The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K offers you a reliable means of steaming all your essential home entertainment on any television set, Smart TV or not, with a spare HDMI port. Sporting a powerful quad-core processor and pumping out 4K Ultra HD content at up to 60 fps, supporting HDR and HDR 10+ and Dolby Atmos sound, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is snappy in response, easy to set up, and relatively easy to use.
With just a $99 price tag, too, this is a more than affordable way to increase your entertainment options. And, as I’ve discussed before, the world of streaming and video-on-demand is all the rage right now, so what are you waiting for?!
You Complete Me: Getting all the entertainment you need
There are three types of televisions in this world right now. High IQ Smart TVs (such as those with Android OS), Low IQ Smart TVs (a little older in age generally, but with some basic apps such as Netflix, etc), and your “Dumb TV” which have no apps. Most households I know have a variety of these — Low IQ and Dumb TVs are still quite common place, at the very least thrown in a room as a spare TV.
Unless your TV is a High IQ Smart TV, with its ability to surf an app store for new apps and download the latest updates, there’s a high chance you’re missing out on a lot of entertainment options. For example, my Uncle’s Smart TV is missing Prime Video, Disney+ and Kayo, among others, and a few of the free-to-air streaming services that stopped working and cannot be updated. He’s a bit over Netflix right now. An Amazon Fire TV Stick will open up a world of entertainment for him.
Another example is my Mum’s Smart TV. Perhaps a bit ‘smarter’ than my Uncle’s TV, but still limited with app selections. But, I’m putting the Amazon Fire TV Stick to use on Mum’s TV for another reason which I’ll come back to.
It is worth noting that there is also a non-4K version of the Amazon Fire TV Stick. I gave that a pretty good whirl, too, and the non-4K version runs exactly the same. The same menu layout and operating systems, but the device is slightly smaller and only putting out 1080p high definition quality.
What’s in the boxxxxxx?
First and foremost, there’s the actual Amazon Fire TV Stick. This sucker is somewhat like a slightly larger than normal USB stick, but with a HDMI connection on the end. The actual stick is 30mm wide and 14mm thick; once plugged in to your HDMI port the device will stick out about 100mm. (The 1080p version is slightly smaller, clocking in at about 85mm.)
Due to the size and how far it sticks out there’s a handy little HDMI extender cable. Plug the cable into your HDMI port, and the Amazon Fire TV Stick into the other end, and a 50mm piece of cable lets you bend it and gives you some wriggle room behind the TV. With wall mounted TVs, as well as other and how close some HDMI ports are, you may need the ability to position the device more conveniently.
This device is mighty powerful and as such does require power. Also in the box is a power brick (hey, Apple, pay attention) and a USB cord that will plug into the side of the Amazon Fire TV Stick. The cord is about 1.5m long, so it will reach that spare power point you will require.
Finally, there’s the remote (more on that later) and batteries to suit.
Setting up the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
In the end, this device is simple to set up. All you need is a TV with a HDMI port, a wireless internet connection and a nearby power point. Plug in the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K into a spare HDMI port on your TV. Plug in the USB cord into the side of the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K. And change source on your TV to that input. The set up guide from there is pretty simple.
During set up, you will need an Amazon account. This will give you the option to customise things a bit as well as link to your Prime Video subscription if you have one.
During set up, or any time via the App Store, you can download any number of free Apps. There is the obvious inclusions of, well, Prime Video, but also Disney+, Netflix, Stan, ABC iView, Kayo and Optus Sports, as well as free-to-air offerings such as 7+, AppleTV, SBS On Demand and TenPlay. But you will also find some more obscure options such as RedbullTV, hayu. and tubi, plus some other random games and what not. Reportedly thousands of apps and Alexa Skills you can put into play here.
Speaking of Alexa, I’m a Google user in this house. But I did set up an Amazon Echo Dot, and it talks with the Amazon Fire TV Stick superbly well, as you would expect. Actually, I would say the two devices work better than my Google Nest Mini and Android TV that is in my main living space. Just connect the devices in the Alexa App and you’ll be telling it what to watch in no time.
I feel the need… the need for speed!
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K has a whole lot grunt in a tiny stick. With a Quad-core 1.7 GHz processor, a GE8300 graphics card, and 8GB storage, you have the capability to make full use of a whole range of Apps.
