Amazon is releasing a brand new product called the Amazon Fire TV Stick to compete with Google Chromecast and the Roku Streaming Stick. It is priced at $39 and currently has far greater specs than its competition. Pre-ordering has begun and the Fire TV Stick will ship on November 19th.
Like its competitors (Google Chromecast and Roku Streaming Stick), it is a small device that plugs into the HDMI port on your HDTV and is powered by a micro USB cord that can plug either into your TV or into the wall for power.
Dedicated Remote App
The Amazon Fire TV Stick does not come with a physical remote, but it offers a free Remote App for Android phones. They state that the iOS remote app is coming soon. If you wish to get your hands on on the physical remote, it is an extra $29.99. If you are an iPhone user and you do not want to wait for the iOS Remote App to be released, paying an extra $29.99 is your only option.
Movies, TV, and Games
The Amazon Fire TV Stick will strive to combine all of your favorite subscriptions and streaming services with Amazon’s selection of digital content. Big services such as Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus and much more are included. Despite that, one notable service that will be absent during launch is HBO Go, but is promised to be released before the end of December.
One feature that Amazon is heavily pushing is its support for casual mobile gaming on the TV. With support for games such as Flappy Birds Family, Toy Story: Smash It!, Monsters University, and more, perhaps this may be where the Fire TV Stick’s superior hardware will shine with great gaming performance.
(Click on the images to see a full list of what is available on the Amazon Fire TV stick)
How Does it Compare to its Competition?
Features, UI, and Mirroring
The Fire TV Stick seems to have combined features from both of its main two competitors. In terms of usability, it works most similarly to the Roku Streaming Stick. Like the Roku Streaming Stick, the Amazon Fire TV Stick will have its own home screen when turning on the TV.
Google Chromecast, on the other hand, requires you to use another device such as a Smartphone or Computer to cast content onto the TV but the Fire TV Stick includes a similar feature. The Fire TV Stick allows screen mirroring on Mira-cast enabled phones and tablets for some apps like YouTube and Spotify. So in terms of usability, Amazon seems to have grabbed some features from its two competitors.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick boasts of having over 200 games and being the only streaming stick to have a functioning voice search. In terms of hardware, the Amazon Fire TV stick dominates its competition. It has the greatest processor, the most memory, and the largest flash storage capacity when compared to its competitors. While that is true, in time we will be able to find out if those greater specs will show a significant performance boost in real world use.
If you are interested in seeing a full comparison chart provided by Amazon, look at the chart below:
Fire TV vs Fire TV Stick
You may also be wondering what the difference is between the Amazon Fire TV Stick and its predecessor Amazon Fire TV. Both will operate similarly with the same user interface, remote, and remote app. The main difference will be its size and specs. The Amazon Fire TV will be larger but far more powerful while the Fire TV Stick will take up far less space due to its smaller size at the cost being less powerful.
If you are interested in seeing a complete comparison between the Fire TV Stick and the original Fire TV, look at the chart below: (click to expand)
Should I Get the Amazon Fire TV Stick?
The Amazon Fire TV Stick looks like a great product. It has the largest selection of games, integration of Amazon Instant Video, includes every popular streaming service at launch (besides HBO Go), and has a fully functional voice search. If you already have some sort of streaming media player such as the Roku Streaming Stick, Google Chromecast, or Apple TV then there is no need to get the Amazon Fire TV stick unless you are dissatisfied and wish to try out something new. If you have the original Amazon Fire TV, there is definitely no need to get the Amazon Fire TV Stick unless you are trying to save save space since the original Amazon Fire TV will outperform the Fire TV Stick.