Amazon Fire Stick – Everything You Need To Know

Amazon Fire Stick – Everything You Need To Know

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amazon fire tv stick

If you watch tv, you probably pay $49.99 or more.

So I discovered Amazon Fire Stick, and looking back at my cable bill now, it was absolutely ridiculous paying for it.

Let’s do the math, your cable tv per month will cost you $600 per year, thats not even including internet too. So I bought the Amazon Fire Stick, as their subscription to all the channels I watch on TV, for only $99 a year. Thats about $8.25 per month.

Here are just some of the tv channels I got with the Amazon Fire Stick TV below.

amazon fire stick amazon fire stick

The full channel list is here, but before you check that out, heres why the amazon fire tv stick just gave me so much value.

Our Experience

We wanted to see which TV add-on like the Amazon Fire Stick was the most cost efficient in terms of what we got from its value, so we bought three items to test them all out.

  1. Amazon Fire Stick
  2. Amazon Fire TV
  3. Roku Streaming Stick

One of our side projects last summer was to install these devices for our friends. We wanted to know their feedback and which one ended up being the best. These devices were tested on different HDTV, LED, and UHD TV’s.

Here are some of the core results we found.

Key Amazon Fire TV StickAmazon Fire TVRoku Stick
Price$39.99$89.99$47.00
ProcessorQuad-coreQuad-coreUnstated
Monthly Subscription $8.25 per month $8.25 per month Choose what you subscribe to.
Storage 8 GB8 GBMicro-SD Slot
Remote With Voice Support?YesYesNo
GamesYesYes (Games with higher graphics) Yes
TV Channels & MoviesIncluded with subscriptionIncluded with subscriptionMust pay per channel and subscription like Netflix
Supported Resolution Up to 1080PUp to 4K Ultra HDUp to 4K Ultra HD
Wi-Fi YesYesYes

The Amazon Fire Stick has more bang for your buck, it comes with a ton of shows and channels, as well as your option to put in your own separate subscriptions like Hulu and Netflix.

Below we write out our experience with the Fire Stick, Fire TV, and Roku.

Amazon Fire Stick

What Do I Need?

For the Amazon Fire Stick, you just need a few things:

The Video Quality

The video quality on the Amazon Fire Stick is great, and it over delivers where people like you and me want really good quality video, with smooth FPS.

We got great images from exclusive shows like: The Grand Tour, The Man In The High Castle, Mad Dogs, (like seriously, there are a ton of exclusives and originals in here given to you for free).

Here are some screenshots of some of the picture quality from the Amazon Fire Stick.

amazon fire stick

If you have a 4K Ultra HD TV, its a completely different experience with the Amazon Fire TV. The video quality we were able to stream was very smooth, crisp, and encountered absolutely zero lag or frame rate issues.

The Channels

amazon fire stick

Amazon Prime literally comes with a plethora of different channels, tv stations, exclusive series, and games. Its amazing how much value the teams over at Amazon really pushed for each user’s subscription.

Since you’re paying only $8.25 a month for Amazon Prime, you not only get access to all these channels, but you get a ton of games, exclusive tv shows, and movies.

The only other device I felt that had higher quality video was the Roku 4. It’s a little bit pricier, but the video quality stood out more on our 4K UHD screens. It had more options for 4K UHD playback as well.

The Movies 

Amazon Fire Stick does an insanely impressive job with the movie listings. With your Prime subscription, you already get access to all their exclusives, as well as a ton of other movies and tv shows that are already found on Netflix.

Unless you’re into a lot of Netflix original series, or you enjoy Netflix’s insane anime library, then Amazon’s movie library offers a huge library in its own right.

Here are some of the titles they include:

  • Spectre
  • Mockingjay series
  • Sicario
  • Interstellar
  • Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
  • Lots of TV series
  • Happy Gilmore
  • Into the forest

If you do have Netflix though, and you still want to watch your Netflix, the Fire TV Stick still has an included Netflix app that provides the full features that Netflix does in any other application.

Glitches, Lagging, And Any Issues 

We did not find any issues with the Fire TV Stick, but make sure you have a decent internet speed included in your room.

Performance Tests 

First, lets talk about the design.

