Streaming content over the Internet has become a major player in many homes as a way to watch programming. There are many choices on how you can get Netflix, HuluPlus, Crackle, YouTube, or any host of other online content providers onto your television, and today we’re going to take a look at the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
We all know Amazon sells things. They also make things, and while their attempt at a phone didn’t fare so well, the Kindle, Kindle Fire, and this Fire TV Stick can be easily considered successes. As an Amazon Prime subscriber, I can stream content like TV, movies, and music from Amazon and their considerable library. They’ve even jumped into the original content game, most notably with original series Bosch, adding another arrow into their quiver of technology and taking on the world.
Like the Google Chromecast, the Fire TV Stick plugs straight into an HDMI port on any display, powered via USB. Most TVs have these USB ports available, but I found that it wasn’t drawing enough power so I just used the Fire TV Stick’s enclosed AC adapter. Like any streaming device, it requires Internet connectivity, and this works on Wi-Fi. Initial setup is a breeze and if you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, you have access to a lot of content. Notably added this year were many an offering from HBO original programming, so getting caught up on The Wire, Deadwood, and Six Feet Under are there to enjoy.
Under the hood, Amazon fit a dual-core CPU, VideoCore4 GPU, 8GB of storage and a wireless radio inside something the size of a pack of gum. From a specs standpoint, it’s a step up from devices like the Chromecast or the Roku Streaming Stick, which means it can also run some basic games. I didn’t get to test that part of things, instead focusing on what I got it for, which is accessing my Amazon Prime content. I use my Prime subscription constantly, saving a ton of money on two-day shipping, and having other perks like all this streaming content, as part of that yearly rate is lagniappe (pun intended).
If you don’t have Amazon Prime, don’t get this device. There’s no point. If you do have Prime, then this is perfect for you, as it can also access Netflix, HuluPlus, Crackle, Flixster, and even Plex, which I use on my home network for content. I can do all this on my Chromecast too, but the Amazon Fire TV Stick does have a version that comes with a physical remote, which Chromecast doesn’t offer.
With the remote, the price of the Amazon Fire TV Stick is $39.00, and if you have Prime you’ll have it in two days. They sell them locally in retailers too if you can’t wait, but you have Amazon Prime already, right?
If you have a Prime subscription, this is a winner. If you don’t, then the Chromecast or Roku solution might be a better choice for playing your Internet streaming content on your television.