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Without a VPN app installed, you can only watch videos that are available in your region. You’ll either see an error when you try to watch something that’s only for other regions, or you simply won’t see shows and movies that are only present in other countries.
But go to the app store and install a VPN and you can change your location (virtually, of course) and watch shows as if you were in those regions or countries.
It’s the same if you want to watch BBC iPlayer from the US: you’ll need to connect to a server in London.
The good news is that it’s very easy to use a VPN on an Amazon Fire TV Stick, and we’ll recommend six services that all work well to unblock content from various streaming services.
There’s another benefit of a VPN: it encrypts all the information between your device and the server, so no-one can see which videos you’re watching, whereas a proxy won’t.What do I need to look for in a VPN?
You’ll find a more in-depth guide in our roundup of the best VPN services, but here’s a summary of what you’ll want if you’re choosing a service primarily to use with your Fire TV.
App: It should offer an app in the Fire TV app store
Speed: Servers and connections need to be fast enough to stream video in HD
Choice of servers: There should be servers in the countries or regions where the content is available
Bandwidth: Video uses a lot of data, so you don’t want any cap on your data allowance
Price: You won’t get all of the above for free!
There are other considerations, too, such as the quality and availability of tech support, and whether or not the VPN service keeps logs.
A lot more VPN services now offer apps for Fire TV, and since it’s inconvenient if there isn’t an app, we’ve only recommended services that have one.Best VPNs for Amazon Fire TV NordVPN
NordVPN has a decent interface is tailored for TV use, which means it’s easy to use with your Fire TV remote control.
Performance is among the best of any VPN service and more than enough for streaming video. Speeds are quick enough for 4K video if your broadband connection can also handle that.
NordVPN isn’t only good for your Fire TV: you can use the service on your laptop, phone and other devices – up to six of them at the same time.Surfshark
Surfshark is another excellent VPN for your Fire TV. It isn’t quite as good as Nord at unblocking streaming services, but it’s there or thereabouts, and it’s crucial to remember that things change on a regular basis as the VPN companies play cat and mouse with the streaming services.
There’s 24/7 live chat support if you run into problems unblocking a specific service, and when we last tested Surfshark, it unblocked BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO and others.
The fact that Surfshark undercuts many rivals on price, and allows you to use its service on an unlimited number of devices at the same time makes it a great choice for many.ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is one of the absolute best services for unblocking video. It regularly ensures that around 200 streaming services are available to its users, including some of the more obscure ones that other VPN providers don’t necessarily support.
Services such as Kayo, which streams live sporting events as well as a good selection of Netflix regions (Japan, Australia and France, for example, in addition to Netflix US).
It also prides itself on its security and privacy, as well as its customer service. You do pay more for all this though: ExpressVPN certainly isn’t the cheapest option here.
Of course, there’s a Fire TV app, so it’s quick to install and get up and running on your FireStick, or whichever Fire TV model you have.
There’s even a router app so you can get ExpressVPN to unblock video on games consoles, Apple TV boxes and other devices that don’t support VPN connections.PureVPN
PureVPN is a great all-rounder, and another service that has a Fire TV app ready to install in the app store.
In fact, it has just updated its Fire TV and Android TV apps to increase the available locations from 25 to 96, and added support for 11 more languages. Also useful is the new in-app live chat support.
You shouldn’t choose a VPN service based only on its Fire TV app, but we’ve found PureVPN to reliably unblock videos from various streaming providers whenever we’ve tested it. As of May 2023, it unblocked iPlayer, All4 and ITV Hub – all UK-based services – with no issues. Sometimes Netflix would spot we were using a VPN, but generally worked without hassle – the same with Amazon Prime US.
PureVPN allows you to use your subscription on up to 10 devices at once, too.Privado
Privado is one of the newest names in the world of VPN, and is unusual in that it offers a free plan that unblocks a few streaming services including Netflix US, Amazon Prime and BBC iPlayer.
Those on the free tier can choose between servers in the US, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Mexico and Argentina.