The Amazon Fire Stick comes with a included voice remote that appears to be like the same remote from the previous version. The microphone quality appeared to be identical to a 2016 Apple TV.

We also liked how the Amazon Fire Stick included Bluetooth support, so you can pair a set of Bluetooth headphones directly with the stick.

Amazon Fire Stick also comes with a short HDMI extension cable if your HDMI ports on your television are harder to get to, it also has a micro USB cable, a USB power adaptor, and a pair of AAA batteries that comes with the remote. (Wow, thanks Amazon, you gave us batteries unlike most products!) 

The Fire TV Stick OS (Operating System) 

Amazon Fire Stick OS is simple, and we believe they truly worked hard to understand what the media audience wanted from the bottom up for a simple entertainment platform.

amazon fire tv stick

You can control going through the OS using the included remote, or using voice command through the remote.

Looking at the OS again, we found out it uses a modified version of Android in this version of the Fire TV Stick, and the OS is the same at the other fire TV devices.

If you are worried the OS doesn’t include some of your favorite subscriptions such as Netflix, don’t worry, it includes a ton of them such as:

  1. Amazon Exclusives (Through Prime)
  2. HBO NOW
  3. Hulu
  4. Netflix
  5. Sling
  6. Youtube

However unlike Roku, it does not include Crunchyroll, Google Play, Spotify, and Vudu.

Thoughts On Fire Stick TV Before Moving On 

Pros 

Amazon Fire TV Stick is a very portable version of the Amazon Fire TV and in some cases feels like an extremely portable version of an Apple TV (minus the iTunes and iOS part).

I like how it gave me all the TV shows, movies, and subscriptions that I already paid for on my cable bill, while saving me a little more of $40 per month.

Cons 

Just missing some of the subscription channels like Crunchyroll. But if you have Netflix and Hulu, then don’t worry, they are on there.

What Would I Do 

I originally got this to get rid of my massive cable bill, and put my media, Netflix streaming, and other media content in one small device.

If I was looking to get rid of my massive cable bill, and just watch some of the TV shows I do along with Netflix on a regular basis, I would get this. Cable has become more and more irrelevant these days thanks to Hulu and Netflix. Devices like Amazon Fire Stick act as an outstanding platform for this.

Amazon Fire TV

How is it different from the Fire Stick? 

The Fire TV stick was made for a more portable audience, and while both are great products, the Amazon Fire TV provides better WiFi signal, a little bit more premium voice detection through the remote, and caters towards people who have DSL or slower broadband connections.

Below is what the Fire TV looks like.

firetv

The Fire TV box can also handle games with higher graphics like Minecraft (something your kids or friends will play on it), this is a game that the Fire Stick cannot handle.

The Fire TV is also optimized for high end audio receivers (including soundbars), something that the Fire Stick cannot do.

Fire TV is designed to be for your main hub of entertainment, while the Fire Stick is used more for your secondary television in different rooms. To put it bluntly, the stick is really used for just casual streaming (it shouldn’t be used for playing games like the Fire TV is known for, or for playing heavy 4K Super HD quality videos on low bandwidth, only the Amazon Fire TV can play 4K quality in the Amazon lineup).

Although both devices are great for low bandwidth, the Fire TV is better suited for handling most environments. So if you do have a low WiFi signal at home, get the Fire TV. The Fire Stick is really meant for homes or environments that have plenty of WiFi to share, or if you are someone who lives by themselves and uses very low bandwidth.

So lets put it simply: 

If you have a house, or live in a place with multiple rooms, and you have many devices, then get the Fire TV, it acts as an amazing center hub for all your media, movies, and some games.

If you live alone, or live in a house with very limited WiFi, and you don’t use too many devices, get the Fire Stick. It’s a better pick for you.

Performance Tests

We found the Fire TV worked well under tight WiFi constraint. With the Fire Stick, we found we needed at least a 10 Mbps connection to actually get a smooth video stream.

The Fire TV or the Fire Stick will work with 1 television each, which means you need to get one for each television if you plan to have it on multiiple places throughout your home. This is true for other devices such as the Roku or Apple TV.

