In today’s world, it is becoming increasingly common for people to tear up their cable contracts and spend all the money that they would typically be spending for a premium or basic cable package on one or more of today’s competing streaming platforms. Streaming platforms can be watched on your television just the same as any cable channel with the help of a streaming device, such as an Amazon Firestick. So, this begs the question, which one is better, Firesticks or cable?
The truth is, you are likely not only going to get more content for your money with an Amazon Firestick, but it’s also going to be content that you can personally curate, meaning it’s going to be content you more thoroughly enjoy.
Streaming platforms are picking up incredibly lucrative content deals with production companies left and right, and many are even making their own premium content that easily bests the type of content typically found on capable and is more comparable in quality to what one would typically find at a movie theater.
Amazon Firesticks are purchased for a one-time fee and streaming platforms can be subscribed to for anywhere from $5 to $15 a month. You can also cancel them anytime as there rarely any long-term contracts. Still, there will always be some things cable offers that Firesticks do not.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the many advantages Amazon Firesticks have over cable while also looking at a few advantages cable still currently has over the Amazon Firestick.
We’ll explore how you can get more and better content for your hard-earned dollar using an Amazon Firestick in conjunction with the many streaming platforms available both for free and for a reasonable subscription fee.
We’ll also explore what cable offers that Firesticks don’t. Read on to learn how to get the best television content for your money and see what the best option is for you.
More and better content for your money
Amazon Firesticks are purchased for a one-time fee, not leased like a cable box. However, once the Amazon Firestick is purchased, many of the streaming platforms you may wish to utilize with it will require a monthly subscription fee.
While many of these are fairly affordable, averaging around the $10 range per month, getting multiple ones may add up. Still, if you are paying upwards of $80 a month for cable, you could be getting 5 different subscription streaming platforms for the same price per month, minus the initial investment on the Firestick.
There are also many streaming platforms that allow you to watch content completely free. These streaming platforms may require you to watch a few advertisements every now and then, but that’s nothing compared to the routine commercial breaks you will find on basic cable.
There are many free streaming platforms available including YouTube, Crackle, and Tubi. YouTube is full of unlimited amounts of user-generated content and you’ll likely find lots of personalized and niche content that is just as enjoyable as anything you could possibly find on cable.
Crackle and Tubi will let you watch movies with a couple of commercial interruptions, and the selection of movies you find are tantamount in quality to the kinds of movies you would find on basic cable except you can choose whatever movie you want to watch whenever you want to watch it.
As well, if you are a member of Amazon Prime, you are entitled to free access to their streaming platform. Amazon Video has high-quality original content that rivals the type of content you would find on premium cable and also offers a vast library of movies and TV shows that Amazon has the streaming rights to. You are likely going to find hours and hours of content on Amazon Video that you are essentially getting for free with your Amazon Prime subscription.
More versatility and a wider range of content
Whereas a cable box is limited only to what the cable provider is allowed to provide, Amazon Firesticks work with a seemingly infinite variety of streaming platforms that you can pick or choose from.
New streaming services are being created all the time, and they are generally always going to be compatible with any model of the Amazon Firestick.
All of the major premium cable channels offer streaming services, and plenty of other channels, cable and otherwise, are moving into the streaming game as a way to stay afloat in the increasingly competitive television market. The possibilities are seemingly endless, and all for a one- time fee.
As well, there are services such as SlingTV that will provide access for a small monthly fee to pretty much any of the channels that you would be able to get with basic cable.
With these services, you will likely be paying less than you would for basic cable with a major cable company and you can cancel and/or re-subscribe whenever you want with no commit or cable box necessary.
You can bring your Amazon Firestick anywhere you go and the content will follow
Since Amazon Firesticks are completely portable, likely smaller than the size of your phone, and subscriptions with streaming platforms are all on the internet and can be used wherever there is an internet connection, you can bring your Firestick wherever you go and take advantage of the exact same television experience you would have at home.
