Amazon Fire TV Stick is Perfect for Cord Cutters

Amazon Fire TV Stick is Perfect for Cord Cutters

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.

 

The Fire TV Stick is a super easy way to add Amazon Instant Video services, Netflix, and Hulu Plus to any HDTV or monitor with a HDMI port via a WiFi connection.

 

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.

 

Throw in a Netflix subscription ($8 a month after 1 month free trial) and a Hulu Plus ($8 a month after a free 7 day trial) and you’ve got a plethora of entertainment for very little money.

 

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.)

 

Amazon Fire TV Stick app

Download for FREE in the Amazon Appstore

 

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.

 

 

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PROS:

 

  • 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.

 

 

CONS:

 

  • 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.

 

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FAVORITE APPS

 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:

 

  1. Netflix – 1 month free is awesome, and at only $8 per month it’s totally worth it.
  2. Hulu Plus – 7 days free, and only $8 per month; great option to those who don’t have a DVR.
  3. 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.
  4. TuneIn Radio – worldwide radio stations are so fun!
  5. Chicchild Fish Aquarium – turns your TV or monitor into an aquarium, complete with gentle filter and bubble sounds.
  6. Red Bull TV – if you like extreme sports, check it out.
  7. Docurama – Documentaries of all kinds; very educational.
  8. CBS News – Get the highlights of the evening broadcast without commercials.
  9. tubi tv – Fraggle Rock episodes. Need I say more?
  10. All Recipes – It’s food porn. YUM!
Amazon Fire TV Stick Size

Check out how small the Amazon Fire TV Stick and remote really are, using this SD card reader for comparison.

 

 

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!

 

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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.”

 

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Back To School Amazon Style

It’s no secret that I love Amazon for its products and services, but parents and students are surprised to learn of enhanced Prime membership benefits, free trials and extended services and deals, just for students.

Join Amazon Student FREE Two-Day Shipping for College Students – Get special Prime benefits, just for students!
Most recently Amazon Prime membership has gotten the added perk of Prime Music. Any digital music – song, album or playlist – marked as ‘Prime’, can be nabbed for FREE if you are an Amazon Prime member!

My favorites are the Prime Music playlist. You add the playlist to your Amazon Music library and then get the Amazon Music app for PC, Mac, Android (Amazon Appstore) or iOS (Apple devices need the app which can be found in the iTunes Appstore).  All of the apps are FREE and allow you to listen to the FREE Prime Music, and download the music to your devices to listen even when you don’t have internet access.

The Prime Music benefit is ideal for students who constantly crave music!  My daughter is 15 and can’t get enough music.  Prime Music has virtually eliminated the need to purchase any, and when we are in the car she streams her downloaded playlists to the Bluetooth car stereo for everyone to enjoy!

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 We also use Prime Instant Video to supplement our cord cutter lifestyle. This is also ideal for college students who have access to the internet, but may not have cable TV in their dorm rooms.

You can watch on a PC or on a streaming device like Roku, Blu-ray player or Smart TV with the Amazon Instant Video app installed.

Did you know you get 5GB of FREE Amazon Cloud storage?  You don’t have to be a Prime member for this benefit – it’s for any Amazon customer to use to store their media. You can purchase more storage, and it’s about half the cost of Apple’s iCloud storage.

You can also test drive apps for FREE! Here’s a link to the page with the latest Android apps.

Prime Pantry is a very new program for Amazon.  When it came out my first thought was how great it would be to setup college care packages!

Prime Pantry allows you to select from grocery items and ship them for one low price. The cool part is that as you fill your box, you get a running total of the weight so that you can adjust as needed to stuff your box.

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Amazon has an extensive FREE Kindle book library that is available to anyone – even if you don’t have a Kindle device.

Download the Kindle Reading App; available for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android, and read FREE Kindle books or get your textbooks at big savings to read on any device!

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Whether you are a student, a parent, or just a savvy deal shopper, don’t pass up the chance at great savings on books, music, movies, snacks and sitewide savings. Check out these Amazon deals today!

