Amazon is running a promotion for it’s widely popular Fire TV at a $15 discount bringing the cost down to $84.99. Amazon boasted in a press release that it’s Fire device was #1 and Fire TV Stick was #3 best seller over the holiday. It made a statement in terms of how popular its device is and how it was a great gift. It is simple to use and has many features which maximizes your prime membership if you have one. If you don’t have the fire TV or Fire TV stick and was not able to obtain one as a gift, this discount will be a great time to purchase the Fire TV.
Amazon announced that its flagship streaming device will stream 4k Ultra HD video and support Alexa. The new Amazon Fire TV will be released October 5, 2015. You can now pre-order on Amazon.com at the same cost of $99! Apple also recently released their updated Apple TV. Let’s see how this holds up.
Amazon Fire TV – 4K Ultra HD
4K Ultra HD quality TV is no doubt the next big thing. However, you may wonder the same dilema we had with 1080p HD when it first came out. Content. There were very little content that was true 1080p HD. Amazon answered this. Amazon promised that they will be creating original and exclusive content in 4k. The Fire TV will also support Netflix’s 4k content as well. There will be no upcharge to stream in 4k vs. 1080p or lower quality like SD content. Also, even if you do not have 4k TV, you will benefit from Amazon’s support for HEVC (high efficiency video coding) which makes streaming high quality content more efficient.
One other feature that would be welcomed by Amazon fans is Alexa support. Many people got a taste of Alexa through Amazon Echo. Fire TV and Fire TV Stick remotes will have Alexa support through its voice enabled remote control or through the Fire TV app. Through Alexa support, you can use your Fire TV to replace the Echo.
Below is a full comparison between the old Amazon Fire TV and the newly updated 2015 Amazon Fire TV:
|Previous Fire TV||New 2015 Fire TV|
|Size||4.5″ x 4.5″ x 0.7″ (115 mm x 115 mm x 17.5 mm)||Size||4.5″ x 4.5″ x 0.7″ (115 mm x 115 mm x 17.8 mm)|
|Weight||9.9 oz (281 grams)||Weight||9.5 oz. (270 g)|
|SOC Platform||Qualcomm Snapdragon 8064||Processor||MediaTek Quad-core up to 2 Ghz|
|Processor||Qualcomm Krait 300, quad-core to 1.7 Ghz||Dual-core @ 2.0 GHz + Dual-core @ 1.6 GHz|
|GPU (Video)||Qualcomm Adreno 320||GPU||Power VR GX6250|
|Storage||8 GB internal||Storage||8 GB internal|
|Memory||2 GB LPDDR2 @ 533 MHZ||Memory||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 Wi-Fi networks.||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.|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 4.0 with support for the following profiles: HID, SPP||Bluetooth||Bluetooth 4.1 with support for the following profiles: HID, HFP, SPP|
|Cloud Storage||Free cloud storage for all Amazon content||Cloud Storage||Free cloud storage for all Amazon content|
|Ports||5.5 mm DC Jack, HDMI, Optical Audio, 10/100 Ethernet, USB 2.0 Type A||Ports||DC Jack, HDMI output, 10/100 Ethernet, microSD slot, USB 2.0|
|Voice Support||Yes, with Fire TV Voice Remote (included) or free Fire TV Remote App (available for download on Fire, Android, and iOS)||Voice Support||Yes, with Fire TV Voice Remote (included) or free Fire TV Remote App (available for download on Fire, Android, and iOS) and Alexa|
|Audio||Support for Dolby Audio, 5.1 surround sound, 2ch stereo and HDMI audio pass through up to 7.1||Audio Support||Dolby Audio, 5.1 surround sound, 2ch stereo, and HDMI audio pass through up to 7.1|
|Game Controller Support||Yes, optimized for Amazon Fire TV Game Controller and most games are compatible with other Bluetooth controllers||Game Controller Support||Yes, optimized for Amazon Fire TV Game Controller and most games are compatible with other Bluetooth controllers|
|Content Formats Supported||Video: H.263, H.264, MPEG4-SP, VC1; Photo: JPG, PNG||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|
|Audio: AAC, AC-3, E-AC-3, HE-A, PCM, MP3|
|TV Compatibility||Compatible with high-definition TVs with HDMI capable of 1080p or 720p at 60/50Hz, including popular HDCP-compatible models from these manufacturers: Hitachi, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, NEC, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, Vizio, Westinghouse||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.|
|Output Resolution Supported||720p and 1080p up to 60fps||Output Resolution Supported||2160p up to 30fps; 720p and 1080p up to 60fps|
|System Requirements||High-definition television, HDMI cable||System Requirements||Compatible high-definition or ultra high-definition television with available HDMI input, Internet connection, a power outlet|
|Warranty and Service||1-year Limited Warranty and service included. Use of Fire TV is subject to the terms found here.||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.|
|Regional Support||Certain services may not be available outside the U.S.||Regional Support||Certain services may not be available outside the U.S.|
|Closed Captioning||Watch videos and TV shows with closed captioning displayed. Captions are not available for all content.||Closed Captioning||Watch videos and TV shows with closed captioning displayed. Captions are not available for all content.|
|Included in the Box||Amazon Fire TV||Included in the Box||Amazon Fire TV|
|Amazon Fire TV Voice Remote||Amazon Fire TV Voice Remote|
|2 AAA batteries||Power adapter|
|Power Adapter||2 AAA batteries|
|Quick Start Guide||Quick Start Guide|
Amazon has recently launched a “Understanding the Amazon Fling Service” page to its developers. Amazon Fling enables users to ‘fling’ media, websites, from Android, Apple, and Fire OS devices to their TV. This is similar to what Google has for Chromecast for display and playback. Amazon has created an API which will interact with the developers app. The developer must create a controller (playback, stop, etc..) for the user to fling the content to its TV.
