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Should You Upgrade Your Amazon Fire TV for a Better Cord Cutting Experience?

Many Tablo OTA DVR customers prefer using an Amazon Fire TV as their primary streaming device.

Amazon Fire TV streaming set-top-boxes, sticks, and Fire TV-enabled Smart TVs have a decent interface, come in a variety of price points, and are available in popular electronics and ‘big box’ stores in the United States and Canada.

tablo amazon fire tv upgrade cord cutting

However, if you use an early model Amazon Fire TV box or stick as your main cord-cutting device, it may be time for an upgrade.

Keep reading to find out why…


How Old is Your Amazon Fire TV?

old fire tv stick

Amazon launched its first Fire TV streaming box and stick in 2014.

While some Amazon Fire TVs – notably the 2nd generation Amazon Fire TV box – are still powerful enough to be great ‘daily drivers’ for most cord cutters, other models are starting to show their age.

Not sure which model of Amazon Fire TV you have? Some are harder to tell apart from others, which is why the team at created an app for Fire TV called 'Informer'. 


No, not that Informer.

(And if you're not a child of the 90s, we apologize for this random reference.)

According to the makers:

The purpose of the app is to conveniently provide information about your Fire TV. This initial version lets you know which model/generation device you own, it’s hardware and video specs, and what known features or changes the various software updates have made to the device.


Key Benefits of Newer Amazon Fire TV Devices

fire tv cube promo

Streaming TV technology has advanced significantly over the past few years. Device manufacturers can now pack better and faster tech into smaller spaces, for lower prices.

Along with voice-control technology, there are a few key differences that most newer Amazon Fire TV models bring to the table including:


Better Speed, Performance, and Memory

aftvnews firetv benchmark

The team over at also did some performance benchmark testing on the various models of Fire TV devices.

The 1st generation Amazon Fire TV stick (the one with the small rectangular remote) couldn’t even complete the testing process, a telling symptom of its lack of memory. This memory deficit can cause significant issues, so much so that some app creators have ceased supporting the 1st generation stick.

Based on the bench tests, your best bets performance wise are the 2nd generation Amazon Fire TV box (which is sadly no longer available for sale) or the brand-new Fire TV 4K stick. The remaining devices are quite comparable but the better performance, the faster in-app navigation experience you’ll be able to enjoy.

The 1st generation Amazon Fire TV box and stick also have slower WiFi connections (single-band a/b/g/n) which can result in buffering, especially on higher-quality video streams. Look for Fire TV devices with the current dual-band a/c WiFi standard, especially if you’re not planning to connect your device to your home network via Ethernet.


Advanced Remotes

fire tv remote volume

At the end of October, Amazon finally corrected a glaring omission with previous versions of its streaming devices: the lack of power/volume buttons on remotes. For those with family members easily confused by juggling multiple remote controls, this feature included on the Amazon Fire TV 4K stick and the newest version of the Cube can be a huge game-changer.


Amazon Fire TVs to Toss, Keep, & Get
Here's a quick cheat sheet of the popular Fire TV models you should either toss, keep for the time being, or get if you're shopping for a new model.

fire tv toss keep get


Amazon Fire TV Set-Top-Box or Stick vs. Amazon Smart TV

amazon smart tv

While Amazon is a fairly new entrant to the Smart TV operating system market with partners like Insignia and Toshiba, if you’re also thinking that it’s time for a new TV, you might want to consider this route.

While the ‘smarts’ will eventually become obsolete, you can always ‘upgrade’ the television at a later date by connecting the latest Amazon Fire TV set-top-box or stick via HDMI. (Yes, this actually works and won’t cause the TV to go into an ‘Inception’-style loop.)


Long story short, when you consider that cable and satellite customers are paying on average $231 every year to simply RENT a set-top-box, it makes financial sense to spend $50-$100 every 2-3 years to purchase a new streaming media device.

In order to maximize your cord cutting gear budget, try to choose a higher-end model with the latest technology. The longevity of these devices is worth the extra cost up front, especially if you rotate your older device to a secondary TV as you purchase newer gear for your primary television.


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