The only catch, which is fair enough considering it’s free, is that you’re limited to 10GB of streaming per month. Of course, if you want unlimited bandwidth, you can go for a paid subscription.Windscribe
Windscribe is another free VPN that’s worth checking out for streaming video on your Fire TV.
This service offers 10GB bandwidth per month for nothing (just like Privado), though it will only give you 2GB if you don’t enter an email address when you sign up.
The other reason it’s a good option is because the Windscribe app is right there in the app store on your Fire TV so it’s simple to install and set up.
Under Windscribe’s free plan you get to use its servers in US and UK plus Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Switzerland and Hong Kong. The catch here is that you don’t have access to Windflix servers – the ones optimised for streaming – so you’ve no guarantee of unblocking Netflix or other services.
To use those servers, get unlimited bandwidth and access to all of Windscribe’s servers you need to upgrade to one of the Pro plans.
Speeds aren’t wonderful, but as it’s free you can test it out and see if it’s quick enough to stream the videos you want to watch.
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See also: The best media streaming devices you can buy
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max: $54.99 / £54.99 / €64.99
The Fire TV Stick 4K Max is a media streaming stick from Amazon that plugs into your TV’s HDMI port. It slots in above the Fire TV Stick 4K in Amazon’s portfolio and costs just $5 more. You get some notable upgrades for that little extra cash. The Fire TV Stick 4K Max is Amazon’s only streaming device to support Wi-Fi 6 right now. It also matches the Fire TV Cube with 2GB of RAM, and it carries a new quad-core 1.8GHz processor to get you streaming in a hurry and not stuck navigating menus. The stick itself is powered through a Micro-USB port (no USB-C here).
Amazon’s premium streaming stick supports all of the most popular video streaming services and music services like Spotify. It also offers Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision support, and you can tap into HDR and 4K Ultra HD quality as well, provided you have a sharp enough TV.
Need some Fire TV apps? Here are a few of our favorites
What’s not so good?
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
There’s very little to complain about on Amazon’s latest streaming device. It offers speed, storage, and a great remote. However, the remote itself is starting to feel a little cluttered. Amazon has taken the button count to 17, yet the size and shape of the remote haven’t changed much over the previous generations. Likewise, some will find them useful, but I also didn’t find myself using the hotkeys very often. It’s a shame you can’t remap them.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max review: Should I buy it?
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
Amazon’s streaming stick is nearing its final form. If you’re in the market for a new streaming device and already invested in the Amazon ecosystem, it’s hard to put too many above the Fire TV Stick 4K Max. Sure, the name is a mouthful, but it offers high-quality streaming options across the board. The powerful remote is all you’ll need if you’ve cut the cord, and the new processor and extra RAM are immediately noticeable.
Learn more: Roku vs Amazon Fire TV — which is right for you?
However, the Fire Stick 4K Max won’t be a perfect choice for everyone. If you’ve built your smart home on a Google foundation, you may want to look at the Chromecast with Google TV ($49.99) instead. It comes with Google’s first-ever Chromecast remote and pairs seamlessly with the Google TV platform and Google Cast. You can also check out Roku’s new Streaming Stick 4K ($49.99). It nearly matches the Fire TV Stick, with HDR and Dolby Vision, and it throws in AirPlay 2 support, though you miss out on Wi-Fi 6.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max
The Fire TV Stick 4K Max includes a faster processor for better performance and WiFi-6 hardware.
See price at Amazon
Frequently asked questions
No, there are no fees directly attached to the Fire TV Stick. However, you’ll have to pay various streaming subscription fees if you plan to add apps like Netflix, Hulu, or HBO Max.
No, your streaming stick requires a stable Wi-Fi connection to pull content from your favorite services.
Yes, as long as you have a compatible app, you should have no problem playing live TV on your streaming stick.
Amazon may not have cracked the smartphone market with the Fire phone but it’s forging ahead with its Fire tablets and Fire TV media streamers, taking on the Roku, Chromecast and Apple TV. This is the second generation of its tiny set-top box: here’s our Amazon Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD review.
