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Raspberry Pi vs Amazon Fire TV for Kodi media center

Some might say Raspberry Pi vs Amazon Fire TV comparison is like comparing apples to oranges since their purposes and structures are different. While Raspberry Pi is a true micro / nano PC in some ways, Amazon Fire TV is a Android box restricted to Amazon’s ecosystem. But if you looking for a low power Kodi box that just works, then look no further than Amazon Fire TV. Over the Black Friday weekend I jumped the gun and bought the Amazon FireTV, which was on sale for $69. With some coupons I got one for just $55. Installed Kodi entertainment center on it and with a few minor tweaks, I was ready to go. In a nutshell I was blown away by the performance so much so that I am replacing the Raspberry Pi OpenELEC media center with Amazon Fire TV in my bedroom. Listed in this post is a comparison of Raspberry Pi vs Amazon Fire TV and 6 compelling reasons why I think you should use Amazon Fire TV as your next XBMC / Kodi box. [Read: Amazon FireTV Stick introduced, order now for $39]

Raspberry Pi vs Amazon Fire TV for Kodi Box

New to Amazon Fire TV and Kodi? Check out: Beginner Blueprint: Complete Amazon Fire TV Kodi Guide. It covers everything you need to know on Amazon Fire TV Kodi setup.

Raspberry Pi vs Amazon Fire TV for Kodi

I want to make the scope of this comparison very clear. If you are in the market for a Kodi media center box and are looking for a sub $100 solution then use this Amazon Fire TV vs Raspberry Pi comparison to make an informed decision. There are a lot of things that a RPi can do that AFTV cannot do and vice versa. Remember that Amazon FireTV runs Android and that’s it (it cannot run other OSes). So if you are looking for a Kodi media center box, then here are 6 reasons why I think you should consider Amazon Fire TV over Raspberry Pi.

1. Hardware

RPi vs AFTV, is very limited in hardware. Amazon Fire TV boasts much stronger specs than Raspberry Pi and is specifically designed to support HD video streaming. Below are some key comparisons.

Amazon Fire TV Raspberry Pi
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8064 Broadcom BCM2835
Qualcomm Krait 300, quad-core to 1.7 Ghz 700 MHz ARM1176JZF-S core
2 GB LPDDR2 @ 533 MHZ RAM 512 MB (shared with GPU) RAM
Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO) Not Available
Bluetooth 4.0 Not Available
Remote Control Included Not Available
Optical Audio (TOSLINK)
Qualcomm Adreno 320 GPU
1 USB 2.0 Port
Not Available
Not Available
4 USB 2.0 Ports

There is absolutely no doubt that Amazon Fire TV has the better hardware in almost every category and is more than capable handling HD playback. The only drawback is, Raspberry Pi vs Amazon Fire TV has 4 USB ports. Unless you plan on connecting two USB devices to the Amazon FTV, this is not a limitation. It costs about $60 to build a Raspberry Pi B+ media center with accessories. Even at the full price $99 I think Amazon FireTV is a much better deal and value for what you get.

Amazon Fire TV Power Consumption2. Power Consumption

Raspberry Pi consumes only about 3 Watts of power. But the biggest draw back for me was, I was using my TV’s USB port to power up my RPi. While turning off the TV powered of my Pi, many times my remote was not recognized. So I had to manually pull the USB IR receiver out and plug it back in. If the Raspberry Pi is powered by a dedicated power adapter, it can be left On 24×7. But I prefer to not leave it on. [Read: Low-power budget HTPC build 2014 for a HTPC NAS Combo]

Amazon Fire TV on the other hand automatically sleeps after 30 min of non-activity and automatically turns on when the HDMI becomes active or a remote button is pressed. Except for occasional spikes to 5 Watts, it mostly hovered between 2.5 to 3.5 Watts, even during HD video streaming through Wifi. What the Amazon Fire TV is capable of doing at this level of power consumption is amazing if you ask me. And personally, I would trade in my Raspberry Pi for the the Amazon Fire TV for the much better Kodi experience.

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About the author

Anand

Anand is a self-learned computer enthusiast, a part-time blogger, and a Food Scientist by career. He has been blogging since 2010 on Linux, Ubuntu, Home/Media/File Servers, Smart Home Automation, and related HOW-TOs on htpcbeginner.com and smarthomebeginner.com.

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