I marathoned through 8 ‘fireplace on your TV’ videos. These are my notes

Thanks to the miracles of modern technology, you no longer need a fireplace to enjoy the sights and sounds of a roaring, crackling fire. Nowadays you can just fire up your favorite fireplace video stream and enjoy all the perks of a fire (well, except the heat, smells, and actual flames) without lifting a finger. But with so many of these videos available today, which one should you watch? To find out, I drank half a bottle of whiskey, watched a half dozen different fireplace streams, and took extremely critical notes on all of them. You’re welcome.

Fireplace 10 Hours full HD (YouTube)

This is the first video that pops up when you search for “fireplace” on YouTube, and with nearly 83 million views and counting, you’d be forgiven for assuming it must be the best fireplace video in existence. Eighty-three million people can’t be wrong, right?

Well as it turns out, they can. This video is low-effort garbage that has risen to the top due to algorithmic happenstance, not the quality of the content. There’s no buildup, no wind-down, no highs or lows – it just jumps straight to the most aesthetically pleasing and thumbnail-friendly 30 seconds of the fire, then plays that same 30 seconds on a loop for 10 straight hours. Boo.

5/10

Relaxing Fireplace (10 HOURS) with Burning Logs and Crackling Fire Sounds for Stress Relief 4K UHD (YouTube)

Goddammit. Here we go again. Another quick loop that repeats itself 7,200 times. Honestly, I should’ve guessed that this would be the case based on the video title. If they spent half as much time producing the video as they did stuffing the headline with SEO-optimized keywords, then this could’ve been 10 times better.

This is probably definitely the whiskey talking, but these YouTube fireplace videos are emblematic of everything that’s wrong with society these days. They’ve tossed out all the little imperfections that make life interesting and enjoyable, and instead given us an idealized “perfect” version that’s flat, flavorless, and sterilized in the name of mass appeal. This fireplace video is the spiritual equivalent of an Instagram-filtered photo of an Uncrustables PB&J sandwich.

2/10

Cozy Fireplace 4K (No Music 24/7). Burning Fireplace Sounds. Relaxing Fireplace with Burning Logs (YouTube)

Jesus Christ. I was lured in by the fact that this video is apparently “live” and streaming from Sweden, but it appears that I was deceived. This is a ruse. It’s effectively the same video as the first two. Same loop, different logs. I feel empty inside. YouTube fireplace videos are all the same. I’ve seen enough.

0/10

A Fireplace For Your Home (Netflix)

Right off the bat, Netflix’s fireplace video offering seems much more promising. Not only does this one have opening credits (which are hilarious, because it’s just one guy named George Ford), but it also appears to be more than just a 30-second loop.

Ok, yeah, definitely not a loop. This is a full-fledged, start-to-finish fire experience that kicks off with George lighting the logs, and runs straight through, uninterrupted, until the logs have turned to ash and the flames are on the verge of dying out. Bravo. I’m actually impressed that it burned so well without any poking or log adjustment.

My only complaints are that this video looks like it was filmed in 2010 (because it was), and the corny Christmas music can’t be muted without also nixing the crackling noises.

7/10

A Fireplace For Your Home: Classic Edition (Netflix)

We’re back, baby! Same fireplace, but this time in 4K! And it sounds like George dished out for a microphone upgrade, too? The crackling and popping sounds are crisper, cleaner, and have more oomph in this installment. And no cheesy Christmas music either!

Wow. This is damn near perfect. Once again George has flexed his pyrotechnical muscle and built us an excellent fire that burns cleanly for over two hours — and we get to experience the whole thing raw and uncut, from first light to roaring apex to dwindling coals. A masterpiece. I don’t know if this can be topped.

10/10

A Fireplace For Your Home: Birchwood Edition (Netflix)

Ok, I was wrong. I thought George Ford had peaked with the Classic Edition, but this Birchwood Edition is on a completely different level. There’s just something about knowing what kind of wood he’s burning that makes it more captivating and authentic. It’s like a cage-free egg, Himalayan pink salt, or Egyptian cotton bed sheets: The rational part of your brain knows it’s really not any different than the standard version, but that tantalizingly specific bit of additional detail makes the whole experience feel richer somehow.

This is chicken soup for my hipster millennial soul. Now I’m never going to be able to go back to fireplace videos where I don’t know what kind of wood they’re burning. Is it oak? Pine? Shagbark hickory!? Tell me! Whisper it in my ear all sexy so I can feel alive again for just one precious moment!

11/10

Relaxing Beach Campfire 8 hours (Amazon Prime Video)

I’m absolutely certain that this one isn’t going to hold a candle to the magnum opus that I just watched from the legendary George Ford, but I feel compelled to keep going and see what lies beyond the bounds of YouTube and Netflix. This one is available for free to Amazon Prime Video subscribers, and while it technically isn’t a Yule log or fireplace video, it does fulfill the requirement of putting flames on my TV for ambiance. Here goes nothing.

Ok. I can dig it. The ocean waves in the background are admittedly a nice touch. And damn — they actually add logs to the fire on this one. Respect. This is the real deal.

Unfortunately whoever shot this didn’t read the instruction manual on their camera. Somehow they managed to make a video of a standalone light source look dark. Like, really dark. I’m getting flashbacks to that one episode of Game of Thrones, and I don’t like it.

But more importantly, what kind of wood are we burning here, people?! I must know!

6/10

Christmas Cartoon Fireplace: A Yule Log of Fun (TubiTV)

First of all: Ads!? On a fireplace video?! You’ve got to be kidding me. Ten points from Gryffindor.

Second of all: What in the ever-loving hell is going on here? I feel like I’m inside some sort of nostalgic fever dream. It’s a fireplace, but there’s also a TV playing obscure 1950s rubber hose cartoons, and a tacky old radio playing music to accompany it. So I guess the idea is that you can watch weird old cartoons and enjoy the fire? I mean, don’t get me wrong — watching two screens at once isn’t unusual for me, but if I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna do it MY way: By watching one thing on the TV and then another thing on my phone, just as God intended.  Two things on the TV at once is against my religion.

That said, I’ve got to give this props for its sheer level of weirdness. It’s got that Sharknado-esque “so-bad-it’s-good” kind of charm going on, which does make it more fun than those godawful YouTube loops I started with.

5/10

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