Update 14 November 2023: Amazon’s Alexa is also coming to the Fire TV via a free software update. We expect the the update to roll out in the UK pretty soon because – at last – Amazon’s Echo device is on sale in the UK. Here are some of the benefits the new update brings (there are many more – these are just the latest highlights):
Alexa voice control for Amazon Video. You can now say “skip ahead 2 minutes” to jump past the opening credits. Miss something because you were interrupted? Just try “rewind 30 seconds.” Ready for the next episode? Just say “next.”
Universal Search expanded to over 75 apps and channels.
Custom content that’s easy to find. For example Netflix subscribers will see personalised recommendations in custom rows on the Fire TV home page. These will appear in the “coming months”.
Sports updates. Using Alexa, just say “give me my sports update” to see the latest scores. You can select your favourite teams in the Alexa app, either using a web browser or your Fire tablet, iOS or Android device.
The video above is a review of the first-generation Fire TV. The second generation has the same interface and works the same way. The main difference is support for 4K content. The review below was originally for the first-generation box, but the new one is so similar that we have updated it where relevant.
See also Best media streamers you can buy in 2023/2023Amazon Fire TV (second-generation) review: Price
You can buy the 4K Fire TV from Amazon for £79.99 but there have been regular sales and we expect Amazon to discount it on Black Friday. Unfortunately, Amazon’s site is listing it as out of stock until 6 December at the moment, but you can still add it to your basket.Amazon Fire TV (second-generation) review:what’s new?
There are several updates in the new model. Key is the support for 4K Ultra HD (see also What is 4K?). It’s not the only box to tick the UHD box: Nvidia’s Shield does this too. But as you’ll read in our Shield TV review, it stumbles when it comes to content.
4K support means you can hook up the Fire TV to your 4K TV, and you can watch videos in Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) at up to 30fps. In order for this to work you will need a compatible TV with an HDMI 2.0 port which supports HDCP 2.2. Here’s a selection of 4K TVs which will work with the Fire TV 4K.
You will also need a relatively fast internet connection. Amazon recommends at least 15Mb/s for Prime Video in 4K, but Netflix says 20Mb/s. Other apps may require more. The Fire TV has an HEVC decoder, so it can play videos streamed in this new format. Amazon is making much of its 1080p content available in HEVC so you’ll be able to watch Full HD videos on a slower internet connection, and less data will be used – roughly half.
More processing power is needed for 4K video, so Amazon has upgraded the processor to a 64-bit Mediatek quad-core chip which it says is 75 percent faster than the Qualcomm Snapdragon in the previous model. It also has more powerful graphics, although the PowerVR GX6250 chip is no match for the graphics chip in the iPad Air 2, to give you some context.
Amazon has also changed the Wi-Fi and upgraded to dual-band 802.11ac, and there’s now a microSD slot on the rear so you can add to the 8GB of internal storage. However, this comes at the cost of the optical audio output which has disappeared on the new box (it’s the same sacrifice on the new Apple TV, oddly). That means HDMI is your only audio output, so you won’t be able to easily pipe audio to an AV receiver as well as your TV.
The final change is that the remote control communicates via Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth. Some people have had problems with it losing connection with the box, or losing pairing entirely. However, we didn’t experience any issues at all.Amazon Fire TV (second-generation) review: Features, design and setup
One of the main reasons for buying the new Fire TV is to get Amazon and Netflix’s 4K content on your TV. Amazon doesn’t charge extra for watching 4K content, but Netflix does. For more, see Prime Instant Video vs Netflix
The Fire TV also offers plenty of other content including Spotify, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and Demand 5. For some people, this makes it a better choice than the new Apple TV (which doesn’t support 4K) as the Fire TV similarly allows you to install apps and play games using the bundled remote or the optional game controller (which costs £35). However, we’ll get to the games later.
The top is like the back of a Fire tablet or Kindle: matt black with a glossy Amazon logo. The front and sides are also glossy black and a small white LED lets you know the box has power – just like an Apple TV.
