The world we live in is increasingly becoming smart. And by smart, I mean technologically advanced and reliant. Take for instance the TV, almost every TV on the market now comes with smart features, 4K resolution and high-dynamic range (HDR). Now, this makes a compatible streaming device a necessary accessory to unleash the unlimited possibilities of entertainment. And when we talk about a streaming device, there’s no ignoring the Amazon Fire TV Stick, which has gained a lot of popularity in India in the last few years. The latest version of the Fire Stick, now called Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, comes with improved functionality over its predecessor, which makes it absolutely delightful and practical to use. In fact, you can use the Fire TV Stick 4K to view live camera feeds, control lights, plugs and other compatible smart home devices, using your Alexa Voice Remote.
Featuring a new quad-core, 1.7GHz procession, the new Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K now has quick app load times and enhanced picture quality. The bundled Alexa voice remote now has improved functionality, for the company has added power, volume and mute buttons on the remote, allowing you to directly control your TV.
You can also use the new remote to actually change your TV’s HDMI input, control soundbars and even tune to a specific channel, but only on supported cable boxes.
In spite of improved and impressive features, the hardware setup of the new Fire Stick is the same as the non-4K versions. All you need to do to make it up and running is plug it directly into an HDMI port and connect the attached USB cable to a nearby power outlet. Interestingly, the Fire TV Stick 4K is the only device in the Amazon’s lineup to have Dolby Vision.
What does it offer?
The new Fire Stick gives you access to thousands of movies and TV episodes. You can now enjoy your favourite movies and TV series from such platforms as Prime Video, Hotstar, Netflix, Zee5 and Sony LIV.
But that’s not all, you can also Stream live news, sports and shows, including those in 4K Ultra HD, HDR and Dolby Vision. You can also use Firefox and Silk browsers to visit millions of websites like YouTube, Facebook and Reddit. It also allows you to listen to songs, live radio stations and podcasts through services like Amazon Prime Music, Gaana and TuneIn.
The improved Alexa functionality of the new Fire Stick 4K is indeed very appealing, for it allows you to open streaming apps, search for content, play music, check weather and even control your smart lights. All you need is to say ‘Alexa, show me 4K movies’, and it’ll give you a list of titles from both Prime Video and Netflix. You can even ask it to show you movies or TV shows featuring a specific actor. It can also access any film in your Movies Anywhere collection and play it through Prime Video.
While most of the content on the main home screen is Amazon’s own, there’s also a ‘Netflix recommends’ row and other titles from different streaming apps. The customisability of the Fire TV home screen is rather limited – it only allows you to move titles around in the ‘Your Apps & Channels’ section. During my time with the device, I often found myself asking Alexa to open apps that I wanted and then I'd use the remote to control things from there.
The home screen doesn’t have the YouTube app as it has the Netflix or Hotstar app. It allows you to access YouTube through Silk or Firefox browser. It may seem rather disappointing, but let me tell you that once you have signed into your YouTube account, everything works just fine, and you get used to it pretty quickly. You can still play 4K content on YouTube. Overall, the picture quality of the Fire TV Stick 4K is excellent. And if you have a Dolby Vision compatible TV, the Fire TV Stick 4K offers a strong value proposition at a much less price.
Even if you’re not one of those people who have everything smart in their house, Alexa can be very helpful in quickly pulling up a show or movie. The new voice remote now has the TV control buttons, which were long expected. And although Amazon’s content quality is gradually improving, the company seriously needs to work things out with YouTube as soon as possible.
The Fire Stick TV 4K supports a wide range of video formats, which include Dolby Vision, HDR 10, HDR10+, HLG, H.265, H.264 and VP9. In terms of audio, it supports AAC-LC, AC3, eAC3 (Dolby Digital Plus), FLAC, MP3, PCM/Wave, Vorbis and Dolby Atmos (EC3_JOC). It also supports JPEG, PNG, GIF and BMP image formats.
The Fire TV Stick 4K offers brilliant picture quality and great sound, something that you may not have experienced on a streaming device before. And all this is available at a price that’s less than the Apple TV 4K. Also, if you happen to own the current non-4K Fire TV Stick, Amazon gives you the choice of purchasing the new remote for Rs 1,999.
Price Rs 5,999
Stream quality, price
No standalone YouTube app