Amazon announces $39 Fire TV Stick to compete with Google Chromecast

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited November 2014
Online retail behemoth Amazon on Monday unveiled the Fire TV Stick, a dongle variant of its Fire TV set-top box that eschews the separate hardware in favor of an all-in-one form factor that plugs into and is powered by a television's HDMI port.




The $39 Fire TV Stick adds access to all of the same content as its larger sibling. That includes Amazon's Prime Instant Video service, alongside Amazon Music and popular content providers like Netflix and Spotify.

Buyers will also be able to play a selection of popular games, an option that was brought to the Fire TV earlier this year. It is unclear whether the Fire TV's dedicated gamepad will be compatible with the more diminutive streamer, though it appears unlikely.

A secondary remote that adds voice search capability is available as well; the bundled remote control does not include a microphone.

Amazon is positioning the Fire TV Stick as a direct competitor to Google's Chromecast. The retailer touts the Fire TV Stick as having "4x the storage and 2x the memory of Chromecast," with a dual-core processor and 1 gigabyte of built-in memory.

Amazon's Fire TV Stick is available now for pre-order through Amazon's website. Amazon Prime members will receive a $20 discount for the next 48 hours, cutting the device's cost to just $19.
«134

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 68
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,607member
    $19? Yup, bought it!

    One for me, and one as a stocking stuff for a family member.
  • Reply 2 of 68
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,744member

    You mean "drawer stuffer".  ;)

  • Reply 3 of 68
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,607member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

     

    You mean "drawer stuffer".  ;)




    Whatever :)

     

    This would have been perfect for my father-in-law, but we ended up getting him a Roku 2 LT (I think that's that one) for Father's Day. Amazon had it for $35 or so a few months back. He only uses it to watch Amazon Prime Instant Video stuff (he loves old movies and documentaries). 

     

    I mean, for what it is, I don't think there's much to complain about here.

  • Reply 4 of 68
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,496member

    Won't work for me since I route everything through my sound system. Plugging directly into the TV means I can only use the TV speakers not my surround sound system. Plus it's from Amazon and all it would be good for is ordering garbage from them.

  • Reply 5 of 68

    I like how it’s competing with Chromecast and not Apple TV.

     

    They know they don’t even remotely have a real solution here, so they’re going with what they figure they can beat.

  • Reply 6 of 68

    Why do they even bother to put a price on it? Given that their earnings are -- and will be -- in the toilet for a while to come, why not give it away and hope to make money elsewhere (or in their much-vaunted 'future')?

  • Reply 7 of 68
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,740member

    Amazon Prime content is still the missing feature for Chromecast (and Apple TV), though from my experience Amazon's Prime videos tend to be noticably more compressed than Netflix streaming.

     

    That said, the Fire TV Stick has one of the same design flaws as the Chromecast: HDMI jacks aren't powered.  You still have to somehow provide power to the device.  The fine print calls out the need for a micro USB port "for power only" (wallwart transformer included), but it is interesting that they omit that in their fancy advertising spread:

     

     

    Still, at $19 I think they're going to ship a ton of these.

  • Reply 8 of 68
    jj.yuanjj.yuan Posts: 212member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

     

    Won't work for me since I route everything through my sound system. Plugging directly into the TV means I can only use the TV speakers not my surround sound system. Plus it's from Amazon and all it would be good for is ordering garbage from them.


    I don't have an Amazon, Roku or Google thingy. But, I have another device that sends HDMI signal to my TV. In order to bypass the TV speakers, I use the "digital sound out" port on my TV to hook up a receiver. It's a bit inconvenient that I have to mute my TV when I turn it on. Otherwise, I am quite happy.

  • Reply 9 of 68
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,740member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

     

    Why do they even bother to put a price on it? Given that their earnings are -- and will be -- in the toilet for a while to come, why not give it away and hope to make money elsewhere (or in their much-vaunted 'future')?


     

    As long as shareholders continue to let Bezos leak cash like a sieve, we'll continue to see giveaways like this. 

     

    The AMZN P/E for 2014 looks to be on the order of -10,000!  Even at last year's P/E of 486, the simplified view says it would take almost 500 years for the stock to earn back what you invested if you bought their stock today:

     

     

    The thing is, whether this is Prime Videos or Prime Music or Prime Streaming or Prime Books, there's virtually no lock-in.  The freebie offers are great, but people will switch to the next cheap thing if Amazon starts charging what the products are worth.  Tundaboy is right, at $19 for an HDMI stick or $99 for their lowest-end tablet, there is almost no downside to tossing this in a junk drawer once it outlives its usefulness.

  • Reply 10 of 68
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,254member
    I like how it’s competing with Chromecast and not Apple TV.

    They know they don’t even remotely have a real solution here, so they’re going with what they figure they can beat.

    Hey anything they can do to keep the profits below water eh?
  • Reply 11 of 68
    john.b wrote: »
    the Fire TV Stick has one of the same design flaws as the Chromecast: HDMI jacks aren't powered.  You still have to somehow provide power to the device.  The fine print calls out the need for a micro USB port "for power only" (wallwart transformer included), but it is interesting that they omit that in their fancy advertising spread

    This "flaw" might be the solution for [@]rob53[/@]. If it isn't powered by HDMI, he could probably plug in the Fire TV stick into the HDMI inputs on his receiver which will automatically decode the audio stream while passing the video to his TV. The receiver's HDMI inputs do not need to be powered.
  • Reply 12 of 68
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,496member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jj.yuan View Post

     

    I don't have an Amazon, Roku or Google thingy. But, I have another device that sends HDMI signal to my TV. In order to bypass the TV speakers, I use the "digital sound out" port on my TV to hook up a receiver. It's a bit inconvenient that I have to mute my TV when I turn it on. Otherwise, I am quite happy.


