You may be salivating over all that money you’ll save by cutting the cable cord, but not so fast…
There are some major things you need to consider, and in this guide, we’ll go over what you’ll gain or lose by going with the fire stick.
I’ll also show you how to get the most amount of content with the least amount of money.
Bottom Line Upfront
If you’re in a rush, here are the main reasons to use one service over the other.
Amazon Fire Stick
Key Features - The Amazon Fire Stick
The Fire Stick is a nifty little device that plugs into the HDMI port of your television. It then allows you access to streaming content such as movies, tv shows, and games through your internet connection.
There are hundreds of apps that allow you access to that content. Some you’ve for sure heard of like Netflix and some you probably haven’t like Pluto (a TV guide of sorts for streaming television).
Depending on how you use it, it’s a less expensive option for viewing content (some content you can’t even access on cable).
It also allows you to connect to smart home devices such as the Amazon Echo for hands-free TV viewing with your voice.
Does amazon fire stick replace your cable service?
You can get most of the channels and content that you got on cable but there is usually a time delay, and you do have to purchase a monthly subscription to services like Hulu.
Hulu has many shows that you can watch the next day after they aired live on cable. Most people these days don’t watch shows live and prefer to record them on their DVR and watch them on their schedule so for most it is a non issue.
There are other shows that you can’t watch unless you have a cable subscription or you have to purchase them one episode at a time in the Amazon video store.
Also, if live sports is a big part of what you watch, then sorry, you’re stuck with cable. We’ll get more into sports in a bit.
Amazon Fire Stick Free Channels
There are thousands of free movies and shows that you can stream from the fire stick. One of the best ways to access them is through the Pluto app that I discussed above.
130 channels of live tv along with hundreds of movies right on your TV from an easy to use interface.
It’s not going to be the latest new Marvel movie. You’ll have to pay for that. But you can keep yourself entertained for hours and hours with just this app alone.
Amazon Fire Stick Local Channels
Getting local channels on the Fire Stick will require extra hardware.
The Fire TV Stick doesn't have a built-in HD tuner so you will have to purchase an HD antenna if you want local channels without having to buy basic cable.
You can usually get a deal on an antenna by buying the Fire Tv and HD antenna in a bundle. You can check that out here.
One last thing I’d like to discuss before we move on is exclusive content.
Both platforms have exclusive content, but at some point, you should be able to watch EVERYTHING on the Firestick.
On cable, not so much. You can’t watch Netflix on most cable services. So that means you will never be able to watch Stranger Things, or Daredevil or Orange is the new black, or the Punisher, or Narcos or,... you get the idea.
If you are a Prime subscriber, you get Prime video as part of your membership.
That allows you access to Amazon’s Prime video library and exclusive content like Man in The High Castle, The Tick, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Key Features - Cable Television
This is where they getcha.
There is no way to (legally) watch most live sports on the fire stick or any other streaming device.
So that means that if you love the NBA and can’t wait to get home at night to watch the game, you’re out of luck unless you have cable.
Cable companies have shelled out BILLIONS of dollars for the rights to live sports programming so don’t expect this to change anytime soon.
Many do have apps. Like Major League Baseball but you can’t watch games televised in your local area because they are blacked out. So you’re a Tigers fan, and you live in Detroit, you can’t watch ANY of their games.
Installing and setting up the fire stick isn’t all too difficult. If you don’t want the hassle though, go with cable.
The cable company sends someone out to your house to install and configure the service, so it’s very hands off.
Also, sometimes something happens where you will have to go in and mess with the settings on a fire stick. Like if you get a new router on your home network. On cable, this is something that you don’t have to worry about.
The fire stick runs over the internet, and as we all know, the internet sucks sometimes.
You may get a slow connection because there is too much traffic and at other times you lose your connection entirely for no apparent reason.
There is absolutely nothing worse than getting to the climax of the movie, and it bunks out due to a bad internet connection.
You usually don’t have to worry about that with cable. It is on a much more reliable network, and if you do have problems, someone is there to fix it for you.
Channels You Can’t Get On The Fire Stick
As time goes on you will see more and more channels hop ship over to streaming but for now, if you want to watch many of live programming options, you will have to buy what they call a skinny bundle.
A skinny bundle from services like Youtube TV include a small package of channels like MSNBC, Fox News, Disney, TNT and a handful of others for around $35.
Herein lies the problem with streaming. As time goes on with the addition of a skinny bundle and a subscription to all the streaming services that you want like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, etc., the monthly bill will creep up to cable bill levels.
Conclusion: Wrapping It Up
Pretty much streaming is the future. You can get on it now or later, but eventually, you’ll get there through the fire stick or not.
Sorry to sound so final about things but when you have big players like Disney creating their own streaming services the writing is definitely on the wall.
For now though if you want access to live sports, you are locked into cable service. I personally can’t watch baseball games unless I get an upgraded package through my local cable company.
So… I have both. I will say that when I’m not watching sports, I am pretty much always watching something on Youtube or Netflix or Hulu.
When the contracts expire, and I can pay for MLB in my area… I’m gone.