Review: Amazon Fire TV Stick

Amazon have finally released their tiny TV stick in Europe, featuring everything from the Fire TV but in a much smaller form factor.

The stick comes in a nifty box with a deliberately red interior.  The package contains the stick, a USB cable, HDMI extender power supply and remote.  You simply slot the stick into the HDMI of the TV (or use the extender if your TV is against the wall), pop the USB lead in to either the TV, if it has a USB that can power the device, or use the wall plug to provide power and you’re good to go.

While the Fire TV had a larger remote with voice controls, the TV Stick comes with a smaller one that doesn’t feature the voice functions, though it is compatible with both this and the game controller if you want to buy those separately.

Amazon TV StickWhat can the Amazon Fire TV Stick do?  Well, its primary purpose is to provide the Prime streaming video and it really is advised that you get Amazon Prime to make the most of this.  While the service hasn’t been all that great in the past, Amazon have been splashing money on new series like Constantine and movies like Transparent as well as gathering a whole load of favourites from the US and UK.  Sci-fi fans are particularly well catered for here.

But the Fire TV Stick also plays games, namely those apps from the Amazon App Store.  It’s not compatible with everything and their website does provide a quick guide before you buy an app, but there are a surprising number of games that can be played with just the remote.  Due to having half the RAM of the Fire TV, some apps that will work on Amazon’s bigger box won’t work on the TV stick, but it’s no great loss, to be honest, compared to the portability and price of the device.

Talking of Apps, there are plenty that work with the stick, too.  iPlayer, Netflix, Plex and plenty of others that cover everything from media companies and weather to alarm clocks and even virtual fireplaces.

Amazon also sell digital music (and digital versions of a lot of Amazon bought CDs are free) and you can access all of them plus anything you’ve saved to their upload service right here.  In addition, you can use Spotify, TuneIn Radio, Vevo and other music services, giving your ears plenty to do.

The real beauty of the stick, though, is that it’s so flexible and portable.  Any TV or monitor with an HDMI input can be used and this device will allow you to turn your old LCD or Plasma into a Smart TV, which could save you money if you’re tempted to upgrade your TV.

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