This means that you can bring your Firestick to the hotel and not have to rely on the hotel’s own limited cable options. You can simply plug your Firestick into the hotel television (all it needs is an HDMI port), connect your Firestick to the hotel’s internet connection that is routinely provided for guests, and you will have all of the content that you would have if you were in the comfort of your own home!
This is true as well if you wish to bring your Firestick over to a friend’s house, to a vacation home, or to a family’s house when visiting. You can share all the content that you would have at your house with your friends and family simply by bringing your Firestick over. This is something you definitely cannot do with a cable box.
You will need a strong internet connection or your Firestick is useless
If you live off the grid, your Amazon Firestick is pretty much going to be a useless piece of plastic. In order to utilize your Firestick, you need a fast and reliable internet connection that allows you to stream content. If your internet connection isn’t up to snuff, the content will continually freeze to buffer, resulting in an incredibly unpleasant viewing experience. If you have no internet connection at all, there will be no content whatsoever.
No local channels available on streaming
If you are one of the few people who still enjoy watching the local news to stay in touch with your community, you may have a hard time replicating this experience on an Amazon Firestick. While many basic channels such as CBS have streaming platforms that will allow you to watch their national content, this does not include specialized local content such as news programs.
You can get access to local channels
With even a basic cable subscription, you will get access to all of your area’s local channels. As we just discussed, this is a way that many viewers are able to keep in touch with their local communities and stay up-to-date on pertinent and personalized news relating to their immediate surroundings. This is not an experience you will get with streaming platforms on your Amazon Firestick where the viewer experience is largely going to be the same regardless of where you live.
Increased reliability and better customer support
Say what you will about cable, but it rarely ever goes out. Unless there’s some kind of weather-related disaster, your cable is going to be there for you when you need it. This isn’t always the case with the Firestick as it relies on a fast and reliable internet connection that could be eaten up by other devices in the house, such as computers or phones. If your son is upstairs playing World of Warcraft and you’re trying to stream a movie, this could affect the rate at which your movie buffers.
As well, cable companies go out of their way to offer customer support. You can generally access a live person 24/7 and have your needs taken care of should any problem with your cable arise. With the Amazon Firestick, the support is a lot spottier and less reliable. Since Firesticks are sold as a one-and-done purchase, there is no incentive for the same kind of customer support a monthly cable fee provides.
You may get discounts in conjunction with your phone or internet services
Many cable companies also provide phone lines and internet services and will throw in cable along with them as a discounted bundle package. Since you’re likely already paying for internet and possibly phone service, you may be getting your cable for an incredibly small amount of money.
You can’t take your cable with you wherever you go
As we discussed in the advantages of the Amazon Firestick, it is totally portable. You can’t say the same about cable, as it is landlocked to the location of your home. Some cable packages may include access to a few streaming services in conjunction with various channels that you can access on your phone or laptop, but not on another television outside of your home. If you wish to share content with friends and family, you’re going to have to invite them over and sit them in front of your couch, and probably order them some pizza for their troubles.
Cable company monopolies and contracts
There’s a good chance that whatever market you are living in you have one, maybe two options as far as cable companies go. And if you want their services, they are going to attempt to the best of their abilities to rope you into as large of a contract as they possibly can, meaning you’ll be stuck with them for a year, possibly even more if they offered you a deal in exchange for a long-term commitment.
So which is better?
The Amazon Firestick will give you more for less
You’ve likely already made up your mind at this point which is better. Streaming devices like the Amazon Firestick and streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu are certainly the future and they are likely to eclipse cable companies totally within a decade or two. With the Firestick, you get more and better content for your money and you can personally curate your own content by picking and choosing which platforms you subscribe to. You can even get plenty of content for free just with an internet connection.
You can keep your cable and try out a Firestick with no commitment necessary
Still, there are things cable offers that Firesticks don’t, such as local channels and better customer support. If you are hellbent on getting your local channels and don’t want to risk being left out in the cold when it comes to technical issues, you still may prefer a cable subscription. However, nothing is stopping you from having both! Purchasing an Amazon Firestick for a one-time fee requires no further commitment and you can simply try it out and see if you like it. Many streaming platforms offer free trials, and if you try these out you may realize that you don’t need cable after all!