An external power supply is included in the box, but you’ll need to provide your own HDMI cable.
Setup is easy, as you simply choose your Wi-Fi network (unless you’re using an Ethernet cable), enter your password, then enter your Amazon email address and password. It’s a bit fiddly using the on-screen keyboard and directional pad on the remote. The Chromecast is easier since the remote is your smartphone or tablet. And the new Apple TV lets you use an iPhone or iPad for painless setup. The Fire TV doesn’t require you to own any smartphone or tablet: you need only an internet connection and an Amazon account (you don’t need a Prime Instant Video subscription).
The box runs a version of Amazon’s Fire OS which is also used on Fire tablets and the Fire phone. It’s based on Android, but you’ll never see so much as a hint of recognisable Android anywhere.Amazon Fire TV review: Software
Fire OS is a dark-looking, easy to use system on Amazon’s tablets, and things are much the same on the Fire TV. If you’ve already used the Prime Instant Video app, you’ll already know how to navigate around the Fire TV.
A main menu runs down the left-hand side and includes Home, which shows things you’ve watched or played recently, newly added Prime Instant Video items and other featured or ‘top’ content.
If you head to the settings menu you can sync all relevant purchased Amazon content, rather than going through each section or searching for that content and downloading it individually.
You can also set restrictions to prevent anything being purchased without entering a passcode, and even block different types of content entirely such as apps.Amazon Fire TV review: Voice search and usability
The interface couldn’t be simpler to navigate and button icons are shown on screen whenever there’s a shortcut, such as pressing the play/pause button when you’ve finished entering your password.
It’s a well-designed controller whose only flaw is that it’s quite small and easy to lose. You can search by simply speaking the title of a TV show or film. You hold down the microphone button and say what you’re searching for. It’s fast and accurate and far, far easier than trying to enter text via the D-pad. You’re not limited to saying titles: it also works with actors and directors, so you don’t necessarily need to know what you want to watch. It’s not as versatile as Siri on the new Apple TV, however. You can’t say “Show me all recently added action movies”, for example.
The voice search isn’t universal, either. If you’re in the Netflix app and use the microphone, the results will show matches for Amazon’s content, not Netflix. UPDATE: With the software update containing Alexa, you do get universal search. Alexa still works best with Amazon music and video (because you can control playback with your voice) but it’s still nice to see results from all your subscribed services and not just Amazon’s.
Another source of confusion is the fact that prices are shown for episodes and series even if you have a Prime Instant Video subscription. To watch something with your subscription, you have to wait a second until “Watch now with Prime” appears on the video’s thumbnail. You get used to it, though.
What’s really frustrating is that even if you’re browsing in the Prime Instant Video section, you’ll still come across content that isn’t included in your subscription. For example, only not all seasons of Mad Men have the all-important Prime tag at the top-left corner. The latest couple are just tagged as HD. But it’s easy to miss that difference as you scroll through the list and wonder why the “Watch now with Prime” wording doesn’t appear on the thumbnail.
A good feature is that a white progress bar is shown across the bottom of each movie or show you’ve watched, so it’s easy to see which episode of a TV show to watch next. Amazon’s predictive ASAP technology also works well, with videos beginning almost the instant you press the play button – so much so that you sometimes forget that you’re streaming them. 10-second skip forward and back buttons are useful for replaying a section, and didn’t cause big buffering delays in our tests.Amazon Fire TV review: Games
The game controller has to be paired via the settings menu, but you’ll get a warning if you attempt to buy a game which requires a game controller and you haven’t paired one. The controller is also updated since the original, and now has a microphone button so you can use voice search.
We tried several games, some of which we’d bought previously on a Fire tablet. Sonic the Hedgehog was pretty much the ideal type for the controller, a classic platform title, while Flow Free proved that games designed for touchscreens aren’t enjoyable on a console-style gamepad. With those, you can use the shoulder buttons to speed up or slow down the cursor, but even so, it’s hard work.
