I own a lot of streaming media devices. Among them is a Chromecast, Roku 3, Apple TV, Blu-ray player with apps and a Sharp Smart TV (which lacks the Amazon app…), but the Fire TV Stick really stands out with its speedy ASAP launching of streaming content in HD, mirroring capabilities, game selection and a rock bottom price.
The fact that it allows users to enjoy 7.1 surround sound is a huge perk too!
Especially when using this device on a TV hooked up to a 7.1 AV receiver with compatible speakers. Enjoying music services like Amazon Prime Music and Pandora becomes a true pleasure using this device.
A wonderful gift idea, it’s one of the easiest ways to access a ton of movies, TV shows, documentaries, music and games, for very little money!
PERFECT FOR CUTTING THE CORD
First, full disclosure.
I ordered the Fire TV Stick during a special promo for Prime members that offered the device for $19 with a limit of 2. I jumped at the chance to be one of the first Amazon customers to give this one a go, receiving the Fire TV Stick just yesterday. Currently Amazon is accepting orders, but indicating they won’t be shipped until January 2015. (Not really ideal timing on their part for the Christmas holiday, but something tells me they’ll bump up production and surprise us.)
In for two, I anxiously awaited their arrival.
Upon unboxing I found all the pieces I needed in working order, and simple instructions on how to set it up. A nice bonus was the HDMI extender adapter that came with the product. Helpful if you have a HDTV with a HDMI connection that wouldn’t otherwise allow for the Fire TV Stick to be inserted.
Currently I have one Fire Stick attached to a bedroom HDTV and the other is connected to my a monitor in my home office. Both devices are connected to my home network that is powered by a TP-Link wireless router connected to Charter high speed internet at 60 Mbps.
I’m a cord cutter.
Cord cutting means I don’t have cable or satellite TV, I use the internet and over-the-air TV via a Mohu Leaf 50 HDTV antenna for my entertainment. (I actually wrote a book about how to cut the cord called “Simple Guide to Over-the-Air Free TV”.)
I have used many streaming devices, but none have had ASAP (Advanced Streaming And Prediction) as this one does. Whatever it is, it makes a tremendous difference on the speed with which videos start to play. No buffering or waiting for video to load with the Fire TV Stick. A great perk!
IT’S NOT COMPLICATED
Even non-techy types will love this device!
The Amazon Fire TV Stick is built with high tech hardware inside, but it has a simple user interface that isn’t complicated to setup and use. Take it out of the box, plug it into an available HDMI port on a HDTV or monitor and get started.
You need to know your wireless network password and if you’re a subscriber to Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon or other subscription service you’ll want to have those passwords handy too when you get started.
From unboxing to setup it should take less than 15 minutes to plug it in, setup your network connection, update the device software, watch the intro video and start picking out your apps.
READY TO HIT THE ROAD
Did you say ‘road trip’?
The Fire TV Stick is highly portable and once your apps have been loaded into the memory on the device, you can unplug it and take it with you to a friend’s house, on vacation or off to college. You’ll just have to enter the wireless password for any new networks you want to hook up to at your new location. Your subscription service information and apps will be retained by the device.
Paired with an Amazon Prime subscription the Fire TV Stick is incredible in terms of the amount of content that’s available and readily available at any location in the US.
NOT THE SAME AS THE FIRE TV, BUT CLOSE
At only $39, the Amazon Fire TV Stick is a great deal and very much like the more expensive Fire TV.
The Fire TV Stick doesn’t have the voice activation feature installed on the included remote that the Fire TV does, but you can get a free Android app to gain that feature through your smartphone or buy the updated voice remote, on Amazon. (This remote works with the Fire TV too, and is paired with the devices in Settings.)
The device is limited in that it has 8 GB of storage space, that is actually 5. 57 GB when you consider the operating system takes up some of it. Not really the 8 gigs promised. When you start downloading apps and games, that storage space is reduced without a way to gain more without removing installed apps.
In future Stick versions I’d expect Amazon to offer different storage size or options. Although the use of Cloud storage for Amazon Music and Photos is integrated and readily accessible on the device, so maybe not? The device does not have the ability to add more storage space via a microSD card or similar.
The dual core processor isn’t as fast as the Fire TV, but for this low price point and features, who really cares? It’s definitely faster than Chromecast and the Roku Stick, with a lot more features and easier to use.
