vue charged like $15/month for those adding premium channels is like 50% less on Direct TV Now per month. I looked at all those premium channels and it was like: I've already seen all of the Sopranos episodes so I bought the entire run of "Dexter" on BluRay for $60 and thus I have zero need for any premium channel.

I'm staring at Deadliest Catch and marveling how clear it is compared to the crap Comcast fed me!

So, what were the BAD parts of Fire TV:

You have to run an ethernet cable to it if you want the best performance instead of wi-fi. I just unplugged the one out of my old BluRay player and plugged it right in. I believe this will also do wi-fi wireless, but cable is always better than over-air wifi.

The player arrived in a padded envelope and not a box! Scary, but it was ok.

There was tape run around both ends of the "sleeve" of cardboard around the box containg the unit. I had to get a knife to slice it and even then it tore the box apart as I slide it off!

The box had a clear, hard to see tape seal.

The unit was in a plastic, sealed bag and also the unit had a ring of clear cling wrap around it which was hard to remove.

The AC plug had TWO layers of plastic cling wrap running on opposite directions covering it!?!?!?

The remote was in a plastic bag that had instructions on how to insert the batteries (included), but there was also a separate piece of glossy paper in the box that duplicated the exact same instructions! Wasteful!!!! The entire back of the remote slides off by the way, kinda weird so you DO need visual instructions to get it off, lol.

The batteries were just rolling around LOOSE in the box: no wrap!

THIS UNIT DOES NOT COME WITH AN HDMI CABLE!!!!!!!! You can order one for $8 from Amazon.

The AC cord had a really nice, wide black rubber band keeping the wire coiled nicely, but I still think it's wasteful: rubber is a natural resource, why waste it. The batteries were rolling around loose, who cares if the AC cord is a little uncoiled?

When you first turn it on and do the setup you have to hit the pause/play button to OK your choice to setup; then your second choice of language you have to hit the center button to ok your choice: jut sort of sloppy: pick a button to "OK" stuff with. From then on, you use the huge center button to click on/ok things just as you'd think the remote would work.

You have to press AND HOLD the microphone button to talk to Alexa. Not a big deal, that's a good thing actually for privacy but it took me by suprise: I'm used to clicking on things, not pressing and holding. It took me a few tries to also says right on screen with huge letters "Press AND HOLD while talking to Alexa". LOL!

Hit the "Home" house logo and click to the right to go to "Guide" and you have a guide grid of channels and show titles and times just like Comcast. How nice and simple!

I have no affiliation with Comcast or Direct TV. I'm a middle-aged librarian in Metro-Detroit who just wants to veg-out and channel surf every now and again. I tried Hulu but didn't like it because it was like "Please tell us which of the 38,0000 TV shows we have that you want to watch" and I'm like "Uh...I dunno!, let me see the shows that start with the letter A" and Hulu was all like "We have 11,214 TV shows that start with the letter A, which one do you want?" And I'm like, "Um, Archer?" I spent 3 days binge-watching Archer and then canceled it. I don't "know" what I want to watch for the most part...I surf and find it. With this setup I can watch reruns of Archer and I do "know" I NEED tio see Better Call Saul, but other than that I stumble on the usual Fargo or whatever. I LITERALLY canceled a 7 day FREE trail of Hulu on the 3rd morning because it just seemed like WORK to find something to watch.

2 hours in and no glitches--my crazy slow 3Mbps internet is just fine :) I guess I don't have to upgrade the internet (which even if I did I'd still be saving like $60/month over Comcast TV)...but I think I'm going to. For the first week everything worked great: I could watch Fire TV and also use the internet on my tablet. I even watched a Youtube video while also using the Fire TV...but that was pushing it. My internet sucks generally: I can barely read emails on my new desktop it's so slow (even before getting the Fire TV). We also just had some storms in Detroit and my Air Conditioner unit blew a fuse at I can't be sure if it's really even a speed issue, or just power brown outs and general mayhem playing havoc with the internet (and the lights and AC unit).

IF I WERE PLANNING THIS OUT: I would price the cost of ditching all Comcast TV but upgrading to their 10Mbps internet. It's still way, way cheaper than Comcast TV. My bill came today and it was $51.54 instead of $135.13!!!!!!! Heck, I may upgrade to their 75Mbps service! Every month I save enough money to buy another Fire TV box....$1008 per year less (unless I upgrade the cable).

I'm glad I went with the Fire Box instead of the stick, since the box can take an ethernet input instead of relying on wi-fi to connect: My wi-fi goes out when I use the microwave, LOL!

Also weird: earlier today (before Fire TV was delivered) there was a Comcast Internet and TV outtage throughout the subdivision! That raised my stress level a bit, but it was fixed before the box arrived.

