Amazon’s intended Fire TV lineup restored as Fire TV Cube pre-orders more than double those of the Fire TV 3

There appears to be much more interest in the announcement of the new Fire TV Cube than Amazon’s announcement of their last new streaming media player, the Fire TV 3. To confirm this, I went through my logs to compare initial pre-order trends of both devices. According to my stats, during the first two days after the devices were announced, pre-orders for the Fire TV Cube are more than double those seen for the Fire TV 3. Obviously, my figures are not an accurate depiction of overall sales, since my data only represents visitors of this site, and there are other factors to consider when comparing sales figures of the two devices, such as the Prime member discount that was only offered for the Fire TV Cube. However, it does confirm what I’ve been seeing in the site comments here and other discussions around the web, which is that initial impressions of the Fire TV Cube are vastly better than those of the Fire TV 3. The reason for this has a lot to do with the state of the Fire TV lineup as a whole and its timing.

With the Fire TV 3, Amazon seemed to focus almost entirely on lowering the price of the device, relative to its competition and the Fire TV it replaced. The Fire TV 3 does have improved 4K playback and the addition of HDR support, compared to the previous generation Fire TV, but it didn’t add much else while also losing several capabilities. The Fire TV 3 is by no means a bad product, but when consumers already have the Fire TV Stick as a fantastic option for budget-conscious shoppers, those interested in a next-generation Fire TV probably wanted more out of the device than to just save a bit of money.

Despite having very similar specs to the Fire TV 3, the Fire TV Cube clearly stands out as a flagship device, whereas the Fire TV 3 is perceived by many as just a small step up from the Fire TV Stick. This is thanks to the Fire TV Cube’s notable new features, like hands-free control and universal remote capabilities, as well as the return of lost features, like expandable storage and included Ethernet. Even though the Fire TV Cube is nearly twice the price of the Fire TV 3, consumers seem far more interested in the Fire TV Cube, proving that shoppers are willing to pay a premium for flagship features and aren’t just interested in the cheapest device that includes a bare-bones set of features.

While it might seem like I’m calling out the Fire TV 3 as a mistake, I’m absolutely not. Once you know a little more about the intended Fire TV lineup, you’ll see that the timing was the issue and not the product. I’ve been told, and shown evidence, by trusted sources that are familiar with Amazon’s Fire TV plans, that the original plan was for the Fire TV 3 and the Fire TV Cube to be released at the same time. That is why I called the Fire TV 3 a mid-tier device back in March 2017 when I first leaked its existence and why I said both devices were being released in 2017 when I first leaked the Fire TV Cube last September. In that article, I said the top-tier Fire TV, which we now know as the Fire TV Cube, might be delayed into early 2018. That delay happened and grew to become the mid-2018 release for the Fire TV Cube that was just announced. The delay forced the Fire TV 3 into the role of being the flagship Fire TV device for several months, which appears to be a role that it was never intended to fill.

While it’s a little later than expected, the Fire TV line-up is now how it was originally intended to be and finally makes sense. There’s the Fire TV Stick, which gives shoppers on a budget a fantastic option. There’s the Fire TV Cube, which is a distinctly unique and premium device that is worthy of the flagship title. Lastly, there’s the Fire TV 3, which fills out the lineup as a mid-tier option for those who want a bit more than the Fire TV Stick, namely 4K and HDR support, but without all the bells and whistles of the Fire TV Cube.

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22 comments
  1. hawkstead says:

    Elias,
    You need to upload to your YouTube channel when you get yours. Compare it to all firetv sticks & firetvs. Make sure your Downloader works for us!

    I’m still on my overheating 1st gen stick ($20). I pre-ordered this cube hoping for a boost of performance. I like the Ethernet option.

    I often ponder spending more for a Shield. Should I? Argh. Let the crowd say in the comments.

    I miss my old Boxee Box. Maybe I can shave a corner off of this cube.

    Happy 4th! Been with you since day one. I still check your site multiple times a day. You’re the man.

    • AFTVnews says:

      Thanks for being around so long. I love seeing “old school” usernames like yours pop up still. Once it’s released, I’ll definitely be writing more about the Cube than I did for the Fire TV 3 because there is just so much more to cover and checkout. I’ll try to fit in videos where they’re helpful.

  2. Jp says:

    Have 2 of the danglers. They are fine already have voice control with my echo dots why do I need this? is there a better cpu or GPU ?

    • Rob says:

      My thoughts exactly. I use an Echo already with the Pendant and anything extra that the Cube brings is minimal and of no use to me. I wont be upgrading just for the sake of a few more ports.

  3. Spawntech15 says:

    I am a FireTV user since version 1 but it fell behind on features against other boxes. Great device but what is missing? Dolby Vision. Apple 4K supports Dolby Vision and now in the next update iOS 12 will support Dolby Atmos, making it the only box that will support both, DV and DA.

    Budget wise it is a better option because to support both, DV and DA, its gear is not cheap. Perhaps this box is a better option than NVIDIA SHIELD, but it basically supports the same that FireTV 3 does. So what makes it better? Nothing. I’ll continue using my NVIDIA Shield 1.

