Amazon Fire TV Stick Basic Edition arrives in united state at a peak. Directly affected users use Netflix and know Prime Video; these people have learned to know the merits and defects of the “lesser” streaming services (Now TV, Infinity, Tim Vision), have scrutinized and chosen, always counting, who before who after, in a Chrome cast connected to the TV in the living room. Conversely, those left behind – out of laziness or lack of interest, find themselves with a Smart TV no longer updated or with a first generation Full HD TV; these people would like to watch movies and TV series in the living room, but often they end up doing it in front of the PC, on the tablet – if all goes well, or on the smartphone – if it goes wrong.
A 49.99 USD Fire TV Stick is the solution to both contexts. First of all because it costs little for what it offers (just look at everything in the package) but also because it works well, is mature and versatile, as well as simple to use. Who writes, try the Amazon Fire TV from the first arrival on the market. At the time (it was 2014) it was a convenient way to buy great hardware to exploit, then, with some Android ROM. The new comes in a ready and credible form. It connects to the HDMI of the TV, you choose the language and the Wi-Fi network with the included Bluetooth remote control, and stop. You do not even need to enter the user and password of the Amazon account because it comes already configured with the purchase.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick package includes: remote control, batteries, key, HDMI extension cable, microUSB cable, USB 5V 1A power supply and first start guide.
The last interface of Fire OS resembles that of Netflix (or Apple TV or Android TV – we are always in those terms) and allows you to install applications in two ways: from the Amazon store, or directly via .apk. The second method is not a necessity because the main apps are already available in the traditional market. It is mainly used for extras like Kodi or SkyGo (the first one works as expected, the second one goes wrong – as on all unsupported devices) and requires downloading .apk from the Internet (I recommend the Downloader app to do it) or local network (ES File Explorer). Fire TV Stick has only one microUSB port for power, so you can not connect hard drives or pen drives.
The limits of the new Fire OS are two: it does not have a search function for the app (you must use the intuition flipping through the categories, but there are some peculiarities like Plex inserted in the section “Photography”) and does not support the automatic change of refresh rate during local video playback. Both are details: the first is probably due to a bug; the second is negligible on a non-purist product optimized for online streaming.
The MediaTek SoC supports hardware decoding up to 1080P 30 fps of H.265, H.264 and others (see data sheet) and with any VLC it defends well; on Kodi, there is also a credible management of add-ons. Probably the video library that you hold on the NAS deserves better (from HD audio management to 4K playback) but in emergency situations you can also count on the Fire TV Stick. The important thing is not to expect too much; there is not the reactivity of an Apple TV or an Nvidia Shield. With 1 GB of RAM and this hardware, Fire OS slows down when you go too fast with the remote and is not at all comfortable with the games. No alarm: usability remains adequate and the management of streaming applications becomes sufficient once fully operational. Netflix, the same as Amazon Prime Video, are great for playback.
Fire TV Stick Basic Edition
- Processor: Mediatek 8127D quad core ARM 1.3 GHz / GPU: Mali 450 MP4
- Memories: 1 GB RAM LPDDR3 / 8 GB storage (5.9 GB free)
- Dual band ac / Bluetooth Wi-Fi connectivity 4.1
- Ports: HDMI 1.4 (1080P output) / HDMI-CEC / microUSB
- Video formats: H.264 1080p30 and H.265 1080p30;
- Audio formats: AAC-LC, HE-AACv1 (AAC +), HE-AACv2 (eAAC +), AC3 (Dolby Digital), eAC3 (Dolby Digital Plus), FLAC, MIDI, MP3, PCM / Wave, Vorbis, AMR-NB, AMR-WBI images: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP
- Dimensions: 86 x 30 x 12.6 mm / Weight: 32 grams