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Amazon launches $39 Fire TV Stick to take on Chromecast
The massive success of the $35 Chromecast inspired competitors to launch similar devices, with Roku, Mozilla, and even Microsoft announcing streaming sticks of their own. Now the Chromecast has a new and formidable competitor in the Amazon Fire TV Stick.
The Fire TV Stick costs $39, and is now available for pre-order, with shipping starting on November 19. If you’re an Amazon Prime customer and order in the next two days, you can have it for just $19, a very compelling price for what the Fire TV Stick offers.
First off, you get better specifications than with the aging Chromecast, including a dual-core Broadcom processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of storage. For comparison, the Chromecast features 512MB of RAM and just 2GB of storage. Amazon also touts Dolby Digital Plus surround sound and dual-band, dual-antenna WiFi, which should ensure a smoother streaming experience.
Here’s the full comparison between Fire TV Stick vs Google Chromecast vs Roku Streaming Stick, per Amazon:
The Fire TV Stick comes with a remote control that lets you control it without a connected smartphone or tablet. You get basic media playback controls, but you can also use the remote to play simple games – Amazon mentions You Don’t Know Jack, The Game of Life, and Flappy Birds Family. Note however, that you likely won’t be able to play titles designed for the beefier Amazon Fire TV $99 set-top-box unit.
In appearance and basic functionality, the Fire TV Stick is very similar to the Chromecast – you simply plug it into your TV’s HDMI input slot, plug in the power adapter, and fire it up. From there, you get access to Amazon’s massive library content, including its own services, as well as Netflix, Hulu, Spotify and many more. You can also install apps and games, and you can mirror the screen of an Android tablet or smartphone to share photos, movies, apps and more.
Optionally, you can get a $29.99 remote control with voice commands support, or accomplish the same tasks using the Android app on your smartphone.
Like most of Amazon’s hardware products, the Fire TV Stick is designed to remove all effort from diving into Amazon’s vast vaults of content, from music and video, to books, and apps. The Chromecast is more open, but at least on paper, the $39 Fire TV Stick seems a very powerful competitor. Amazon’s ecosystem is very impressive, and considering the good price tag, the Fire TV Stick looks like a great purchase, especially if you’ve already opted for Amazon Prime.
We’ll be getting a Fire TV Stick for testing as soon as possible. Meanwhile, tell us what’s your opinion on Amazon’s new streaming stick.