What is the Amazon Fire TV Stick?
Boasting access to over 500,000 movies and TV episodes, the Amazon Fire TV Stick is the best-selling streaming stick on the market. A big step up from its previous incarnation, the 2019 Fire TV Stick 4K lets users stream ultra-high-definition video with Dolby Vision, HDR, and HDR10+ technology.
Amazon’s Alexa voice-activated technology is built into the Fire TV Stick remote, which allows you to simply “Ask Alexa” to change the channel or search for a show you would like to watch. Synching the Fire TV Stick to a smart speaker such as Amazon’s Echo Dot can also turn it into a hands-free device.
How much does the Amazon Fire TV Stick cost?
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K sells for $49.99 on Amazon.com. The cost may vary if you purchase the device from a retailer such as Best Buy, Target, or Staples.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick at a glance
|Amazon Fire TV|
|Size||108 mm x 30 mm x 14 mm|
Amazon Fire TV Stick streaming services and apps
There is enough content available through the Fire TV Stick 4K for a lifetime of viewing. It works with all the big names you would expect to see, including HBO, Hulu, Netflix, Sling TV, and YouTube TV. It also gives you access to Amazon’s vast movie and music collection. Free content is available through apps such as Pluto TV, which lets users stream over 250 channels, including CNN, PeopleTV, MTV, and NBC. In addition, Pluto TV also allows users access to thousands of movies on demand.
As with most streaming devices, however, the big catch with the Amazon Fire TV Stick is that much of the most popular content is only available via subscriptions from major providers.
Subscribers to Amazon Prime, which costs $12.99/mo., can use the Fire TV Stick 4K to access Prime Video. A regular Amazon Prime membership comes with tons of perks, including free shipping.
Amazon Prime Video, which can be purchased separately for $8.99/mo., delivers over 100 TV channels. It also features Amazon Original productions such as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.
Amazon Prime members can also stream millions of songs via Amazon Music with the Fire TV Stick 4K, while any digital content bought via Amazon is eligible for free cloud storage.
A subscription to HBO costs $14.99 /mo. It offers original content such as Game of Thrones and Westworld, alongside a broad range of documentaries and TV series.
Hulu: Hulu’s basic plan costs $5.99/mo. And its ad-free option will set you back $11.99/mo. The ad-free live TV plan is $60.99/mo. All plans include access to Hulu’s on-demand content. The service’s library contains thousands of movies as well as original shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale and Marvel’s Runaways.
Hulu’s Live TV plans have ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC in select locations. It also carries CNN, CBS Sports Network, and ESPN.
Netflix’s basic-plan costs $8.99/mo. and allows subscribers to watch the service on 1 screen at a time. Its premium, $15.99/mo. plan has 4 simultaneous streams and includes access to ultra-high-definition content.
Myriad movies, documentaries, and TV series are available to all Netflix subscribers, along with the service’s original productions such as Narcos, BoJack Horseman, and Stranger Things.
Sling TV is a cable replacement service that provides live TV streaming, plus over 4,000 movies and TV episodes.
Its Orange plan costs $30/mo. and features over 30 channels, including Bloomberg Television, ESPN, and CNN. Sling’s Blue plan ($30/mo.) offers more than 45 channels, such as FOX News and National Geographic. A plan combining both the Orange and Blue packages costs $45/mo.
In addition to a wealth of movies and TV content, dozens of games are also available through the Fire TV Stick, including freebies such as Pac-Man, Candy Crush Saga, and Minion Rush.
Live TV Streaming on the Amazon Fire TV Stick
Earlier this year, Amazon introduced support for live TV streaming services with Fire TV. Sling TV, YouTube TV, and Hulu Live TV all integrate into the Fire TV. This allows you to browse live TV channels across different apps within the interface and allows Amazon’s Fire TV service to provide recommendations for you. These channels will appear in the Fire TV integrated channel guide, which shows content across all of your streaming services, and can be customized by selecting favorite channels.
Once integrated, live channels will also appear in your Recents and the On Now sections of the home screen. This will also enable a Live tab, which will organize programs on your live streaming services of choice based on what you recently watched, categories of interest like sports and news, and content from specific providers.
Fire TV Stick vs the Fire TV – What’s the difference between?
Given the naming convention, it can be easy to confuse the Fire TV and the Fire TV Stick. The two products do share a fair number of similarities. Both provide an over-the-top interface that helps you collect your streaming services under one roof. They offer access to Amazon’s Fire TV experience, which is the company’s interface that lets you log in to your services and access the content in one place. Both plug directly into your TV via HDMI port and both have a remote that allows you to navigate the interface. As of the most recent release of each product, both support 4K streaming.
There are some differences between these services, though:
- At $49.99, the Fire TV Stick is a more budget-friendly option.
- Fire TV costs $99.
- The Fire TV Stick is smaller, at just three inches long.
- Fire TV is faster and more responsive with 2GB of RAM to the Fire TV Stick’s 1GB.
- Fire TV has additional ports: USB and microSD for storage and Ethernet for internet.
- Fire TV Stick connects only via Wi-Fi and does not support expanded storage.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K features
HDMI and Internet
The Fire Stick 4K slots into the HDMI port of compatible televisions. It comes with an extender cable, which Amazon recommends using with Wi-Fi connections. The device relies on a dual antenna and requires a high-speed internet connection of at least 15 Mbps. Amazon says an internet connection of at least 20 Mbps is needed to watch 4K shows on platforms such as Netflix.
A compatible ultra high definition television is required to watch 4K quality shows via the Fire Stick, which offers Dolby vision and high-quality Dolby Atmos surround sound. It also incorporates HDR and HDR10+ visual technology.
With a fast quad-core processor and 8 GB of internal storage, the device has plenty of speed and storage space.
Just one profile can be set up on the Fire TV Stick, although Amazon does allow more than 1 device to be registered to a single account.
With such a wealth of content, many parents will want to set controls over what their children can watch via the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K.
The device has settings that permit parents to limit content from Prime Video and other channels based on rating categories to make sure children are restricted to age-appropriate content.
The final cut
The incorporation of easy-to-use Alexa voice-activation technology sets the Amazon Fire TV Stick apart from other streaming devices. However, to take full advantage of its voice-activated technology and convert the Fire TV Stick 4K into a hands-free device, you will need to sync it to a smart speaker such as Amazon’s Echo Dot.
The Fire TV streaming stick offers a wealth of programming via apps from providers such as Amazon Prime Video, HBO, Hulu, Netflix, and Sling TV. Combine that with high-quality visual technology, and at just a penny under $50, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K offers unbeatable value.
Learn more about all Amazon Fire TV devices here.