The games library has quite a bit of choice, including Terraria, but it’s limited when compared to the choice available on a Fire tablet let alone an Android tablet or iPad. There’s starting to be more console-style games such as Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, though.Amazon Fire TV review: content
Amazon Prime Instant video has a fairly decent selection of films and TV shows. Like Netflix, it has its own exclusive titles and in-house content, too, with Amazon’s Transparent, Extant and The Man in the High Castle being three popular examples.
4K content is a little thin on the ground, but Amazon is adding a lot more now. 4K playback was smooth on our admittedly fast BT Infinity broadband, but we did have a couple of issues with lip-synch when running audio from the TV to an AV receiver, and couldn’t find any option to adjust this.
It’s good to see plenty UK-specific services such as iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and Demand 5, Just don’t expect to see any UK catch-up TV in 4K anytime soon. While the BBC has done some technical tests, there are no immediate plans to roll out a 4K-capable version of the app.
You can install Plex and VLC for streaming 4K content you have on a NAS or on your microSD card, though.
If you’re looking for the widest array of content available directly via the set-top box, then Roku is the obvious choice at the moment, especially as it has just added the Google Play store.
(You can read our full comparison Fire TV vs Roku vs Chromecast.)
From our testing of HD video, the quality is excellent and if you have an AV receiver you can use the HDMI or optical outputs to benefit from 5.1 or even 7.1 surround sound where the content has it. Netflix will soon add Dolby audio to some of its content, which will be a bonus.
You’ll also benefit from the new X-Ray feature for certain videos, which lets you pull up IMDB information so you can check which actors are on screen or who directed it.
We’re glad to see that Amazon has added subtitles as these were missing when we first tested it.
It’s with large libraries that the Fire TV’s powerful processor comes into its own. Thumbnails load almost instantly and there’s little or no lag when scrolling through long lists of episodes.Specs Amazon Fire TV 4K (2023, 2nd generation): Specs
Mediatek quad-core processor (Dual-core @ 2GHz + Dual-core @ 1.6GHz) with PowerVR GX6250 graphics @ 600MHz
dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO
microSD card slot for adding up to 128GB
Output: HDMI – 720p and 1080p up to 60fps, 4K up to 30fps
Support for Dolby Audio, 5.1 surround sound, 2-channel stereo and HDMI audio pass-through up to 7.1
115 x 115 x 18 mm
Uber went from being a cab rental service to the largest company in the transportation industry, and the same story goes for Netflix. This online streaming service started its first decade by planting its roots firmly in the American entertainment industry but has now grown into an international sensation.
However, with all the great things that come with Netflix being available in your region, there are some shortcomings too. The main one being that you not only get the latest western TV series episodes later than your friends in the United States but don’t get access to thousands of movies and TV shows at all.
So, how do you watch latest and greatest TV Shows from Netflix USA if you are not in the U.S.? Well, VPN helps in this case.
The easiest way to bypass this issue was to turn on a VPN service, spoof your geolocation to be somewhere in the United States and enjoy.
However, due to stricter copyright laws, Netflix is making it harder for you to enjoy the exclusive content from one region in another. Lucky for you, there are still a few VPN services that work with Netflix and all of the other USA-based streaming services like Hulu, DirecTV Now and others.
Best VPNs for Streaming Videos and Movies
Here we take a look at some budget-friendly VPN services that would help you watch TV Shows and Movies on the web so that you can access content that is not available by default in your region. This is especially helpful with Netflix, which makes content available only as per region.
Let’s see how to bypass Netflix regional restrictions to watch movies and TV shows available anywhere in the world. Using these VPN services, you just have to select the location of the region whose Netflix version you want to use.
There’s a reason why ExpressVPN tops almost every list of best VPN services there is, and there isn’t just one. Spanning across desktop, mobile and the web, ExpressVPN comes with state of the art SSL security and 256-BIT encryption to keep your browsing experience private, while not being the cheapest one on the list.
Rated one of the fastest VPN services among the users which is essential for streaming content in high definition, ExpressVPN spans across 90 countries and 145 cities. The service is one of the few that guarantees dedicated servers for Netflix streaming, with a 30-day money-back guarantee to keep your investment safe.
