With everything ‘Smart’ around us, we expect a lot more from a TV. This article is a detailed guide to make you consider the best option between Fire TV Stick vs Smart TV. The main concept these devices use is that they connect to the Wi-Fi and stream sources from online.
Different brands of Smart TV have different platforms through which they allow streaming. Fire TV Sticks have several updated models from which you can choose. Some of the notable differences between Fire TV Stick vs Smart TV are the price, a number of streaming services, and flexibility in use.
Both these devices allow you to stream contents online. Smart TV will be available in different TV sizes and resolutions. Fire TV Stick is available in 1080p and 4K. Some prefer the Fire TV Stick to be ideal for gaming and watching movies others like Smart TV. Let’s dive in to find out more.
Fire Stick vs Smart TV: Definition
Traditional TV sets have a certain number and types of channels but what if you want to see a movie from Netflix, Hulu, or Spotify? This is where Smart TV comes in. They have built-in Wi-Fi and OS and has functions of a set-top box, online streaming services, over-the-top content. You can also use the Smart TV internet connection for gaming or browsing.
In simple words, the Smart TV is like having a traditional TV set but with an internet connection. It acts as a PC with the exception that you can watch here only. It displays an on-screen menu that has several channels available online that are similar to the apps we see on our smartphone.
Fire TV Stick
Comparing Smart TV vs Fire TV stick, the main difference is that the Fire TV Stick is not a TV. It is a pocket-sized USB flash drive that can be connected to a standard TV. Once connected, the purpose of Fire TV Stick vs Smart TV is exactly the same. The Fire TV stick will allow us to download desired apps and watch content from them online, such as Amazon Prime Video, HBO Now, Netflix, etc.
The Fire TV Stick can also be said to be a digital media player. It has a dedicated processor and RAM and needs to be connected to the power supply while using it. You can play games, listen to music or access photos, TV shows, etc. It comes with a remote, USB cable, power adapter, HDMI extender, and 2 AAA batteries.
Fire TV Stick vs Smart TV: Types
Types of Fire TV Stick
- Amazon Fire TV Stick- 1st generation: this device is continued from 2014
- Amazon Fire TV stick -2nd generation: the 2nd generation Fire TV Stick is a bit larger is size with a longer remote control. It was in the market from 2016-2019
- Amazon Fire TV Stick- 3rd generation: released in September 2020. The 3rd generation follows the footsteps of the 2nd generation. It has a powerful processor, better features, and supports Dolby Atmos.
- Amazon Fire TV Stick- Basic Edition: The basic edition is still on the market. Comparing the Basic Edition with the 2nd generation we see that the Basic edition is available in more number of countries than the 2nd It also doesn’t have an Alexa voice remote.
- Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K – 1st Generation: released in 2018. The main difference between this device and the Fire TV Stick is that the Fire TV Stick 4K has a 4K resolution
- Fire TV Stick Lite-1st Generation: released 2020, cheapest among all.
Types of Smart TV
Like the Fire TV Stick, there aren’t different versions of Smart TV. Instead, they vary in terms of brands and features.
- Brands: almost all brands have models in this category because the customer demand for Smart TV is increasing day by day. Some of the popular brands are LG, Samsung, TCL, Hisense, Sony, etc.
- Types of display: display technology is an important factor that affects the picture quality. Smart TV may come in LCD, OLED, or LED display. Among these, the OLED is the best choice.
- App or Software platform: this feature is used by the Smart TV to allow you to access different online channels or apps. Different models use different software platforms.
- LG Web OS
- Samsung Tizen
Fire TV Stick vs Smart TV: How I differentiated the products
Comparing the Fire TV Stick vs Smart TV, we see the main difference is in size. While the Smart TV is a TV set that will come in different sizes and technology, the Fire TV Stick is not a TV set. It is a small device that you need to connect to the HDMI port of your TV.
In terms of portability, between Amazon Fire TV Stick vs Smart TV, the TV is not a portable device, whereas the Fire TV Stick is easy to carry anywhere.
Number of contents
The main purpose of consumers to wish for any of the two devices is to stream online and watch anything they want in any app or channel. The Smart TV is several apps and contents including Philo, YouTube TV, ESPN+, Prime Videos, etc. it also restricts users to their app store which may not have the app you are looking for.
