Everything You Wanted To Know About Amazon Fire TV Stick
Amazon, which is primarily seen as an e-commerce site, apparently has bigger dreams as far as India is concerned. First it brought its internet media streaming service Amazon Prime to India and then launched Amazon Fire TV Stick , a media streaming device with voice remote in the country. The TV Stick, which comes with a voice remote, costs Rs 3,999 and is available for purchase on the Amazon website.
What is Amazon Fire TV Stick?
Amazon Fire TV Stick is primarily a media streaming device that plugs into an HDTV and lets users access movies, TV shows, apps and games. At first look you might mistake it for a pen drive, because that’s exactly how it looks. But the Fire TV Stick packs a powerful hardware in the inside. It comes with a quad-core processor and support for fast Wi-Fi.
What’s in the Box?
When you buy the Amazon Fire TV Stick you get the following:
- Fire TV Stick
- Voice Remote
- USB cable and power adapter
- HDMI extender
- 2 x AAA batteries
- Quick Start Guide.
What can you watch
The Amazon Prime Video stick allows you to watch content from almost all major video streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, YouTube, Eros Now and Gaana. What is incredibly interesting is the fact that you can also consume content from Netflix – Amazon Prime Video’s most formidable competitor.
How to set up
Setting up the Amazon Fire TV stick is fairly easy. To get started, you need to have a TV with at least HD resolution, and a Wi-Fi connection, with speed recommended at over 4MBPS for easy streaming. Now, plug the dongle into the HDMI port of your TV. Just like the Chromecast, the Fire TV Stick needs an active power connection, so you need to connect the one end of the USB cable to the Fire TV stick and the other to either the power adapter or a spare USB socket on the TV itself.
After having switched on the device and set it to the correct input on your TV, you need to follow the instructions on the screen to connect to the local Wi-Fi network. After that the home screen will ask you to enter your Amazon Prime credentials. If you are already a member, you can input your data whereas new users can sign up from the screen as well. In the meantime, insert the batteries into the remote, and get started with the navigation.
The remote comes with a joystick-like pad allowing you to navigate from one corner to another. The main highlight of the remote is the voice support. To give a command, you need to press the voice button on the remote and speak.
Experience: UI, apps, navigation and more
Once you have setup the device and logged in, a wide range of content in tile format is spread out on the home screen. While Amazon gives its own platform priority on screen, it also does not shy away from touting the catalog of apps it offers. The Amazon Fire TV stick comes with support for more than 3,000 apps. However, the main focus is on the likes of Netflix, YouTube, Gaana and Airtel Movies, among others. There are also some games that can be played with the remote, including Flappy Bird.
Considering the large number of apps available, Amazon has done a fine job at taking the minimalist approach to the UI. It’s pretty and neat, and more importantly quite easy to get started with. Shuffling from one app to another can be done with absolute ease. And there’s a screensaver mode that gets activated when on standby. The mode shows you some stunning photos curated by Amazon.
The performance of the stick in general stands out. Apps load very quickly with nonexistent lag. Another great thing about the Fire TV stick is smooth playback.
As for the remote, apart from looking good, it also fits really well in your palm and gets you going with absolutely no hassle. The voice command support works pretty well and surprisingly even understands the Indian accent without much trouble. It also gets Indian language inputs accurately, understanding Hindi movie names with ease.
That being said, the Amazon Fire TV stick is not without its flaws and imperfections. One of the biggest issues is the lack of universal search. At the moment, the Fire TV stick shows suggestions from Amazon Prime Video only, but it would have been much better if I could just simply search for content in one place rather than opening each app and searching individually.