A large part of the Google Chromecast’s success can be attributed to its low price, which makes it an easy decision to purchase if you have no current way of streaming content to the TV. Amazon knows this, so the giant e-commerce company is embracing the same low pricing with its own streaming dongle, the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Just like other streaming dongles, it plugs into a TV’s HDMI port to connect it to the internet. Pick up the remote, open the service you want to watch, and enjoy it just like you would on a computer. Most of the big video and audio streaming services are onboard (HBO Go is the notable omission), along with Amazon’s large selection of content via Prime Instant Video (the stick comes with a 30-day free trial).
The Amazon Fire TV Stick packs more powerful hardware than the current crop of streaming dongles, boasting a dual-core ARM A9 processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of onboard storage, and dual band/dual antenna WiFi. It comes with an included remote, although it won’t have the voice support available from the remote that comes with the Fire TV set-top box (you can, however, get it separately). Alternatively, you can wait for the upcoming Amazon Fire TV voice app, which will let you navigate the UI using voice commands. It supports content up to 1080p, surround sound up to 7.1 channels, and mirroring for iOS and Android devices. The dongle measures 3.3 x 1 x 0.5 inches.
Now available for preorder, the Amazon Fire TV Stick is priced at $39.