Amazon has announced two new models in its hugely-popular Fire TV range – the Fire TV Stick, which replaces the, erm, Fire TV Stick as well as the all-new Fire TV Stick Lite. First up, the refreshed Fire TV Stick keeps the same brand name and the same High Definition (1080p) streaming with support for HDR picture quality. However, it now ships with an improved Alexa voice remote – so you can ask the voice assistant to recommend shows and search for movies without typing using the on-screen keyboard. You’ll also be able to do all of the other Alexa stuff that’s possible with an Amazon Echo.
There’s also HDR compatibility and Dolby Atmos support – as long as you’ve got the right sound system plugged into your TV. The Alexa Voice Remote also has dedicated volume, power and mute buttons so you can easily control your TV, soundbar and AV equipment. As before, you’ll only need to plug the Fire TV Stick into the HDMI port at the back of your telly to get the Alexa-ready device up-and-running.
As you might expect, the improved Fire TV Stick is faster than its predecessor – Amazon says it’s as much as 50 percent speedier – so you should be able to load-up games and start streaming shows faster than older Fire TV gadgets plugged into TVs around your home. But despite the faster internals, Amazon has kept the same price tag as last year. In the UK, that means you’ll be looking at a price tag of £39.99.
Amazon still sells a 4K-compatible version of this Fire TV form-factor for £49.99 and the Fire TV Cube, which is part-Echo part-Fire TV, for £109.99.
And that’s not all.
Amazon has also unveiled an all-new low-cost version of the HDMI streaming dongle, known as Fire TV Stick Lite. According to Amazon, the Fire TV Stick Lite “gives you the most processing power in any streaming media player under $30. It’s an amazing way to start streaming in full-HD with HDR, and it comes with Alexa Voice Remote Lite for quick access to the large selection of HD content available on Fire TV.”
It shares almost all of the same features as the Fire TV Stick, but retails for £29.99.
Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick Lite both use 50 percent less power than the previous generation, despite both being more powerful. And Amazon says the Fire TV Lite is also 50 percent speedier than the previous Fire TV Stick, so you should notice a speed bump – even if you buy the most affordable option now available from Amazon.
As well as new streaming kit, Amazon also revealed a redesign Fire TV interface that will be available on all of its new device and will roll-out to some of the older hardware in due course. The overhauled Fire TV experience has a simplified new Main Menu that suggests shows from a range of streaming service installed on the Fire TV device based on your viewing history. As you might expect, Alexa plays a significant role – with the ability to search for shows and find new movies based on genres, directors, actors and more.
The updated Fire TV software now supports profiles for up to six users – so your boxset binges won’t influence the shows recommended to your other half when they pick-up the Alexa voice remove and turn on the telly.
“The new Fire TV experience will begin to rollout to customers later this year,” Amazon has stated.