Fire TV Box + HDMI Cord + Ethernet cable to my modem/router + Comcast 3mpbs slow internet = AWESOME!

I can remember back in the 1970s we had "ON TV" with a single movie channel and it was a cool treat! Like having a Coke was a treat, like a milkshake. Then regular cable as we know it came around with Atlanta/Georgia scientific boxes or something? They were beige with huge reddish/clear remote control windows and it was fine: tons of channels. Then Comcast came along and it was: at least twice a month you were calling them to reset your box or fix your internet. TODAY MY ENTIRE SUBDIVISION HAD A 2 HOUR CABLE TV AND INTERNET OUTTAGE. My parents up the street had to call because NOTHING worked and it was some substation that blew out. There is ALWAYS something wrong with Comcast. Since 2002 nobody can watch BBC America without audio glitches and picture freezing...which is fine, I've overdosed on Gordon Ramsey shows and the only movies they show are Aliens (2) and Silence of the Lambs (which I love, but how many times in a row can I watch that).

I know this was wordy, but the more info I give the more it might help others cut the cord. Oh, two months ago my Comcast modem died so they sent me one of the combination modem/wireless/router "Bridge" things. All is well.

Tip: hold the home button (little house) and it'll bring up the sleep option. Never leave your Fire Tv running a TV channel or else you'd be burning gigs of Internet usage and slowing your network. If you just tap your home button it takes you to the home screen which I think goes to sleep after 30 minutes.

Good luck and great savings to you fellow cord-cutters,

Michael Logusz
Science & Optics
Top critical review
22 people found this helpful
REMOTE ISSUE, Netflix 5.1 sound issue and some video bugs in 3rd party apps. Hold off purchasing for a few days!
By William Hardin on 10/6/2015 4:02:38 PM
Major issue with remote (see below) and software bugs including an issue outputting surround sound from Netflix, recommend you hold off purchasing for now! Giving it a 3 star rating (down from 5) because of these issues. I have an open case with Amazon's support staff about the remote issue, will update this as I receive updates.

This review builds on my review of the first Fire TV box by Amazon that over 26,000 people found helpful. While the new box is very similar to the old one, this review is completely new because a lot has changed since the first Fire box was released. This review is packed with information and opinion as well as honestly.

I am not a casual user of on-demand content and devices. Having tried smart tv's from 5 brands, smart dvd/blu ray players, Apple TV, WDTV, HTPC, Chromecast, Fire TV box (old one), Fire TV stick, Nvidia Shield and too many other competing products to mention--for streaming content.

While there are TONS of options, my goal is to find the best, easy to use box that doesn't require additional items or tweaking. Before the first Fire TV box that was a Roku 3, pretty much without question. Since then Amazon released the Fire TV stick, and this new Fire TV box. Roku released the improved Roku 3. Google released the second generation Nexus streamer. Nvidia released the impressive Shield and Apple announced its upcoming updated box.

The biggest prize--the one box for the average family to own is....still a Fire TV--whether it is the older version or this new one.

The new Fire TV box adds 4k streaming which until now was pretty much only available on the Nvidia Shield and newer smart tvs. No Apple nor Roku product supports 4k streaming and with the release of this box it will force others to add it soon. It does this by supporting High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC). This basically means the new Fire TV box smashes more detail into your existing cables to allow it to stream the 4k (which is four times the amount of detail as 1080p).

This means even if you don't own a 4k TV yet (which would make two of us), you are ready for it when you get one without having to buy a new box--HEVC support isn't something an update can add--you need a new hardware box.

The new Fire TV box also adds an microSD card slot for more storage space (something you need if you load games like I do). Other improvements include 802.11AC wifi support for even better wireless connections for smoother streaming. A beefed up its processor (which was already the best of the mainstream boxes) makes it even faster and more responsive. I noticed the difference in AOL's ON app as well as NBC's app.

Voice search, which was already a very strong feature, has gotten even better. Now voice search can check all of Amazon’s video, music, app, and games, and Hulu, HBO GO, Crackle, Showtime, Starz (and VEVO's app if you have it installed in my experience). To make it even better Amazon added Alexa, a cloud-based service, to check sports scores or the weather, play music, or tell you a knock-knock joke. (Ask her how tall she is or her favorite color.) That being said, this service is very limited right now. Hopefully Amazon will add more of the content Alexa enjoys on Echo but for now it is a cool toy but she could use a bit more personality in my opinion!

