All Sections

New Apple TV vs Android TV vs Amazon Fire TV vs Now TV Box vs Chromecast

The new-look Apple TV brings a neat-looking remote, a sharp-dressed UI and a new tvOS to boot. How does it compare to what’s available right now? 

There’s a lot of nice features that the new Apple TV is bringing to the table but as we mentioned in our initial write up, a lot of these features are already present and correct in a number of competing mini-streamers. 

Will the new Apple TV be worth the wait? Should you shell out for something as good (if not better) right now? Read our comparison where we look at things like services, specs and prices (where available) so you can decide for yourself. 

New Apple TV vs Android TV vs Amazon Fire TV vs Now TV Box vs Chromecast

New Apple TV 

The new-look Apple TV promises much more than just a way to get your favourite on-demand players on your TV. 

As well as Netflix, Hulu and HBO Now (no UK-specific services have been announced yet), you’ll be able to play casual arcade-style games like Harmonix’s Beat Sports (think of a cross between Guitar Hero and Wii Sports) annoy your friends with a multi-player version of Crossy Road and carry on where you left off with iOS games on the big screen and vice versa, should someone come into the living room and want to watch TV. 

If you’ve already got a Guitar Hero Live guitar and a Skylanders Trap Team controller for iPad, you’ll also be able to use these with the new Apple TV. Apple has clearly upped its gaming game on the new Apple TV and it shows; it’s shaping up to be a stronger effort than what you’ll find from the competition. 

Prices are still to be announced. All we know for certain right now is that mark 4 of Apple TV will come in 32GB and 64GB versions. 

Apple TV price: TBC

Apple TV price specifications

  • Dimensions: TBC
  • Weight: TBC
  • Storage: 32GB/64GB
  • Processor: TBC
  • Memory: TBC
  • OS: tvOS
  • Inputs: HDMI, Ethernet, USB
  • Max output resolution: 1080p, up to 60fps
  • Connectivity: TBC

New Apple TV vs Android TV vs Amazon Fire TV vs Now TV Box vs Chromecast

Android TV (Asus Nexus Player) 

Read our review of the Asus Nexus PlayerOne of the most touted features of the new-look Apple TV is the granular search that’ll let you send Siri off with ultra-specific requests like “Show me movies from the ‘80s starring Winona Ryder.”

While this is admittedly very cool indeed, it’s not a feature that’s unique to Apple TV. Last year when Google unveiled Android TV, they unveiled a very similar feature that combed across multiple on-demand services, drawing on Google Search and Google Now to power and action requests. 

The Asus-made Nexus Player, available now for £80, does this with aplomb. It’s got a sideline in gaming as well, although not as comprehensive as the Nvidia Shield tablet or as developed as Apple’s forthcoming offering looks. That 8GB of storage will also fill up quickly. 

While the number of officially-supported apps is a little thin on the ground, the real ace up the Nexus Player’s sleeve is that it supports Google Cast, the same technology that lets you ping content found on your phone to your TV screen with a Chromecast. 

Which means all of these apps here will also work on the Nexus Player. Now TV, BBC iPlayer, Blinkbox, YouTube plus a selection of sports-specific services including BBC Sport, Red Bull TV and BT Sport (provided you’re a BT Broadband customer). 

Asus Nexus Player price: £80

Asus Nexus Player specifications

  • Dimensions: 120 x 120 x 20mm 
  • Weight: 235 grams
  • Storage: 8GB
  • Processor: 1.8GHz quad-core Intel Atom SoC
  • Memory: 1GB
  • OS: Android TV (5.0 Lollipop) 
  • Inputs: HDMI, Ethernet, USB
  • Max output resolution: 1080p, up to 60fps
  • Connectivity: WiFi n, dual-band, dual-antenna WiFi (MIMO)

New Apple TV vs Android TV vs Amazon Fire TV vs Now TV Box vs Chromecast

Amazon Fire TV Stick 

Read our review of the Amazon Fire TV StickFurther down the cheap end of the price spectrum sits Amazon’s Fire TV Stick. This £35 HDMI dongle is a literal turnkey to Amazon’s content empire, giving you such delights as Prime Instant Video, Amazon Instant Video, Cloud Drive, Prime Music as well as a host of Android games. 

On top of this, you also get access to BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, Netflix, YouTube and TV Player – which lets you stream virtually everything that’s on Freeview. 

Like the new Apple TV, one of the Fire TV Stick’s party tricks is voice search, activated by the companion app. This lets you search Amazon’s on-demand services by cast, title and director, pulling information in from IMDb’s 3.4 million title-strong library. At the moment, this feature is limited to content from Amazon’s own services but we’re hoping that it’ll become platform agnostic in the future. 

Amazon Fire TV Stick price: £35

Amazon Fire TV Stick specifications

  • Dimensions: 84.9×25.0x11.5 mm
  • Weight: 25.1 grams
  • Storage: 8GB
  • Processor: Broadcom Capri 28155, dual-core 2xARM A9
  • Memory: 1GB
  • OS: Fire TV OS
  • Inputs: HDMI (dongle), USB
  • Max output resolution: 720p and 1080p, up to 60fps
  • Connectivity: WiFi n, dual-band, dual-antenna WiFi (MIMO)

New Apple TV vs Android TV vs Amazon Fire TV vs Now TV Box vs Chromecast

Now TV Box (2015) 

Read our review of the 2015 Now TV BoxEven cheaper than Amazon’s Fire TV Stick is the 2015 edition of the Now TV Box. Costing just £15, this mini streamer comes with access to on-demand services including BBC iPlayer, All 4, ITV Player, Demand 5, Crunchyroll, WSJ, YouTube, BBC Sport and more. 

Crucially, it’s also the key to all of the best content that’s available on Sky – in other words, premier league football, the latest movies before they’re out on Netflix and Game of Thrones – without having to sign up for a full pay TV subscription. 

The Now TV Box falls down in a couple of key areas; even though it’s technically capable of supporting 1080p Full HD video, Sky’s premium content is capped at 720p HD at the moment. 

Now TV Box (2015): £15

Now TV Box (2015) specifications

  • Dimensions: 89mm x 89mm x 25mm
  • Weight: 142 grams
  • Storage: microSD up to 32GB
  • Processor: Unspecified
  • Memory: Unspecified
  • OS: Linux (Roku UI with Now TV skin)
  • Inputs: HDMI, Ethernet, USB
  • Max output resolution: 720p and 1080p, up to 50fps
  • Connectivity: WiFi n, dual-band, dual-antenna WiFi (MIMO)

New Apple TV vs Android TV vs Amazon Fire TV vs Now TV Box vs Chromecast

Chromecast 

Read our review of Chromecast and how to get the most out of Android MirroringGoogle’s cheap as chips TV streaming stick sold like hotcakes when it first hit the shelves. These days, it’s seriously outclassed in the specs department, but one area where it cleans up big time is service support. 

Earlier we rattled off a big list of services that work with the Nexus Player. These will also work with Chromecast and any Google Cast-compliant device for that matter. While the new Apple TV outguns Chromecast in terms of hardware in a big way, it can’t touch Chromecast in terms of available services. 

Chromecast: £30

Chromecast specifications

  • Dimensions: 72mm x 35mm x 12mm
  • Weight: 34 grams
  • Storage: 8GB
  • Processor: Marvell 88DE3005
  • Memory: 1GB
  • OS: n/a – Google Cast (works with iOS, Android)
  • Inputs: HDMI (dongle), USB
  • Max output resolution: 720p, 1080p
  • Connectivity: WiFi n, single-band

Comments