- Low Price
- Ease of Use
- Highly Portable
- Large Number of Apps
- Types of Apps: Streaming Video (Netflix, Amazon Instant Video), Music (FREE Amazon Prime Music) & Games
- Android & iOS Remote Apps Available for Voice Input
- Fast, ASAP Launching of Content
- 7.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound (when streaming media supports it).
- 1GB Memory with 8GB Storage
- Dual Core Processor
- With Fire Phone or Tablet you can ‘Fling’ Content to HDTV.
- Mirroring of Android Tablet or Phone via Fire TV Stick; in Settings. *Miracast certified.
- View Photo Slideshows on HDTV via Device.
- Prime Music (for Prime members) Can Be Streamed as can Pandora.
- Similar functionality to Amazon Fire TV without the big price tag!
- Ability to use Bluetooth controllers.
- Parental Controls
- Game controller is available on Amazon.
- Cool screensaver feature.
- Connects to laptops, monitors and HDTVs via HDMI for viewing on the go.
- Remote, if lost, costs $15 to replace.
- Slide to insert batteries into the remote is very difficult to get open.
- You cannot thwart the opening video upon setup.
- Device automatically registered to purchaser; can be changed at setup.
- Applications are automatically setup to send App Usage Data to Amazon; can be turned off in Settings.
- 8GB Storage is actually a little over 5GB.
- Software updates may be slow.
- Downloading apps takes up space on the device, versus most used apps like Netflix and Amazon Instant being installed prior to shipment.
- The remote is small and easy to lose.
- Fire TV Stick gets warm to the touch when in use.
- Game play is not great with the included TV remote; get the game pad (not included).
- Uses Wifi, no wired internet option. (Not a real ‘Con’ to me, but it’s worth a mention.)
- No HBO GO app; not an issue for those without HBO.
NOTE: While I did list some Cons, none are significant enough to make me dislike this budget priced streaming device with abounding features and performance.
I could go on and on, but these are the apps I immediately added to my Amazon Fire TV Stick and think you might enjoy.
You’ve got several genres of apps within the video apps to choose from on the device. Some are free while others require a purchase or a subscription. You have the option to add Video, Game and Music apps on the device.
My favorite apps for the Amazon Fire TV Stick:
- Netflix – 1 month free is awesome, and at only $8 per month it’s totally worth it.
- Hulu Plus – 7 days free, and only $8 per month; great option to those who don’t have a DVR.
- Pluto.TV – It’s free online and with the app. Gives you tons of fantastic content both for music videos and programming. If you like HGTV programming, comedy programming, cooking shows and sports – get this one.
- TuneIn Radio – worldwide radio stations are so fun!
- Chicchild Fish Aquarium – turns your TV or monitor into an aquarium, complete with gentle filter and bubble sounds.
- Red Bull TV – if you like extreme sports, check it out.
- Docurama – Documentaries of all kinds; very educational.
- CBS News – Get the highlights of the evening broadcast without commercials.
- tubi tv – Fraggle Rock episodes. Need I say more?
- All Recipes – It’s food porn. YUM!
SO MANY REASONS TO BUY IT
I can’t think of any reason you wouldn’t want to get this device and try it out. The Amazon Fire TV comes with a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee!
The Amazon Fire TV Stick is so much more than the Chromecast (which lacks the Amazon App and access to both Amazon Music and Instant Video) and Roku Stick (only 256MB of flash memory compared to 1GB with the Firet TV Stick) devices which are sold at close to the same price point.
The simple user interface, guided setup and fast performance are a pleasure to use, and I’m still shaking my head at how inexpensive this thing is!
The Fire TV Stick comes with a 1 year warranty, and a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee. If you don’t ‘love it’, you can return it in new condition for a full refund. (Trust me. You’re gonna love it!)
If you want to, you can buy a Fire TV voice remote and pair it with the device in settings. Alternatively, you can get the FREE Android or iOS apps to use voice commands via your phone or tablet.
Assuming its durability is good, it’s going to please many, many consumers. I’m very impressed with this device and happy to recommend it to cord cutters and non-cord cutters alike.
Order the Amazon Fire TV Stick today. You won’t be disappointed!
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING TRAVEL PER AMAZON…
“If you’re traveling with Fire TV Stick, you can access apps and games you’ve downloaded to your device.
With a U.S. address and credit card, you’ll also be able to purchase new apps and games for Fire TV Stick while you are abroad.
To access Amazon Instant Video movies and TV shows, you must be physically present in the U.S. and have a U.S. billing address. Many third-party services and media apps are not available outside the U.S.”