There are several ways to access online streaming services today, but the best option might just be the new Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote from Amazon. This new remote is the same as the original Fire TV Stick but now comes equipped with a microphone so that you can use voice assist and the new Alexa voice recognition software that was introduced last year with the Amazon Echo.
How the Amazon Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote Works
The Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote is nearly half the price of the Fire TV ($84.99) and it still gives you the same selection of services and apps. The only thing the new Amazon Fire device lacks is 4K video support and it has a slower refresh and download speed.
The user interface hasn’t changed much from the first Fire TV. It is built around the Amazon focused foundation of Prime Video, Prime Music, App Store, and on-demand video selection as your primary sources. The app store is fairly extensive so you’ll be able to locate other non-Amazon services except for Google Play and Apple. The usual apps like Hulu and Netflix are available once you have installed the apps and registered your accounts. The new Fire TV looks like a portable USB thumb drive. It measures 3.4″(H) x 1″(W) x .5″(D) and plugs directly into your Tv’s HDMI port. The remote is a 6″ black wand that has a microphone at the top end so that you can use the voice search and Alexa voice assist with the press of a button.
The voice search option is really what adds value to the new Fire Stick. You can ask for a movie or show by the title, genre, or even actor. All results that might pertain to what you asked for will pop up. And Amazon’s Alexa voice assist adds to the experience. Just like with the Amazon Echo you can ask Alexa general questions. Want to know what the weather is supposed to be tomorrow? How about who won the game last night? Your answer will appear on both your TV and through Alexa’s voice. If you have the Amazon Alexa mobile app you can even ask for reminders that will be transferred to your mobile device. Your options are limited compared to the Echo, but it’s still a cool feature.
Advantages/Disadvantages of the Amazon Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote
- The Amazon TV Stick is affordable. At $49.99 it is a worthwhile investment for your home theater setup.
- The Amazon Fire has an extensive app and service platform.
- The Alexa/voice search option is useful and easy to use.
- You can’t stream video in 4K. It’s kind of a letdown considering that 4K and Ultra HD is the next generation of high definition. But if you don’t have these Tv’s then it doesn’t matter anyway. It will still stream TV in 1080p video.
- Alexa features are more limited on the Amazon Fire TV Stick than with the Amazon Echo. For instance you can’t set timers or alarms, and home automation is unavailable as well (smart lights, thermostat, etc.).
- The interface is a little slow. Voice prompts occasionally stutter when loading. It doesn’t happen often enough to be a real nuisance but it is worth mentioning.
Head to the Amazon website here to purchase your Amazon TV Stick with Voice Remote for $49.99 plus free shipping. Amazon offers a 2 year protection plan/extended warranty for JUST $5.99, and your purchase is backed up by their return and exchange policy.
This is a great device. If you are an Amazon Prime member it makes sense that this would be your option for an inexpensive way to stream media to your HDTV. The price is comparable to other streaming devices such as the Roku Streaming Stick. Both have the same features (with the exception of voice assist), so it is really a preference as opposed to which product is better. The Google Chromecast is cheaper but it lacks an on-screen interface and remote.
The Amazon TV Stick with Voice Remote will help you accomplish almost any streaming option you wish for your HDTV. It is generally responsive when navigating through the menus and loading media and it is easy to use. The price makes this device worth any minor inconveniences. As long as you don’t have an Ultra HD or 4K TV, the Fire Stick with Voice Remote from Amazon is a great buy.
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