Amazon Intros Fire TV Stick, Competes with Google Chromecast
While Amazon introduced its first television device -- the Amazon Fire TV -- less than seven months ago, the company is ready to make its second play for the living room market with a stick device. The Amazon Fire TV Stick looks like the Google Chromecast at first glance, but it seems targeted to a more of a mainstream buyer.
The Fire TV Stick plugs directly into a television's HDMI port, so there's no set-top box to position. Owners can use their phones to control selections, but they're more likely to use the included remote. Unlike the Chromecast, the Fire TV Stick comes with a remote. That's a good idea, since the device only offers Fire Phone and Android apps at launch. Amazon says an iOS app is in the works. Fire TV apps include voice search. The included remote doesn't include voice search but a $29 optional remote does.
Amazon is hyping the Fire TV Stick on its components, which include a dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB of storage, and dual-band dual-antenna Wi-Fi. It has twice the memory of Chromecast, Amazon says, and will intelligently pre-buffer Amazon content so viewers get instant start-up times.
The Fire TV Stick differs from the Chromecast in casting abilities. The appeal of the Chromecast is that developers can build Chromecast support into their apps, which hundreds have done, allowing users to stream directly from their favorite apps. Amazon says its stick supports casting for YouTube and Spotify, with Netflix coming soon.
For households already invested in the Amazon ecosystem, the Fire TV Stick is a good idea. It's available now for pre-order for $39, but Amazon Prime members can get it for $19 for the next two days (with a limit of two per customer). Amazon syncs video and music content automatically between Amazon devices, the stick can access personal content from Amazon Cloud Drive accounts, and purchased content is stored in the cloud. Existing Roku or Apple TV owners, however, probably won't be tempted to switch.
Owners will be able to control their cable boxes, sound bars, TVs, and more with Amazon's latest connected TV device. Prime members can get it for less if they hurry.
07 Jun 2018
The Fire TV Stick With Alexa Voice Remote will sell for $39.99, adding voice assistance that can find a movie, check the weather, and order a pizza.
28 Sep 2016
Original series and movies are proving crucial for video-on-demand services, so Amazon is doubling down from its $1.3B 2014 budget.
18 Jun 2015
Hollywood and Silicon Valley have created explosive new options for both viewers and video advertisers; Google sees a new golden age.
13 Apr 2015
Streaming 4K video will be a major theme at next week's CES, but manufacturers need to ditch the outdated HDMI connector for TV viewing.
02 Jan 2015
Netflix is no longer the only option for 4K streaming. Amazon Prime members can view 4K for no additional cost.
10 Dec 2014
As a connected device for viewing content, the Fire TV is nothing special—at least not yet. But as a way to get you to buy more stuff from Amazon, it could be the ultimate Trojan horse.
05 Apr 2014
Fire TV costs $99 and includes a fast processor, voice search, thousands of games, and parental controls.
02 Apr 2014
Using Chromecast is dead simple and a pleasure, but there isn't yet much it can do. How much will that change when the SDK is finally released?
27 Sep 2013