15 months – $6.67 /month
6 months – $9.99 /month
1 month – $12.95 /month
Although the content you watch through Netflix is usually regulated by the federal department, countries like China tend to be even more invasive. This is the very reason NordVPN was created, to give users complete access to the internet without a government filter, while still giving them an iron curtain of privacy.
Supporting Netflix viewing in the high-density markets of the United States, the United Kingdom, India, Netherlands, and France, the service includes a whopping 2048-BIT encryption. Not only do you get to choose your location and servers, but you get DNS leak protection, a free trial, and money-back guarantee, along with a strict no user-logs policy.
24 months – $3.29 / month
12 months – $5.75 / month
1 month – $11.95 / month
You’ll love this VPN service for Netflix not just for its ironclad security measures, but for the fact that it is available to free users as well. One of the more affordable choices to make on this list, CyberGhost comes with a waiting period that is removed automatically when you get a Pro account, which also brings you the support for accessing only Netflix USA.
While it may not be the fastest one on the list in terms of transfer speeds, but it is among the most secure ones with IP and DNS masking, no-logs rule and a bunch of failsafe features. Available for Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac, CyberGhost VPN goes a step further when it comes to customer support as well.
24 months – $3.50 / month
12 months – $5.99 / month
1 month – $11.99 / month
The biggest point of interest when it comes to VyprVPN is not just the fact that it sounds cool, it is the promise from the company that the service can allow you to enjoy not just Netflix USA, but the streaming service from other countries as well. Packing security features like L2TP/IPsec, Chameleon, and PPTP, you don’t have to worry too much.
However, VyprVPN does record your connection time and IP address, which isn’t exactly the best thing about it, and might even be a deal-breaker for some. While the plans aren’t the cheapest on the market, but the fact that you can use VyprVPN service on 5 different devices simultaneously, does make it worthwhile.
12 months – $5 / month
1 month – $12.95 / month
One of the more high-end VPN services for Netflix and other streaming services on the list, Strong VPN gets its name for offering a dome of protection. Packing a powerful punch with its very own StrongDNS service, 2048-BIT encryption, and broad protocol support, you get all the security you need for private and safe browsing.
Available on popular mobile and desktop platforms, Strong VPN upholds its high price point with significantly faster server speeds, quick playback for Netflix content and streaming is HDR on a supported connection. Moreover, you’re offered Netflix USA along with the service in the UK, Canada, and the Netherlands.
12 months – $5.83 / month
3 months – $8 / month
1 month – $10/ month
If you find a reliable and affordable VPN service that supports your Netflix-binging lifestyle, there’s a good chance that you will stick to it for your lifetime. KeepSolid is banking on this philosophy as it is one of the very few VPN service providers that offer a lifetime subscription at a one-time price.
But it’s not the just affordable rate card that you should look at, as VPN Unlimited also offers a sweet deal with support for up to 5 devices, 400 servers in more than 70 countries, and a 7-day money-back guarantee. Moreover, the service does not skimp out on security either, giving you AES-256 encryption, PPTP, OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2PT/IPSec protection.
Lifetime – $149.99
12 months – $4.17 / month
1 month – $9.99/ month
Powering over a thousand secure and anonymous servers across the world in over 60 countries, IPVanish VPN is beloved for not logging any user-login information whatsoever. While offering heavy security with all the protocols like OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec and others check-marked, IPVanish goes further out to sea with a 7-day money-back guarantee.
Not only does the VPN service offer multiple server locations within the US for best transfer speeds, but it also allows you access to Netflix in other regions. While it may not be the fast VPN service provider on the list, you will love IPVanish for offering a simplified user interface with no unnecessary clutter.
12 months – $4.87 / month
3 months – $6.75 / month
1 month – $7.50 / month
With more than just an awkward-sounding name and a donkey as its mascot, HideMyAss is a veteran in the business of VPN technology. Starting things off on an AED 256-BIT security protocol that makes your surfing experience anonymous and secure, this VPN service provider brings you special support not just for desktop and mobile devices, but directly for routers as well.
