Are smart TVs and the Fire TV Stick the same thing? They have lots of similarities in function, but plenty of key differences, too.
So what makes these two devices different?
Here’s What You Need to Know about Smart TVs and Fire TV Sticks.
Smart TVs are Internet-enabled TVs that allow you to watch content from the Internet using apps, while Fire TV Sticks are HDMI dongles made by Amazon that plug into your TV and connect to the Internet so you can stream content from apps.
1. What Does a Fire TV Stick Do for a Smart TV?
Using a Fire TV Stick with your existing smart TV gives you an alternative system for streaming content.
Smart TVs differ in operating systems, and some apps are unavailable on certain systems. You may find some apps that are available with the Fire TV Stick that might be unavailable on your existing smart TV. Using the Fire TV Stick lets you expand your app accessibility!
It’s also a great alternative to buying a second or third smart TV, and at a fraction of the price.
If you have an outdated smart TV that still functions well but doesn’t support all your favorite apps, plugging in a Fire TV Stick will give that old TV new life.
You get access to an updated system with the latest versions of popular apps, and you save a few hundred dollars in the process.
2. Do You Need a Fire TV Stick with a Smart TV?
You don’t need a Fire TV Stick with a smart TV unless your smart TV no longer supports the apps you use.
A Fire TV Stick can save an old smart TV from obsolescence with its updated system and apps.
3. How Do You Connect a Fire TV Stick to a Smart TV?
Using a Fire TV Stick is simple.
- Simply plug it into the HDMI port of your smart TV or any display with an HDMI input.
- You also need to connect it to the power source, using the adapter included.
- The Fire TV Stick needs to be connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi (or Ethernet if you have a compatible OTG dongle).
4. Do You Need a Smart TV for Fire TV Stick to Work?
You don’t need a smart TV to use the Fire TV Stick because the Fire TV Stick works on any display device with an HDMI input.
That means it will work on non-smart TVs, projectors, and even computer monitors, as long as they have an HDMI input port.
5. What Channels are Free for the Fire TV Stick?
The Fire TV Stick does not have channels. It uses apps to stream content.
If you are looking for free apps you can use on the Fire TV Stick, the two most popular free apps available are YouTube and Facebook Watch.
6. Can You Get Smart TVs with a Fire TV Stick Built-in?
You can’t get a smart TV that has a built-in Fire TV Stick.
Instead, you can buy a smart TV that uses the Fire TV OS, the same operating system that the Fire TV Stick uses.
The most notable example of such a smart TV is the Toshiba Fire TV. It’s a 4k smart TV with the Fire TV OS built-in and can sideload apps, just like the Fire TV Stick.
7. What’s the Difference Between a Fire TV Stick and a Smart TV?
While both connect to the Internet, a Fire TV Stick and smart TV differ in some ways.
- First, a smart TV is ready to use out of the box, while a Fire TV Stick needs to be plugged into a TV or display device with an HDMI input. Out of the box, a smart TV has more features at your disposal.
- A Fire TV Stick only has the essential features to get you started and is dependent on the specs of the TV or display it plugs into.
- Both depend on apps to bring you streaming content. You can find apps in the Fire Stick’s Amazon App Store or your smart TV’s designated app store.
- When it comes to the price, the Fire TV Stick has a starting price of $40, while a smart TV can go for at least $200, but those are usually older models still in circulation. Smart TVs can be quite expensive.
8. Does the Fire TV Stick Have Netflix?
Netflix is one of the top apps you can access using the Fire TV Stick. You can download it in the Amazon App Store.
9. Does the Fire TV Stick have Disney+?
You can download the Disney+ app in the Amazon App Store of the Fire TV Stick.
10. Is a Fire TV Stick the Same as a Roku Streaming Stick?
The Fire TV Stick and Roku Streaming Stick are the same in many ways, but what sets them apart is the operating system.
The Fire TV Stick uses Fire TV OS, while the Roku Streaming Stick uses Roku.
Both operating systems are open source, as the Fire TV OS is based on Android, while the Roku OS is based on Linux.
You can read more about this topic in our article Are Fire TV Sticks And Roku Sticks The Same? (Explained For Beginners).
11. Is a Fire TV Stick the Same as a Chromecast?
The Fire TV Stick and Chromecast are both dongles that let you watch content from the Internet.
They differ, however, in how they operate.
- The Chromecast needs another device, such as a smartphone or a computer, to beam content from.
- The Fire TV Stick works on its own and can also cast from a device from select apps.
12. Is a Fire TV Stick the Same as the Apple TV Box?
The Fire TV Stick and Apple TV Box share similarities, as they are both devices that can stream content through apps.
They share some common apps, but they are different devices.
Both have their own operating systems, and some apps may be available for one but not for the other.
13. Is a Fire TV Stick the Same as an Android TV?
The Fire TV Stick and Android TV are different but not that far off from each other.
Android TV refers to the operating system used for the smart TV, which was developed by Google.
The Fire TV Stick is a device that uses the Fire TV OS. This operating system is based on the Android TV system.
You can say that the Fire TV Stick is one of the derivatives of the Android TV system.
14. Is a Fire TV Stick Better than a Smart TV?
Deciding which is better for you depends a lot on preference. Let’s compare:
Fire TV Stick
- The Fire TV Stick is a better choice if you want something more affordable that be replaced easily once it reaches obsolescence.
- It’s a better choice, especially if you have an existing smart TV that’s no longer supported by popular apps, but you don’t want to buy a whole new smart TV.
- But remember: the quality of the streaming from the Fire TV Stick depends solely on the quality of the TV you use. So, if you buy the 4k version of the Fire TV Stick, you will need a TV with 4k resolution to maximize the video quality.
- The Fire TV Stick is also a great solution if you travel frequently and don’t want to log your account credentials into the smart TVs in your hotel. You can just plug in the Fire TV Stick and watch where you left off.
- It’s like having a smart TV in your pocket.
- A smart TV is a better choice if you want a device that can stream out of the box with excellent screen quality.
- Many modern smart TVs now have 4k resolution out of the box that makes it a better choice if you are looking for an all-in-one solution.
- Smart TV brands have different operating systems. If there is a particular operating system you prefer over the Fire TV OS, which is the Fire TV Stick’s operating system, you will have to buy a smart TV with that preferred operating system.
Still looking for answers? You can read even more about this topic in our article Smart TVs Vs. Amazon Fire Stick? 13 Answers (For Beginners).