Worth to buy the all new 2017 Amazon Fire TV

Amazon recently announced the all new Amazon fire TV in 2017 and as of now it is available for purchase for $69.99. In the earlier days, the question to consumers were if these devices warrant a place in our homes. It started with Google’s Chromecast then Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. You can also look at devices such as the different iterations of Roku, Apple TV, and more.

At my household, we have all generations of Fire TV Stick and Google Chromecast. We never quite got into the more expensive Fire TV as it was pricier. Let’s take a look at the 2017 Fire TV (pendant) edition and see how it differs from the previous generation Fire TV.

4K Ultra HD and HDR (high dynamic range) support

The biggest difference between the original Fire TV and 2017 Fire TV is 4K Ultra HD at 60fps and HDR support. The previous iteration of Fire TV only supported 4K at 30fps but the smaller Fire TV has the capability to stream at 60fps and support HDR-10. So if you bought a TV that supports HDR, then you can enjoy full HDR content. Below are the best bang for the buck HDR TV’s in the market as this article is being written.

One thing that is often overlooked is that Amazon Prime has a number of 4K content in their library. Back when 1080p HD became mainstream, I recall buying a TV that supported 1080P HDTV. However, not a lot of subscription TV had full 1080P but was limited to 1080i. The only way for me to get 1080P was through Blu-Ray DVD or PS3 games. It is different with 4K. You can find numerous content through Netflix, Amazon Prime, and even Youtube for 4K content. HDR is a bit more limited but available through the same streaming services.

Below is the list of TV shows and movies that is available in HDR according to Amazon:

TV (full seasons): Bosch Seasons 1 and 2 (second season also available in Dolby Vision, Mad Dogs Season 1, Man in the High Castle Season 1, Mozart in the Jungle Seasons 1 and 2, Red Oaks Season 1, Transparent Seasons 1 and 2
TV (pilot episodes): Good Girls Revolt, Highston, One Mississippi, Patriot, The Interestings, The Last Tycoon, Z: The Beginning of Everything
Movie: CHI-RAQ
Documentary: Coral Reef Adventure, Dolphins, The Living Sea, Van Gogh: A Brush with Genius

Size:

If you have a sleek TV console or you mount your TV on the wall, you will appreciate the small form factor of the 2017 Fire TV. You no longer need to find real estate to place your Fire TV but can hang it on your HDMI port similar to the Fire TV Stick.

Performance and other upgrades:

Below are other upgrades. Processor and graphics processor has been upgraded as well as the bluetooth.

What is missing?

Sadly, the new Fire TV removed the ethernet port and the microSD slot. In order to connect it to wired Internet, you will need to purchase a separate ethernet adapter. The missing microSD slot is a bummer for those who want to increase the storage capacity for offline viewing.

OS6

The new Fire TV offers an updated version of Amazon’s GUI. There are quite a number of 1 – 2 star reviews complaining about this interface as it contains ads and not as smooth. The good thing is that Amazon can improve on the OS with updates.

Conclusion

If you have 2015 Fire TV, our recomendation is to hold off. There are just too many kinks that doesn’t quite convince us to recommend it. If you have a Fire TV Stick and want to move to 4K, then it is worth the upgrade.

Below is a full comparison chart of technical specs.

