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Are you an author who likes a little background noise while you write? Background noise can be anything. It can be music, podcasts, random videos on Youtube, audiobooks or TV channels played by AMazin Fire TV or Roku or another device.  I've tried both Amazon Fire TV and Roku, and I'll explain why I left Roku for Amazon TV after many years, and why it only took me four months to go back to the Roku to spite the fact that Roku has security issues and legal issues.

Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV will work just like the Roku if you avoid the Amazon-specific, must have a Prime Account channels. This means that you can watch Youtube, Tubi, Freevee (which is still Amazon but it functions like the Roku channel), Pluto TV etc. The problem is that it really doesn't work at a core level. I woke up this morning and the Fire stick lost its Internet connection and would not reestablish it. I know it lost its Internet connection deliberately because my computer throws a fit when the Internet connects and disconnects, but by 7:30AM my computer worked. The Fire stick was stuck on the information you see in the image. this has happened a LOT over the last four months. Sometimes it's legit and the Internet really did go down or become unstable. Sometimes it loses its Internet connection for the hell of it and won't reconnect on its own. So let's take a look at why it sucks.

1. The Sound Volume Is the Sound Volume

The remote does not control the sound on the TV, so the sound volume is the sound volume is the sound volume forever. If you happen to still have the remote for your TV, I guess you're good to go here, but I don't. I inherited this TV and the TV-specific remote either never made it here or it's lost in other bags of stuff I still need to look through, but either way, I don't have the remote for this TV. I do understand that there are remotes that have sound attached, and actually, I have a third-party remote that SHOULD work with the Amazon Fire Stick, but that remote is not recognized. I've done the steps numerous times. That remote will not work, and as a last-ditch effort, I changed the batteries and tried it again. Nothing.

2. There's No Mute

You can't control the sound at all. There isn't even a mute button. This means that you either have the channel playing or you don't. There's no way to mute the sound if you accidentally get a phone call instead of a text or an email or maybe the delivery guy actually knocked and needed you to come to the door. Either way, you're going to have to turn off that channel and go back to the main screen to get the TV to shut up.

3. In Fact, I Hate the Fire Stick Remote

I just straight up hate that remote. It has very few buttons, which means it has very limited functionality. Someone decided to make a circle instead of individual up, down, left, right buttons. this makes getting to where you want to go extremely difficult because you're not going to hit that accurately all the time. The remote is also slick. I mean very slick. I'm not elderly. I don't have hand or grip problems, and that remote slides out of my hand or jumps and flips while I'm trying to use it. This results in weird buttons being pushed, and I've more than once accidentally hit the house button or the center button and been sent straight back to the main screen. *sigh*. This reminds me of the first real SMART phone I ever bought. I had in 31 days. It was so slick that it slipped out of my hand, fell 6 inches, and the screen shattered. I remember 31 days because it was only warrantied for 30 days, meaning Comcast wouldn't exchange it. I worked out a deal with them after fighting them all the way to the top to get that phone replaced. Turns out that modern cell phones need cases and screen protectors and all kinds of shit before it's not easy to break it. I was furious. You buy an expensive phone, and it needs another $150 in bubblewrap before you can use it.

4. It's SLOW

Oh my god is it slow. Every button press is 3 to 5 seconds, and that's if it registers at all. If you turn off a channel and want another channel, be prepared to wait a LONG TIME. It may take 30 seconds or longer for you to get the previous channel to stop and the new channel to start. Once the new channel starts, it may not fully load, so you may need to back out and go back in and wait some more. Sometimes, the channel just straight tup refuses to load, and you'll walk away because fucking hell..... Could it take any longer. Then, you'll go back to the TV and find out that it's on the main screen again, and you get to wait many more minutes while you restart the channel.

5. You Will Wait 30 Seconds at a Min for Every Channel to Load

It just is what it is. the channels just aren't well integrated into the device, and it's readily apparent. I wondered why my mom didn't watch much Tv even after getting this new TV and the Amazon Fire Stick. It's just too time-consuming and difficult to use.

7. The Channels May Not Reset After Being Closed

This is a fun one. You'll shut down a channel then go back to it, and it won't load. What happened? The channel didn't reset when you closed it, and there's no way that I found to reset the channel manually unless you totally shutdown the Fire Stick.

8. There's No Reset on the Fire Stick

There isn't a reset button on the Fire Stick. This means that in order to reset it, you must unplug it, and if you're like me, the first thing you'll do is pull it out of the TV.  Oopse.  That doesn't kill the power. So you'll have to plug it back in and pull the power cord out of the Fire Stick to reset it.

Given all these problems with the Fire Stick, I just couldn't take it anymore. It was mostly the time it took to find a channel and get it to play. I don't need to spend 30 minutes trying to get a channel to work so that I can have some background noise while I work or write novels. I also like white noise in the background at night, and when I go to do that, I want the white noise on immediately because I'm tired. I want to go to bed. Another 30 minutes fighting that Fire Stick is not something I have any tolerance for.

Do I Know How Old This Fire Stick Is?

