Heads up, Sons of Anarchy fans; Amazon Prime Day 2020 is the perfect time to upgrade your streaming setup. With all the different streaming services and content trades going on, it can be hard to make sure exactly what device will hive you access to which services. Amazon's in-house product, Fire TVs, are reliable and long-lasting, but the new offerings from Roku have features you just can't ignore. Either way, this online retail holiday is the optimal time snatch up something new so you can stream your preferred platforms with ease.
Amazon Prime Day is a company-wide shopping event made to emulate Black Friday or other big sales. It typically takes place in July, but this year the coronavirus pandemic pushed it back to October. Although the timing is different, the savings are the same, and with so many people staying at home these days, a streaming upgrade may be in order. For most TV and movie fans, that means either a new Roku or a new Fire TV.
Both devices give you access to a wide range of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and so on. However, in the last year users have been frustrated to find that new streaming services do not always show up on Roku or Amazon's app stores right away. This can impact your decision on which device to purchase.
The easiest way to decide may be to start with your favorite shows and work backward. For example, if you're itching to binge-watch Sons of Anarchy, you'll need a device that can stream either Hulu or an FX network app of some kind. In this case, either Amazon or Roku will do, but the way you get access will differ. Here's a look at the pros and cons of these options.
While Amazon may be the driving force behind Prime Day, Roku timed the release of its new streaming hardware, the Roku Premiere player, to coincide with the sales, evening the playing field a bit. The new Roku Premiere player is on sale for $27.00 for Prime Day 2020 — a 32 percent savings from its usual $39.99 price.
The Roku Premiere finally offers access to the new streaming service Peacock — a deal that Fire TV has not worked out yet. Like most streaming devices, it can also get you to Netflix, Disney+, YouTube and a host of other frequent entertainment destinations.
As for our Sons of Anarchy example, Roku has a seamless Hulu app for subscribers, and still supports the FX Now app as well. The latter is a "Roku Channel," rather than an app, which is preferable to some conventional cable users. Either way, the Roku can get the job done. See more about Roku on Amazon.
The Fire TV Stick 4K is the latest upgrade to Amazon's simple and to-the-point Fire TV Stick, with remote voice control, high-definition and a massive media catalog. The Fire TV Stick is especially ideal for those who watch a lot of programming on Amazon Video itself, since the interface opens right up on the home screen.
For Sons of Anarchy fans, the Fire TV Stick can get you to the Hulu app, or to Amazon's version of FX Now. This is a bit different from the "Roku Channel" option, but for existing cable subscribers, it can offer the same access with a valid log-in. However, where Amazon gets a leg up on the competition is with its digital store.
Die-hard fans have the option to rent or even purchase digital copies of individual episodes or full seasons of Sons of Anarchy, ensuring that they never lose access again, regardless of how streaming deals change.
The Fire TV Stick 4K is on sale for [$49.99]. View more details on Amazon here.
If you want to skip the flimsy sticks and go all out on your streaming set-up, the newly updated Roku Ultra may be the investment for you. The small HDMI console comes with all kinds of new and updated features for streaming junkies, including an increased wireless range, new remote functionality and streamlined set-up options. It also supports the Apple Airplay 2 and Apple HomeKit apps, which allow you to cast content from your iPhone or other device to your TV screen. This means you can watch HBO Max on Roku as well.
For Sons of Anarchy fans, the options are about the same as the Roku Premiere, with the added bonus of AirPlay 2 and HomeKit. The new Roku Ultra is on sale for $149.00 for Amazon Prime Day — a $10 savings. View more details on Amazon here.
The Amazon Fire TV Cube is Amazon's answer to the Roku Ultra — a small but sturdy console with more functions than its HDMI stick counterpart. The Fire TV Cube goes beyond a simple TV interface, integrating with other Alexa devices for a full "smart home" experience.
The Fire TV Cube comes with the same broad app selection as the Fire TV Stick, and the easy voice-search functions as well. It beats the Roku Ultra on price at $119.99, and is available for as low as $79.99 for customers who order via Alexa, in some cases. View more details on Amazon here.
Finally, it's worth mentioning one more Amazon Fire TV product that might give it an advantage over the competition: the Recast. This intuitive device works much like a DVR, but for cord-cutters who want to ditch their cable package and stick to streaming. The Fire TV Recast lets you record TV shows, movies, sports, local news and other broadcasts with an HD antenna, and then watch them with the rest of your streaming program on the Fire TV interface.
The Recast works with Alexa like the rest of the Fire TV line and can be controlled from a mobile device while you're on the go as well. If you're afraid of missing out on the latest in network TV, this might be the solution that finally lets you cut the cable once and for all. The Fire TV Recast is available for $229.99. View more details on Amazon here.