With 2020 coming to a close, I’ve gathered a bunch of data to put together a series of charts that determine which of the Fire TV, Firestick, and Fire TV Cube models that have ever been released are the most popular devices being used today. Going all the way back to the very first Fire TV and Fire TV Stick from 2014, you may be surprised by which models are still going strong. Some very old models are surprisingly still relevant, while some recently released models hardly made a blip on the charts.
First and foremost, this data is biased because it is not a view of all Fire TV devices currently being used. This data represents Fire TV devices using my Downloader app on any given day over the last 6 months. With over 30 million total app users ever and tens of thousands of Fire TVs using the app every single day, it’s a sufficient sampling of all Fire TV devices, so the scale of the data is not an issue. Rather, it’s the nature of why someone uses the app that makes the data biased. My Downloader app is primarily used when first setting up a Fire TV, so this data is biased towards newly purchased devices and Fire TV models that are still available to purchase. That said, all Fire TV models have a strong representation in the app, so the data is still a good approximation of how each model’s popularity is shifting up or down.
This data only includes stand-alone Fire TV streaming media players, so it does not include Fire TV Edition televisions or soundbars. The thick lines in the charts are a 2-week running averages of the daily data, which is represented by the thin lines. All charts can be clicked for a larger higher-resolution version that is easier to read.
This chart of all Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Pendant, and Fire TV Cube models is a bit difficult to read, so I’ll be breaking it down into different parts shortly. The big take away is that the top 5 lines in the chart are all of the Fire TV Stick models over the years. Fire TV Sticks dwarf all of the non-Stick models that are clumped together at the bottom of this chart. Even the ancient 1st-generation Fire TV Stick from 2014 has a higher representation than any non-Stick device.
This form factor chart shows just how popular the Fire TV Sticks are relative to all of the other non-Stick models. I’ve placed the 3rd-generation Fire TV, which used a pendant form factor, as a non-Stick device for the purposes of these charts. The stability and horizontal straightness of these lines show that whether you’re looking at newly purchased devices or older models that are still in use, the Fire TV Sticks greatly outnumber the Fire TV boxes, pendants, and cubes.
The 2nd-generation Fire TV Stick, having been sold for 4 years as the least expensive Fire TV, reigns dominate over all other Fire TV models in popularity. It’s only now that the new 3rd-generation Fire TV Stick and the Fire TV Stick Lite have been released that the king begins to decline. The Fire TV Stick 4K has held up as the second most popular model for some time, but the new sticks are climbing fast.
Speaking of the new Fire TV Sticks for 2020, you can see the less expensive Fire TV Stick Lite has a significant lead over the Fire TV Stick 3. Even though nearly every review or article I’ve seen says that the better remote with TV controls that comes with the Fire TV Stick 3 is well worth the extra $10, which I agree with, it’s pretty clear that the cheaper device is more popular. One huge caveat to this is that the Fire TV Stick Lite has been on sale more often than the Fire TV Stick 3. The Fire TV Stick 4K has also been just $2 more than the Fire TV Stick 3 during all of those sales, so there have been several reasons this year to choose one of the other stick models over the Fire TV Stick 3.
Zooming way into the bottom 3% of all Fire TV models is where we find all of the non-Stick devices. With Prime Day in mid-October dropping the 2nd-generation Fire TV Cube to a new all-time low price, it shot up in popularity to overtake all other non-Stick models. The much-loved 2nd-generation Fire TV is still holding strong among the pack of flagship models after over 5 years. The 1st-generation Fire TV is, unsurprisingly, the least popular device but it trails close behind the 1st-generation Fire TV Cube which had disapointing performance that has, thankfully, been corrected by the 2nd-generation Fire TV Cube.
With so much focus put on 4K TVs and content, and 8K devices being around the corner, it may surprise you that the majority of Fire TV devices still cap out at a resolution of 1080p. I’m confident in saying that 4K models will not overtake 1080p models as long as the least expensive Fire TV model is a 1080p Stick. I don’t think we’ll see this chart flip until you can no longer buy a 1080p Fire TV.