    All my "input" devices (Comcast, DVD, AppleTV) are routed through my receiver via HDMI (+digital audio) then one HDMI cable goes to my TV, which has its sound turned off. In other words, my TV is just a display. I really don't want a TV manufactured/sold by Apple I want a tightly integrated display and sound system. My TV sits above the fireplace in a cavity designed for an old (huge) CRT-based TV, making a terrible location for flat screens with speakers coming out the back. I'm trying to reduce the amount of cables to and from the TV so I don't have cable clutter. All my clutter is in the sound system cabinet I built from extra Brazilian cherry flooring. Of course, there never is one solution that fits everyone's needs so flexibility is always a nice feature.

  • Reply 13 of 68
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

     

    Won't work for me since I route everything through my sound system. Plugging directly into the TV means I can only use the TV speakers not my surround sound system. Plus it's from Amazon and all it would be good for is ordering garbage from them.




    A lot of TVs can receive surround sound signals and re-route them to the stereo via stereo outputs or even optical outputs.

     

    So does this mean your TV needs to be replaced with a better version?

  • Reply 14 of 68
    sog35 wrote: »
    Race. To. The. Bottom.

    $19 is almost the bottom.
  • Reply 15 of 68
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,610member

    I think the issue with these devices for me is the content. I really haven't looked at roku v hulu v fire v AppleTV v comcast v dish because there really isn't anything compelling on any of them I must have access to. My AppleTV suffices for the occasional movie. The tech here isn't particularly important to me. 

     

    Give me an HDMI dongle that allows me to buy access to ESPN for say...oh... $2 for the day, and I'd buy it. 

  • Reply 16 of 68
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,496member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post





    This "flaw" might be the solution for @rob53. If it isn't powered by HDMI, he could probably plug in the Fire TV stick into the HDMI inputs on his receiver which will automatically decode the audio stream while passing the video to his TV. The receiver's HDMI inputs do not need to be powered.



    True, and I have one spare port, but this device isn't going to stream my music, TV shows, or movies from my Mac and I don't care to pay Amazon to get reduced shipping on the few things I buy from them so it's redundant since I already own an AppleTV. Like I said before, I see this device as a trojan horse for Amazon, getting another device into the house to push it's Amazon Prime service(?), which in turn pushes it's Walmart-online-type store.

  • Reply 17 of 68
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,496member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jameskatt2 View Post

     



    A lot of TVs can receive surround sound signals and re-route them to the stereo via stereo outputs or even optical outputs.

     

    So does this mean your TV needs to be replaced with a better version?


    You're putting the TV as the main input and controlling device while I'm putting it as a dumb display. My inputs come from a variety of sources so I keep my sources at the beginning of the system and use the TV as an output device along with my speakers. As for my TV, it's a mistake purchase from Samsung (47") that I won't make twice (it goes black at least once a day for a few seconds, past warranty but not that old). I'm also old school, buying my first large component stereo system back in 1976. 

  • Reply 18 of 68
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,740member
    Quote:


    "Coming soon—take Fire TV Stick with you to use with HDTVs in hotels, college dorms, airports, or anywhere with captive portal Internet access that requires entering a password or a log-in"


     

    This is one of the hassles of the ATV.  Because there is no built-in basic browser, there is no way to get to hotel network Wi-Fi login screens without a second device (computer, router, etc.)

     

    That said, I'm finding more and more hotels are either mounting TVs into frames or epoxying the spare HDMI ports to prevent this sort of thing in the first place...

  • Reply 19 of 68
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,496member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by eightzero View Post

     

    I think the issue with these devices for me is the content. I really haven't looked at roku v hulu v fire v AppleTV v comcast v dish because there really isn't anything compelling on any of them I must have access to. My AppleTV suffices for the occasional movie. The tech here isn't particularly important to me. 

     

    Give me an HDMI dongle that allows me to buy access to ESPN for say...oh... $2 for the day, and I'd buy it. 


    $2/day for any single channel (I know ESPN has a ton of specialized channels) is too much for me but I do like the idea of unhooking channels from cable/satellite and letting people pay for what they want without having to also have a cable/satellite subscription. Hopefully this is coming soon with the recent announcements but I'd hope for something less than streaming Netflix, or around $4-$5/month per channel.

  • Reply 20 of 68
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,740member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

     

    You're putting the TV as the main input and controlling device while I'm putting it as a dumb display. My inputs come from a variety of sources so I keep my sources at the beginning of the system and use the TV as an output device along with my speakers.


     

    If you think that's bad, I have an LG TV that came with a "magic remote" (like a Wiimote, but with tons more latency and far worse accuracy) as the only way to switch inputs.  Wish I'd realized it wouldn't work with standard learning remotes before I bought it....  I had to get an HDMI switching box to keep from throwing the damned TV out the window!

     

    Oh, and LG TVs "phone home" everything you watch back to the mothership if you enable WiFi or Ethernet networking (required for any of the so-called "smart" features).  Just a reminder, in case anyone thought an LG TV would be better than something from Sammy...

Sign In or Register to comment.