They stream audio and video content from dozens of different apps over your Wi-Fi connection. While anyone can use one of these devices, being an Amazon Prime subscriber allows you to watch added programming.
The new Fire Stick remote does add the ability to control your TV volume, though it lacks the shortcuts to Netflix or other often-used services. While you could use the USB ports on your TV to power the device, it means the unit could behave unusually.
Sarah Too/CNET Like other streaming devices the number of services that Amazon Fire TV supports is improving all the time. Both offer a healthy complement of features, tightly integrated voice commands and relative speedy response times.
Using the Fire TV Stick remote is easy, and Alexa searches with the microphone button were more responsive and relevant than using the Echo as a go-between. Amazon says it offers a redesigned main menu and improved browsing, plus a new section called Alexa Explore with new recipes, stock reports and similar things.
Get CNET's comprehensive coverage of home entertainment tech delivered to your inbox. The practical difference between them is negligible, however, because an Atmos-capable receiver or soundbar is needed in both cases to hear Atmos audio.
Also, in my testing I've found many services -- including Prime Video and Disney Plus -- require a 4K TV for Atmos to work anyway. In short, I don't consider this feature difference a big deal because most people with decent Atmos setups should (once again) be using a bona fide 4K streamer.
If you're in the market for a new $30 or $40 streamer it comes down to a choice between Fire TV's content-first approach versus Roku app-first one. If you're familiar with Roku's simple menu design the number of tiles and options on the Fire TV Stick's home page can be overwhelming.
Dolby Atmos and HDR are weird add-ons for 1080p devices, and if Amazon wanted to offer something unique at the price it should have included full 4K support. It is a device that connects to a TV via an HDMI port and lets you choose from among thousands of streaming channels (like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and many others).
The Fire TV line of streaming devices stands out from competing products in a couple of important ways. In addition, while some other streamers include voice control, Fire TV relies on Alexa, the same personal assistant found in Echo smart speakers.
They include a library of tens of thousands of streaming channels, work with Amazon Alexa for voice control of the TV and media functions, and also include music (via services like Amazon Prime Music and Spotify) and a large selection of games. The Fire TV Stick is the least expensive at $40 and is a good choice if you don't need 4K video (it delivers 1080P high definition resolution).
Like the Roku Stick, it's a self-contained media player that looks like a USB flash drive and plugs directly into the HDMI port of your TV. The Amazon Fire Stick looks like a USB flash drive but connects your TV to a vast library of video content online.
The Fire TV Cube is Amazon's premium media player. It includes an Ethernet port in case you have sluggish Wi-Fi, built-in speakers, and Alexa voice control.
Sometimes, Amazon offers deals which are only available to Prime members, so it helps to keep your membership active while you're on the hunt. If you have yet to cut the cable company out of your life, the devices listed below are easily worth their full price so you can finally make it happen.
Amazon even includes a free year of Food Network Kitchen with the purchase. It can control compatible soundbars and A/V receivers as well, even allowing you to change live cable and satellite channels with your voice.
You'll score a free year of Food Network Kitchen with today's purchase. $279.99 at Amazon TCL's 38-inch Alto 8+ Soundbar not only supports 4K streaming but enables it with its built-in Fire TV Stick 4K.
That means you can use this smart soundbar just like the streaming media players above, and today it's discounted by nearly $70 at Amazon for a limited time. These HDTVs offer a lot of “bank for your buck” in terms of features like 4K, HDR, and media streaming services through the integrated Fire TV smart platform.
This model comes with the Alexa Voice Remote, too, and helps to make any TV with an HDMI port smarter. This LED TV features a 60Hz refresh rate, Dolby Vision, and support for HDR10.
There are three built-in HDMI inputs so you can connect a game console, Blu-ray player, soundbar, and other peripherals to help complete your home theater setup. This well-reviewed model features an LCD, excellent parent controls, and built-in access to thousands of channels, apps, and Alexa skills.
