Amazon has announced a new Fire TV box, one that will allow for 4K Ultra HD content to be streamed. Is the new Apple TV already past it?
The new Amazon Fire TV supports HEVC (H.265) which tantalisingly paves the way for 4K content from other services like Netflix and iPlayer (whenever the BBC gets round to it) coming to the streamer as well.
While Amazon’s not confirmed that this is happening yet (or even at all) potential for expansion is there. We have the technology. Apple’s recently-announced Apple TV by contrast isn’t shipping with 4K Ultra HD support. Admittedly, Full HD content at 60fps will look amazing, but folks who’ve shelled out for a UHD TV might want a mini streamer that can deliver UHD content, even if that’s only UHD content at 24fps (for now).
On the other hand, if you’ve bought an Ultra HD telly recently, chances are it’s going to be compatible with Amazon’s on-demand apps anyway. This renders the box something of a moot buy, unless of course you’re swayed by the thought of playing casual games.
Then again, you could argue the same about Apple TV, which comes with on-demand services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer built in and you can find these on virtually every smart or connected device going. Plus, if casual gaming is more your thing, you’ll probably be happier with a new Apple TV, which will feature Guitar Hero Live and Skylanders Superchargers in its launch line-up.
If you’re more excited about 4K content, then your choice is clear. Amazon is making headway with its 4K TV offering. While it might not have as many customers as Netflix (in the UK at least), it’s not charging customers anything extra and it’s also started streaming select content in HDR (High Dynamic Range).
Amazon says that HEVC support reduces the bandwidth requirements needed for Full HD streams. In our experience, high definition Prime Instant Video streams have taken a little longer to load compared to other streaming services, even on superfast broadband connections.
The new Amazon Fire TV box costs £80. The new Amazon Fire TV box is available to pre-order now and will hit shelves from October 5.