The Amazon Fire TV Stick is a great alternative to that Google Chromecast. But what exactly is this device and what can you do with it? In this article, we'll explain Amazon's popular media dongle.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick is a media dongle that you connect to your television via the HDMI port. After a short installation, it streams various types of content, including the movies and series that you find on Amazon's own video streaming service: Amazon Prime Video.
Amazon Fire TV Stick: The basics
The device runs on Android, but does not have access to the Google Play Store. That is a download store where you get all kinds of apps. Instead, you get your apps and content from the Amazon App Store, and the system runs on FireOS (a software shell for Android, from Amazon).
Also read: Amazon Fire TV Stick vs Chromecast
That is not necessarily a problem. Within the Amazon App Store you will find apps that you can also find on other television platforms (such as tvOS from Apple and Android TV from Google), such as Netflix, Disney +, Viaplay and NLSeet. In addition, you can sideload apps on the device. Sideloading means that you download an app from the internet and install it on the dongle via a computer.
✔ Operate with remote control + app
✔ Very affordable
✔ Good value for money
Different versions available
There are several versions of the Amazon Fire TV Stick (4nd generation). For example, in the United States you have the Fire TV Stick, TV Stick XNUMXK and the Fire TV Cube (a media player that you place in the TV cabinet). They also have a Fire TV Stick Lite there and another third-generation TV Stick.
In the Netherlands you get access to two versions of the Amazon Fire TV Stick: the 4K version and the version that simply supports full HD images. The different versions basically offer the same experience. Usually the differences are in the remote control or the image quality.
It is useful for Dutch people to know that you can only view 4K images in 4k with the Amazon Fire TV Stick. In addition, the more expensive version supports WiFi 6 (a new and modern WiFi standard) and Dolby Vision. That is an HDR standard for a wider color range.
There is also more RAM (2 GB compared to 1 GB) and the processor in the device is somewhat faster, but the latter difference is negligible.
You can do this with Amazon Fire TV Stick
The Amazon Fire TV Stick lets you do a number of things. You watch movies and series, play games on them, and you can ask questions to voice assistant Alexa. There are also caveats to this: playing games is not yet possible in the Netherlands and Alexa does not yet speak Dutch. That means that you have to ask your questions in English.
Moreover, you still have to invest in a separate controller if you want to play on it. But that is – at the time of writing – still in the future. For now, the Fire TV Stick is all about viewing content.
This is how the dongle works
Installing the Amazon Fire TV Stick: A kid can do the laundry. You don't have to deal with one separate app or a potentially complicated installation. It works very simply: you connect the dongle to an empty HDMI port of your TV (possibly with the extension cable in between) and plug it into the socket.
Then go to the correct HDMI channel on the TV and wait until the TV Stick has started up completely. If you're an Amazon Prime member, you don't need to add your account; the company has already done that for you, so that you can immediately watch series.
Of course you have to connect the Amazon Fire TV Stick to WiFi, but that all goes without saying the moment you activate the device. You simply follow a few steps that appear on the screen. If you are not automatically logged in to Amazon Prime, for whatever reason, don't forget to log in. Unfortunately, the player does not work without an account.
Download apps from the Amazon App Store
Next, you are supposed to get apps from the Amazon App Store. When you open the store, you will immediately see a number of suggestions. You can also use the search function and find your favorite app manually.
There are also a number of categories you can choose from. You reach all categories by clicking Find in the main menu. Then go to the right to select Appstore. Again, you get access to four options: your own apps, apps that are in the spotlight, games and all categories. You want to choose the last option.
Then you can search for a category or genre that interests you. When you press an option, you will see an overview of content that fits within that category.
Buy Amazon Fire TV Stick
You can buy both versions of the Amazon Fire TV Stick from different places. But you will probably find the cheapest price at Amazon (some retailers charge a few euros extra). The price you pay is one-off; after purchasing you have no monthly costs for using the device.
Do you use Amazon Prime Video, for example? Then you pay an additional three euros per month for that subscription; but that depends on the hardware.
De 4K version of the Amazon Fire TV Stick currently costs about 65 euros at Amazon, while the regular variant has a price of less than 40 euros. In both cases you get a handy remote control and you are therefore not dependent on an app.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick is, of course, an awful lot like the Chromecast from Google. In both cases, you plug in the device and you can get started a few minutes later. Are you more interested in the Chromecast? Then we have some articles ready for you, such as how to install the device en what version of the dongle you can buy the best.