Should you buy an Amazon Fire TV Stick? With more new models entering the market and a sleek Fire TV interface that’s only set to get better this year, there are plenty of reasons to join Amazon’s streaming ecosystem.
While streaming sticks first appeared in the limelight as a way to upgrade old ‘dumb’ TVs, adding a smart TV interface and selection of apps where there weren’t any, they have now become a way to enhance or complement what’s available on a current smart TV.
With Panasonic TVs that don’t support Disney Plus and many Android TVs still settle for a more complicated interface than hoped for, using a separate streaming stick as a supplement to specific services or to make general browsing a little leaner, it̵
Things get more confusing when trying to choose which streaming stick to buy, though. Here we’ll focus on what’s available in the Amazon Fire TV range, although you can also check out our guide to the best Roku streaming device, compare Fire TV vs Roku, or head to our dedicated pages for the new Fire TV Stick Lite and Fire TV Stick (2020).
It’s worth noting that Amazon Prime Day 2020 is coming in mid-October (13-14), with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales starting a few weeks later. We expect to see some Fire TV devices see discounts, so it may take a while to see what deals are available.
Today’s best Fire TV streaming deals
How much does a Fire TV streaming stick cost?
Previously, the Fire TV range wasn’t the cheapest way to get a TV streamer, with the extension Roku Express also shrinks the cheaper Fire TV stick. However, it has now changed, with the introduction of the Fire TV Stick Lite, which is only sold for $ 29.99 / £ 29.99 / AU $ 59.99. (This is the only Fire TV model available in Australia.)
On top of that, there’s a Fire TV Stick (2020), also an HD streamer, which retails for $ 39.99 / £ 39.99 – or Fire TV Stick 4K, an Ultra HD streamer that will cost you $ 49.99 / £ 49.99.
For a true upgrade, check out the Fire TV Cube, which is basically a combo Amazon Echo, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and an all-in-one TV / AV Control Center – available for $ 119.99 / £ 109.00.
What does Fire TV have that others don’t?
All in all, there aren’t too many differences between the Fire TV and other streaming ranges like Roku or Google Chromecast. They all connect to the TV via an HDMI port, offer a mix of either HD or 4K resolution – depending on how much you’re willing to pay – and have pretty similar app support.
The key difference with the Fire TV is its Alexa Voice remote. This is a clicker for navigating the Fire TV platform that comes with a voice command button to ask Alexa to summon specific programs, apps or the like. For all Fire TV devices other than the Fire TV Stick Lite, which makes do with a simplified remote, you also get play and volume buttons to control your TV or even connected audio hardware, like sound bars or AV receivers.
Another advantage is that it supports more and different apps than other streaming devices. For example, downloading an Amazon Fire TV Stick VPN is a fantastic way to open up a world of content from other countries and make sure you don’t miss your favorite shows and movies when you’re abroad.
HDR formats on Fire TV
Amazon also makes the curious decision to support HDR on its HD devices as well, rather than saving it exclusively for 4K models. You also get support for dynamic HDR formats HDR10 + and Dolby Vision, something you won’t find on Roku or Chromecast devices yet.
Even high-powered streamers like Nvidia Shield TV Pro or Apple TV 4K are content with only Dolby Vision, lacking HDR10 +, the latter being Amazon’s preferred HDR format on Amazon Prime Video. If you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber and want the best experience from these services, as well as the smoothest voice assistant experience, the Fire TV is probably the way to go.
Amazon Fire TV Streamer: Should You Buy One?
If you’re looking to upgrade your dumb TV to the world of online smartphones or want to improve the app selection on the smart TV you already own, an Amazon Fire TV streamer is a great bet. It’s simple to use and it’s also a sensible choice if you’ve bought into the Amazon Prime ecosystem.
Amazon Prime Video watchers will receive HDR10 +, which is hard to find on other streamers, and the Alexa remote is a sleek, well-designed one for those who are happy to put Amazon’s voice assistant at the center of their smart home.
It goes without saying, however, that if you’re happy with your TV’s smart platform as it is, there aren’t many reasons to invest here.