Amazon Fire TV 2015 2017
Size 4.5″ x 4.5″ x 0.7″ (115 mm x 115 mm x 17.8 mm) 2.6” x 2.6” x 0.6” (65.0 mm x 65.0 mm x 15.0 mm)
Weight 9.5 oz. (270 g) 3.1 oz (87.1 g)
Processor MediaTek Quad-core up to 2 Ghz Amlogic Quad-core 1.5 GHz | ARM 4xCA53
Dual-core @ 2.0 GHz + Dual-core @ 1.6 GHz
GPU Power VR GX6250 Mali450 MP3
Storage 8 GB internal 8 GB internal
Memory 2 GB 2 GB
Wi-Fi Connectivity Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO) for faster streaming and fewer dropped connections than standard Wi-Fi. Supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi networks. Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO) for faster streaming and fewer dropped connections than standard Wi-Fi. Supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi networks.
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.1 + LE, with support for HID, and SPP profiles Bluetooth 4.2 + LE
Voice Support Yes, with Alexa Voice Remote (included) or free Fire TV Remote App (available for download on Fire, Android, and iOS) Yes, with Alexa Voice Remote (included) or free Fire TV Remote App (available for download on Fire, Android, and iOS)
Game Controller Support Yes, optimized for Amazon Fire TV Game Controller and most games are compatible with other Bluetooth controllers
Cloud Storage Free cloud storage for all Amazon content Free cloud storage for all Amazon content
Ports DC Jack, HDMI output, 10/100 Ethernet, microSD slot, USB 2.0 HDMI output, micro USB for power or optional Amazon Ethernet Adapter (no included Ethernet port or micro SD slot)
Audio Support Dolby Audio, 5.1 surround sound, 2ch stereo, and HDMI audio pass through up to 7.1 Dolby Atmos compatibility, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby Digital
Content Formats Supported Video: H.265, H.264, Audio: AAC-LC, AC3, eAC3 (Dolby Digital Plus), FLAC, MP3, PCM/Wave, Vorbis, Dolby Atmos (EC3_JOC), Photo: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP Video: HDR-10. H.265, H.264, Audio: AAC-LC, AC3, eAC3 (Dolby Digital Plus), FLAC, MP3, PCM/Wave, Vorbis, Dolby Atmos (EC3_JOC), Photo: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP
Output Resolution Supported 2160p up to 30fps; 720p and 1080p up to 60fps 2160p, 1080p, and 720p up to 60 fps
System Requirements Compatible high-definition or ultra high-definition television with available HDMI input, Internet connection, a power outlet High-definition television with available HDMI input, Internet connection via Wi-Fi, a power outlet.
TV Compatibility TV must support minimum HDCP requirements for protected content playback. Learn more. Compatible with (1) 4K ultra high-definition TVs with HDMI capable of 2160p at 24/25/30/50/60 Hz and HDCP 2.2, including popular models from LG, Samsung, Sony, Sharp, Toshiba, Vizio, and others or (2) high-definition TVs with HDMI capable of 1080p or 720p at 50/60 Hz, including popular HDCP-compatible models from Hitachi, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, NEC, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, Vizio, Westinghouse, and others. TV must support minimum HDCP requirements for protected content playback. Compatible with (1) 4K ultra high-definition TVs with HDMI capable of 2160p at 24/25/30/50/60 Hz and HDCP 2.2, including popular models from LG, Samsung, Sony, Sharp, Toshiba, Vizio, and others or (2) high-definition TVs with HDMI capable of 1080p or 720p at 50/60 Hz, including popular HDCP-compatible models from Hitachi, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, NEC, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, Vizio, Westinghouse, and others. Learn more.
Warranty and Service 1-year Limited Warranty and service included. Optional 2-year and 3-year Extended Warranty available for U.S. customers sold separately. Use of Fire TV is subject to the terms found here. 1-Year Limited Warranty and service included. Optional 2-Year and 3-Year Extended Warranty available for U.S. customers sold separately. Use of Fire TV is subject to the terms found here.
Regional Support Certain services may not be available outside the U.S. Certain services may not be available outside the U.S.
Accessibility Features VoiceView screen reader enables access to the vast majority of Fire TV features for users who are blind or visually impaired. Watch videos and TV shows with closed captioning displayed. Captions are not available for all content. Learn more. VoiceView screen reader enables access to the vast majority of Fire TV features for users who are blind or visually impaired. Screen magnifier enables viewers to zoom in and out, and pan around the screen. Watch videos and TV shows with closed captioning displayed. Captions are not available for all content. Learn more.

How to disable Prime Photos from your Fire TV

Prime Photos app is a nice feature which is installed by default on your Amazon Fire TV. Prime Photos app (Android and iOS) enables you to get unlimited photos and up to 5GB of videos and files. However, the photos are not in their original size. There is a neat feeling that you know all of your pictures you take on your phone is automatically backed up and you can view them on your Fire TV almost instantaneously when you get home. By default, the app will sync the photos on your phone with your Prime photos account the moment you connect via Wi-Fi. For most of us, that means our home.

