Is the Amazon Firestick a Good Substitute for Cable?
Last Updated: August 27, 2019
The cordcutting movement is growing by the day and shows no sign of slowing down orreconsidering their decision. With the average cable bill easily exceeding $100a month, it’s a significant chunk of change that would be much better in yourpocket. With all the options out there, is the Amazon Firestick a goodsubstitute for cable?
It’s a great time to be a cord cutter. With more streaming services than ever before and most networks releasing or running their own streaming service, choice is definitely not something you’re short of right now.
Cutting the cord
The onething to know if you’re considering cord cutting is that there is no singleservice yet that can fully replace cable. The Firestick will stream contentfrom almost anywhere but unless you want to pay $230for the Amazon Fire TV Recast, you won’t be able to DVR. Live TV is harderto get too unless you pay for Hulu with Live TV or other service.
There areoptions though and you can access many of them from the Amazon Firestick.
Live TV with AmazonFirestick
The AmazonFirestick is basically designed to encourage you to buy Amazon Prime which ison-demand. There aren’t many free Live TV apps that are legal so you willlikely need to pay for a subscription if you watch a lot of live shows.
Youroptions include Sling TV, DirecTV, NOW TV, Hulu With Live TV or Plex with some live TV apps. With theexception of Plex, there are subscriptions involved with live TV. Sling forexample costs $25 a month for the basic package. Still much cheaper than cablebut there is still an expense there.
DVR and Amazon Firestick
As mentioned above, the Firestick doesn’t have a DVR option so you need to buy the Fire TV Recast or look elsewhere. There are a range of hardware DVR devices that can connect with your streaming service to record the shows you love in a simple, accessible way. They can include TiVo Bolt, Nuvyyo Tablo Quad, AirTV and others. Each costs money and offers a real mix of quality and functions.
Where the Amazon Firestickshines as a cable alternative
When the AmazonFirestick was first released, choice wasn’t that great. Now you have the optionfor hundreds of channels using the stock software. Jailbreak your Firestick andadd Kodi or another app and you open your options up immeasurably.
The AmazonFirestick is cheap. The4K version with Alexa currently costs just $49. Some channels are free andsome will require a subscription. Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu and others willrequire monthly subscriptions as you would expect.
The current channel list includes:
- AmazonPrime Video
- WatchFood Network
- MLBTV Premium
- Huluwith Live TV
- NBAGame Time
- HuffPost Live
Channelswill likely change as they are updated, included or removed but you get thegeneral idea. You can also add your own channels by jailbreaking as mentionedabove.
Ease of use
One thingabout using cable is that everyone is so used to it there are no more mysteriesabout how it works. The main time sink is surfing all the available channelslooking for something to watch!
The AmazonFirestick is very simple to use so compares well to cable here. The menus areclear and logical and it is very straightforward to add new channels, surf existingones and generally find your way around. The learning curve is very shallow andAmazon have spent a lot of time making the Firestick as simple to use aspossible.
Addingthird-party apps like Kodi is a little more involved but there are hundreds ofYouTube videos showing you exactly how to do it.
Can the Amazon Firestickreplace cable?
So afterall that, can the Amazon Firestick replace your cable subscription? Yes in mostcases it can but it cannot do everything itself. For the money, it is one ofthe best cord cutting tools available. Many of the channels are free and for a subscriptionyou can access live TV too. If you DVR a lot, you may need a little extra helpbut there are dedicated devices for that or you could hook up Plex to your homecomputer and do it that way.
Overall, theAmazon Firestick is a very viable option for cord cutting as long as you are preparedfor an extra subscription or two.