Excellent High School Reunion Website Builder

Excellent High School Reunion Website Builder

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If you’re looking to easily build a professional looking high school reunion website, with features that include photo galleries, surveys, playlists, forums, memorial wall and instant chat, you need Class Creator!

Class Creator is full featured, and allows for extraordinary customization, leading to professional quality results.

Users will find it’s fun to establish a class website and add their own photos, logo and information quickly and easily using Class Creator.

Do I Need a High School Reunion Website?

Class Creator helps create a special place on the web for your class to gather information, relive high school memories through photos, music, forums and chats.

You can send out email invitations to your reunions through the site, as well as you and others can post photos from reunions directly to the site.

You can personalize settings so that as an administrator of the site (multiple admins are possible), you can leave membership open or make it by invitation only.

You can also have instant chats with any member who’s on the site at the same time you are, making it fun and easy to reconnect.

Multiple pages can be added to your site, allowing for your site to grow and change along with the class’ needs.

Want more information on how to reconnect with your own custom high school reunion website?

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How To Find Best Exercise Equipment Deals

Looking for fitness equipment deals?  The bargains are out there, but be sure you know what you’re looking for before you buy fitness equipment and you won’t end up paying too much.

How do you find the best deals on fitness equipment?

1. Decide whether to buy new or used.

Right now you can find deals on used equipment on Craigslist, but much of it is thrashed! People are buying new and replacing their old stuff, or just hoping to unload their under-used gear. Sometimes you’ll find a gem, but be sure you try it out before you agree to buy.

If you’re buying new treadmill, elliptical, rowing machine or other home gym machines, check the warranty to make sure it works for you.

Look for Free Shipping options too, as these heavy items can cost almost as much to ship as the items themselves.

2. Evaluate your current fitness and where you want to be 6 months from now and purchase accordingly.

  Everyone’s needs are different and we’re all a work in progress.  If you’re just beginning your fitness program, consider a trial gym membership to see what machines you like to use, what classes fit your personality, and to get a feel for your overall fitness level before you buy anything.

A gym experience may convince you a yoga class with 30 strangers is the way to go more than a home gym.

In contrast. time at the gym may solidify your desire to purchase a quality treadmill or elliptial to help you lose weight and get fit in 2013 at home.

Remember that an exercise equipment deal isn’t a deal at all if you end up not using it!

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3.  Read product reviews before purchasing fitness equipment.  

It’s great to be able to try out equipment before you purchase it, but you can’t always be that lucky, especially with big ticket items like treadmills or exercise bikes.

Reading  reviews like those on Amazon exercise products  is very helpful in evaluating whether those items will be good purchases for you.

What did the reviewers like and dislike about the item?  

Was it hard to put together?  

How is its durability?  

How was it shipped?

You can also leave comments or often contact reviewers directly to ask questions before you purchase when buying on Amazon, which along with their low prices makes their deals tough to beat.

Exercise Equipment at Amazon

4. Compare sellers, and product  features at the same price-point.  

 Items like dumbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, and yoga mats don’t have that many features that require evaluation prior to purchase.  Generally speaking, if you find a low price, it’s safe to buy them and assume you got a deal.

With home gyms, ellipticals, treadmills, rowing machines, exercise bikes and other fitness equipment costing $200 or more, it’s good to compare similar products to get the quality you want at the right price.

Pick a few similar items and do your reasearch.  Somtimes paying a bit more for an item pays off in durability and your overall happiness with an item.

Also compare sellers and what they have to offer.

Find the best price on the same item, and then look at warranties and associated promotions for the best deal.

Horizon Fitness  and LiveStrong Fitness have similar high quality  fitness machines and offer stellar service, warranties and Free Shipping.

After comparing products from various retailers you may find that key features you really want like an iPod dock aren’t available on lower priced items.

 If a feature is important to you and will likely extend your enjoyment of your new fitness equipment, it may be worth it to you to look for a deal at a higher price-point, but still continue to try and compare similar products to find the best deal.


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Exercise Machines & Fitness Gear at Linens n’ Things

If you need help finding current deals on exercise equipment, supplements, vitamins, or workout wear, feel free to contact the Savvy Sleuth by leaving a comment or sending a direct message.