My review of XBMC on Amazon’s Fire TV can be summed up easily, I’ve moved from my custom built HTPC to using a Fire TV for my day to day TV watching.
Commonly asked question I see about the Fire TV
- It’s easy to install.
- You don’t need to root the Fire TV
- I have it plugged into a 5.1 surround system via HDMI. I didn’t have to go to any trouble to make it work.
- I have about 3TB of media on an SMB share. My library is shared via MySQL. I had no problems getting this to work with the Fire TV. Navigating the library is just as snappy as my old HTPC.
- The Fire TV will play a 1080p 5.1 surround sound movie without issue.
- The Fire TV will play a 1080p MPEG-2 stream from a HDHomerun device without issue.
- The Fire TV will play an USTVNow stream without issue.
- The default remote map isn’t good. There are much better keymaps out there.
- I could not get it to work correctly with a FLIRC and a Harmony remote. (See Cons below)
- You can side load emulators. Anything up the PS1/N64 generation works. Though you’ll want to root it so you can use storage devices other than the built-in. This is much, much easier than getting emulators to work on other XBMC hardware/operating systems.
- XBOX 360 and PS3 controllers work.
- It’s by far the easiest way to get Netflix, Amazon Prime, and XBMC all on the same box.
Pros for the Fire TV
- It makes no noise
- It doesn’t produce any heat
- It’s small. I have it hidden behind a photo 5×6 frame on my entertainment center.
- It’s cheap! The Fire TV is $100. I spent about $375 on my HTPC less than a year ago. I thought it was cheap at the time.
- You don’t have to jack with it much to get XBMC going. No custom hardware to put together, no OS install, ect, ect.
Cons for the Fire TV
- On occasion the time on a video will get stuck at 00:00 and you can’t fast forward or rewind until you reboot the Fire TV. I’ve owned the Fire TV since it first came out, I’ve had to reboot twice.
- My Flirc/Harmony remote combo doesn’t work well. It’ll be fine for a few minutes and then I’ll start getting phantom button presses making it unusable.
- I can’t get my lighting system to be recognized on the USB bus. No fancy lights.
The Amazon Fire TV is the best hardware to run XBMC on.