When it comes to premium streaming boxes, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV Cube are at the top of the list.

Both have price tags north of $100.

Recently, both devices got a refresh with a mix of new hardware and features.

In my testing, I found they both accomplish the same thing, but in very different ways.

The Apple TV 4K comes in two models: a $129-dollar base version, but it’s probably better to spend the extra $20 dollars for the Wi-Fi plus ethernet model, which doubles the storage and gives you a wired internet port.

It also has support for an up-and-coming smart home standard called Matter, which is built on Thread. Smart home products from various companies will finally work together and talk to each other faster than before.

Apple TV 4K, 2021 vs 2022

The latest Apple TV 4K system is a bit smaller than the last model since there’s no longer a fan. The remote now uses USB-C to charge instead of Apple proprietary lightning connector, which is being phased out.

In my testing, apps opened a few seconds faster over the previous generation Apple TV 4K and the software is simple and clean.

The 3rd generation Fire TV Cube takes a different approach and attempts to be the center of your home entertainment system. It has built in IR blasters that can control a wide variety of equipment, from TVs to soundbars and cable boxes.

You can even plug your cable box or game console into the HDMI input on the back and now the Cube’s software will display right on top of your standard programming feed. This means you don’t have to switch inputs to go from watching a cable TV channel to watching something on Netflix.

I was fully impressed with how convenient it was to use voice commands to do everything from playing music to getting the weather report to changing channels – even on streaming TV services.

Still, the Cube comes with a full featured remote packed with all of the buttons you need to control everything. There’s even channel up and down buttons!

On the back of the Cube, there’s now a full-size USB port on the back. This is better than the last model, which had a MicroUSB connection that was tricker to use with popular devices. Now, you can plug in a webcam and Zoom from your TV in minutes. I didn’t test this feature, but I plan to.

My biggest gripe with the Amazon Fire TV Cube is that the software is cluttered and littered with ads. It costs $139 dollars, but I would wait for a sale since Amazon’s own electronic devices typically see discounts a few times throughout the year.