Packing more than 850 servers across a total of more than 190 countries across the world, there is barely any room left on the map where HideMyAss doesn’t have a server set up for you. All of this goodness comes with a 30-day money return policy so you never have to gamble your money away on their service.
12 months – $6.99 / month
6 months – $7.99 / month
1 month – $11.99 / month
Are you making the most out of your Netflix account with the help of these premium VPN services yet? Be sure to let us know what your weapon of choice is when it comes to unlocking USA streaming services.
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
We love a good rivalry here at Android Authority. Just look at Bose vs Sony for headphones or AT&T vs Verizon for carriers. Now, we’re taking a good long look at streaming platforms. Specifically, we’re going to compare Roku vs Amazon Fire TV to see which streaming platform is worth your money.
See also: The best media streaming devices you can buy
It’s easy to call these two competitors the top names in home streaming. They offer impressive arsenals of devices, each packed with features. We’ll guide you through the most important factors on the way to crowning a winner. Let’s get to it.
Amazon has mastered the streaming stick, but Roku devices come in all shapes and sizes.
On the Roku side of things, you’ve got quite a few shapes and sizes to choose from. The Roku Express is a budget-friendly device, but it comes with some limitations. As you move through the Premiere, the Streaming Stick Plus, and even the Ultra, you’ll get all of the bonuses you could ask for. They bring voice commands and 4K streaming back into play, but you’ll have to spend some extra cash.
As the name suggests, the Roku Ultra is the top device on the purple platform’s resume, and it packs plenty of punch. It utilizes Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos for an extra kick, and you can test the included JBL earbuds for some stealthy streaming.
See also: Roku buyer’s guide: Which Roku streaming device is right for you?
See also: The best Amazon Echo hacks to get the most from Alexa
Roku, on the other hand, offers support for both Alexa and Google Assistant. While it’s nice to have the freedom to choose, it can make life more difficult depending on your other smart home devices. If you have a mix of Google and Amazon products, you almost have to set up both assistants on the same Roku device. You’ll also have to remember that not all Roku devices can handle voice commands, while they’re a standard feature for Amazon.
Does one platform offer more content?
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
We don’t know just how many hours of content there are, but you can feel pretty safe knowing that both Roku and Amazon Fire TV have more than enough to watch. You’ll get access to all of the main services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and HBO Max either way, but only Roku has the Roku Channel. It’s not the fanciest service, but it costs nothing, and it’s ad-free, so that’s a nice bonus.
Roku vs Amazon Fire TV: How much do they cost?
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
No matter which way you go, you’re going to have to spend some money. However, Roku is the way to go if you want to keep costs low. Its Express device will only set you back $29.99, and the 4K-ready Premiere is just $10 more at $39.99. Roku’s Streaming Stick Plus keeps the $10 increments going, and the premium Roku Ultra will run you $99.99, doubling the rest of the list.
Which streaming service comes out on top?
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
So we’ve run you through just about everything you could need to know about Roku and Amazon Fire TV, so there’s just one more question: Which one should you buy? Well, that depends on your needs. If you have Amazon Echo products already, it’s a no-brainer to go with a Fire TV Stick. However, if you’re more of a smart home free agent, you might lean towards Roku instead. The quick launch buttons are a great addition, and the remote is easier to get used to.
Those of you who are determined to use voice navigation to its fullest will want to try Amazon Fire TV. All of its remotes include a voice control feature, while some of the budget-friendly Roku devices leave you with a basic remote. That basic remote doesn’t offer control over your TV either, so you’ll need to keep your standard TV remote handy.
The Roku interface prioritizes your downloaded apps, which helps you just want to jump into your favorite shows. Amazon’s interface is more helpful if you want to discover a new show or rent movies from Prime Video.
Ultimately, you’ll want to take a good long look at your current smart home setup. We’ve given you our thoughts, but it’s up to you to make the final call.
