While I like the Chromecast, the lack of remote makes it very inconvenient to simply pause a video while you grab a snack. Amazon’s new Fire TV Stick duplicates the minimal form-factor of the Chromecast, but includes a Bluetooth-enabled remote control as well.
The Fire TV stick is a great way to make your TV “smart” and add a wide array of entertainment options. Setup is quick and easy, and there are plenty of streaming and gaming options.
- A remote! This is the one thing I did not like about the Chromecast: it’s just takes to long too unlock your phone, go back to the app, and wait for it to sync up… just to pause a video.
- The small stick is easy to install. All you need is an open HDMI port on your TV and a WiFi network.
- Plenty of streaming video options: Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle (free movies!), YouTube, WatchESPN, and many more.
- Streaming music is included, too: Pandora, iHeartRadio, Spotify, and Amazon Music
- Games! Sonic, Game of Life, Flappy Birds, and over 200 more!
- Supports both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz WiFi networks.
- Snappy processor and ample memory storage make the user interface fluid and responsive.
- Some of the more intensive games, such as Minecraft, are not available on the Fire TV Stick (but are available on the Fire TV Box)
- A lot of the 8GB storage space is not available due to system files (only a little over 5GB is free to use)
- Entering your login credentials on the remote is cumbersome.
- I had some issues setting it up at first (update wouldn’t download, account won’t authenticate, etc), but I will blame that on overloaded servers. The issues eventually resolved a few hours later.
- The iOS app was not available yet, so I didn’t get to test that functionality.
If you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, or have purchased content from Amazon’s Instant Video or Music services, or just want an easy way to watch Netflix, the Fire TV Stick is a great, low-cost option to enjoy streaming content and cut the cord!
TIP: Want to cut the cord but have a few favorite shows that are cable-only? I’m a fan of The Walking Dead, so I purchase a season pass for less than eight bucks a month (less than two dollars an episode) on Amazon Instant Video and I can watch it the next day on this streaming stick, my iPad or my Kindle Fire. Commercial free! And it’s stored in Amazon’s cloud, so I can re-watch it whenever I want. It is like unlimited DVR!
Check out the Amazon Fire TV Stick on Amazon