The remote control has gotten taller so the buttons are in a more convent location for most hands and the 5-way directional button is now more 3D so it is easier to find in the dark--all of which is great improvements. But the remote has me very upset because someone thought it would make sense to make it nearly impossible to open. In fact after trying for twenty minutes and even cutting myself with a knife in the process, I GAVE UP on using the new remote because I couldn't even install batteries in it. Now before you start thinking I am hopeless, not only have I never had such issues with any remote control before but my wife couldn't get it open either. Now I am praying that I got a dud remote and everyone else won't have this problem but why would Amazon's design staff change the old remote battery door when it worked just fine?

I also am very sad to see the optical audio (TOSLINK) port disappear quietly. While HDMI supports digital audio as well as video, I liked the options of having an audio output go to the receiver directly without requiring HDMI.

Software quirks? Now this might just be my imagination but the new Fire TV box seems to have slightly buggier software. It is tiny things that most people might now even catch but hopefully it just that the box needs a few wrinkles ironed out before it is as smooth as the existing boxes. Amazon's software on the brand new Fire tablets makes them buggy too so maybe they need better programmers. ;) Normally these bugs seems to pause video while the audio keeps playing, or the audio starts before you see video (but stays in sync) or results in "harsher" sounding music streaming. The glitches seem to fix themselves but it is not something I am used to on the older Fire TV boxes so it is disappointing. I am using the exact same apps as I did the same day on my older Fire TV box without issues.

Another software issue--Netflix is not currently outputting surround sound (5.1) with this new box. The older Fire TV box and stick output the surround sound just fine so this is most likely a temporary bug but it is big deal to many folks. If this changes, I will update this review.

Also the new boxes draw more power--requiring 21 watts instead of the older boxes 16 watt power supply. Not a huge difference but I wish it would have been heading the OTHER direction. More power being used means more heat inside that small box which might mean a shorter lifespan or even overheating. This is something to watch but not be freaked out about.

Comparing the new Fire TV box to:

Apple TV which is easy to use (interface) but Apple limits the content you can get greatly (including no Prime Streaming built in) and it lacks a lot in features as well and is slow. They are releasing a new box this winter but so far it doesn't blow me away. The reason for selecting Apple TV is if you have other apple products that unlock features (like Amazon's content). Apple could be a major player but they would need to really improve their content, their hardware and add features first.

Roku 4 (Released in a couple weeks) is heads and tails better than past Roku boxes in terms of speed. Roku stands out with the most content and being pretty simple to use. This new model is not out yet so I can't compare its real world performance yet but it delivers some of Fire TV's new features for about $30 more. This box adds some 4k support (but perhaps not High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) which is disappointing). According to their site you will need a new HDMI cable to have the 4k work and it might not support as much 4k content as the Amazon Fire TV method. They added voice search, a remote locator (nice bonus), a quad processor (but no word on how fast) and it still has the optical output. It looks good on paper but it still lacks some features and popular content and is 30% more expensive.

Nvidia Shield is a solid hardware box with 4k support and better games but it fails to be the complete package. It is lacking features, a lot of content and is expensive compared to other boxes. Now that Fire TV has 4k support, I expect Nvidia Shield to really struggle to find its place in the market.

Fire TV Stick:
Basically it is the best value around if you are on a budget unless you need the ability to surf the web on your TV like a Chromecast stick. But if you have the cash for the best, consider getting the Fire TV box instead.

I have added quick summaries of other options to make sure everyone knows about the other options out there.

WDTV: Are great for streaming your own content but not very user friendly. These are more for folks that want to tinker with items.

Chromecast: Is very cheap at $35 but requires other items to use (no remote included!), is limited to 16 channels according to their own site with other content broadcast via Chrome's browser not at the same quality level. This does allow you to browse the internet on your tv and is amazing for the cost but is more of a niche market than FireTV/Roku/Apple TV. But if you can live with the short comings, it is worth a look at 1/3 the price of these devices.

Smart TVs and DVD/Blu Ray Players: Most of these are FINE for occasional use but not nearly as pleasant to use daily like separate boxes. Normally you pay $150-$400+ extra for features that are found in these $100 boxes. I have not found a smart tv that is decent and is also a good value for what you are getting. The advantage is that you can use your TV/DVD remote to access the content. (and that is about it!) Smart TVs are getting better but still lack the combination of quick hardware and vast content that stand alone boxes give you.

HTPC: These are desktop computers or Mac Minis or Android Sticks that you load software on to stream video to your TV. These can add content that no normal streaming box can access, without giving up quality but they are only recommended for something comfortable with technology that doesn't mind fixing the issues that come up from time to time.

Video Game Consoles: Xbox/Playstations can access some of the content that streaming boxes do and have plenty of power to deliver the streams. The downside is the cost (unless you already have one) and the interfaces. These consoles are not designed to stream video exclusively so the interfaces are decent but can be clunky.

(You can use other options but frankly they aren't worth the hassle for the amount of hair pulling you would do.)