One chart that has, surprisingly, flipped is this one of Fire TV models that support High Dynamic Range (HDR) video. Despite the new 2020 Fire TV Sticks being 1080p devices, they do support HDR10 video. For the first time, that made Amazon’s entire lineup of current Fire TV models capable of playing HDR video, which flipped this chart. Of course, most of these HDR-capable Fire TVs are likely not connected to HDR-capable TVs, but I think a time may come when more people are watching HDR video on a Fire TV than are watching 4K video.
Interesting article. We still have one Fire TV Pendant and use it quite well on our 4K tv. Maybe next year if Amazon really updates the 4K stick I’ll upgrade, but for now I can’t see what the current stick offers me. I am not out of storage.
Same here. The Pendant is running the same version of the OS as the 4K stick and has 2GB of ram versus 1.5GB of ram for the 4K stick.
The only thing that the Fire TV Stick 4K has over the 3rd-Gen Fire TV (Pendant) is Dolby Vision support and a bit more processing power. You’re right, there’s very little reason to upgrade from the pendant to the stick.
Thanks. I wish the o/s would auto delete the cache of the various apps. All my sticks fill up at times and become slow / buggy. Even some of the channel apps that are set to not store data locally. Still stores on the stick. I don’t get it.
Amazon really needs to fix this. My sticks fill up with barely any apps also. I still believe there is some bug that maybe is not deleting OS/app updates or something weird.
For sure. I also don’t get why the Screensaver app will load up with 500-700mb. Then there is the new Amazon Prime Video app, not sure what that does exactly, but that loads up on data as well. Then there is just the overall lack of consistency in the apps designs of sign in procedures for example.
Wow, first off, fantastic article. Great way to leverage the popularity of your app to get some meaningful stats.
Secondly, I am actually kind of shocked at some of these breakdowns. While Downloader can only paint a partial picture of the Fire TV ecosystem, it is very telling to see how some of these devices are still in use versus their newer counterparts, especially in the stick realm of things. The fact that the 2016 Fire TV Stick 2 still outpaces the 4k version years after release (and many good sales) shocks me.
I think what consumers are clearly telling Amazon is that a very low price point is what will get them into the ecosystem (Lite vs Fire Stick 3) and they will hang onto their devices for longer periods of time versus the Apple mentality of upgrading each year (2016 Fire Stick 2 the number 1 device).
Elias – The inner stats nerd in me wonders if you would be willing to put out some static Excel data tables with these numbers? Would love to see a numeric and percentage breakdown some day.
I’m glad you liked the article. Here is a spreadsheet with the raw numbers that made these charts: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1cbUHZuLR5knk3pJ0Xhb-N1S3Y0VisRSfnsWAutoyc_c/edit?usp=sharing
I get why the Second Gen Cube is near the bottom given it’s price tag but, called me spoiled, I will never downgrade ever again. I have three Cube 2’s and they are fantastic! Compared to the all the other Fire Models, the Cube is like a Jet against a Biplane. Worth the money, period. (Granted, I got them at an all time low price during Prime Day.)
I have to agree with you on the Cube 2. My only regret is that I only purchased one while they were on sale. I will purchase a second one when they go on sale again.
I got the 2 too. Ordered it through Alexa on Prime Day for 79.99. Leaps and bounds better performance than the 1st gen.
Elias I always find your posts full of good information. I got to know you through your side loading posts and now try to keep up with you. I do have one question though. I have three 4K Fire Sticks and am quite happy with them. But both the photos you provide as well as Amazon show a little blue light (?) at the top of the remote, opposite the power button. Mine do not have that. Am I missing something? What does it do? I am perplexed!
The light on the remote is only visible when it is lit. It shines through the black plastic from underneath. If your remote has power and volume buttons, then it also has the light. Press and hold the microphone button and you should see the light glow blue.
If my 2nd gen Fire TV box ever dies I likely will not replace it considering the current offerings. I need a dedicated ethernet port, in addition to USB and/or (micro) SD ports, preferably both, and top of the line RAM and CPU, at least as far as Amazon Devices go. It’s pretty clear I am not their target demographic though, so doubtful they will miss me.
Would be nice to uninstall all of the Amazon Bloatware Apps that they add
Or push to the devices.