Fire TV and TV Stick has been relatively successful but we have heard from users that despite its great GUI (graphic user interface), it is limited. The only alternative from using the GUI built on Fire TV / Stick is to mirror your device. Mirroring your device doesn’t come without its issues as not all devices support mirroring. Also, mirroring is very bandwidth consuming as well as it putting a drain on your battery. Amazon’s Fling Service will resolve this. Instead of mirroring, you will be able to set the Fire TV / Stick device to call the content directly to the web via WiFi instead of placing the drain on your iOS, Android or Fire device.
Sling TV is offering a free Fire TV Stick or Roku Streaming stick in return for 3 months of prepaid subscription. They are also offering 50% off for either Fire TV or Roku 3. This is a great deal considering a lot of people pay $60 for one month of their cable bill. Now, for $60 you get a streaming device which you can use for your Sling TV service and you get a Fire TV Stick or Roku streaming stick. If you are on the fence, this may be the deal which may push you over. However, this may also be a concern for some people as this may be an indicator that the service is not catching on and they are in need of a market injection to ramp up subscribers.
One neat feature for the Fire TV is the ability to mirror your phone or tablet screen to the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. This will allow you to stream content from your phone or apps which is not available through Amazon appstore. You can enable display mirroring by doing the following steps. Note, this will only work for Android based devices running over OS 4.2.2 and above.
First, go to Settings -> Display & Sounds -> Enable Display Mirroring
Next, go to your Android phone settings -> Display & lights
Next, click on Cast Screen.
Turn on the toggle on the Cast screen setting and you should see the name of your Fire TV. Click your Fire TV and you should be mirroring your screen.
The screen shots are from the OnePlus One phone. I also tested this on a Samsung Galaxy S4 and my Nexus 7 tab and it all worked. Give it a try!
I came across a problem with my Fire TV Stick. My Samsung TV doesn’t have enough room to plug the USB cable for my Fire TV Stick! See for yourself. I don’t have a good answer right now. I had problems connecting the Fire TV stick to the other HDMI ports as it didn’t fit. I didn’t want to jam the HDMI port on my TV as I use it for my cable box, PS3, and Chromecast.
Update: Issue is resolved. See updated post here.
Christmas gift is here! Amazon sent me a notice saying that the fireTV stick was ready for shipment which is way ahead of schedule! This is a nice Christmas present that wasn’t supposed to be. I got an email on Dec. 19th with the subject, “Welcome to Fire TV Stick.” I placed this order on Nov. 2nd and my initial delivery date was supposed to be mid-Jan so this is a very nice surprise! Mr. UPS dropped off the Amazon fire TV stick just now and I can’t wait to do the first unboxing.
Amazon finally announced its much anticipated media console the Amazon TV! It is immediately available for $99 which is higher than other competitors. There was speculation that it would be called the FireTube as we did but it is officially called the amazon fireTV.
As of now, the fireTV has the same offering as other streaming devices such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, WasthESPN, Pandora, Showtime, and many others. The main advantage it has over other competitors is the availability of videos that comes with Amazon Prime membership.
Another neat feature is its voice search. Check it out here in action. They also boast of one of the more powerful streaming devices which is a plus considering you can use this to play games. it has a powerful quad core processor, dual-band, dual-antenna, dedicated GPU for graphics and 2GB of memory. It also has an ‘ASAP’ system where it predicts what content you may be interested in.
Will you buy it?