With that said, there are some of us who do not want people to access your photos uploaded to Prime Photos on your Fire TV.

Here is how to disable Prime Photos from your Fire TV.

First, you go to settings -> applications -> Prime Photos

 

 

 

 

 

Navigate to ‘Access Prime Photos’

 

 

 

 

 

Disable it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, this is all you can do. As Prime Photos is installed by default, you cannot uninstall the app entirely from your Fire TV.

How to get the best out of Amazon Prime Day deals

This is the 3rd year Amazon has had their Amazon Prime Day deals. To be honest, many people were disappointing especially the first year as there were not many deals to be had and the items that were discounted were not that desirable. Amazon has learned from this but last year their top discounted items went out of stock really quickly. I mean it went out in seconds! However, if you have been eying Amazon product line such as the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Tap, Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire Pad, or Kindle, then you may be in luck!

Here are some Q and A on Amazon Prime Day

When: Amazon Deals start 9pm Eastern Time on July 10 for 30 hours

What: A little bit of everything from all categories will be discounted highlighted by Amazon’s own product line

How: In my opinion, Amazon set up this day to ramp up sales and help merchants get rid of inventory during July as it is distant from Christmas shopping season. They invite merchants to participate by cutting their prices down significantly to be featured.

What if I don’t have prime? You are in luck! Try out the free 30 day trial. If you are a student, sign up for the free 6 month trial at no cost.

Will the Amazon App and Website have the same deals? Yes it will.

How to get the best out of my Alexa? Amazon is offering additional discount if you order using Alexa. If you place an order $20 or more, you get $10 credit if you order from Alexa. Not only this, you have access to deals 2 hours early.

Below are my top choices:

The Element 4K TV Amazon Fire TV Edition is out!

Amazon released the Element 4K TV Fire TV edition which kind a raised eye brows. An Amazon Fire TV that is a TV? It can be a fun play on words but why would Amazon do this for what reason? The Element Ultra HD smart 4K TV integrates Amazon’s Alexa features with Prime and can be integrated with over-the-air HD content all in one homescreen. You do not need a separate Amazon Fire TV to utilize the Fire TV features as it is all built it. The 43″ is currently selling for $449.99.

Some more features:

Resolution: 3840 x 2160 (4K UHD)
Refresh rate: 120Hz / 60Hz (for 4K UHD)
Processor: Quad-core T1-938
GPU: ARM Mali Multi-core 3D GPU3GB
Memory: 3 GB
Storage: 16GB internal
Ports: HDMI x 4 (HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2), Component/Composite x 1, Optical SPDIF x 1, TV/DTV x 1, USB 2.0 x 1, USB 3.0 x 1, Ethernet x 1 (10/100/1000Mbp), VGA x 1, Headphone x 1, RCA Input x 1
Wi-Fi: Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO). Supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi networks.
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.1 + LE, with support for HFP and A2DP for private listening via Bluetooth headphones, HID, and SPP
Streaming resolution: 2160p, 1080p, and 720p up to 60fps
HDR: No

Comparison Chart:

The remote will have a voice button so you can press to talk to Alexa similar to your 2nd gen Fire TV remote.

As of now, you cannot buy this particular remote for the Element Fire TV edition by itself.

It will have other streaming apps such as Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and others what you would expect on your Fire TV stick. This is a great way to get Fire TV feature if you were looking for a TV. You can get the Element Fire TV edition and not have to buy a separate Fire TV.

Amazon Announces new Echo Show

Amazon announced its new Alexa product – Echo Show. It is priced at $229.99 and is available in black or white. The echo show is basically an amazon echo equipped with a touch screen and a camera. You can pre-order now and will be available June 28.

It’s functionality is very interesting and makes sense. On the surface, it looks no different than previous attempts made by other manufacturers for video conference. However, echo show is based on Amazon’s Alexa operating system which has been immensely popular for Amazon users especially with Amazon Prime.

On it’s youtube intro video, it featured a family with twin infants. The parents were managing their day by using echo show integrated in their life. They used the echo show as baby monitors to see their baby, they used the video conference feature to connect to each other and to their parents. When playing Prime music, you can see the album jacket and the lyrics when available. It seems this is the logical step for Echo devices and most importantly, the timing is right.

