Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K review: This is the media streamer to beat

During Amazon’s Prime Day sale you’ll be able to snag the Fire TV Stick 4K for a mere $25 (50 % off!), making it the greatest deal in streaming gadgets we all know of.

The Fire TV Stick 4K is the media streamer that Amazon ought to have launched years in the past.

Cooler than a Roku and less expensive than an Apple TV, the new $50 streaming dongle gives 4K HDR video in each conceivable format whereas outperforming Amazon’s costlier Fire TV Cube ($120) and third-generation Fire TV ($70, now discontinued). It additionally corrects the stupidest mistake of earlier Fire TV fashions by together with TV quantity and energy controls on its distant management. Factor in highly effective Alexa voice instructions and you’ve got a compelling 4K HDR streamer at any value, not to mention the lowest value on the market.

The Fire TV Stick 4K received’t be for everybody. It stays, as all the time, optimized for Amazon Prime subscribers, and its interface, whereas fascinating, stays bloated with promotional materials and redundancies. It’s additionally a non-starter for YouTube TV subscribers—at present our favourite stay TV streaming service—as Amazon and Google keep away from supporting each other’s TV platforms. But if these points aren’t dealbreakers, you’ll discover a stunning variety of issues to love about this price range streamer.

Performance punch

Last yr’s Fire TV pendant included a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, as did the Fire TV Cube from earlier this yr. The Fire TV Stick 4K, regardless of its smaller measurement, will get a lift to 1.7GHz, and that goes a good distance towards addressing earlier fashions’ efficiency points.

firetvstick4kextensionJared Newman / IDG

As did earlier Fire TV Sticks, the 4K model tucks behind your TV (and contains an extension cable, in case you want it).

With PlayStation Vue and Hulu with Live TV, as an example, the Fire TV Stick 4K began taking part in video a number of seconds quicker than its predecessors, and scrolled by means of the TV information with none lag or stutter. It was additionally much less susceptible to dropping in body charge whereas scrolling round the residence display. (The Fire TV Stick 4K did fail to ship 60 frames per second video in Hulu, however hopefully this will probably be rectified quickly. PlayStation Vue had no such issues.)

Amazon even threw a bone to nerdier antenna customers by together with hardware-accelerated MPEG-2 video help in the Fire TV Stick 4K. That means you’ll be able to plug an HDHomeRun Connect TV tuner into your Wi-Fi router and watch over-the-air channels from an antenna at full broadcast high quality from any tv round the home.

Amazon’s Fire TV pendant and Fire TV Cube technically help this as effectively, however Roku doesn’t help MPEG-2 playback in any respect. The Fire TV Stick 4K with HDHomeRun is now a cost-efficient means to get free broadcast channels at full high quality all through the residence, even with only one well-placed antenna.

Doing 4K proper

The Fire TV Stick 4K is Amazon’s third crack at 4K HDR, which allows for both a crisper picture and more vibrant colors on supported televisions. But while the previous Fire TV…

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