People aiming at some of the apps will not face any problem but if you watch content from a wide number of channels, then you will realize the Smart TV doesn’t provide you everything. Compared to Smart TV, the app stores of Fire TV Stick will offer more content. Smart TV may contain hundreds of apps, then the Fire TV Stick will have thousands.
Another crucial factor that makes these devices different is performance. What we mean by this is, the Smart TV is slow and the Fire TV Stick is faster. If you turn on a Smart TV it will take around 30s to start.
When you shift from one app to another it takes 10s or more to simply load the app. In the meantime, it will show you a blank screen which will eventually get annoying. If we own a Smart TV, then we want it to be faster like our smartphone.
While switching into different channels in the Fire TV Stick you will experience less delay which makes the overall performance better. When you stop watching content and click on an app such as Spotify then it will almost open instantly. Most consumers do not like the sluggish nature of Smart TV and prefer Fire TV Stick over it.
Most Smart TVs have a resolution of 4K, some are even higher with 8K resolution. Along with resolution, the picture quality depends on color contrast, pure black, and pure white.
The Fire TV Stick -Basic Edition has a resolution of 1080p (1920×1080 pixels) whereas the Fire TV Stick 4K has 4K or 3840 x 2160 p resolution. The quality of the image on the TV screen also depends on ‘upconverting’. This means how the source image of 720p is actually converted for a 1080p TV.
New versions and updates
If you own a Smart TV it might be 3 or 4 years old. Within this time frame, the manufacturer didn’t come up with recent software or firmware updates. Usually to have an updated version of the TV is to get a new TV. So as years pass by, the technology will be old.
The Fire TV Stick comes with several updates and there are different versions of Fire TV stick with better features.
In terms of cost, between Fire TV Stick vs Smart TV, the Fire TV Stick is cheaper. High-end Smart TV will cost more than $1000 but you can also get an affordable one at $150. All Fire TV Stick is under $50. If you buy affordable TV chances are that you will not enjoy its features.
Which one is better for movies, music, or sports?
The only reason for you to choose Fire TV Stick over Smart TV is that you will find more streaming services, apps, or channels for movies, music, or sports. But if you think Smart TV apps are what you choose to watch you can read the review of the product below.
Samsung QN75Q60RAFXZA 75″ QLED 4K Q60 Ultra HD Smart TV
- supports HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG
- large screen with wide viewing angle
- quad-core processor makes the TV faster while using the internet
- supports Netflix, Amazon Prime, Xfinity, DirecTV, Youtube, etc.
- has Bixby voice command and is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant
- microphones can invade your privacy
Large screens are ideal for the ultimate movie theater experience so we chose the 75-inch Samsung Smart TV. It has a Quantum processor that can effectively upscale files or content to the 4K resolution ensuring the depth and details remain the same. The quantum dots and HDR 4X deals with the color of pictures. The sharpness is accurate along with brightness and pitch black.
The color contrast is better and picture quality has a high dynamic range. It has a wide viewing angle so that you can sit at any one side and still get the same view. With a 240 Motion Rate and an ‘anti-blur’ feature, it allows you to view sports or action movies with clarity. the universal guide makes it easy to access the content.
It has connections including Wireless, Bluetooth, USB, HDMI. The OneRemote allows controlling TV and other compatible devices. The Bluetooth technology allows the music to transfer to your desired speaker or soundbar.
Which one is better for gaming?
The Fire TV Stick has a dedicated processor that enhances the experience while playing some high-end games. On the other hand, some Smart TV may have gaming features others will not have. So, if you want to watch TV for multi-purpose along with play high-end games, the Fire TV Stick will be a better option as they have dedicated processors.
Popular games like NHK has detailed and precise picture quality in the Fire TV Stick compared to watching them on Smart TV. However, if you want to buy a Smart TV then you can choose the one below.
SAMSUNG 55-Inch TU-8000 4K UHD HDR Smart TV UN55TU8000FXZA
- Low input lag for gaming
- Faster processor
- Supports Bixby and Alexa voice assistant
- Has HDR formats HDR10, HLG
- Vibrant and better color contrast
- Reflective screen, so may not be ideal in bright rooms during daytime
Although the display is not QLED, Samsung ensures the picture quality remains vibrant in the 55-inch TU-8000. The crystal-clear display focuses on a clean image with brilliant colors and improved contrast ratio. This TV works with Tizen and has Universal Guide that allows you to navigate through the apps and contents easily.