The intro video also had a grandfather painting the walls to the bedroom of a child. They searched youtube to watch tutorials on how to sponge paint. Once completed with their artwork, they did a video conference to showcase what they did.

Features that we know:

-Integration to video chat
-Picture frame to photos from Amazon photos
-Alarm clock
-Watch short video clips from youtube and news
-Front facing camera is 5pm
-Stream music
-Setup Google Calendar
-Integrate with Alexa compatible smart home devices (thermostat, light, locks, etc)

Unknown:

-Stream longer videos such movies from Amazon Prime or Youtube (honestly, not sure you want to do that on a 7″ screen)
-Battery backup
-Callout to 911 emergency services

Promo:

For a limited time, you can buy two and save $100. use promo code SHOW2PACK

Rumor – Amazon planning a 4K device between Fire TV and Fire TV Stick

Amazon’s own streaming device – Fire TV, has been extremely success. The Fire TV sells for $89.99 and the Fire TV Stick with the Alexa Voice Remote goes for $39.99. As of today, both items are out of stock and you need to wait till it gets in stock in 4/5 and 4/15 respectively. The Fire TV Stick is great for someone who doesn’t want to break bank but want to make their ‘dumb’ TV smart and utilize their Prime membership. The Fire TV is for those who want to enable 4K, more storage, and faster processor.

With 4K content becoming more widely available, Amazon may be bucking the trend again with the mid-level Fire TV that would sit between the Fire TV and the Fire TV Stick. AFTV News found a GNX benchmark test on 2/7 with codename “AFTN”. Is that Fire TV Next-gen? It comes standard with Android 7, quad core CPU @ 1.5GHz using Amlogic Cortex A53 ARMv8 chip, ARM Mali – 450 graphics chip, 1.5GB of RAM, 4.4 GB of storage. This will support not only 4K but also HDR content.

It is possible this may replace the Fire TV Stick.

How to watch Super Bowl on my Fire TV

Super Bowl weekend is here and the talk of town is where you will watch the game. Super Bowl will be broadcast by Fox channel. You can check our your local Fox affiliate through this chart from Wikipedia. This is for over the air channels you get from your antenna. If you use premium TV service such as cable or satellite, you should check your digital TV guide or your provider’s website. There may be more than one channel for Standard Definition (SD) and High Definition (HD). Some may even have a different channel for Ultra High Definition (UHK or 4K).

If you don’t have access to Fox through antenna or don’t have premium TV service, then you can stream via the Internet with your Fire TV. First, you download the Fox Sports Go app from the Amazon App store. You can also do this via your computer and have it auto install to your Fire TV.

 

Sizzling Deal, Echo Dot for $29.99!

This is the best deal for an Amazon Echo dot or Echo. Amazon sent out an email for black friday where you can get $10 gift card when you order from Alexa’s Best Deals. Order anything on the list over $20 through Alexa and get $10 gift card. The 2nd Gen Echo dot is currently on sale for $39.99. With the $10 Amazon credit if you order through Alexa, the price comes down to $29.99! Compare that with original price of $49.99, it is 40% off!

To see the full list of qualifying Alexa’s Best Deals, click here or the below link.

alexa-10-off

alexa-echo-dot

You can also purchase the Amazon Echo for a low $139.99. With the gift card, it will bring down the price to $129.99 which is almost 30% off. But you will need an Alexa enabled device to purchase it. You should be able to make the purchase through your Alexa enabled Fire TV controller. Give it a shot!

alexa-echo-deal

2016 Amazon Black Friday Sale!

Amazon’s black friday sale will be ongoing starting this week. Check out the banner to visit their rolling black friday deals! They will have thousands of limited time Lightning Deals. Track the deal by the category and wait for it to come live.

amazon-black-friday-deals

Update:
Below are the Black Friday deals for Amazon’s family of devices. These offers will be valid from Nov. 24 – Nov. 27th.

echo dot -> $39.99 ($10 off)
echo -> $139.99 ($40 off)
fire tablet -> $33.33 ($16.66 off)
fire kids edition -> $74.99 ($25 0ff)
select kindle readers -> up to $30 off
fire tv -> (up to $15 off)