Fire Tv Stick: how does the stick to connect to the TV work (and which one to buy)

Fire Tv Stick: how does the stick to connect to the TV work (and which one to buy)

Fire Tv Stick

Amazon Fire Tv Stick is the solution that more and more users are adopting to transform their old TV into a smart TV with a negligible expense: it is a key to connect to the TV by inserting it directly into the device's hdmi port, and which allows access to apps and online content. Thanks to the device, you can watch movies and TV series from online streaming services on TV, but also listen to Spotify music, play simple but engaging video games and get all the main apps for the version of the Android operating system dedicated to TV.

In fact it is a direct competitor of the Google Chromecast product line, but its peculiarity is that it is available in several different models. In this buying guide we will understand what are the peculiarities of each of the devices on the market, since the prices of this family of products range from just under 30 euros to over 60 euros (although in truth during the year they are periodically subject of promotions).

The Fire OS operating system, or Android according to Amazon First of all, it must be remembered that at the base of all Amazon's Fire Tv Sticks there is always the same platform, that is a version of Android customized by Amazon. It's called Fire OS and is in fact the same system that also underlies the cheap Kindle Fire series tablets. On board the keys there is not the Play Store that Google supports the Android devices, but an app store managed directly by Amazon that allows you to download all the most popular TV apps: from Netflix to Infinity, passing through Disney +, Dazn, Spotify and many others - without counting all the services of the Amazon universe.

Fire OS

Lots of content, easy to find The other great quality of Fire OS on Fire Tv Sticks is to offer a fluid and simplified interface that on average is easier than most of the multimedia sections of TVs on the market. Obviously there are exceptions, but for smart TVs that are truly efficient and comfortable to use, you must also be willing to spend hundreds and hundreds of euros.

Among the added values ​​there is an efficient text and voice search engine that uses all compatible streaming services as a database - not just Amazon Prime Video - and allows you to find the desired live broadcasts and on-demand content with a single request. The VoiceView screen reader closes the circle, which allows visually impaired or blind users to access most of the features of the Fire TV, plus a magnifying glass that allows you to zoom in or out and move around the screen.
How to install Fire Tv Stick The installation is also identical for all Fire Tv Stick devices. Regardless of the model available, you must first make sure you have an Internet connection at home, since the gadget retrieves all of the contents from the Net. Then simply proceed with connecting to the hdmi port of your TV. At this point all that remains is to connect your key to the mains using the supplied cable and a wall socket.

(Actually, the keys can also be powered via the USB port on most televisions, but it is a method that we recommend only in case of emergency in order not to overload the electrical component of the television).

At this point the device turns on and starts transmitting images on the television channel dedicated to the hdmi input chosen for connection. By tuning to the correct source, the installation instructions will appear on the screen, starting from the connection to the home wi-fi network, selecting the name and password with the included remote control.

Fire Tv Stick Lite, the cheapest modelThe Fire Tv Stick Lite is the low cost model of the range, which perl still supports streaming at the maximum resolution full hd 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels). In practice, it is a product suitable for any TV, especially older ones that do not contemplate support for 4K resolution. Supported video formats are hdr 10, hdr10 +, hlg, H.265, h.264 and vp9; the audio ones are Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital +, through hdmi audio pass-through.

The package includes the usb cable and the power supply, an hdmi extension cable and also the remote control, with a specific key dedicated to activation of the Amazon Alexa voice interface. Thanks to this function just say: "Alexa, open YouTube" to get the desired answer. Alternatively, you can use your smartphone as a remote control by downloading the free Fire Tv app on Android and iOS phones. The storage space on the key dedicated to apps and externally uploaded videos is 8 GB, but the cloud service can also be used free of charge for all Amazon digital content. It supports wi-fi 5 and bluetooth 5.

€ 19.99 - buy on Amazon The advice: buy the Fire Tv Stick Lite model only if you want to spend as little as possible and only if you have a full hd tv.

Fire Tv Stick, the basic modelFor a few euros more, the basic Fire Tv Stick model is available, almost identical to the Lite model. The two sticks have the same processor inside, the same amount of memory and even the same size, with few but interesting differences inside.

The first is support for the Dolby Atmos audio format, one of the cutting-edge technologies in terms of immersive sound effects that however require a television, a soundbar or a compatible home theater system.

The second is in the remote control, which in addition to the support of the Alexa voice assistant also allows you to control the TV by turning it on, off and managing its volume and zapping between traditional channels even when the key is not active.

Finally, on the accessory there are keys dedicated to the most used streaming services, namely Prime Video, Disney +, Amazon Music and Netflix. By pressing one of these buttons, the interface moves directly within the corresponding app to move faster to the choice of content.

€ 24.99 - buy on amazon The advice: between the Lite and this version there are about 5 euros of difference, but the plus offered by the remote control is definitely a great convenience. In any case, it is still recommended only for those with a full hd TV since like the lite model it would not benefit from devices with 4K resolution.

Fire Tv Stick 4k Ultra hd, the model for 4k tvs The Fire Tv Stick 4K is in fact a Fire Tv Stick with advanced functions. The appearance of the device and remote control is identical, and again the processor, memory and storage space are the same as in the less expensive models. In addition, however, a chip for decoding video signals at 4k resolution (or 2160p with 60 Hz refresh rate) is included, which allows you to make the most of the latest TVs.

In addition to traditional formats audio video supported by the base model of Fire Tv Stick, this variant is compatible with Dolby Vision and high-resolution audio of the FLAC and Vorbis standards. In fact, the Dolby Vision video format is not as widespread on televisions: it is a high-quality HDR technology that is available on medium-high-end televisions from LG, Sony, Hisense and a few others.

34.99 € - buy on amazon The advice: the Fire Tv Stick 4k is the model for those who own a 4k television. It is useless to think too much about it, unless we have even more sophisticated needs. At that point you have to look at the top of the range.

Fire Tv Stick 4k Max, the top of the range model The Fire Tv Stick 4k Max is the latest Amazon stick available for a few months. The main improvement consists in a more powerful hardware supported by 2 GB of RAM, which make the interface more fluid and pleasant to use. Just like the Fire Tv Stick 4k model, the Max variant also supports 4k resolution and all reference audio and video formats, but has an advantage in wireless connection. In fact, it supports the new wi-fi 6 standard which, with compatible modem-routers, is able to offer improvements in terms of connection speed (or content loading), coverage and connection stability.

The other the novelty concerns the Live View picture-in-picture function, i.e. the possibility of asking Alexa to show the image of your camera from inside or outside (as long as it is compatible with the Amazon ecosystem) without leaving the program you are watching. Also in the future - as soon as the software update is available - it will be possible to connect the Fire TV 4k Max to compatible Echo devices wirelessly and also to receivers and game consoles. In short, it is the most complete model on the market, with greater potential both in terms of video entertainment and home automation.

€ 39.99 - buy on amazon The advice: the Fire TV Stick 4k Max it is recommended for those who already have other Alexa devices at home or listen to high-resolution music. Wi-Fi 6 support is certainly an added value, but without a compatible mode-router it's practically useless.

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