And, the Apps do run superbly well. Compared to my Mum’s TV, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K is a vast improvement on performance of the Apps. But they run as well, perhaps even snappier, than my two year old Android TV, too.
There is naturally a little lag time from opening an App to it launching, but that’s expected on any device. Once in your chosen App, such as Netflix or Prime Video, movies and shows launch quickly and look superb. There is no prolonged buffering, evening with a 4K movie. And noting this is over wireless. On my 4K television, the picture quality and sound quality were sublime as expected when watching a 4K video.
Streaming was seamless, even over wireless internet, and I was extremely satisfied with how it performed. I honestly could not fault the presentation of video.
Home and Away: The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K provides entertainment when you travel!
But, if you travel a lot (you know, domestically, and probably not interstate…), to save logging into your streaming accounts on random hotel TVs, you can use the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K to great use here. Simply unplug the device when you leave home and plug it in another TV when you arrive. Then you just head to settings, change your WiFi details, and you’re back in action, with all your streaming services logged in and at the ready.
This device will work on any display with a HDMI port. In fact, I set it up on one of my computer monitors. Sure, the audio was poor due to the inbuilt speakers, but it worked easily. The remote actually allows you to control some basics on your TV (volume and power) and is compatible with a long list of television models.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K’s Remote: Small, Easy, Smart
Firstly, the Alexa button on the top works great. Click and hold and tell it what you want. “Play Without Remorse on Prime Video.” And bam, you’re watching one of Prime Video’s latest great offerings. “Play Mandalorian on Disney+” and it will oblige. It’s smart. REALLY smart. And really easy to use.
Secondly, it has the option to control some basic functions of your television — volume controls and power at the very least. You can turn this function off in the settings. Which I did. Why?
My Mum has a slightly older Smart TV with an odd remote. It’s a small unit which you lightly touch the centre button and it acts as a laser pointer. To use any of the Smart Apps (such as Netflix), you need to use the laser pointer to navigate around. As my Mum continues through her 70s, this is getting harder to do. But she’s still using an iPad and iPhone and wanting to stream television.
Enter the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K.
The remote is simple to use. With the exception of the Alexa button, this remote is simple. Unlike the AppleTV offerings recently, there is no touchpad on the remote and I consider this a good thing. Left, right, up, down, okay, a few bonus buttons for various functions (play/pause, fast forward and rewind, and return home/back). It is dead simple to use. And my Mum, brand new to streaming platforms, can start Netflix or Prime Video without a drama (but only via the buttons on the remote — more on that in a second) and navigate through the Apps without an issue. To me, this is a MASSIVE win.
Nothing is perfect: the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K’s flaw (in my opinion)
One thing I hate is the home screen.
Sorry, but I do.
LOATHE it, in fact.
For me, it probably makes sense. If I was using it more often, I’d be fine with it. But, you see, the home screen has some limited visibility of Apps you use most often, but mostly it works as a platform showing off recommendations for shows and movies from your services for you to watch. It is cluttered. It is noisy. And, back to my 70+ year old Mum who is mainly using this device in this house, it is not simple.
You want to watch Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+ or listen to Amazon Music, no problem. There’s buttons on the remote. Click them and you’re there. And, of course, you can always use the Alexa Button.
You might find a Stan or YouTube on the home page as a frequently used App. But if you want to jump into iView or SBS On Demand for the first time in ages? You have to navigate your way around the home page, find the “Apps” button, and go in there, and then maybe find the button to go to “All Apps”… Yeah, if you’re not following, that’s because it’s hard to do.
Maybe I’m doing it wrong.
But I would love an option for a ‘simple’ Home screen, one that simply has all your Apps organised in tiles across the screen. Have the necessary additions such as Settings, etc. And have it that any Amazon Apps are at the top for all I care. But I just want a simply landing screen for someone not so used to technology.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K will show you a whole new world!
With the exception of that home screen, I love the Fire TV Stick 4K. In fact, I am thinking about buying another for my TV out the back. While Android TV is great, I think the Fire TV Stick 4K has more options. It is fast, snappy and responsive. The picture and sound quality is great. And in my (and my Mum’s) experience, I have not seen ANY pixilation, buffering or crashes.
Thank you Amazon for providing the great unit which has truly opened up entertainment options in this house. It’s a superb way to make even the dumbest of TVs top of the class!
At present, Amazon have a deal where you can add an Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) in a bundle. Check out the above links for more details!