The Crystal Processor 4K is super-fast and ensures you watch everything on 4K. the sound quality is decent and not muddy which makes movie watching experience better. This TV is ideal for gaming because of its Auto Game Mode (ALLM). With widescreen and low input lag of around 6.8ms, the fast-pacing games can be played without any lag or ‘judder’.
Like other Samsung Smart TV, it also gives you access to multiple apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play Movies & TV, BT Sport, Now TV, Apple TV, and Disney+, and comes with a OneRemote. The price is affordable so you can easily experience 4K HDR pictures with better features for gaming.
Fire TV Stick vs Smart TV: Product review:
Fire TV Stick 2020
- Cheaper than Basic Edition
- Remote with Alexa’s voice
- Supports HDR in HDR10 and HLG
- Stable Wi-Fi with no connection interruption
- Supports Dolby Atmos
- Faster streaming and switching of apps
- No access to Google Play Store, Google Play Movies, or TV
The new version of the Fire TV Stick is released this year. The device will start streaming once it is connected to the HDMI port of your TV. A micro USB is attached to it for power supply. It has a powerful 1.7 GHz quad-core processor which is 50% faster compared to the previous models.
It also consumes less power. The Fire TV Stick has 1GB DDR4 RAM and 8GB internal storage. The device allows content to stream 1080p at 60fps and it supports HDR. The upconversion of contents will rely on TV and this device will work best with 1080p TV.
To make the Wi-Fi connectivity more stable it has dual-band and dual-antenna. It has an IR remote with several buttons so that you can easily control the TV, Soundbar or A/V receiver with one remote.
Fire TV Stick-Basic Edition
- supports 1920 x 1080 (1080p) – 60Hz,1280 x 720 (720p) – 60Hz
- High-Efficiency Video Codec (HEVC) up to 1080p at 60fps and Dolby Audio
- Play games or watch movies easily
- Very low loading time and quicker navigation
- Remote doesn’t support Alexa voice commands or game controller functions.
This device is ultra-lightweight with 32g that will be invisible in your TV setup. It is sold in more than 100 countries so that people all over the world can access this device. The quad-core processor and 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage. Comparing Fire TV Stick vs Smart TV, the navigation is faster, and the load time of the app is very low.
It supports Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac. The picture quality as well as audio quality is enjoyable. You will experience an immersive cinematic experience as you hear the sound with Dolby Audio. it is a plug-and-play device without any hassle of setup. Between Smart TV vs Fire TV Stick, the TV stick gives access to more than 4000 apps.
It comes with a Bluetooth remote control with controls like voice Search, Navigation, Playback Controls, Keyboard, access to your apps, and games. If you want to use the voice command feature you need the Amazon Fire TV App. you can play top-selling games with this device.
Fire TV Stick 4K
- 4K resolution with ultra HD and HDR 10
- Supports Dolby Audio
- Easy to use remote with Alexa
- 1.5GB RAM
- Faster streaming
- Doesn’t support Apple or Google contents
The Fire TV Stick 4K is a bit larger than other Sticks. The main focus of this device is of brilliant image quality. It has 4K Ultra HD and HDR10 along with HLG, Dolby Vision, and HDR10 that contributes to improving the picture quality.
You only need a free Amazon account to start streaming. It comes with an Alexa voice remote that has buttons like round navigation button, playback, power, volume. One single remote will control all your media devices like TV, soundbar, etc.
It supports several 3rd party apps and contents. If you have Alexa compatible smart devices like smart thermostats, lights, etc., you can also control them. The device has a quad-core 1.7GHz CPU along with 1.5GB DDR4 RAM and internal memory of 8GB.
Fire TV Stick Lite
- Cheapest among all
- Supports Alexa
- Several streaming apps and services
- Remote doesn’t have a volume or power button
Comparing Amazon Fire TV Stick vs Smart TV, the Lite is one of the cheapest Fire TV Stick that supports thousand of apps including Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV, HBO, and many others. There should not be any comparison with other Fire TV Stick products because it is a brand-new product.
An easy – to- use a remote control with familiar controls. You can watch content in 1080p resolution and in HDR10 and HLG formats. It has a similar quad-core 1.7GHz processor.
