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Amazon Fire TV vs. Chromecast vs. Roku vs. Apple TV

Amazon just launched its new Fire TV. Here's how it compares to the other three biggest streaming device platforms in terms of features, apps, form factor, remotes, and pricing.

David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials
  • Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
David Katzmaier

Sarah Tew/CNET

Today Amazon launched the Fire TV streaming media box .

Its standout features include an extensive library of games, an optional game controller ($40), voice search via a mic on the remote, an "ASAP" function that's said to launch certain videos immediately, and a "Free Time" function that allows parents to limit their kids' media consumption, much like on Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets.

It also offers a lot of content options.

So without further ado, here's a comparison of the four major streaming devices as they stand today.

Amazon Fire TVChromecastRokuApple TV
Price $99 $35 $49 - $99$93
Form factor BoxStickStick or boxBox
Video apps Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, Showtime Anytime, Crackle, Vimeo, moreNetflix, YouTube, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Vudu, Crackle, moreNetflix, YouTube, HBO Go, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, Showtime Anytime, Vudu, Crackle, M-Go, Vimeo, PBS, PBS Kids, Disney Channel, Redbox Instant, Time Warner Cable, Slingplayer, moreNetflix, YouTube, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Crackle, Vimeo, PBS, Disney Channel, more via AirPlay
Audio apps Pandora, Vevo, Qello, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, morePandora, Rdio, Vevo, Songza, moreSpotify, Pandora, Rdio, Mog, Amazon CloudPlayer, Vevo, Qello, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Slacker, moreVevo, Qello, "radio"
Major proprietary apps NoneGoogle Play Movies & TV, Google Play MusicNoneiTunes Movies and TV shows, iTunes Music, iTunes Radio
Sports apps Watch ESPN, NBA League Pass, "many more"NoneWatch ESPN, MLB.TV, NBA League Pass, NHL Gamecenter, moreWatch ESPN, MLB.TV, NBA League Pass, NHL Gamecenter, more
Games Yes, playable via remote, tablet/phone, or optional controller ($40)Yes, playable via tablet/phoneYes, playable via remoteNo
Control Voice search, physical remote, appApp only (no physical remote)Physical remote, appPhysical remote, app
Screen mirroring via Kindle Fire HDX onlyvia Chrome browserNovia AirPlay
Photo, video and music files via Plex, Amazon Cloudvia Plex, other appsvia Plex, other appsvia AirPlay, native Mac and iOS support, iCloud
Cross-platform search NoNoYesNo
Parental Controls Free Time (app- and time-based restrictions + walled garden)NoNoBasic per-app passcode restrictions

Note that the apps for Amazon's Fire TV come via the official product page, which says "many more" are coming. Major missing services at launch include HBO Go, Vudu, and most subscription music services like Spotify.

Update April 03: Updated Chromecast section to include additional apps.

Sarah Tew/CNET