$349.99 at Best Buy This 65-inch Insignia smart TV is one of the largest Fire Edition TVs on the market, and also one of the most affordable models you'll find at this size anywhere. This is a 2020 model which features three HDMI inputs, a USB port, all the smart functionality you expect from a Fire TV device, and more.
$549.99 at Best Buy Pick up the new Fire TV Stick Lite at a $20 discount bundled with Amazon's all-new Echo Dot. $69.98 at Amazon Aside from the deals listed here, there are a couple of other ways to save on the Fire TV lineup.
Basically, if you send in a different device like a Roku TV or Chromecast, Amazon will give you up to 20% off something new. That's a great way to save big on the price of the Recast or one of the other more expensive options if you really want one.
Also, while it isn't currently live, Amazon regularly has a deal anywhere Fire TV devices are sold that lets you save when you buy more than one. We love how convenient Alexa makes it to control devices, listen to music, check the news, find shows, and do so many other things.
Though it's only compatible with the latest Echo, the white-on-white setup looks surprisingly like Spaceship Earth at Epcot in Walt Disney World! It has pretty much all the bells and whistles of our top pick, just sized appropriately for older Echo devices.
Set colorful timers or sync to the music on your Echo for a homemade dance party! Amazon also offers various bundles if you want to purchase an Alexa device and the amp at the same time.
If you're looking for a great streaming device, we've ranked the best Amazon Fire TV Sticks that you can buy right now. It comes with a handy Alexa Voice Remote and is the best all-around version of a Fire TV device.
Even at full-price, this device is a bargain, but it is often offered at a discount, making it an incredible buy. You get almost all the same high-end specs of more premium devices like the Fire TV Cube or Nebula Soundbar for much less.
With that savings, you can pick up an Echo Dot for hands-free Alexa control or subscribe to one of the fantastic Amazon Channels. And because this is a stick that plugs into the HDMI port behind your TV, it can hide out of sight and out of mind.
Fantastic value with top-of-the-line specs Often discounted for an even better bargain Alexa access on voice remote is a killer feature This stick comes close to matching Amazon's other top streamers like the Cube and Nebula Soundbar and is an incredible value.
For less than the price of a week's worth of lattes, you get a fantastic HD streaming device with built-in access to Amazon's Alexa voice assistant. This iteration is just the latest version of the original product released in 2016, but it is still one of the better HD streaming devices you can purchase.
You can also connect an HD antenna and a Fire TV Recast to be a true cord cutter! The 2020 edition comes with 8 GB of storage and a processor that is 50% more powerful than before while using less energy than ever (this is one of the first Amazon devices that is certified as Climate Pledge Friendly).
The Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote is 95% of the way there to the top of the heap. The Fire TV Stick Lite can support the same viewing experience as the Fire TV Stick and most of the same audio experience, though to get Dolby Atmos Audio, you'll need to go through HDMI pass-through.
Doesn't support 4K, UHD, or HDR 10 Doesn't support Dolby Vision Dolby Atmos Audio requires HDMI pass-through Alexa Voice Remote can't control TV This was the first Fire TV Stick I ever owned, and even in 2014, I got a better deal on it than this via an exclusive offering for Prime members.
Even though it doesn't compare to its siblings in terms of specs or performance, this is still a pretty decent little streamer. The biggest downside, in my opinion, is that you do not have access to Alexa, as this comes with just a simple remote without voice control.
Even though the lineup of streamers is not too confusing, there are still some choices to be made when distinguishing between these devices. It has all the specs of higher-end streaming boxes but comes in a modest size and at a fantastic price.
Jeremy Johnson is proud to help to Keep Austin Weird and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand. When he's not writing about Amazon products and services, he's defending his relationship with his side-chick Alexa to his family.
A wired connection avoids any signal interference or competition for bandwidth and gives your cast or stream priority access to data. Some adapters simply do just that, while others take advantage of the direct access to your Chromecast or Fire TV Stick to add other useful...