LG 65UN7000PUD “Works with” Alexa UHD 70 Series 65″ 4K Smart TV (2020)
- Faster Quad-Core Processor
- Large viewing angle
- Works with Alexa, Google Assistant
- Supports Apple AirPlay 2 and Apple Homekit
- Sports alerts notify you about sports continuously
- Like other smart TV, it may take time to load
This LED 4K TV has Quad-Core Processor that effectively minimizes noise, allows color to be truer, and more emphasized, and has better upscaling. The 4K IPS display gives you a broader viewing angle. This TV is best suited for all kinds of purposes: gaming, sports, or movies.
The Filmmaker mode allows you to see the ‘director’s cinematic vision’ that makes movies more real-to-life with high color contrast ratio. It has an active HDR that supports HDR 10 HLG. It also focuses on ‘ultra surround’ where the soundtracks or movie sounds are more immersive and room-filling.
The webOS platform gives access to the most popular apps and streaming programs so you will be connected to a wide number of contents. With ALLM mode and reduced lag, you can react faster to games. Sports Alert feature will give notifications of sports scores, time, or update while you are watching some other content.
VIZIO D-Series 60″ 4K Ultra Smart TV – D60-F3:
- SmartCast OS and built-in Chromecast give access to online resources
- The strong black color with increased color contrast
- Easily control the TV with a mobile app
- Dark scenes emphasized and clear in dark rooms
- Bad viewing angle
The build quality is strong and it sits on two plastic V-shaped legs. This TV has 4K Ultra HD and HDR that give you a detailed picture with accurate color contrast. It has SmartCast OS supports voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant.
It also has built-in Google Chromecast with which you can view content from the desired app like HBO Now, iHeart Radio, Google Play TV & movies, Hulu, Netflix, etc. This has an easy-to-use TV interface and comes with automatic updates.
You can easily watch movies in the darkroom as the black color of the picture is prominent. The screen can handle reflections in a room with normal daylight. The TV has a ‘reduce noise’ feature that increases the quality of the picture. You can turn on ‘Film mode’ to on to view movies without ‘judder.
Sony X950H 75 Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV
- Mounted tweeters deliver audio accurately
- Broader angle of view
- Game mode makes gaming easier with faster response time
- Works with Alexa, Apple Homekit, AirPlay 2
- Android TV that supports Google Assitant
- Triluminous display
This Sony TV focuses on high-quality images like no other. The work of HDR, Dolby Vision, IMAX Enhanced, and Netflix calibrated mode allows detailed pictures with clarity. the powerful Sony X1 Ultimate processor used in 8K TVs adds brilliant color and focuses on details in shadow or dark scenes.
The Full-Array LED and X-tended Dynamic Range Pro 6x helps you watch images without blur and deliver brightness and lifelike picture. It has an X-Wide angle so you can sit anywhere in the room and you will not face any color wash.
The Acoustic Multi Audio and X-balance have tweeters that ensure you hear high-quality sound with accuracy. It has Ambient Optimization technology that will adjust audio based on your environment. If you don’t have space you can mount it on your wall.
Which one should you choose?
Comparing Fire TV Stick vs Smart TV, we see that each comes with its own advantages. We recommend getting a Fire TV Stick because compared to a Smart TV ($500 or $1000) it is a lot cheaper ($30-$50). So even if you don’t like it you can easily upgrade to a Smart TV.
Also, the Fire TV Stick is faster to use, portable to carry anywhere, and has 4000+ streaming apps. Gaming or watching TV on it will give you the optimum experience. That doesn’t mean Smart TV is useless. You will prefer Smart TV if you have some specific apps or services that you watch.
For general users who simply want to upgrade their non-Smart TV, they can easily buy a Smart TV from some of the best brands like LG, TCL, Samsung, or an affordable one from Hisense. Based on your requirements you can choose between the Fire TV Stick vs Smart TV and no matter what you choose, the optimum experience is guaranteed.
This FAQ section is here to enhance your idea about these fire sticks and smart tvs.
Q: What is jailbreaking of Fire TV Stick?
Answer: Fire TV Stick banned any free or cheap streaming services like Kodi. The jailbreaking means to get access to ‘unauthorized software’. If you jailbreak then you can side-load apps that you can’t access otherwise.
Q: Can Smart TV invade your privacy?
Answer: There are privacy concerns while using Smart TV because they are always connected to the Internet. If intruders or hackers can access via online, they can get into your TV or adjust settings. The microphone and camera can make your ‘private talks’ accessible to hackers.
The FBI warned users about this issue as well. Smart TV also has automatic content recognition (ACR) feature that follows everything you watch. Most people don’t feel comfortable with it.