  4. clocks says:

    I just think the dongle is a dumb design. Give me a stick, or give me a full box.

    Also, it appears Nvidia and Apple are the only remaining high end(ie powerful) devices. Everyone else seems to be going down the economy path.

    • AFTVnews says:

      The pendant form factor is a stepping stone that I don’t think will survive much longer. We’re very close to a true 4K Stick. Maybe even in the next round of product releases. Roku is the closest to a 4K Stick, but had to do that weird thing where they put some components in the cord, so the industry hasn’t really achieved a 4K Stick yet. Once we achieve 4K in a true Stick, I don’t think we’ll ever see the pendant form factor again. It’ll just be Sticks and Boxes again.

      I mention this in my podcast episode with Lon Seidman, but the enthusiast box is a dying breed. There’s so much more money to make in content than in hardware that it’s most profitable to sell as cheap of a box as possible so that you can get it in the hands of as many people and then profit off of content.

      Apple and Nvidia are the only ones left because they have the worst content position. Neither have a subscription video service, so all they can do is push hardware specs, but it’s tough when a $40 Stick can do 95% of the same things. Even Roku is making something like 70-80% of revenu from content now and one of their execs in an interview said they’re going to focus much less on hardware moving forward.

      It sucks for enthusiasts like us, but it’s just the way things are. At least the Cube offers something new and interesting,in terms of Alexa and IR, even though it’s the same old specs.

  5. Barry says:

    Elias, how does this compare in performance, to the Fire TV 2? Im happy with my fire TV 2, but the ability to turn on the TV, volume up/down and having an echo built-in with this made me pre-order it at $89. My wife will be able to just say “alexa, play Daniel Tiger” and it will come right up. But i’m worried that I will be losing performance when I watch Kodi on the fire tv cube.

    • AFTVnews says:

      Video playback performance will be identical between the Cube and Fire TV 2, for the most part. The Fire TV 2’s CPU edges out the Cube’s a little, so in very heavy (or poorly coded) apps, the Cube might feel a bit more slugish as you’re zipping around in apps. The GPU is the main significant difference, where the Fire TV 2 is much better, but that really only comes into play for gaming.

      If you think you’re going to use the IR universal remote and/or hands-free features of the cube regularly, then it’s worth considering the Cube as an upgrade to the Fire TV 2. Otherwise, you’ll be fine sticking with the Fire TV 2 for another generation.

      • clocks says:

        Have you done much testing on this? I only had the pendant for a couple days before I ebayed it, but the various Kodi variants were showing a ton of dropped/skipped frames, that I don’t see when using the FTV2.

        • AFTVnews says:

          When did you stop using it? There were four different “6.2.1.0” updates during November-ish that fixed a lot of playback issues. Then another four “6.2.1.2” updates continued to improve things after that.

          • clocks says:

            I had the FTV3 about 3 months back from the Direct TV deal. So it would have been after those patches. But it may have just been a reporting issue, as the playback itself didnt seem off, or at least bad enough that all the skips/drops were showing.

  6. Charlie says:

    The pendant is on sale again at 49.99, so since the specs are identical with the FTV portion of the Cube (except for more storage) we could buy the pendant and the Ethernet adapter for 65.00 and have the same device without all the hands free Alexa function. I would expect it to function just as well as the Cube for streaming.

    • Charlie says:

      This would be a significant savings over the full price for the Cube, obviously, less so if we pre-ordered.

    • AFTVnews says:

      Yeah, that’s pretty much right. You also don’t get expandable storage with the pendant that you do get with the Cube.

      • Charlie says:

        It wasn’t an easy decision and I hated to give up the discount, but I decided to stick with my FTV2 and I already have an Echo, so I just cancelled my pre-order. Who knows what kinds of updates to the Echo are coming soon? I am truly not fascinated by controlling my TV by voice and the FTV2 is the more powerful device.

        I just bought the Channel Master Stream+ two weeks ago, so my budget for streamers is about used up for now, anyway.

  7. MrMC says:

    Ah, Apple does have a subscription audio/video service, it is called iTunes. :)

  8. David V Scarpa says:

    i bought the pendent nd returned it the wifi was horrible i was getting nothing in 4k , my apple tv works great in 4k with my wireless 70mbs DL, the pendent only was getting 30mbs in the same area

    • AFTVnews says:

      I’m sure that had more to do with interference behind your TV than anything else. If you used an extension cable to place the Fire TV 3 where your Apple TV is, then I’m sure you would have seen the same speeds for both. I just tested my Fire TV 3 and got 343mbps, so it’s not the device that’s slow, but the environment.

  9. badbob001 says:

    They should just rename the Fire TV 3 as Fire TV Stick Pro, but I guess the *main* problem is that it’s not shaped like a stick. :)

    I ordered the cube because I like the idea of controlling my TV and related gear with my voice, because at this point, the TV remote is mainly used for switching inputs.

  10. Frank Nitty says:

    All Amazon has to do was release a AFTV similar to Gen 2’s w/ all the same ports, upgraded GPU/CPU and storage, and I would be golden, but as consumers we’re subjected to a disappointing “cube” and a “pendant” which are a farcry from what capabilities/functionality you get from the Gen 2 AFTV.

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