Amazon's Fire TV box


+ 4K support for under $100. Nuff said.

+ Alexia new voice assistant. Ask her the time or the weather or who the 4th president was.

+ Works in hotels! Yep they have built-in support for connecting to those hard to connect to wifi systems that need you to agree and/or type a code or password. It doesn't work on all systems but I have used it 7 times (out of 9) successfully--even in Canada. This is such a bonus!

+ 128gb microSD card support. With the fun games and apps, you need more space so this is very helpful.

+ Active support. New features are added almost monthly. I wish some minor things were tweaked but pleased that it is actively being worked on.

+ Nothing else is this fast. While Roku 3 impressed the world, this raises the bar dramatically. With a quad core processor and 4 times the memory of any other streaming product, it speeds through menus, boots quicker, starts videos quicker and honestly has the muscle to not struggle with higher end resolutions and surround sound like other boxes can do at times. The best way I can explain it, you will have extra hours at the end of the year because this box is THAT much faster.

+ Voice search is amazing. It really works. Not having to use a four directional keypad to enter in titles is a real time saver and makes you wonder why this wasn't done before but it is only for Amazon content, Hulu, HBO GO, Crackle, Showtime, Starz and VEVO (music videos) for now. You can not use the voice search with Netflix for example. While Roku's new box added voice search and Apple's future box is going to have it as well, Amazon still leads the pack--adding in the Alexia (lite) functions as well.

+ Ready for gaming, well at least once you spend another $40. The $40 gaming package feels a like a good deal with an controller, 32gb microSD card and two games. This box has real games you would actually want to play instead of a VERY limited selection on Roku 3 but it is not a "REAL" console at $100 and honestly shouldn't be compared to them.

+ Better image quality? I know you are thinking I am imagining things or have changed my setup but both myself and my wife have noticed that generally (in different apps) the video is slightly sharper and clearer. We are using the exact same tv, settings, even the same HDMI cable that we used with the Roku 3 until we switched it for the Fire TV box. We have noticed that especially on poor quality feeds that the image quality is noticeably better than under the same feeds with Roku 3. Now I don't know if there is better graphic chips or if the bigger processor can do more tweaking while streaming but it seems to be something. As image quality is a huge deal for most folks (and normally us streamers have to suffer with "decent" quality) this is certainly worth noting. So far we have noticed this under Netflix, VEVO and Plex.

+MULTITASKING: What multitasking you ask? Since you haven't seen this advertised or mentioned elsewhere, I can understand your confusion but try this: Load a Pandora stream or start Amazon music...then click on the HOME button and browse for movies/tv you want to watch. As long as you are in the Amazon content or Plex or Netflix, you can browse WHILE Pandora continues playing. You use the play/pause button to control it and the skips to skip a song or go back one.


- It still lacks soul. Yes, soul. The Fire TV box and remote are built like a dvd player or appliance--cold, fast, efficient. Unlike Roku 3 where the box seems to have a bit of the personally of TiVo--it feels warmer, more inviting. Everything about this box is business like, including the interface and the lack of options to change it. Alexia is working to change that but very slightly.

- The interface is more than merely "cold". It is simply less flashy/pretty than the Roku 3 interface. While fast, I am less tempted to wander around like I do on Roku 3. It seems like they are being pretty dependent on the voice search function which is great but it leaves you missing out on the random items you find along the way with the Roku 3 interface.

- The voice search only works for select content and not most 3rd party channels like Netflix.

- The remote is not ready for gaming use, compared to the Roku 3 remote with gaming buttons when you turn the remote sideways and more sensors for detecting movements/motion.

- Still missing some channels. There is no M-Go, CBS All Access and no Vudu.


If you do not have any streaming box yet, I would HIGHLY recommend getting a Fire TV product over every other product on the market right now. I don't make this endorsement lightly. I currently own 3 Roku 3 boxes because I liked them so much, until I used the older Fire TV box. This box means Roku will have to really work on improving their product for Roku 4 or they will lose the high end market. We now are almost exclusively a Fire TV family with these in our main house TVs as well as my office TV. I would recommend this updated box but due to my remote control issue, I say that you wait until they have that matter resolved. So right now I would purchase a Fire TV stick if you can not wait.

I do not personally recommend the current Apple TV as it way too slow and lacks too many features and content. We will have to see what their new box delivers but we already know it won't best the Fire TV boxes in much based on released information.

If you are on a budget and have an Android based tablet, consider Chromecast. It is a good value for the price but you do give up features and content to save on the cost compared to Roku 3 & Fire TV.

Hopefully this review has been helpful to you. If so, please let me know by clicking the button below. Remember you don't have to agree with everything I said to think it was helpful! ;)

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