Last summer, Google released the Chromecast — an HDMI dongle that allows instant access to numerous streaming services via Wi-Fi, without a computer, cable box, or set-top box. Chromecast found many fans, and now it has found a competitor: Amazon’s Fire TV Stick.
Selling for $39 (or $19 if you subscribe to Amazon Prime) and debuting in November, the Fire TV Stick features 1 GB RAM, 8 GB of storage, and a dual-core processor, allowing consumers to store and stream content in high definition. The device can support video output at 1080p and offers support for Dolby Digital Plus surround sound. In terms of quality, the video displayed should be almost on a par with Blu-ray discs.
It supports Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu, WatchESPN, NBA Game Time, Prime Music, Pandora, and Spotify, plus users can rent or buy movies and TV episodes from Amazon Instant Video.
The accessory plugs into the HDMI port on the TV, and can be controlled with a tablet or phone. Amazon has created an Android app, and an iOS one is in development. This device also comes with a remote.
The Fire TV Stick offers more than just streaming video. Users can save their photos on the stick and play a number of downloadable games, including Monsters University and Flappy Bird Family. That means that the Fire TV Stick (with the exception of some more memory-heavy features) can replicate many of the functions of the Fire TV set-top box.
That brings us to the most important question: How does the Fire TV Stick measure up to its competitors, the aforementioned Chromecast stick as well as Roku’s Streaming Stick? According to Amazon, it does quite well. The company reported that the Fire Stick has more storage space than the Roku Stick, more processing power than Chromecast, and twice as much memory as either of them. It was just announced, but the Fire TV Stick may have already established itself as the premiere streaming device at this particular price point.