Amazon rolls out a novel streaming media player for the Fall, in an attempt to beat rivals to the curve, as multiple ventures prepare to bring updated video streaming boxes and sticks.
The Amazon Fire TV media stick rocks a four-core processor that should deliver 30 percent increased speed over the former dual core CPU. Amazon also bolstered the Wi-Fi, taking it from 802.11n to 802.11ac. What is more, a new Bluetooth connectivity option is in store, allowing users to link a pair of wireless headphones to the device for private listening.
The Fire TV stick also integrates the Alexa Voice Remote, making it easy to perform voice searches to find your way through a myriad of channels.
While Amazon's Fire TV box offers 4K video streaming, the recently released Fire TV stick does not. However, it more than makes up by offering a staggering 7,000 HD channels, apps, and Alexa skills. The company believes that the offer should be plenty for the majority of customers.
Amazon touts that the integration of its voice assistant will add superior value to the streaming media experience, as the AI got some upgrades over last year's variant. Alexa now offers improved search queues in more than 90 apps, and it can launch software, play movies and TV shows by title or genre, control playback and more.
Keep in mind that activating the Alexa on a Fire TV device requires the user to turn on the TV and press a button on the remote. This is a tad different than the way the voice assistant works on other smart appliances, such as the Amazon Echo or Dot, where Alexa is "always on" by default.
Preorders opened today for $40 and the company estimates that U.S. shipping will begin on Oct. 20. To incentivize clients to activate the product until Oct. 31, Amazon throws in a couple of bonuses. These include a free content package worth up to $65, where owners of the Fire TV media stick will find one month of Sling TV, two months of Hulu (Limited Commercials), and Amazon Video credit worth $10.
The Fire TV media stick lands only days after its main rival, Roku, launched a slew of new streaming media hardware, such as the Roku Express box that costs only $30. Gunning for the affordability over high quality niche, the Roku Express box only features HDMI output, lacking both 4K and HDR support.