Amazon’s FireTV boxes cost $99 — but the same functions are now available for just $39 in Amazon’s new FireTV Stick. But they’ll give you one for free if you sign up for the $20-a-month “SlingTV” service. Frankly, I’m amazed at how low its price has dropped.
When it was first released last year, Amazon was selling the “box” version of Fire TV for $99, so it already feels like Amazon is offering a massive 60% discount with their FireTV sticks. Maybe Amazon’s calculated how many digital videos you’ll rent from Amazon once you’ve purchased a FireTV stick. And the SlingTV service feels like getting a basic cable TV package at a much cheaper price. I just told my girlfriend — she loves the Food Network — and it’s part of the SlingTV package (along with the Disney Channel, ESPN, TNT, and Adult Swim.)
So why is the FireTV stick so cheap? And ultimately, what’s the difference between FireTV and and the FireTV stick? Fortunately there’s a helpful chart on Amazon, but it makes the two FireTV products look nearly identical. The stick version of FireTV is wireless only — you can’t use a cable to connect it, even if you want to. And the stick also only offers Dolby Digital Plus sound (and not the fancier “5.1 surround sound”).
Both devices can also run games and apps on your big-screen digital TV — though fewer of them will be comptaible with the stick version of FireTV. And there’s also a service for children called “Amazon FreeTime” which is only available on the larger FireTV box. FreeTime gives you a library of child-friendly videos for which you pay a small monthly subscription fee. It’s optional for the FireTV boxes — but the optional service isn’t available if you’re only using a FireTV stick.
I think we’re the winners in a price war between Amazon and the other digital media companies. They’re lowering their prices to attract customers to Amazon’s own streaming media service. “18 times more apps and games than Apple TV,” reads a new ad that just appeared on the front page of Amazon.
They’re anxious for you to try FireTV — and now they’re making it as cheap as they possibly can!