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.
I bought one for $19 during the presale. I received it yesterday.
Our upstairs TV has a Vizio Co-Star LT hooked to it and the Amazon app is now terrible. It seems there will never be an update for it. Plus, the Netflix and Hulu apps are antiquated. So, my plan is to replace the Co-Star with the Fire Stick.
One thing I really appreciate is that when you receive it, the Fire Stick is already configured with your Amazon Prime Account. That is a nice customer service point.
The Fire Stick is worth $19 to me just to get an updated Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu apps.
One thing that I really like about the Co-Star is that it has pass through HDMI. So, you run your cable HDMI into the Co-Star and then HDMI out to the TV. It just has better integration with the TV and cable experience. None of the other streaming devices I have seen do this and I suppose that will never change. So, having to switch the TV input to the Fire Stick will be something I have to deal with.
You CAN cast certain apps from an Android device to the Fire Stick. YouTube and Netflix both work, but they seem to be the only ones. The Co-Star allows casting for those as well. Personally, I prefer casting over the on screen interface. I still can’t get over how cool it is to find video or music on a device and cast it to a TV.
So far, the Fire Stick seems a good device that is well built. I’ll be test driving a few more days before I unhook the Vizio Co-Star.
It will be nice if this integrates with the upcoming Echo. So that if I say “Alexa show appointment calendar” my calendar will pop up on my TV.
Comments are closed.