Can’t stream HBO Max on your Amazon Firestick? Does the HBO Max app occasionally freeze or crash when watching movies or TV shows? Are videos constantly choppy, lagging, or buffering? Does HBO Max throw different error codes or messages when streaming content?
This tutorial explains why these things happen and covers solutions for HBO Max issues on Fire TV devices. The troubleshooting fixes in this tutorial apply to all Fire TV Stick generations and models.
Table of Contents1. Fix Your Internet Connection
Unstable or slow internet causes HBO Max to buffer videos on your Fire TV. If you’re streaming movies or TV shows in High Definition (HD), ensure your internet connection speed is at least 5Mbps. To stream 4K titles, HBO Max recommends a 25-50 Mbps internet speed.
Use the built-in Fire OS network test to verify your internet network’s connection status.
Use web-based tools like chúng tôi or chúng tôi to check your connection’s download speed.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) sometimes slows down your internet connection. Disconnecting your VPN app can improve network and streaming quality on your Fire TV. Contact your internet service provider for assistance if your connection remains unstable.2. Check HBO Max Server Status
HBO Max may not work on your devices if the servers powering the streaming service are experiencing an outage. Use third-party site-monitoring tools like DownDetector or ServicesDown to check if there’s a problem with HBO Max’s servers.
The tools provide real-time status reports for HBO Max’s video streaming service, app, and website. Contact HBO Max Support if these tools and other users report an incident with the streaming service.3. Update HBO Max
HBO Max may malfunction or display error codes if the app is bug-ridden or outdated. App updates often ship with bug fixes and performance improvements. Updating HBO Max could remove bugs causing the problems.
Open the Fire TV
menu, type “hbo max” in the search bar, and select
in the suggestions.
Navigate to the
app preview and press the
button on your Fire TV Remote.
in the bottom corner of the screen.
icon to update the HBO Max app on your Amazon Fire TV to the latest version. HBO Max is up-to-date if you only find an option to
We recommend configuring your Fire TV to update HBO Max and other outdated apps.4. Force Close and Reopen HBO Max
Does HBO Max freeze on your Fire TV Stick when watching movies or TV shows? Force-closing the HBO Max might get the app working correctly again.
to terminate the HBO Max app on your Fire TV device.
to reopen HBO Max and check if force-closing the app restored it to normalcy.
Using too many applications simultaneously can also cause HBO Max and your Fire TV Stick to freeze or crash. Force close apps you aren’t using if HBO Max continues to malfunction. That frees up system memory for HBO Max to run normally.5. Clear HBO Max App Cache & Data
Corrupt data and overaccumulation of cache files can cause Fire TV apps to malfunction. Force close HBO Max, delete its cache data and reopen the app.
Clear HBO Max’s storage data if the problem persists after clearing the app’s cache. Deleting the app’s data signs out your HBO Max account and erases all in-app settings.
Select Clear data and select Clear data again on the next page.
Open HBO Max, sign in to your account, and check if the app now works properly without any issues.6. Restart Your Fire TV
Power-cycling Fire TV devices often eliminate temporary system glitches responsible for app failures. Open the Fire TV Settings menu, select My Fire TV, and select Restart to initiate a system reboot.7. Update Your Fire TV Device
Select Install Updates to install a pre-downloaded update.
Don’t press any button on the Fire TV Remote during the update process—button presses can interrupt the firmware update. Launch HBO Max when your Fire TV comes back on, and check if the update resolves the problem.8. Uninstall and Reinstall HBO Max
Install HBO Max from scratch if the app still doesn’t work correctly after trying all the troubleshooting fixes above.
Select Confirm on the pop-up, restart your Fire TV when the uninstallation is complete, and reinstall HBO Max.Fire Up HBO Max
At least one of these solutions should fix HBO Max and get the app working correctly on your Fire TV. Contact HBO Max support or Amazon Device Support if the problem persists. While you seek technical support, watch HBO Max on the mobile app, web browser, and other compatible streaming devices.
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