Amazon has been on a roll in 2018. Earlier this year, the company launched the Fire TV Cube, which tied together everything you’d want out of a streaming box along with some brilliant smart home features. Then it launched the Fire TV Recast, which adds live over-the-air (OTA) TV to your other Fire TV devices. Now, the company is set to take a big picture to a smaller form factor with the announcement of the new Fire TV Stick 4K, the company’s most powerful streaming stick to date.
The company says the Fire TV Stick 4K is 80 percent more powerful than the best-selling Fire TV Stick, thanks in part to its new quad-core 1.7GHz processor. This brings not just the ability to stream in 4K resolution, but support for high dynamic range (HDR) in both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision formats. The new model doesn’t just offer better picture quality. Audio has received an upgrade as well, with support for Dolby Atmos object-based surround sound.
The Fire TV Stick 4K features a new 802.11ac Wi-Fi chip that helps with the bandwidth requirements for 4K programming, meaning you shouldn’t have to worry about buffering or stuttering picture. The updated hardware also offers quicker load times and an overall faster streaming experience. This, combined with the new Alexa Voice Remote that adds volume buttons to the remote, makes for one of the best Fire TV experiences to date.
If you’re looking for a way to make sure you’re watching the highest-quality content, you can simply say “Alexa, find 4K TV shows” so you don’t have to worry about checking to see if a show is streaming in the right resolution. If, on the other hand, you know exactly what to watch, you can simply say, for example, “Alexa, watch Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” with in-app voice control now available in apps including Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and others. The new streaming stick also works with Amazon’s Fire TV Recast, letting you easily watch and record OTA TV.
The Fire TV Stick 4K sells for $50 and includes the new remote, which is available separately for $30. That is a low price for a 4K streamer, but isn’t quite as low as the $40 Roku Premiere, which debuted last month. If you’re looking to put together a smart home starter kit, you can save a little money by ordering a bundle that packages a Fire TV Stick 4K together with an Echo Dot for $80. Another bundle packages the Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Recast, and a 35-mile HDTV antenna for $250, which the company says is a savings of over $50.
Amazon Echo Show 15 is getting the full Fire TV update today
The line between the Amazon Echo Show 15 and a Fire TV is blurring, with the former getting the experience of the latter starting today with a software update.
It won't quite turn your Echo Show 15 into a Fire TV 15, per se. But it'll give it full access to the Amazon Appstore, and that means you should have all the apps available to essentially turn it into a wall-mounted streaming powerhouse (provided that everything's square when it comes to APIs and app updates, but we have a feeling Amazon and the developers will have that figured out in short order, if things aren't already working as expected).
Here's the thing about streaming devices. They don't change a whole lot. They do what they're meant to do — stream video, and maybe some other stuff — but the underlying tech doesn't change much. And that's because the way we stream video hasn't really changed, either. So the differences are more on the edges. That doesn't mean we haven't seen improvements, however. And while our list of the best streaming devices hasn't changed overall, there definitely are some differences to note this year.
Want to see the rest? Check out our full list of the most innovative tech products of 2022!
Winner: Apple TV 4K (2022)
Get the most out of your Apple TV 4K (2022) with these tips and tricks
Apple TV 4K is one of the best streaming devices you can buy. It's so capable that we're willing to bet it can do things you never knew it could. While Apple makes it very easy to pull Apple TV 4K out of the box and get right to streaming movies and TV shows, it is capable of so much more — and not just for Apple users. Though, let’s be frank, there are several features available only to those who own other Apple devices.
Trust me when we say that just a little bit of time invested in learning about this stuff pays off big as you use your Apple TV day after day. By the time we’re done, you will be an Apple TV power user.