No. I have no idea how old this Fire Stick is. I've had it for a year and a half. I don't know how long my mom had it. She could have bought it just before her death or years before. I don't know. I did look at the new ones. Not to buy one. I wanted to see if there were any directions on how to make it work better. There weren't, and the devices looked about the same. If after reading this, you still want a Fire Stick, by all means, grab one. It looks like they start at $29.99 as of this writing. If you want a better model with sound, this Fire Stick is $39.99. they also have the 4k Fire Stick on sale for $34.99. It's regularly $49.99, and I have no idea how long that sale is going on, but that's the price as of June 2, 2024. If you read this after that date, I can't guarantee that it will still be on sale.


Roku sucks too but for entirely different reasons. The software actually works, and it will redetect the Internet if it goes down. the remote also has sound buttons and a mute button. the channels start up immediately. You can shut one down, and go to the next channel immediately. the speed is very close to what a normal TV used to be, where you turned the knob and there was the next channel. No waiting. Unfortunately, Roku is risky to use. I wouldn't recommend linking any credit cards to it, and if you have credit cards linked to it, you should remove them and just go with the free channels.

1. It's Been Hacked Multiple Times

Roku's security is just plain shit. It's been hacked numerous times over the last year. They've officially announced two hacks that compromised over 1 million accounts. That's a fucking problem, and it pretty much speaks for itself. Roku isn't secure. Don't give it any credit card numbers.

2. The New TOS

Once Roku was hacked, they decided to change their TOS so that you couldn't sue them. So, if your information was compromised, good luck getting a resolution if your identity or financial information is actually used to do things you didn't authorize. You also couldn't get out of the TOS screen UNLESS you clicked OK. there was no option to say - NO. I've noticed this a lot. My Samsung just updated AGAIN, and all it said was OK. I want a NO button. NO NO NO NO NO. No should be an option. Just because they did it and want to shove it down people's throats doesn't mean it's OK. I would love to see how that new TOS plays out in court. It shouldn't even be legal. With their thinking, if I design software, and make a TOS and that TOS says that I can have your house in 6 months if I want it, and I decide I do want it, I can have your house because you signed it over when you agreed to my TOS. But I didn't give you an option to decline.... Hmmm . .Well, you agreed. Give me your house. Would that stand up in court? We'd hope not. Roku's new TOS shouldn't hold up in court either, and I haven't seen a new TOS update yet, but then, I just plugged it back in this morning.

3. The Roku Remote Misuses Its Battery Power

I don't know what's wrong with the remote, but it burns through batteries like they're going out of style. What is it doing when it's not in use? It also stops working when the battery gets to about 50 percent. that's irritating, and it was the final straw of why I switched to the Amazon Fire Stick. The first reasons were the fact that it's been hacked multiple times and the new TOS is shit. But I'm lazy. It took the remote quitting AGAIN for me to actually plug in my inherited Fire TV stick.

4. They Plan to Show Ads on the Splash Screen

They've filed a patent for this. They want to show ads on the splash screen and when you pause the device. I hate commercials. I mean I hate them with a passion. If you show me a commercial, I do not want your product and your company is a laser because you need a commercial. That's my opinion. Companies should be shamed for using commercials because obviously they don't have an audience and can't use their social media effectively. I should say that I don't mind a static thing showing off your product or an article highlighting your product. Those things are fine. I can scroll right past if I'm not interested, but interrupting my entertainment and relaxation time with 15 to 30 seconds to 2 minutes of bullshit is not ok. If I'm locked into watching your bullshit, you need to be paying me because you're wasting my time in a way I did not choose. I fucking hate commercials.

If you're interested in the Roku even after reading this list of really good red flags, you can find them on Amazon. Several of them are on sale as of June 2, 2024. The entry-level Roku, which you probably don't want because it doesn't have sound controls is $19. It's regularly 29.99. Your next option is the Roku Express 4K+. It is currently 29.00 and regularly 39.99. If you want the deluxe model, you can choose the Streaming Stick 4K for $34, regularly $49.99.

So, neither one of these options works 100 percent. They're both broken in some way, but then, isn't that everything? The older I get, the more things companies are selling that are basically broken, but they sent them to market anyway. You can just look at your cell phone or Windows computer for confirmation. How many updates have been forced onto you? The product wasn't complete when it was sent to market. Appliances are the same way. Did your last fridge last 20 years? Your washer? Your dryer? Your dishwasher? Your mattress? Your bedframe? Your roof? Your car? everything is incomplete and broken. It's just finding the product that works the best for you. What can you live with? What can you not live with? For me, Roku's functionality is so far better than Amazon's. Amazon needs to do a lot of work to their Fire Stick to get its functionality up to the level of a Roku. Roku has a lot of legal issues but the product works as it should. I really shouldn't have to choose between safety and functionality. I'm also not going to buy another Fire Stick to see if they've improved that functionality. My Fire Stick's software was up-to-date when I disconnected it this morning, and the last update didn't fix any of the functionality issues. I have a feeling it's the interface between the Amazon TV store and the stick itself.