What is the Amazon Fire Stick and How Does it Work | 2018 ReviewOctober 24, 2018
The Amazon Fire Stick is Amazon’s answer to the streaming revolution that has taken over the world. I mentioned it briefly in my article the “Best Streaming Media Player” and I thought I would elaborate on this device a little. In this article, I will be discussing what is the Amazon Fire Stick and how does it work.
No matter who you are, no matter what age group you are in, at some point this year you have watched something on TV via Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hulu. If your TV doesn’t natively support the streaming services I mentioned then you use a Streaming Media Player. The Fire Stick is amazons budget entry-level device and is aimed at those that want to turn their dumb TV into a somewhat smart one.
When I say budget device I truly mean budget device. The Fire Stick comes in at $49.99 USD on Amazon and is by far one of the cheapest streaming media players you can buy. Don’t let the cheap price turn you off, Amazon have packed a ton of features into the Fire Stick.
The build is rock solid for this price point, its built very similar to a USB Stick but it has been beefed up a bit and connects via HDMI. Mainly constructed of a hard plastic the device is 9cm long and 3cm deep, this may prove to be a tight squeeze on most TVs if you already have multiple HDMI cables inserted, Amazon does include an HDMI extender to alleviate this concern.
It does require a power source via a Micro USB cable that you can either plug directly into your TV via a powered USB or into a power brick that is included in the box. The fire stick also comes with a Basic Remote that is pretty self-explanatory.
The newest model of the Fire Stick has a Quad Core Processor, this provides a much-needed boost over the previous models Dual Core set up. In real-world use, the fire stick is zippy and fluid when moving through the menus and the load time of Apps has been decreased. The user interface is actually quite intuitive and from the moment you pick up the remote, you shouldn’t have any issues navigating the menus.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, we still don’t get any 4K streaming and HDR support. With 4K TVs coming down in price, if you are looking for a 4K streaming media player then you should go for the Fire Stick bigger brother, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (Hot Tip – Not all 4K TVs are created equally, be sure to check your TVs compatibility with the Fire Stick before you purchase to avoid any headaches)
Although you don’t get 4K streaming, you can still watch over 500,000 movies and TV episodes up to 1080p resolution. This is more than enough for the average consumer who owns a Plasma, LCD or LED TV purchased in the last 10 years.
The WiFi chip has also been upgraded from the previous version and the average consumer won’t notice the difference. One thing to note with streaming devices that may seem common sense, you will need a decent high-speed internet connection, Amazon recommends anything over 1.5 megabits per second and if you got the 4K route the minimum requirement would be 25 megabits per second.
The Fire TV stick also comes with voice search functionality built into the remote. All you have to do is press the mic button and your away, this is a welcomed feature and allows for quick searching. One thing I did find annoying was the fact that sometimes it won’t search that well in Apps that aren’t natively Amazon supported, that aside its still a great function on a budget device.
One of the most impressive features of the Fire TV Stick is its quick set up process.
- Step 1 – Find an empty HDMI port and insert the Fire TV Stick
- Step 2 – Connect up the Micro USB to a vacant powered USB or to the power brick
- Step 3 – The Fire Stick will power up, if you purchased the Stick officially off Amazon and you have an Amazon Prime account, your details will already be loaded in the device.
- Step 4 – Connect to WiFi, Set Location and Time
- Step 5 – Start Streaming over 500,000 shows
This entire process takes less than 5 minutes, It is easily one of the quickest setup processes of any streaming media player
If you don’t own a Smart TV that already allows for streaming and you’re in the market for a Streaming Media Player, it’s hard to go past the Amazon Fire TV Stick. It isn’t without fault, but for this entry-level price point, it really can’t be beaten. I own one and I just upgraded to a 4K TV so I will be picking up the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K as well.
One thing that I didn’t mention above, you can still add Kodi to this device 🙂 do yourself a favor and google “Kodi”. You’re Welcome.
Do you own an Amazon Fire TV Stick? If no, which Streaming Media Player do you own? Comment below and let me know.