What is a Fire TV Stick? Review of Amazon’s Streaming Gem

What is a Fire TV Stick? Review of Amazon’s Streaming Gem

There are so many people wondering what is a Fire TV Stick, but the real question they want to be answered is can great performance really fit in the palm of your hand?

It seems like miniaturization is still a thing, even as our TV screens get bigger. Amazon now has a line of compact and affordable streaming devices, and the second product of the series is the Amazon Fire TV Stick. This fun-sized device was created to improve on the performance of the previous model, and it has.

Here is what to expect from Amazon’s second version of the TV stick:

What is a Fire TV Stick? Let’s take a look

The Fire TV stick is a rectangular dongle that measures 9 cm by 3cm. It has a light-grey plastic casing that is quite sturdy though it squeaks a little when squeezed. The device comes with a USB power cable, an HDMI cord and Alexa voice remote.

Alexa comes in very handy since it makes it easier for family members who aren’t tech savvy to use the services they enjoy? Grandpa or gr can’t get past the app screen, they can simply ask Alexa to play whatever they want to watch or listen to.

Back to answering the question what is a Fire TV Stick.

The TV stick plugs directly into a screen’s HDMI port, which is convenient. However, the neat freaks out there will notice the dongle sticking out of a screen that has HDMI ports on its side.

In fact, the TV stick may even be a tight fit on a wall-mounted TV with back facing ports. Luckily, the companion HDMI cable will allow you to keep your entertainment setup neat.

Setting up the Fire TV Stick

what is a fire tv stick

To get the Fire Stick running, you simply need to plug it in and power it. When it comes on, the stick will first find its voice remote and proceed to log onto the Wi-Fi network. Once online, the TV stick will ask you to log into your Amazon account.

And you are set. You should be looking at the home page of the device.

[Read what others are saying about the Amazon Fire Stick]

The interface

There are major improvements to report here. The interface is more appealing and more user-friendly than the one in the first model of the Fire TV stick. For starters, the main navigation menu on the home page is now at the top of the screen.

Under the menu comes the carousel with its suggested content. It takes up about half the screen. Below the carousel is the ‘recently watched’ section, which will hold your preferred content, once the fire stick learns your viewing habits.

At the bottom of the home page is the whole entire selection of channels, but once Fire TV learns what you watch, play or listen to, you will rarely have to go back there.

Content

The Amazon Fire TV Stick offers an expansive selection of channels and audio apps. If you can think of it, the Fire TV Stick probably has it. From CBS all access to Netflix, you will be spoiled for choice. There are also a few ‘niche’ games in there that are worth exploring.

Still wondering what is a Fire TV stick? Keep reading to learn more.

Features

The Fire TV Stick comes with Alexa. This means that you can use the microphone button on the voice remote to give voice commands to the TV stick. Thanks to Alexa, the Fire TV Stick can be made to control smart home devices and do a host of other useful Alexa things.

The search function of the TV Stick works fairly well. Although the device was made with Amazon Prime subscribers in mind, content from other providers features prominently in its search results. That said, you have to be really specific with your search terms to get the exact results you want.

One cool addition to the user experience is the drop-down IMDb panel that appears when you press the ‘up’ button on the remote. The panel will give you interesting information about the thing you are watching.

Performance

Look forward to improved performance thanks to hardware upgrades. The device’s Wi-Fi receiver is much stronger than that of its predecessor, which allows it to catch a signal even when the router is some distance away.

Amazon has also put in a faster processor, so you should expect to move quickly from selection to selection with zero freezing. The Fire TV Stick renders video at 1080px, so the image quality is pretty good. When you load content, it will only take a second or two for the picture to become sharp. The content buffers at lightning speed and loads smoothly.

Also, if you have an Echo speaker in your home, you can control the TV stick without the remote.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Alexa makes the TV stick able to control (and be controlled by) compatible smart home devices
  • Good image quality
  • The user interface is easy to use
  • Great performance when loading and playing content

Cons

  • You have to be specific with your search terms to get good results
  • The TV stick needs to be plugged into a mains outlet, otherwise, its performance may lag
  • There is no YouTube app

Now that we have answered the question what is a Fire TV stick, let’s take a look at who can benefit from this device.

To buy or not to buy?

For the Amazon prime subscriber who wants a nice little streaming device on a budget, we say go for it. You will enjoy how well it works as you move through the user interface and as you load and watch your content.

In terms of performance, the Amazon Fire TV Stick more than holds its own compared to similar devices. Click here to purchase one.

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