Amazon FireTV stick review

Dec 3, 2014 by

Amazon FireTV stick

Amazon FireTV stick

I have had the new Amazon FireTV stick for a few days now so I thought I would write a brief review for anyone who is considering purchasing one for Christmas or for whatever reason. I purchased mine as a promotion for $19.99 but the retail price is $39.99.

First a brief rundown of what is included in the box and overview. As the name indicates, the FireTV stick looks like a larger version of a USB thumb drive. But it is designed to plug into an HDMI port on your television. It has a micro-usb connection for its own power adapter. An HDMI extender cable is included for those instances where you cannot directly plug the stick into an HDMI port due to physical constraints. There is also an included remote controller which I will talk about later.

As for specifications, there is Dolby sound, a dual core processor, dual-band wifi, and 1080p HD video. The list of included apps:

 

  • Smithsonian Channel
  • Twich
  • HuluPlus
  • Pandora
  • Showtime Anywhere
  • Crackle
  • IHeart Radio
  • Amazon Instant Video
  • Plex
  • ESPN
  • Amazon Music
  • Disney Channel
  • Netflik
  • Flixster
  • Tunein

As this is a device made by Amazon its main function is to access your Amazon Content. It is especially useful if you have Amazon Prime and an Amazon library of movies, music, and television content. But even if you don’t have any of these there is still a lot of content to be had. In addition to the apps mentioned above there are numerous categories of apps available for download and installation. While you don’t have access to the Google Play store and cannot load any of the Google apps that require Google play services, you can sideload apps that don’t require root access or Google play services, such as XBMC, which is one I love and runs perfectly on the stick.

The interface is simple, clean, and easy to maneuver with the included controller. As the controller does not have a keyboard, you have to use a screen keyboard to enter text but it is not that difficult to do. The menu options are:

  • Search
  • Home
  • Prime Video
  • Movies
  • TV
  • Wishlist
  • Video Library
  • Games
  • Apps
  • Music
  • Photos
  • Settings

Yes, you can play games on the stick if you buy a game controller designed for the stick. I have not tried that feature out yet. I am able to connect to my NAS and other DNLA enabled devices to stream content. So far the stick seems to be very capable and offers a wide variety of content. It has replaced my old Vizio Co-Star box quite nicely.

The remote is powered by two included AAA batteries and has only six buttons on it. There are three to control playback of content, a back button, a home button, and a options button.There is also a rotary track pad for up, down, left, right, and enter. You are able to remotely connect your laptop, table or smartphone to the stick to cast YouTube video or download apk files to it for sideloading purposes.

The only caveats I have are that it did not want to work with my 4 port HDMI switch box. I had to connect it directly to one of the TV’s HDMI ports. The other issue is with the YouTube app buffering now and then. Other than that I can highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a simple, inexpensive device to stream content to their HD TV. From what I have read it is more versatile than the Chromecast, but I have no direct experience with the Chromecast so I cannot verify that.

I hope this brief review will be of use to anyone considering purchasing the Amazon FireTV stick. I give it an emphatic thumbs up.

 

 

 

 

 

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