Amazon’s new low-cost TV streaming device is now shipping. The company starting taking pre-orders for the Amazon Fire TV Stick in October, and now Amazon has announced that the first units are shipping to customers.
If you didn’t get in on the pre-order action you can still buy a Fire TV Stick. But you may have to wait a while to get yours: Amazon says new orders will be filled on a first-come, first served basis but a glance at the Fire TV Stick page suggests that orders placed today will be in stock on January 15th, 2015.
The Fire TV Stick is a small device that you can plug right into the HDMI port of your TV. It looks a bit like a Google Chromecast, and priced at $39 it’s just a tiny bit more expensive than Google’s media streaming device.
Amazon also sweetened the deal a bit by offering a 2-day promotion in October that let Amazon Prime subscribers order the Fire TV Stick for just $19. That might have something to do with why Amazon describes the Fire TV Stick as its “fastest-selling Amazon device ever.”
But Amazon’s Fire TV Stick comes with a wireless remote control and runs a number of apps and games natively so unlike a Chromecast, you can use a Fire TV Stick without a phone or tablet. You can use an optional Fire TV Remote app for Android or Fire Phone if you want to control the stick from your mobile device though. The mobile app also offers voice search functionality and the ability to enter text using your phone’s keyboard.
Amazon says its device also has twice the memory of a Chromecast, as well as dual-antenna MIMO WiFi. But this is still Amazon’s cheap TV streaming device.
The company will also continue to sell a $99 Fire TV which has a faster processor, more RAM, and other advanced features including a remote control that supports voice input — although if you really want to use voice controls with the Fire TV Stick you can buy a Voice remote for $30.
You can use either the $99 Fire TV or the $39 Fire TV Stick to stream internet music and video from Amazon, Pandora, Spotify, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and hundreds of other sources.