What we did was get one Fire TV for our living room, and a Fire Stick for every other room that had an entertainment center as our secondary use. What’s great about the Fire TV and Fire Stick is that your account will sync through it’s cloud system, meaning everything you do will be up to date and your history will be recorded for your convenience.

We also found on the Fire TV and Fire Stick, you can get a DLNA compatible media server app on your PC, and directly stream video to your Fire devices. Although not very many people do this, we found this extremely useful. The name of the application is called Plex, you can get it here. Here are the steps you need to do to stream Plex through Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick.

  1. Download & install Plex on your PC.
  2. Add your media through the Plex App.
  3. Install Plex on your Fire TV or Fire TV Stick.

What is the Micro SD storage limit?

We tested different Micro SD cards and found that 128 GB was the limit.

What if you lose the remote?

There is an app on the app store & play store that allows you to use the Fire TV through your phone.

Also don’t worry about your remote interference with your other devices, each Fire TV and Fire TV Stick remote is dedicated to its own device, so it won’t be confused with other devices.

Other WiFi related questions

The Fire TV and Fire Stick will work well with 5G Wifi, as this question was asked to us during writing.

Top concerns and questions related to the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick

Can I get most channels like Spike or Starz? 

Yes

Can you browse the internet on it? 

No, but you can mirror your phone or device to the Fire TV or Fire Stick.

Does Kodi work well on the Fire TV or Fire Stick?

Absolutely, in fact Kodi is one of the most recommended and suggested applications on Fire devices.

Roku 4 – The High End Alternative

The Roku 4 is a higher end media player that some people tend to go towards because it has the following features that stand out:

  • Over 2,500 streaming channels from TV shows, music, suports, news, international, kids, and different varities.
  • What we loved about the Roku is it had extremely good video quality, if you own a 4K Ultra HDTV, then this device will surely put it to the test. We felt Roku just did the best job with video quality out of all of them.
  • If you do not have a 4K HDTV, it will automatically scale your video from 720p to 1080p.
  • It comes with voice search, so you can what you’re looking for straight into the remote. So we can search media by title, actor, or even director. (If you know your directors thats impressive)

Cool features that Roku has 

One thing we found that was interesting is that Roku 4 has a lost remote finer, meaning that if you forgot where your remote is, it will tell you where by pressing a button.

roku4

The Roku 4 is able to cast video, music, and even your pictures to your TV, so you don’t need any third party application installed on your PC or Mac. We thought this was a little neat because for the Fire TV we needed to install another app in order to do this.

You can also mirror your entire screen through your iOS and Android device. If you don’t have those phones, then you can also connect other devices to it via USB or put your Micro SD Card slot.

What we also did to test the video quality in the Roku 4, was the audio quality. We heard a lot of good things about their integrated optical digital audio port, so we went ahead and bought a Bose CineMate 15, and the sound was great.

We watched some youtube videos at 1080p and 4K, and tried out other apps for their video quality like Netflix, Hulu and HBO. Truly Roku is the top tier for video quality.

Would we buy it over the Amazon Fire TV? 

The Roku 4 is really on a niche class on its own. If you’re looking for a different platform that delivers some of the best 4K video, and have some special features like finding your lost remote, this is the streaming device for you. The Roku 4 is truly a 4K enthusiasts streaming device.

The Roku device literally destroys any other competing smart home device when it comes to extremely high 4K Ultra HD video quality.

The Final Say 

If you love 4K video, get the Roku 4.

If you want a good well rounded portable streaming device, get the Fire Stick.

If you want a good well rounded streaming device with games like Minecraft, get the Fire TV.

Special Thanks 

Special thanks to Hal in our comments for correcting us on the 4K misprint for the Amazon Fire Stick.

4 COMMENTS

  1. IT’s impossible to watch “great 4K images” from the Fire TV Stick when the stick does not have 4K capabilities. The chart included in the article correctly shows this. Perhaps you were confusing the stick with the Fire TV box.

      • Ha I was just looking at these online today-I did a homemade one last year that was featured on Martha? Eh it didn’t go too well though lol. I think this year I will invest in a good one! Did you know you can use your &#ot;61lef28vers’ from your juicer in compost? I didn’t even think about it until I threw it out a few times and was like hey-let’s toss this in the compost pile!

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